B”H, 10 Mar-Cheshvan, 57161

Peace and blessing!

You asked: What should be your response when told that science allegedly has proof that the world has existed for more that 5715 years? Can this be answered with the famous statement of our Sages that G‑d “built worlds and destroyed them?”

The meaning of that statement is not that G‑d actually created earlier physical worlds. Rather, the intent there is to spiritual worlds, as recorded by the Alter Rebbe — based on the Arizal’s writings — in his Torah Ohr on the portion of Shemot.2

Their statement that science has proofs is absolutely false. Science has no proofs at all, only estimations built on flimsy foundations. It is hard to explain all of this in a letter of requisite length. The main point is, however, that the statement in scientific texts with regard to the world’s having existed for several billion years, etc., is based on the following theory:

Since a specific number of years are needed (according to today’s conditions, such as temperature, atmospheric pressure, wind movements, the proportions of elements in the environment, etc. etc.) for every hundred feet of sand accumulation at the banks of a river, and since there are mountains of this sand which are several miles high, therefore (if one is to assume that these mountains were gathered bit by bit from grains of sand, by the movements of this same river, and that all of the above conditions haven’t changed in thousands of years) such and such number of years would be needed. This number is far more than 5715.

When one asks, however, where these grains of sand came from, they have no answer.

When one asks: Just as it is possible for grains of sand to have come to be at a certain point on a flat plain, may it not be possible that mountains too came into being all at once? Again, they have no answer.

When one asks: How do you know that five thousand years ago all of the conditions, of water, wind, river patterns, etc. were exactly the same as they are now? For this, too, they have no response.

When one asks, in addition to all of the above: If you are claiming that your proofs are scientific, how can it be that the results of the research into the age of the world according to astrophysics, according to archeology, according to geology, and according to radioactivity, all contradict each other,3 from one extreme to the other? For example, one concludes that the world can be no more than half a billion years old, while the other concludes that it cannot be less than two billion!

These contradictions are clear proof that all of these discussions and research are only theories built on thin air. Here is not the place to delve into this at greater length4.