A handwritten letter by Albert Einstein goes on auction tomorrow on eBay. The online auction site has set the opening bid at a staggering $3 million. That’s more than seven times as much as the letter fetched just four years ago.
“This is the most historic and significant piece we have listed on eBay,” said Eric Gazin, president of Auction Cause, the Los Angles-based agency consigned to sell Einstein’s two-pager.
So what makes this particular letter by the 20th century’s most renowned physicist so much more valuable than any other missive he hand wrote?
Did he scribble his famous formula E =mc2?
No, it’s because Einstein offered his thoughts on God and religion.
“The word God is for me,” wrote Einstein, in a 1954 letter to Jewish philosopher Eric Gutkind, “nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends.”
No doubt the atheist community will seize upon that declaration as prima facie evidence that Einstein was one of them. And that, like the eminent scientist, they are on the side of “reason” rather than “religion.”
But the Bible foresaw this age in which we live, when the godless among us would attribute their disbelief in God and His Word to science and reason:
“It is written: ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.’ Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?”
Einstein was, indeed, as Gazin attested, “one of the most brilliant minds to ever live.” But he was not omniscient. He was not infallible.
Moreover, it is not the human mind – however brilliant – but the Spirit within us that informs that God is not merely an expression or product of our human weakness; that His Word is not merely a collection of primitive legends.
Notwithstanding some of thoughts Einstein’s expressed in his so-called “God Letter,” as the letter’s auctioneers have dubbed it, it appears the Holy Spirit had at least some influence on the genius who gave us the theory of relativity.
For the celebrated physicist did not deny the existence of God. He simply did not believe, he wrote, “in a personal God.” He shared the view of so-called Deists that God created the world before stepping aside and leaving humanity to its own devices.
Even more interesting, while Einstein’s “God Letter” does not mention Jesus, it is clear from previous public statements he made that he thought Christ no ordinary man.
In a 1929 interview with the old Saturday Evening Post, the physicist confided, “I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene.”
Moreover, he said, “No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life.”
Einstein’s words quite unintentionally proved the Scriptures prophetic: That “every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”