Over the years the Rebbe fielded many queries from youth who challenged Jewish belief in the face of compelling Western thought. Below is a selection of questions and answers, from an audience with a group of students.
Question (student): Please explain the existence of G-d and prove the creation of the earth.
Answer (Rebbe): You do not need proof of that. Do you have a printed book or paper? Would you say it came into being by accident or that it had a cause—a purpose? You say a printer printed it. Why do you accept it? Because it makes sense. You see by the system of words, sentences, phrases, etc., that person-intellect caused or assembled the letters.
In the same way there is no need to prove the earth’s origin.
Q: Well, science has proved by various means that it was caused by natural phenomena—for instance, the “Theory of the Expanding Universe” or “Evolution.”
A: That is not a cause but merely a description of creation, and the time elements derived by such means as the study of rocks, the study of decay of radioactive metals, the study of thermodynamics which do not coincide.
These hold true only if pressure, temperature and atmospheric conditions were like they are today. The “Expanding Universe” is merely a theory, and theories in general merely explain the existence of various phenomena, but do not necessarily constitute proof that the same are accurate.
(In the beginning it was believed that the earth was the center of the universe, and the sun, stars, etc. rotate around it.)
There was once a man named Copernicus, who observed several phenomena on the basis of which he formed certain theories that the earth rotates around the sun. Copernicus had no proof of this, but formed this theory simply because it explained these phenomena and this then became an accepted theory. About fifty years ago Einstein formulated his theory of relativity in which he states that in a system of two or more bodies in movement it is impossible to determine which is the stable. Thus we see that men of science contradict each other.
Getting back to the various methods of determining, the opinions differ greatly and contradict each other—for according to geology we obtain a figure of one billion; according to radioactivity a figure of one half billion; and according to the study of thermodynamics a figure of two billion. This is a difference of not merely one million or two million, but a ratio of one billion to two billion to four billion. Thus, we observe again that scientists contradict each other. However, all this “Expanding Universe Theory” is based upon the assumption that the universe was filled with uniform particles. What if we were to assume rock?
Now, if you see a simple system of two objects, you might say a child constructed it; if you saw a more complicated system you might conclude that a simple man or peasant constructed it; (when you observe a more complicated machine you might say that a person of still higher intellect constructed it); when you observe a highly complicated intricate machine, such as a robot or an electronic brain, which calculates differentials, integrals, etc. it follows then that an extremely powerful intellect must have constructed it.
Let us take the human body. It consists of various intricate systems such as blood vessels, etc., which could have been constructed only by an extremely powerful intellect. Take this pen, for instance—it consists of protons, neutrons, and atoms moving around regularly. It follows, that the world, which is a system so complicated, could have been created by a most powerful intellect.
Q: Therefore is the conciliation you have drawn reached solely by the process of elimination?
A: It is not just a conciliation based on the process of elimination, but a witnessed fact.
How do you conduct an experiment? You accept results of an experiment which was witnessed by 1, 2, 20, or 200 people but usually not more. The Divine Revelation on Mt. Sinai is an experiment witnessed by millions. In our generation, there are a million Jews who believe and bear witness to the fact that in the generation before there were one or two million Jews who believed and bore witness to the fact that the generation before them there were one or two million Jews who believed, and so on, for a period of 25-30 generations. We therefore have an unbroken chain of witness to the fact of the Divine Revelation on Mt. Sinai.
Q: Could it have been a legend like any other religion, such as the Mohammedan religion?
A: The Mohammedan religion, for instance, bears the witness of only one man. Mohammed came to his tribe (from the desert) and told them that Al-lah revealed Himself to him and told him to write the verses of the Koran. Hence, the whole belief is based upon the word of one man; one person came from the desert; one person may have hypnosis, hallucination, or be in a trance.
The Christian religion is based on the fact that J— came to his ten or twelve disciples and told them that the holy spirit revealed . . . . all this being based on the word of one man.
The Jewish religion, on the other hand, was witnessed by two million people from all walks of life. There were males, females, children and old men, middle-aged and youths, skilled laborers and lawyers, men of medicine and rabbis; in the presence of two million people of all walks of life G-d revealed himself to the Jewish people.