Religion & Science
Writings of Albert Einstein
Published here 9-2004
by: David Rich
|Back at the turn of the 18/19 century a university professor
challenged his students with this question: "Did God create everything
A student bravely replied, "Yes, he did!"
"God created everything?" The professor asked.
"Yes sir", the student replied.
The professor answered, "If God created everything, then God created evil, since evil exists, and according to the principal that our works define who we are, then God is evil".
The student became quiet before such an answer. The professor, quite pleased with himself, boasted to the students that he had proven once more that the Christian faith was a myth.
Another student raised his hand and said, "Can I ask you a question professor?"
"Of course", replied the professor.
The student stood up and asked, "Professor, does cold exist?"
"What kind of question is this? Of course it exists. Have you never been cold?" The students snickered at the young man's question.
The young man replied, "In fact sir, cold does not exist. According to the laws of physics, what we consider cold is in reality the absence of heat. Every body or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy. Absolute zero (- 460 degrees F) is the total absence of heat; all matter becomes inert and incapable of reaction at that temperature. Cold does not exist. We have created this word to describe how we feel if we have less heat that we are comfortable with. It is a feeling we have interpreted from our internal sensors showing we are uncomfortable. If we were truly cold, we would be in no position to even discuss it."
The student continued, "Professor, does darkness exist?"
The professor responded, "Of course it does."
The student replied, "Once again you are wrong sir, darkness does not exist either. Darkness is in reality the absence of light. Light we can study, but not darkness. In fact we can use Newton's prism to break white light into many colors and study the various wavelengths of each color. You cannot measure darkness. A simple ray of light can break into a world of darkness and illuminate it. How can you know how dark a certain space is? You measure the amount of light present. Isn't this correct? Darkness is a term used by man to describe what happens when there is no light present."
Finally the young man asked the professor, "Sir, does evil exist?"
Now uncertain, the professor still responded; "Of course as I have already said. We see it every day. It is in the daily example of man's inhumanity to man. It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. These manifestations are nothing else but evil."
To this the student replied, "Evil does not exist sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is not like faith, or love that exist just as does light and heat. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God's love present in his heart. It's like the cold that comes when there is no heat or the darkness that comes when there is no light."
The professor sat down.
The young man's name --- Albert Einstein
|My thoughts (2004):
We need to keep in mind the era this was said, and the relative social climate of Germany back just before the turn of the century (1900). I doubt this young man had much love in his life, or friends for that matter. <LOL>
I think he was comparing apples and oranges here, since his definition of evil was not the same as what the professor was using. If young Albert used the term; 'Evil is the lack of compassion', that would better relate to what the professor was talking about. But as Albert later went on to say; 'Things are all relative from the point of the observer and their own personal experiences in life in which to compare and hopefully comprehend what they are observing'. Did young Albert have his own personal understanding or relationship with the Divine, or was it only what he had been told by his local community of what God is? Was he an active religious scholar?
Below is copies of his later philosophies on religion and science, and some letters he received over the years, challenging his intellect in these matters, along with his very astute replies.
Back to our Philosophy Pages