Israel’s premier Orthodox Jewish research university hosts surprising testimony by top Messianic Jewish scientist.
This story has been “percolating” for a year-and-a-half on YouTube. Israel’s biggest Orthodox Jewish university, Bar Ilan, hosted a faith and science lecture that surprisingly included a strong evangelistic New Testament testimony.
The lecturing scientist was James Tour, the world’s top Messianic Jewish scientist. The lecture has since been posted on the YouTube channel for this series of faith and science conferences. It has the most views out of the channel’s 200+ videos. You would not have expected this kind of message to be hosted by an Orthodox Jewish body in light of centuries of institutionalized Church antisemitism and the schism between the two faiths. However, times are changing. In a spirit of ecumenical pluralism, Bar Ilan’s Nitsotsot forum of faith and science invited this renowned Jewish scientist. He shared freely and transparently of his faith in “J.C.” as one of the Orthodox Jewish professors in attendance called Jesus Christ.
Professor James Tour is a prolific inventor and synthetic chemist. Tour was named “Scientist of the Year” by R&D Magazine, 2013. He has won numerous prizes and is one of the most cited scientists alive. Together with his assistants, he has published over 700 research papers in numerous fields including nanotechnology. He and his teams make tiny things that work, such as “nano-car molecules” a thousandth of a hair’s width, with wheels that rotate and move the car when light shines on them. Tour grew up in the New York area in a secular Jewish family. His parents were Jews born in Teheran, Iran, who then immigrated to America as youth.
Tour praised Bar Ilan University in his lecture:
“This is a great honor for me to be able to speak at Bar-Ilan, because this is a really unique university – not just in Israel but throughout the world – to have a real research university that does real [scientific] research… and be able to talk about religious issues.”
When asked questions regarding this conference and interaction with Orthodox Jews, he said:
“I very much enjoyed my discussions with the professors and rabbi at Bar Ilan University… a unique group that had been convened. I was impressed that they would permit me, a Messianic Jew who believes that Yeshua is the Messiah of Israel, to have such a forum. There are few institutions in the world where I could engage with faculty and students regarding the power of the words recorded in the Tanakh [Hebrew scriptures] and relate that to science being done today. My time there was surely an experience that I shall never forget.”
Some readers may be interested to know: In addition to his research, inventions, and evangelistic faith witness, Dr. James Tour is also a leading voice in challenging the materialistic narrative of (random, chance) abiogenesis in origin of life research. As a leading synthetic chemist he explains how much intelligence, planning and effort is required of him and his PhD students for stepwise synthesis of useful new chemical structures. Therefore he expresses stark skepticism that the bewildering complexity of even the simplest living cell could ever have arisen by chance:
“Those who think scientists understand the issues of prebiotic chemistry are wholly misinformed. Nobody understands them. Maybe one day we will. But that day is far from today. It would be far more helpful… to expose students to the massive gaps in our understanding. They may find a firmer—and possibly a radically different—scientific theory. The basis upon which we as scientists are relying is so shaky that we must openly state the situation for what it is: it is a mystery.”
Originally posted at israeltoday.co.il