Little Green Apples

Was it Sir Isaac Newton who said, “I wouldn’t know what gravity was if it hit me over the head”?  It seems he was in for a surprise.  There he was, sitting under the old apple tree, minding his own business, when a ripe, juicy apple plunked down on his head and, well, the rest is history.

It took someone of Isaac Newton’s mathematical acumen to tell us exactly how gravity works - mass, distance, particles, acceleration, etc., etc.

But suppose for a moment that it wasn’t Isaac Newton, scientist and mathematician, sitting under that apple tree that day, but rather Isaac Newberg, the local philosopher.  What might have happened?

He may not have been able to answer the question “how” the apple fell, but he might have asked the question “why” the apple fell.  He may have pondered, “That apple has been sitting on that tree for weeks.  It’s gone through rainstorms and strong winds and it never fell off.  And now, after it turned a tantalizing bright red color, it decides to fall on my head.  What is this, some kind of wake-up call?”

So he thinks about it.  “Did I ever realize before that all fruits - apples, oranges, bananas, plums, peaches, grapes and cherries are all totally green before they ripen, and that they blend in perfectly with the leaves of their tree’s?  Maybe that’s so that no one will notice them and pick them until they’re ready.

“Did I look at the prefectly packaged, air-tight covering on the apple that seals out bugs and locks in the juices?  Maybe that’s so it will be fresh and flavorful until I’m ready to eat it.

“Did I appreciate that if I bought too many and didn’t finish them all in time, this same packaging turns an ugly brown color to let me know that the apple has overstayed it’s welcome?

“Have I ever take advantage of the free coupons inside the apple that entitle me to a lifetime supply of apples?  All I have to do is plant them!

“Did I fully understand that within these seeds is the formula to recreate a tree of wood, complete with roots and bark and leaves and blossoms that are capable of producing exact replicas of this tasty fruit, needing no food and nourishment other than water, sunlight and tasteless soil?

“Was I aware that somehow the tree knows how to signal the fruit stem to automatically detach itself from the branch and allow the fruit to gently fall to the ground (or on my head) as soon as the fruit is ripe?

“Come to think of it, there are probably dozens of miracles in each piece of fruit showing the hand of an Intelligent Designer.  Sometimes we just need to be bopped on the head to recognize them!”

On the other hand, maybe he wouldn’t have pondered at all, but would’ve just eaten the thing.  We’ll never know.

Scientists like Sir Isaac Newton can tell us how things happen because they choose to focus on the cause and effect of everything.  But they don’t tell us why things happen because they fail to note that behind each cause is the First Cause, God Himself, Who guides this world with plan an purpose.

So you might say that after all is said and done, Newton still really didn’t understand why there is gravity, even though it did hit him on the head!


by  Max Anteby
Posted in: Jewish Beliefs & Philosophy