Einstein’s Religion

by MW Cook

This is a portion of a letter Albert Einstein wrote to a friend.

“The word ‘God’ is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this. These subtilised interpretations are highly manifold according to their nature and have almost nothing to do with the original text. For me the Jewish religion like all other religions is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions.”

Does he miss the point? Mostly.

When he talks about the Bible he’s referring to the Hebrew Bible. The Old Testament. And a man who reads the Old Testament with 21st century conditioning and culture would probably come to the same conclusion that Einstein did. Seems a little childish, all these stories about miracles and giants and battles and such. If we were only given the light of the Old Testament today I think we could come to the conclusion that the Bible’s religion is just one among many, similar in almost every way to all the other religions of the world.

The New Testament changes everything. The Light of the Gospel shines a massive light backward to the Old Testament that illuminates the ancient stories and songs and poems and prophecies and gives them a depth that proves to be mind-blowing to any scholar who wishes to study. On its own the Old Testament served its purpose for the people and time in which it was given. But it was always incomplete.

Einstein missed the point because he missed the message that was hidden between the lines of the Old Testament. He missed Christ. He calls the Bible childish only because he never looked to the Child who crafted the universe with which he was so enthralled. Christ is deeper than the infinite cosmos. So deep and so wise and so strong that, at first glance, he looks rather foolish and rather weak. But…

The truth is an ocean where the strong can swim in deep.
And the weak and the broken can walk across so easily.
You are, to me, a beautiful mystery.