Why does God Exist?
Do we as created beings gain value from God existing? What does “God exists” mean?
For what purpose did God create us and sustain us? Is there a divine wish from us, the created beings, for which God created us?
Why is Satan allowed to exist?
How is it possible that God, source of all good, allows a source of evil, known as Satan and his legions, operate among the peoples and individuals and carry out acts that are detrimental to humanity or a specific nation or particular individual?
What reason would God have for allowing Satan to exist? When did Satan start operating in the world? Until when will Satan operate in the world? Will God slaughter Satan? If so, under what circumstances might that occur? What is the source for that?
Human life: points worthy of thought
Let’s remind ourselves of the purpose behind the creation of humans in the world. “Mankind is not preeminent to the beast, for all is vanity.” (Ecclesiastes 3:19) Other than having a pure soul which in the future will need to report before the King of all kings, the Holy One Blessed be He, mankind offers no advantages over beasts but it is this soul, breathed into us, that differentiates us from all other created beings. It certainly was not infused into us for this world, because existing in this world can also be carried out as an inanimate object, or a plant, or any creature. In order to be of the level of speech, however, which is the highest of levels, a soul is needed. That soul is not for this world but actually, for the afterlife. It derives from the world to come and therefore returns there, passing through this world housed in our bodies for a specific purpose.
The question we need to ask, then, is: for what purpose are humans given a soul? If things or beings can live in this world without a soul, such as animals do, finding their prey and eating, surviving and reproducing, why do humans need a soul? We could look at a turtle, living for 300 or even 400 years, walking around slowly, no rush in their life, they have plenty of time, they don’t have housing issues, they’re all set up for life. So what’s wrong with being a turtle? Why do we need to be humans? If turtles lack for nothing, what’s the difference between us and them? Only the soul.
Let’s take a moment of reckoning. Humans were created for some kind of reason. The sages, of blessed memory, say: “This world is a corridor and the world to come is the lounge.” They add: “Set yourself up well in the corridor so that you may enter the lounge.” In other words, this world is a transition as we aim to reach the afterlife.
Our sages say that the verse penned by King Solomon in Ecclesiastes 7:1, “A good name is better than precious oil; and the day of death (is better) than the day of birth.” A person doesn’t die at 70 or 80 years old but is viewed as dying each moment, or in other words, from the moment of birth, a person begins to die. A day begins and passes (dies), 20 years pass and die, ie: they will never come back. If that’s the case, what is life? Life is us passing through these moments and infusing them with life.
How do we infuse life into a moment? If a person sits doing nothing, then clearly those moments have died and will not exist again. They existed and are no more. But if a person infuses that moment with doing, with something spiritual, something of spiritual value that is preserved for the future, that’s called life.
The Torah, the entire Bible, is described as “our life, the length of our days.” Torah is life because a person involved in Torah is at that moment filling it with spiritual eternal life force.
We can explain this as follows: A person entered a city. A cemetery was at the city’s entrance. On a tombstone these words were engraved: “Here the renowned and worthy righteous person, so and so, aged 4 years old, is buried.”
The person was amazed: “Four years old and viewed as a righteous person?”
On the next tombstone the following was engraved: “Here the holy and illustrious kabbalist, so and so, aged 5 years old, is buried.”
He was stunned and wondered: If I go into that city, will I find it full of tiny people? He entered the city and saw elderly folks, white haired, with walking sticks, strolling down the street.
He asked one: “Tell me, what kind of cemetery is that? Did you have some kind of plague where children died? What happened?”
He answered: “There’s a Rabbi at the other end of town. Ask him.”
So the man went to the Rabbi. “With respect, Rabbi. What is the meaning of that cemetery at the city’s entrance?”
“Well,” the Rabbi answered, “we don’t write on a grave how old the person was when he died but how long he lived.”
“But his age when he died is how long he lived!”
“No,” said the Rabbi, “our reckoning is different. A person might die at 120 but live only 3 years.”
“How do you reach your reckoning?”
“It’s simple,” the Rabbi answered. “What you need to know is that a person who studies Torah, and fulfills the commandments is, at that moment, living because he is bringing life into those moments. You know that concerning evil people, it is said that they are called dead in their lives, because they cause every moment to die by not filling it with anything of value. Righteous people, however, bring life into those moments, so they are viewed as living in such moments.”
“Here’s an example. A person who studied on hour of Torah each day. That’s an hour of life. But 23 other hours which have not been infused with the spirituality of Torah are viewed as dead. So if that person lived for 70 years, calculating 1 hour per day totals a mere 3 years. In that cemetery, we record how much a person lived, rather than how much of his time was dead. The heavens are not amazed at the number of years you breathe, 120 or 200. You were sent for a specific purpose. The heavens wish to know if you fulfilled what you were sent to accomplish.
“A person may reach 120 years (ie, a ripe life) thinking he’s old, he’s lived a long life, which shows how much God loves him as he looks around and sees that so many righteous people have died much younger than he. But once he reaches the world of truth, the heavens will not be amazed that he was given many years on earth. He will only be rewarded for those hours on earth which he filled with life.
“And although he receives rewards for 3 years of goodness, on the 67 that were wasted, there is a price to pay! And that’s the problem!
Thus we must understand what the purpose of our creation truly is.
Two reasons for creation according to Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler (Source: Mihtav m’Eliyahu)
Most people in the world do not understand why they have come into the world. In the book titled Mihtav m’Eliyahu (A missive from Eliyahu) by Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler of blessed memory, he clarifies that the creation of humanity in the world is for 2 reasons:
The first is the real reason that a person is created and is in the world: to be purposeful.
The second is a causative or servicing goal: reasons that serve us in achieving purposefulness.
For example: A man leaves his city and goes to another in order to study in a seminary. He arrives and is asked: “Why did you come?” He answers: “I came to study.”
That’s a very clear answer. But if he were to say: “Because the bus let me off at the station here,” what kind of answer is that? You came to the seminary because by chance the bus stopped here and let you off?
Let’s look at each of the two answers.
When initially asked “Why did you come?” and the answer is “I came to study,” we see the purpose. But with the second answer, the bus stopping at the station is the causative avenue, it serves the purpose of enabling the speaker to go to the seminary, it is a bridge to learning there is a seminary nearby and it is possible to study there.
This is what happens in our lives too. Ask a person “Why do you work?”
Here’s a range of responses:
- Because I need to work.
- “Needs to work” is not a purpose but a causative action or in service of the purpose. “Work” serves to sustain the person. Sustaining oneself: what does that mean? It’s also a cause or service, as is maintaining existence: what is the reason that one needs to be sustained?
- To do God’s will! This is the purpose for which humans come into the world. And the rest? They are only in service of this true purpose.
- If a person remains stuck in the causative or servicing reasons, they will never get to express true purposefulness.
What did God do before creation?
Question: How long has this world existed? And what did God do before creating our world? Why did he create it only 6,000 years ago?
How long has the world existed? This is the year 5781.
And what did God do before creating all the worlds?
The world is 5,781 years and several months, which is the amount of time that has passed since the creation of Adam.
Before that, what did God do? We don’t know. All we know is what God wants us to know. We have no knowledge of what he wishes to remain concealed.
And how long did God exist before creating the world? God is not bound or limited by time. If God was limited to time or bound by it, then he’d be created in time, and he’d be a created being rather than the Creator.
6,000 years ago, the world was unformed, as we read in Genesis 1:2.
And before that, what was there?
Only God himself, as explained in these verses:
“Eternal master, who reigned supreme, Before any creation was formed;
When it was finished according to his will, his name was proclaimed “King,”
and When this our world shall be no more, In majesty he still shall reign,
And he was, and he is, And he will be in glory.”
In other words, God was king prior to any act of creation, he remained king after the creation process was complete, and he has always been, and will continue to be, eternal.
So what did he do before creation? We have no knowledge of that.
Who says that God is One?
If there were two gods, that means one would be limited, because two is already limited. The formulation “1 + 1 = 2” is a formulation of limitation. For example, two cups: that’s limitation. If each is limited, then each was limited by the other. If one limited the other, then the one doing the limiting must have come first, because the second is subordinate or subject to having been limited by the first one. In other words, the first is the creating force and the second is the created. If it’s the other way around, and the second limited the first, we’d have the same situation: the second is the creating force and the first would be the created entity. So if there are two, it is a given that one limited the other and is therefore the Creator, which is why there can never be 2 gods, only One.
When were the angels created?
Based on our traditions angels were created on the second day. That’s why it says of the first day (Gen. 1:5): “And it was evening, and it was morning, one day…. and it was evening and it was morning, day two (Gen. 1:8)… and it was evening and it was morning, day three (Gen. 1:13) and so on. Why doesn’t it say “And it was evening and it was morning, the first day… the second day” and so on? Why is the term “one day” used? To indicate that the world was a unified world. That’s why the Torah begins with the letter “beit”, the second letter, because the first, “aleph,” represents the One. The letter aleph is comprised of a diagonal “vav” having a numerical value of 6, and two “yud” letters totaling 20, altogether 26, equaling the divine name yod-heh-vav-heh.
The non-Jew’s soul and levels of Creation
Non-Jews live and breathe, know and see, etc. However, they do not have the same type of soul as the people of Israel. They do have a level called “nefesh” that enlivens the body, as the people of Israeli also have but a level higher than “nefesh” is that of “neshamah”, and this aspect of soul splits into several parts: the lowest is nefesh, above it is ru’akh (spirit), above that is neshamah, next is khaya, and lastly, yekhida. The higher the scale, the more spiritual the level.
The soul in non-Jews comes from a different level. There are four worlds, known as Atzilut, which is the highest, Briyah, Yetzirah and Assiya, and that is the lowest. The souls of non-Jews derive from the world of Assiya whereas the souls of Jews derive from a higher level.
Regarding animals, though, in order to exist they need an aspect called “Khai.” There are four levels in nature: Dommem (inanimate), Tzome’akh (plant), Khai (living: animals, fish, insects, birds and all creatures) and Medaber (speaking). Humans belong in the category of “Khai Medaber”: not just living and able to make sounds, but speaking, that is, making sounds guided by intellect and insight, which is the highest level.
The level of Medaber has further levels, just as there are levels within Israel, such as Cohen (priest), Levi (Levite) and Israel (everyone else. But there are also higher levels such as Navi (Prophet). Among the level of Medaber, the non-Jews are not identical to Jews since the latter agreed to accept the Torah.
Which commandments must a non-Jew fulfill?
Some non-Jews believe in One God, and that the soul stays in Paradise or Hell. How do you explain it?
Firstly we need to know something: that the 3 religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, share a common base, being the Torah, the Bible. It’s recorded so in Christianity and Islam. The basis is the Torah given at Mount Sinai solely to the Children of Israel. The other religions admit to this, except that Christianity added that at a certain time God exchanged the nation of Israel for their own; and Islam said that they unite with their Prophet being the last Prophet and the Prophet who must be obeyed.
Those are the differences, but all 3 religions have the same basis. As for paradise and hell, these days there’s no need to believe because there are scientific proofs from people who suffered clinical death, through soul reincarnations, through hypnosis and through autistic children, all of whom show that there is life after death, so that issue is no longer a problem.
Even a person who is a complete non-believer and wants to say, “There’s no such thing!” is no problem. That person can be presented with evidence. From whom? From people who don’t believe and have scientifically investigated and reached conclusions on things relating to life after death. So we see believing non-Jews, those who uphold the 7 Noahide Commandments, which are the commandments Noah kept on exiting the Ark, and Noah is of course the person from whom humanity was reconstructed. These are the commandments he and his sons were required to fulfill:
- The prohibition of bloodshed
- The prohibition of idol worship
- The prohibition of incest
- The prohibition of taking God’s name in vain
- The prohibition of theft
- The requirement to appoint judges
- The prohibition of eating a living creature
These 7 commandments are applicable to all humanity, including the people of Israel.
But we need to know this too: that at Mount Sinai, God actually wanted to give the Torah to all the nations of the world. The nations themselves didn’t want it. The only one that agreed and said “We will do, and we will listen” (Exodus 24:7). It is the Israelite / Jewish nation that took the Torah on itself and from the moment it did, it became uniquely connected to God in a very different way than any other nation on earth: “And I shall differentiate you from the peoples, to be mine” (Leviticus 20:26), “And you will be a treasure among the nations” (Ex. 19:5). In other words, what caused the essential differentiation between the people of Israel and the other nations is Israel’s acceptance of Torah, for which God uplifted them and they uplifted Him.
But a non-Jew fulfilling the 7 Noahide Laws is known as a “Righteous Among the Nations” and for this, earns a place in the afterlife. There are 613 commandments applicable to the people of Israel but not all can be fulfilled by everyone since some pertain only to priests, some only to Levites and some only to the largest category, Israel; some are only for women, others are only for men, and some can only be performed in the Temple so cannot be fulfilled these days, such as sacrifices. In total, there are only 6 practical commandments that must be fulfilled on a daily basis, and some commandments are only at specific points in time.
The 6 commandments every male of the people of Israel must perform daily are:
- To don the Tefillin (Phylacteries)
- To wear Tzitzit (the fringed garment)
- To recite the Shema prayer
- To pray
- To say the blessings after eating
- To set times for Torah study
Then we get to a weekly commandment:
- Observe the Sabbath, the day of rest (Saturday)
Annual periodic commandments:
- Observing the Jewish New Year, the Fast of the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), the Feast of Tabernacles (Succot), the Festival of Weeks (Shavuot), and similar others.
There are periodic commandments relating to longer time frames:
- The 7th Fallow Year (Shmitta – Sabbatical for the land)
- The 50th Jubilee Year (Sabbatical for all).
These are essentially the commandments that the Jewish people must observe if they wish to be merited with the afterlife, but there is certainly a difference between those who observe this greater range of commandments and those observing only seven: the difference between the Jewish people and non-Jews.
Additionally, should anyone among the non-Jews wish to join the religion of God’s truth, there is the option of converting and being taken under the wing of Shekhinah (Divine Spirit), but it needs to be a true conversion, not some do-it-quick option for an ulterior motive. The conversion needs to be as authentic as that of Ruth the Moabite who was so authentic about adopting Torah that she eventually was merited with becoming the King David’s grandmother and thus inherently linked to the Messiah’s genealogical line.
In other words, as far as faith, anyone can believe in the One God and the merits that brings.
Question: Who fulfills the true religion? Who holds the evidence and documents of proof in that regard?
The people of Israel do. No one else does.
The Torah as given to the people of Israel can disprove other religions, but others cannot disprove Judaism since Judaism is their own foundations! The people of Israel have continued to exist, with miracles and wonders, for 3,300 years, which non-Jews themselves do not deny, because it is truth!
What value do various forms of entertainment have?
One more thing remains to be explained: where is the good place that God designated for his created beings?
There are two possibilities: in this world, or in the afterlife.
If God gave us our rewards in this life, we’d live until 70, until 120, we may be unimaginably wealthy, have everything we want at our fingertips but then one day we’d die and all that goodness would be over.
Eternal life, though, even if its rewards seem minor, is greater since they are eternal rather than temporal and temporary.
It’s like saying, “Have you been a good child? Then I’ll buy you a cream cake.” What kind of reward is that? But once it’s eaten, that’s it, it’s gone and afterwards it’s not only forgotten but eventually it only causes problems.
A reward must be authentic: God, who is absolute good, wouldn’t want to give us a mere passing touch of goodness. We eat, we dance, we have fun, but what remains of all that? Nothing. A few memories that we were there, and if we’re no longer there, all we have is sorrow and those rewards have become sources of sadness as we look back on a past we no longer have.
Let’s say your friend is in hospital, lying there, agonizing. What kind of comforting words could you say?
“Don’t be angry. Don’t cry. Remember how last week you danced at the disco, remember eating that double schnitzel, remember having a good time at…” and so on.
But, that is in the present. As soon as a person departs this world, what help will nostalgia be? How will tales of the past help? Nothing of it will be of support on the Day of Judgment. Nothing of this world is of value then.
The one thing that has eternality is the spiritual reward you prepared for yourself in the afterlife. Nothing material goes there, only the spiritual. If nothing material goes there with us, isn’t it a pity to make all that effort, tire ourselves out, working at something for 10, 20 years, nicer ceiling lighting, fancier sofas, bigger car and so on. You work at getting your life put together, you still haven’t finished, and then you’re gone!
So what do we need to be concerned about in this world? We need to eat in order to be healthy, but the rest of our efforts should be in preparing for where we’ll be going when we die, because we know we will die. Let’s say one of our children is getting married. What do we do for the 2, 3 months beforehand? Prepare what the wedding needs: the photographer, the caterer, the flowers, the hall. We make sure everything’s organized and nothing’s missing.
The future doesn’t refer to tomorrow, it’s after tomorrow, it’s the kind of tomorrow that comes after the tomorrows we know of. “Who is wise? One who sees that which is taking shape.” What is taking shape is our impending day of death (Ecclesiastes 7:1). That’s what it “being born,” it will happen to us all, so the wise person, realizing this, doesn’t say, “I’ve got plenty of time,” the wise person understands “Do not boast to yourself of tomorrow, for you do not know what tomorrow brings,” (Proverbs 27:1). Since we don’t know what will happen tomorrow, and there are people who are sure there will be a tomorrow and then never got to see the end of that same day, the wise person remains in a state of readiness for the world into which we pass. So it doesn’t matter when the wise person is “taken” from this world, because that wise one has been preparing the entire time in this world precisely for that world to come, for the afterlife, and that is wisdom.
A person needs to look around: at what God has done for us, that God has given us true reward in the eternal life, as the saying states: “Know that the reward of the righteous is in the afterlife.” This is nothing but a transient world, which is why our Sages teach that “One who prepares on the day preceding the Sabbath will be able to eat on the Sabbath.” The day preceding Sabbath alludes to this world, and the Sabbath to the afterlife, the time of eternal rest. Before Sabbath everyone rushes off to shop, cook and prepare. “It’s Friday, we’re busy, Sabbath starts soon!” you hear repeatedly. What do we eat on Sabbath? What we prepared beforehand. If we prepare plenty in honor of Sabbath, our tables will be loaded. If we haven’t prepared much, there won’t be much to choose from.
This world is like Friday, which we spend in preparations. The afterlife is like the Sabbath. If you prepared in this world’s Friday, you’ll have sustenance in the afterlife’s Sabbath. If you didn’t prepare…
Why is reward, as described in the Torah, material?
When it comes to reward and punishment, the Torah does not refer to paradise or an afterlife, and rewards are very physical: rain in the right amount and right time, successful crops, good food, pleasant situations, but nothing more than that. Are those rewards recorded in the scriptures or the Oral Law, or are there any clues in Torah? Why does the Torah promise material things but has no verses that talk about paradise per se?
The Rambam (Maimonides) discusses this, noting that the promises made in Torah for rain in its appropriate time, and for the land to produce successful crops, has a reason: if you see how nature functions in accordance with your own actions, you can have no clearer message that God will provide you with long life and eternal life.
In other words, if I look around and see that God upholds his promises on those things that my actions do not influence, then I’ll realize that God will uphold the other promises.
By contrast, other religions claim that “there is paradise, and there is hell.” Period.
But they can’t prove to their followers that for a certain action in this life they will be granted X and for another, Y; and that it can be seen. That’s the difference. That’s why God brought the people of Israel closer to the promises in Torah which are designated for them and which we repeat each day in the “Shema Yisrael” (Hear O Israel) prayer: it contains the promise that if the people of Israel carry out God’s commandments, they will receive rewards in this life, and we can actually see them. And so on.
The Garden of Eden or paradise is mentioned but only in regard of its lower level. A lower level of paradise exists in our world and can’t be seen by humans unless they are dissociated from the material. Rabbi Yossef Haim of Baghdad, of blessed memory, in his book “Rav P’alim” (Greatly Wondrous) provides an answer: that the “Ben Ish Hai” indicates where it is, its size, and so on and provides sources relating to the lower level paradise.
The non-Jew’s purpose in the world
We understand that the designation of Judaism and of the Creator is to achieve the final purpose of accessing paradise and the upper worlds. So how do non-Jews fill their roles?
A person who fulfills the 7 Noahide Laws is a person linked to the afterlife. The people of Israel are also obligated by these 7 Noahide Laws, in addition to the 613 commandments enumerated in the Torah, which is why the rewards for Jews who observe these is higher than for non-Jews. Nonetheless a non-Jew observing the 7 Noahide Laws is deserving of a level of paradise, and is called “Righteous among the Nations.” As the Rambam (Maimonides) notes, this means that non-Jews also have purpose and designation but to a lesser degree, based on their efforts and actions.
A non-Jew who does not uphold the 7 Noahide Laws has no place in the eternal afterlife.
Sometimes reincarnations occur among the non-Jewish peoples. We have no explanation for this. But sometimes they occur to teach the people of Israel something about the power or value of souls, or other matters. We have no further knowledge on this.
What must non-Jews do to be saved?
What should non-Jews do to ensure they don’t find themselves caught up in the disasters about to befall them?
They must fulfill the 7 Noahide Laws. That’s all. If they do: the prohibitions against bloodshed, idolatry, incest, and eating live creatures, and if they appoint judges, do not thieve, and do not take God’s name in vain, then they will be fine, they are known as “Righteous Among the Nations,” and have a part in the afterlife and nothing detrimental will happen to them. But if they don’t observe these 7 Laws, they may suffer all the divine judgments meted out.
The purpose of creation
What is the purpose of creation?
We have a Creator, who created all things, and we ask the question: is He wise?
From creation itself we can see that yes, He is. Where does wisdom come from? Ours derives from what He gave us. If so, if we see there’s wisdom in creation and in every created thing and its details, we know that He is wise. Wise people do things for a purpose. The Creator created various entities. What is the purpose, then, for this creation?
If the purpose does not manifest, we see that wisdom does not become realized. Therefore God informs his creations what the purpose is. What options does He have for doing this?
- He can present himself and say outright what he wants
- He can write and publish a letter
- He can send emissaries
In all three forms God revealed himself to his creations:
- At Mount Sinai with millions watching, including other nations of the world, God appeared in the Ten Commandments, saying (Exodus 20:2) “I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt from the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods other than me.”
- He wrote a letter: “And the writing is the writing of God, engraved on the tablets” (Exodus 32:16)
- And he sent his emissaries, the prophets, who would appear for centuries on end in human history. We have plenty of evidence that what God sent through his emissaries the prophets and promised to benefit us, was upheld.
God, giving the Torah before millions, says through the Torah what the purpose of created beings is, and we need to uphold his will: “See that I have set before you on this day a blessing and a curse” (Deut. 11:26), “See I have set before you this day life and good, death and evil” (Deut. 30:15), “And you shall choose life” (Deut. 30:19). So God is saying: I’m giving you two options, one is good and one is evil, one is called life and one is called death, and I’m telling you to choose life. Now the choice is in the hands of each person, to do as she or he sees fit.
God supports us in achieving our purpose: even if the person chooses the wrong path, another chance is offered through up to three reincarnations as a person, and from the fourth reincarnation on, as one of the other three categories: inanimate, plant or in the animal world, the soul trapped in them, and then the person is able to complete soul rectification in this way. There are other possibilities, but in the end, God makes sure that “one who is banished shall not be an outcast from Him.” (2 Samuel 14:14).
What, then, is my role in my world? Is it possible that I came into the world for 70 years just to eat, drink, work, rest and die? Is that my purpose? If so, how am I different from animals? And why then would humans be granted intellect and intelligence? Why do humans develop and become increasingly sophisticated, if nothing remains of it? And if it’s as preparation for others, who are also destined to leave this world, for whom is the purpose of all this creation?
Each of us should ask questions of this kind, study them frequently, so that we don’t overlook any part of the life granted to us. In fact this should be the first question a person asks once we grow sufficiently out of our childhood and it should bring us to insightful answers, since there’s no other form of life that can explain the purpose of life and the reasons for creation.
The veracity of Judaism
Judaism compared to other religions. People say “There’s only one Creator.” That’s clear. There’s no dispute. So is the Torah observed by the people of Israel, or the Muslims, or the Christians? The Torah. Not God, we know God exists, that’s clear. And we know that God gave the Torah to the Jewish people, both the Christians and Muslims agree on that, and that it’s the first Torah given to the people of Israel, everyone says that.
But what else do they say? Christians say, “Sure, God gave the Torah to the people of Israel but at a certain point He got sick of them, tossed them aside, sent them into exile, and chose Christians instead. And now we ARE the Torah, and Jesus received the Torah from God…”
That’s their claim, but I have my doubts.
Then comes Muhammad, who writes the Quran.
Let’s look at that. Who said they received the New Testament compared to the Old Testament? It’s the same old testament, they’re just new. How did the Christians receive what they say they did? How did Muhammad? After all, neither of them was there when the Torah was given. He tells messengers that he received it. OK, so he says so… the messengers believed him… great.
But when Moses received the Torah, he wasn’t alone on the mountain. On the contrary! The act of giving the Torah was before millions of people. The Ten Commandments weren’t uttered by Moses. They were spoken by God! When Moses was down there with the Children of Israel, God told everyone, including Moses: “I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt.”
That means that the Children of Israel received the Torah as a group among a larger group of millions who heard. But Jesus is claimed to have received it on his own, and Muhammad as well, so following that anyone could come along and claim “I was given X and Y despite being alone, I stopped at a cave, I entered and had a divine revelation. This evening God gave me the Tantinu Bible which I’m going to spread, and I’ll find a bunch of suckers to help me.”
And slowly, in 500 years’ time, some will say, “Yes, so and so, he filled the stadium… Tantinu. Believe him? Sure I do. What’s wrong with you? Do you know who that is? You don’t believe him?” And that’s how, 500 years down the line, there could be the Tantinu religion.
But a rational person says: Hang on, if God gave the Torah to the people of Israel before millions, which all the world admits, and let’s say it does happen that God decides he’s sick of Israel, he doesn’t want them anymore, ‘Now I’ll choose Jesus to bring followers…’ then why would God, first time around, convey the Torah within a massive universal status, and second time around, do it almost sneakily, only one person knowing about it, in secret? What, God whispered to him behind the mountain? Do you want to make a declaration? Then do it. But a declaration is public. It would at the very least follow the previous format.
What does the Creator gain from creation?
The Creator of the world has been compared to a person opening a business and expecting a profit. The comparison says that God opened a business, the world, and expects profits. So what’s the profit that God expects? Does God need us in the way that we need him, and is there any truth to the explanation of a wish to give and a wish to receive?
Firstly, God can’t be related to in terms of profit because God never lacked for anything, and that includes us. Were we all to disappear, he would continue not to lack for anything. That’s because he is whole and perfect.
But God created all creation to bring benefit to what he created. In other words, it is in God’s nature to bring goodness and benefit, though God per se lacks for nothing, and is not enhanced by our actions, because prior to our creation he existed in perfection.
So why did he create us?
Harav: To benefit us, because one who is good brings good. That is the virtue of being good. The generous person who gives charity does not lack for anything because charity was given. Even if the wealthy gives nothing, that person will not lack. Others will simply continue to be in need.
His virtue of goodness can manifest in diverse ways which we don’t even know about, but the virtue of good was just made possible this second through the poor person. That’s an obvious form of benefit. But the virtue of good can also be through doing a good deed, such as visiting the sick, and not just giving charity.
The Creator has many ways of expressing his goodness, some we know about and relate to us, but there are many concealed ways we don’t know about. We need to relate to the connection in terms of me to God, rather than God to himself.