Genesis 1:3-4: Answering Maharishi Dayananda Saraswati

Can light hear? Is God Omniscient?

Those sentences which are colored in orange are from Maharishi Dayananda Saraswati book Satyarth Prakash (The Light of Truth) and those which are colored in black are Jerry Thomas’s response.

"And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light that it was good and God divided the light from the darkness." (1:3,4)

C. Was the dead inert light able to hear what God said? If so, why cannot the sun, the lamp and the light of fire hear us? The light is dead and inert and therefore cannot hear anyone. Did God only, after he had seen the light, know that the light was good? It appears that He did not know it beforehand he could not have been God. Hence the Bible is not the Word of God, nor is God mentioned in it an Omniscient Being.

Answer: Any reader can understand that this verse has nothing to do with hearing ability of the light. That kind of meaning is imposed on the text and not from the text itself. Maharishi is creating a straw man to attack it.

Further, the inspired Biblical authors have not understood this verse as Maharishi makes it. They understood this as the creative power of God’s word.

Psalms 33: 6 –9 “By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth. He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; He lays up the deep in storehouses.   Let all the earth fear the LORD; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.  For He spoke and it was; He commanded, and it stood fast”. 

There was absolutely no confusion to the original readers regarding the meaning of the text.

Further, God’s declaration of world as good is a value judgment for us. For example, for a Hindu Advaita follower, the entire visible and tangible world is Maya from which one needs to attain liberation.

In such context, for a righteous living, such value judgment makes a significant difference. He who sees this creation as Maya cannot work for its good but he who sees it as good (and fallen now) will work for its restoration.

Now coming back to the question if inert things could hear or not. While the Holy Bible does not teach it, it seems that Maharishi’s Vedas seems to propagate such misconceptions in large scale.

Here are two examples out of many. The inert fire and even the food are supposedly hearing us, if one were to read the following Vedic Hymns.

Agni: Rig Veda Book 2: 7

1. VASU, thou most youthful God, Bhārata, Agni, bring us wealth,
Excellent, splendid, much-desired.
2 Let no malignity prevail against us, either God's or man's.
Save us from this and enmity.
3 So through thy favour may we force through all our enemies a way,
As ’twere through streaming water-floods.
4 Thou, Purifier Agni, high shinest forth, bright, adorable,
When worshipped with the sacred oil.
5 Ours art thou, Agni, Bhārata, honoured by us with barren cows,
With bullocks and with kine in calf
6 Wood-fed, bedewed with sacred oil, ancient, Invoker, excellent,
The Son of Strength, the Wonderful

Food- Rig Veda Book 1:187

1. Now will I glorify Food that upholds great strength, by whose invigorating power Trita rent Vtra limb from limb.
2 O pleasant Food, O Food of meath, thee have we chosen for our own, So be our kind protector thou.
3 Come hitherward to us, O Food, auspicious with auspicious help, Health-bringing, not unkind, a dear and guileless friend.
4 These juices which, O Food, are thine throughout the regions are diffused like winds they have their place in heaven.
5 These gifts of thine, O Food, O Food most sweet to taste, these savours of thy juices work like creatures that have mighty necks.
6 In thee, O Food, is set the spirit of great Gods. Under thy flag brave deeds were done he slew the Dragon with thy help.
7 If thou be gone unto the splendour of the clouds, rven from thence, O Food of meath, prepared for our enjoyment, come.
8 Whatever morsel we consume from waters or from plants of earth, O Soma, wax thou fat thereby.  
9 What Soma, we enjoy from thee in milky food or barley-brew, Vātāpi, grow thou fat thereby.
10 O Vegetable, Cake of meal, he wholesome, firm, and strengthening: Vātāpi, grow thou fat thereby.
11 O Food, from thee as such have we drawn forth with lauds, like cows, our sacrificial gifts from thee who banquetest with Gods, from thee who banquetest with us.

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