The Language God Talks: On Science and Religion
By Herman Wouk
Read by Bob Walter
Hachette Audio, (2010)
An Unabridged Recording on 5 CDs
Reviewed by Israel Drazin - May 10, 2010
This book offers its readers a radically different view of religion than the notion that most people accept, but it is not entirely clear.
Herman Wouk is a famous writer who wrote best-selling fictional books such The Cain Mutiny and The Winds of War, and non-fiction books on Judaism, such as This is My God. He is also the author of successful plays.
Wouk is an observant Jew. He tells us in this book how he kept the rigors of Jewish practices in college and in the Navy, such as strapping himself in tefillin, phylacteries, every morning without being embarrassed, even though he shared accommodations with non-Jews; about his joys in studying the Talmud and how he likes speaking about it with others; and about going to the synagogue daily. Yet, despite his behavior and, perhaps because, unlike most people, he understands why he acts as he does, he accepts the findings of science and states that God speaks to people through science. Just as he described his own religious behavior in this book, he also describes the advancements of science, the big bang theory, the uses by Hitler of science, the atomic bomb, the musings of atheistic scientists. And he accepts the scientific findings as the truth, and sees them as the voice of God.
This is clear. He undoubtedly feels that religious people should not isolate themselves from scientific discoveries, and when the Bible states matters that are contrary to scientific findings, such as creation in six days only about 6,000 years ago, these statements should be understood metaphorically or as parables. It is also clear that Wouk is emphasizing that we should live a modern life using the scientific advancements.
But what is unclear is what he means by saying that science is "the language that God talks."
Is he saying more than what we just stated? How does God speak through science? What is God saying? Did God also speak through revelation and through the prophets? Should the understanding that God speaks through science change our behavior in any way other than what I indicated above? How should we act?
Dr. Israel Drazin is the author of fifteen books, including a series of five volumes on the Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Bible, which he co-authors with Rabbi Dr. Stanley M. Wagner, and a series of four books on the twelfth century philosopher Moses Maimonides, the latest being Maimonides: Reason Above All, published by Gefen Publishing House, www.gefenpublishing.com. The Orthodox Union (OU) publishes daily samples of the Targum books on www.ouradio.org.