Sunday, 21 June 2009

Rambam: A World Without G-d



"And if it should arise in one's mind that He (G-d) is not present, then no other thing can be present (either.)"

There are those (philosophers) who assume the world was created with a Big Bang. An explosion of sorts that brought life into existence. There are some (perhaps even wiser!) that consider that life as we know it having begun out of an almost non-existence. Either creatures and life "just appeared" out of nowhere (with no actual Force bringing them into existence,) or one in which amoebas turned into fish. Fish turned into frogs. Frogs hopped onto land, to eventually grow up and become animals – monkeys perhaps. And eventually these monkeys became human beings – complicated human bodies with souls attached, one's that are able to think for themselves, to speak concepts filled with wisdom and understanding. To do acts of goodness and kindness. All this of course, without any type of G-dly force existing in the world.

One wonders who the greater "believer" really is! Is he the one who can so twist his mind into thinking that life can have existence through a bang? Through a cell that after millions of years developed into a human being – you?! Or is the real believer one who believes in a G-d – a One G-d?

G-d fills the heavens and the earth. He encompasses everything and fills everything. There is nothing without Him. If one should ever consider the possible notion that something can exist without G-d, one must realise – at the same time, that nothing else can exist either. Nothing. Not the amoeba, the frog, the fish, the monkey or the human being… not even you.

Of course those philosophers who believed in a big bang were certainly heading in the right direction. The most basic principles in the Kabbalistic teachings of the Torah teach that G-d created the world through a most mystical process (known only to Him) which included a world filled with the awesome light of G-d. Unfortunately the vessels that G-d had created were not able to withstand the powerful light of G‑dliness, and there was a breakage – known as "Shevirat HaKeilim" – the breaking of the vessels. This lead to a variety of creations coming about, bringing everything eventually to this physical world that we inhabit today. Our job – of course, is to find the broken pieces and put them back together again. Repair the broken vessels, making them fitting and ready receptacles to once again be able to reveal the light of G-d. This time, however – without them breaking! As Rebbi Nachman of Breslov taught, where philosophy ends, Kabbalah begins!

To those who point out the similarities between monkey and human, who philosophise that man simply must have come from a monkey – they too are not too far off. Though they miss the kindness that G-d created in the world. While we cannot ever hope to know the reasons for everything, we can take a step back and examine the ape in the hope of learning more about ourselves. There are so many physical similarities between the human and the ape, that by learning about the ape, we can come to understand the workings of our own human bodies better as well. Indeed, there are certain similarities that allow us to use certain body parts of the ape to save the life of a human – because they are so similar. We don't come from apes! But G-d has certainly bestowed another kindness. He has created a creature so close to us in physical comparison – that we stand to gain from this creature – for our own selves.

The philosophers are not so far off in their understandings of G-d not existing. He surely exists! Though He hides Himself completely, so that we are given the free choice to choose how to live our lives, whether to better ourselves, or whether to choose the opposite. It surely seems like G-d does not exist. Yet He does. He is everywhere, all the time. Did you look at the sky today? He is there hidden in the air, in the clouds, in the sun.

Did you look at the trees? He is there too, hidden amongst the leaves, the branches, the roots and the fruits. Did you see the ground? G-d is hidden inside the worm, inside the mosquito. Did you see the grass? There G-d is likewise… having given dominion to the angels to control the growth of every single blade of grass. There is no blade of grass below that does not have an angel above striking it, commanding it "Grow!" He is everywhere, yet most people see "only" the beauty of nature.

But without G-d, there is no ground. There is no grass, no mosquito, no worm. There is no sun, or moon. There are no stars… There are no apes, no humans. There is no you.

"Naturally" – the choice is yours. There is either a world of nature without G-d… though it has no existence. Or there is a world covered with the mask of G-d, the garment that conceals Himself. There He is to be found, if only we look hard enough.


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