Real Resurrection (Vayetze)
A lawyer’s dream of heaven; every man reclaimed his property at the resurrection, and each tried to recover it from all his forefathers. -Samuel Butler
I have a theory as to one of the (likely many) divine purposes of technological developments (and to some extent science fiction and futuristic imaginings). It is to understand better how God might work.
We live in an era of disbelief in anything that is not scientifically provable, repeatable, explainable. What mankind in the past accepted as a matter of faith is today dismissed as the purview of the naïve, gullible and feebleminded.
Technological advancement may come to show that what was previously in the realm of the miraculous or impossible can become commonplace. For a small device the size of your hand to allow you to see and talk to someone on the other side of the planet was inconceivable just a few decades ago. For the same device to guide you as to the best possible driving route in real-time, taking into account construction, accidents and traffic, is now taken for granted. For a heartless machine to be able to predict and complete with unerring accuracy your next typed words wasn’t even dreamt of by science fiction authors. These modern miracles and technological imaginings are opening our eyes and changing our minds as to what we define as possible and impossible.
Perhaps the last scientific frontier and perhaps not coincidentally the last and least discussed article of Jewish faith of Maimonides’ 13 Principles of Faith is the belief in the Resurrection: “I believe with complete faith that there will be a resurrection of the dead at the time that will be pleasing before the Creator, blessed be His name, and the remembrance of Him will be exalted forever and for all eternity.”
The Berdichever in his analysis of the account of Jacob’s dream at Bet-El, zooms in on the seemingly extraneous detail that the city was previously called “Luz.” He explains that Luz is also the name of a part of the human body (I’ve heard some say it’s the vertebrae under the skull) that will be the physical seed of the regeneration and resurrection of the bodies that will merit to be reunited with their souls at some future date. Jacob’s encounter with God at Bet-El/Luz hints at that predicted resurrection.
The explanation brought to my mind the scene from Jurassic Park where they bring back the dinosaurs just from a preserved drop of dinosaur DNA. This concept has been known to scientists for some time now, that every molecule of our body, of DNA, has the complete instruction set for the re-creation of an entire body.
While those who have complete faith may not need scientific support, it may make it easier for the remainder of an unbelieving humanity to have assistance in imagining the possibility that nothing is beyond God and that ultimately there is nothing to “scientifically” prevent God from resurrecting the dead as promised.
To the memory of my dear friend and one of my earliest mentors, Carlos Antonio Alarcon of Caracas, Venezuela.