The Creation of the Universe
By Avi Lazerson
What existed before the world was created? What will be after the end of the world? What are the limits of the universe?
These are all questions that have intrigued both scientist, clergyman and philosopher throughout the ages.
Each group has its answer, some more convincing than others.
Jewish mysticism has also an answer. An answer on how the creation came about that is so interesting and compelling that it beckons to be heard. Let us explore the realm of the mystical to hear their unique and profound answer.
First we must realize that there is amongst the many differences between man and G-d, a basic difference in how knowledge is known. Man is born with out knowledge of the world around him. In the process of growing up, man begins to learn about various aspects of the world.
Irregardless of what man learns, all learning processes have one similar characteristic, that is: the knowledge that was outside of man becomes integrated into his being through his mental facilities. What was a concept or a physical interaction outside of man is now brought into man via his mind and becomes his personal of knowledge.
Much of man's intellectual possessions are acquired through various aspects of study or contemplation. This means that:
- the knowledge, concept or physical action,
- the knowing, and
- the man - are all separate.
Only though the process of "learning" is there a metamorphous between man and the knowledge that he comes to possess.
In G-d, we find that there can not be a separation between the knowledge and the knower. Why? Because if we say this, then that indicates that there is an area in the universe that is outside of G-d! This can not be, for G-d, by definition, not only created the entire universe, but also through his ever constant will, causes everything in the universe to exist.
To really have an understanding of this, first read the following paragraph and then try this simple exercise:
Close your eyes and picture an old man with a long white beard lying in bed. The man is wearing a red stocking cap on his head and is covered with a red blanket. There is a window behind the bed. Picture the man rising from the bed and standing up. Picture the man dancing a jig.
Now try the exercise.
As long as you closed your eyes, you could picture the man rising and dancing. When you opened your eyes, the man with the white beard and red stocking cap, the bed with the red blanket and the window disappeared.
Only as long as your desire that the man should exist did he exist. His existence and that of the room, large or small as it may have been, took up no room in your mind. The existence of the little man only existed as long as you willed his existence, i.e., as long as you closed your eyes and though about him. He became a real person, (in your mind), as long as you desired that he be real. The same was true with the room, the window, the blanket and the bed.
With the above understanding, we can begin to understand the creation and the infinite limitation of the universe. Like the little man, our world exists only in G-d's "mind." As long as G-d wills the world to exist, it will continue to exist. Like your existence preceded the little man and continued after his disappearance, so too, is true about G-d's world.
The only difference is that G-d is capable of creating a world of immeasurable and infinite complexity, whereas, we are only able to create a world of several variables and for a very short time.
However, just like the little man and the room took no physical room, yet was an existence, so too, G-d's world. The existence of our world exists only because of G-d's will. Like there was no change in you, so too, no change in G-d takes place because of the creation of the entire universe. To us, the physical is real, like the little man in the dream relating to the room. But the absolute reality is that of G-d; His reality is the only true reality, our reality is real only because it is G-d's will that it be real.
Even more important, G-d's knowledge of the world is the creation of the world. By willing that it be, the knowledge is not outside of the creator. It is an integral part of the creation. In this manner, G-d created the world through knowing it. He and his knowledge is one, whereas man and his knowledge are not one.
Now we can begin to understand and appreciate the beginnings of the universe and the many worlds that G-d brought forth.
from the July 2000 Edition of the Jewish Magazine