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Yehudi Sabbagh

Which came first: The chicken or the egg?

The origin of species can be understood from two distinct perspectives: the scientific perspective and the religious perspective.

From the scientific perspective, the process of evolution explains the diversity of life. Scientists propose that all species evolved from a single microorganism, with random mutations over time giving rise to the various species we see today. In this context, the question of whether the chicken or the egg came first is answered by evolutionary biology: a proto-chicken laid an egg containing a mutation that resulted in the first true chicken. Therefore, according to this view, the egg came first.

Conversely, the religious perspective, particularly within the context of many interpretations of the Bible, posits that all species were created simultaneously by a divine being. For example, Genesis 1:24 states, “And Hashem said, ‘Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.’ And it was so.” This suggests that the chicken was created as a fully formed being, implying that the chicken came first.

For many years, I have pondered the idea of understanding the creation of the world through the following postulate: “If I believe that Hashem created everything, then science and the Bible must ultimately agree on how it was done, down to the last detail.” When explanations from science and the Bible seem to oppose each other, it suggests that our interpretation of either the Bible, science, or both, may be flawed.

In addressing this matter, Dr. Gerald Schroeder, in his book “Genesis and the Big Bang,” offers solutions to several long standing dilemmas. For example, Dr. Schroeder explains how the six days of biblical creation align with the 13.7 billion years since the Big Bang. In essence, he posits that from Hashem’s vantage point, millions of light-years from the center of the universe, one devine day equates to approximately 2.2 billion Earth years.

I believe I have found an answer to another ancient dilemma: How could Adam be the first man if his sons, Cain and Abel, married and had children, who did they marry? Additionally, how can the Bible place Adam’s creation 5,784 years ago when we have irrefutable evidence that humans existed hundreds of thousands of years ago?

If we carefully read the Bible, we find that Hashem created humans on the sixth day of creation. Then He rested on the seventh day. Not until after the seventh day, the Bible states: “And the Lord Hashem formed man of dust from the ground, and He breathed into his nostrils the soul of life, and man became a living soul.” This suggests that Adam is not the same as the humans created on the sixth day. This interpretation provides an explanation for where Cain and Abel’s wives came from and why Adam is said to have existed 5,784 years ago, while evidence shows that humans existed much earlier.

Therefore, I deduce that Adam was indeed the first human with a soul (Neshama), and though created completely in Hashem’s image, but not the first human in a general sense. This interpretation is supported by the Bible’s statement: “He breathed into his nostrils [Adam’s] the soul of life, and man became a living soul.”

Regarding the age-old question of which came first, the chicken or the egg, the answer depends on what kind of egg we’re talking about. If we mean an egg containing a chicken embryo, then the chicken must have come first. Consider this: for an egg to contain a chicken embryo, it must be laid by a chicken.

After this brief mental exercise, we can see there is hope for those of us who wish to believe in Hashem but sometimes feel hindered by rationality. It is possible to be both rational and a true believer; we simply need to look deeper.

About the Author
Born in Guatemala in 1956. MBA, Businessman. Former president Jewish Community of Guatemala.
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