Three Creation Stories: A Rabbi Encounters the Universe

What is reality? Is reality both mind and matter, body and soul, as taught by Western religions such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam? This is dualism, the approach of philosophers from Plato to Descartes. Or is reality only matter, as taught by many modern scientists and philosophers? This is materialism, the approach of philosophers from Hobbes to Marx. Or is reality only mind, as taught by Eastern religions and Western mystics. This is the approach of philosophers from Berkeley to Whitehead. The beginning of Genesis allows for multiple translations and interpretations. We will read the creation story in Genesis from the point of view of each of these three approaches—dualism, materialism, and idealism. In doing so, we will tell three very different creation stories. These stories will take us on a fascinating journey through science, philosophy, and religion. Join us on this journey as we explore issues such as does God perform miracles, why is there evil in the universe, was Darwin correct, can robots have souls, and if light is a wave, what is waving?

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