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Hidden Light: Science Secrets of the Bible Hardcover – April 1, 2008
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David Medved brilliantly brings his decades of theoretical and hands-on
experience in micro-wave transmission to an understanding of Maimonides' brilliant insight that indeed, as Psalm 19 declares, the heavens actually speak of the glory of the Creator. Yet that same psalm tells us that in spite of this celestial praise, no voice is heard. Quite simply nothing is heard, because we humans do not speak star language. But a micro-wave expert as is David can tap into that celestial message. And he has in a very intriguing and revealing way. Hidden Light will open a new vista for each time you view the heavens. --Gerald Schroeder, PhD, Author of Genesis and the Big Bang, The Hidden Face of God, and God according to God
An interesting and stimulating epic. I am very impressed with the scope of the scholarship, the delivery, and the new concepts that are shining through the text. --Professor R. Zidovetski, University of California
This is a fascinating subject and a certain bestseller. --Professor Sol Penner, Unviersity of California
About the Author
Dr. David Medved received a PhD in Physics from the University of Pennsylvania. He has led a scientific team at General Dynamics, and was selected by NASA to serve as Principal Investigator of the Gemini project. Dr. Medved lives in Israel, where he founded JOLT (Jerusalem Optical Link Technologies) Ltd., a pioneer in wireless optical communications.
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About half of the book concerns the creation account in Genesis 1-3. Much of this attempts to show that a pleasing and respectful harmony exists between these accounts and the latest findings of modern science. This is a welcome contrast to the assertions of both the Bible thumping dogmatists and the Bible bashing scoffers that one too often encounters in this arena. One doesn't have to agree with the particular syntheses that the author gives, to recognize the great value of what he has done and to admit that his views deserve a respectful hearing.
David Medved rightly dismisses "other creation stories" (page 8) as vastly inferior to the Biblical creation account, which is uniquely worthy of serious attention by serious scientists, theologians and philosophers. And then he proceeds to give his synthesis of the account.
I like, and agree with, his recognition that words such as "heavens", "waters", "light", and "darkness" all are used in the creation narrative with a measure of ineffability added. He gives his own very valid suggestions as to their meaning. I agree with some of these, and disagree with others, but in all cases his views are well worth pondering.
He relates "light" (Genesis 1:3 "Let there be light.") with the time (about 370,000 years after the Big Bang) that proper atoms first form -- the decoupling of matter from radiation, when the universe cooled to the point that protons (and heavier nuclei) could capture and hold electrons to form hydrogen and other proper atoms. But in what seems to be a disjuncture, he relates "the separation of light from darkness" with the separation of matter and antimatter -- so that "light" would relate more to radiation in its various forms than to the more specialized meaning of light produced when the universe became transparent. Incidentally, it is indeed true that the "disappearance" of anti-matter in the early universe is something of a mystery to scientists.
For myself, I go along with the definition of light as radiation, and prefer it to the more conventional limitation to visible light, but admit that his suggestion is an intriguing possibility. On the other hand, I personally associate the "separation of light from darkness" with the remarkable cosmic inflation that occurred a minute fraction after the big bang, as if a small marble suddenly expanded in an instant to an object larger than the Milky Way galaxy (a factor of 10^26). The result of this expansion was the creation of true darkness (absence of radiation of any sort) throughout the fabric of space. Without this remarkable inflation, the universe could not have existed.
However I agree with the author's implication that the separation was probably a specific action on God's part.
One thing I particularly like is his dismissal of (or refusal to acknowledge) the conventional mythological explanations of phenomena in the creation account -- such as the supposed "Hebrew cosmology" which is constructed along the lines of (and postdates??) the later Greek and Egyptian cosmologies. Googling the phrase explains that it is "a pre-scientific attempt to understand the universe." I reject this completely, and so apparently does the author, if one can argue from silence. Thus he interprets the "waters" above/below the "firmament" in a way that recognizes a range of usage of both words that extends well beyond mere H2O and a solid dome.
Another topic of the book is the glorious celebration of God's creation in Psalm 19. He gives proper deference to the question of how the "silent speech" of verse 3 should be understood ("There is no speech, nor are there words. Their voice is not heard." ). I agree with him that the Psalm indeed says that the speech is not heard, and so those translations that attempt to "fix" or "make sense" of the verses are moving in the wrong direction. But rather than relating it to the "music of the spheres" and other phenomena of actual music, I tend to believe that the "silent speech" refers to the built-in "declarations" that exist throughout the natural world which testify to God's glory and handiwork. My own area of particular interest is the detailed geological record of how God prepared the earth for humans. The scrutability of science is one of the most amazing features of our world - as noted by Albert Einstein's famous remark, "The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is at all comprehensible." For myself, I associate that "comprehensibility" with the "silent voice" of Psalm 19 -- after all, God did not have to build a universe that yields its inner secrets to the persistent inquirer!!!
Aside from these two passages -- creation and Psalm 19 -- the remainder of the book concerns various kabbalistic arguments. Actually I don't find these kabbalistic arguments off-putting -- perhaps they are typical of Jewish exegesis. At the least they are thought-provoking and thus enrich my enjoyment in reading the book. Examples include: the significance of the first letter in the creation account (page 2), the "mis-spelling" of the Hebrew word for "line" (page 98-99) that leads to an accurate value of pi, and the molecular structure of water in the shape of the Hebrew word (page 124).
Two or three minor quibbles. There are a few technical puzzlements which seem to me to indicate a possible lack of knowledge of some of the esoterica of the Biblical text. But nobody can be an expert in everything in this hyper-specialized day, so I'd rather have him writing imperfectly than not writing at all: he has a lot of very interesting things to say.
For example, at the very start, his comment on the (possible) significance of the form of the first letter (bet) in the creation account -- this is not at all the form of bet in the Paleo-Hebrew script (see the table in Wikipedia), so is the "significance" something introduced with the later Hebrew script?
Another example: he makes a number of fairly strong assertions based on specific dates between the times of Abraham and Solomon, as if these dates are precisely known. My understanding is that these dates are not precisely known, so one wonders if his conclusions are a bit specious.
I am also a bit bothered by the implied equivalence of the suggestions of ancient Hebrew scholars with the discoveries of modern science, such as the remark about Einstein's relativity. In the world of modern science, the prize goes to the one who presents objective, testable evidence, and not to the one who just speculates. Einstein's relativity, for example, was the result of hard mathematical work, which was in the first instance implied by the anomalies of hard scientific data (such as the Michelson-Morley experiment).
Finally, there are a moderate number of annoying typos, typical of the modern word-processing culture -- not show-stopping, but mildly annoying nonetheless -- unfortunately, this is quite typical in books today (and in my own web writing!). Also his tendency to use passive constructions (all too much a characteristic of my own efforts at "serious" writing) shows the need for another pass by a good, picky, and annoying editor.
I highly recommend this book! Reading it was sheer pleasure.