Belief in God

    October 2010            
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Where is G-d?

By Nachum Mohl

Various people have varying beliefs in G-d. Atheists who claim that they do not believe in G-d, do believe, albeit, but their belief is that they believe that there is no G-d (even though they have yet to prove it). There are those who do believe in G-d but say that after He created the world He gave the running of the world over to the constellations; this type of belief was the forerunner of idolatry and the worship of the stars. Others say that He set the world in motion but merely watches it from afar rarely interfering in what man does. None of these are the Jewish view.

Jews believe that G-d not only personally rules the world and all the affairs in the world to the minutest detail but that everything that happens from the greatest to the most minutest only happens because G-d wills it to happen. Every blade of grass, every leaf that falls down from a tree is part of the divine plan, but we can not see it. Our problem is that we are almost totally blind to His worldly manifestation inside the physical. If we could only open our eyes as the angel opened Bila'am's eyes to see the angel that impeded his donkey's movements, we would be a totally different people. We are like blind people who since they can not see light, can question its existence.

This is likened to a powerful king of flesh and blood who ruled a very large kingdom. In the royal court and palace, only a few servants and high ministers come into personal contact with the king. Their personal mannerisms and professional conduct reflect their contact with the king. Even the common folk in the city of the king's residence who rarely see the king are aware of his rule and so behave accordingly by honoring the king, his name and decrees. In the surrounding country side where the farmers and villagers almost never see the king have a fear and awe of the king since they are aware of his existence because of the contact that they have with the city dwellers who relate the tales of the ministers and other inhabitants of the royal city.

In the rest of the far reaches of the country where the king is never seen, he rules in name only. Edicts are issued in the name of the king, local mayors and officials rule in the name of the king, but no one in these far remote areas has ever seen the king; even stories about him are not known. Some of the people who live so far away just believe that this area is ruled by the local mayors and petty officials and not by the king. There are areas that are even so remote that few people live and they believe that there is no king, they believe that they can run their own life as they see fit.

Needless to say, that many see nature as the ruling element of the world and that man can do as he chooses. Nature is only one of the ministers of G-d. Judaism believes that the laws of nature were established by G-d and they faithfully follow the will of their Creator. Those who believe that nature is a law unto itself are bordering on idolatry. We know that G-d created nature and can change nature when it is in His interests, such as the parting of the Red Sea.

Perhaps we can not change the world, we may not be able to change what others believe, but we pray to G-d that one day He will reveal Himself to the entire world as we say in the Olanu prayer: 'for on that day both G-d and His manifestations in the world will be one'. Then the entire world will unite in one belief that G-d is one in the heavens above and in the world down below.


from the October 2010 Edition of the Jewish Magazine

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