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 |   MESORA |

 

 

Who is God? What is God?

What can we know about Him?

 

RABBI MOSHE BEN-CHAIM

 

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Moses asked God to show him His nature. God told him “Man cannot know Me while alive” (Exod. 33:20). But Moses knew that God existed. So did Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Leah, Rachel and all wise people. What can we know about God?

 

As our prayers state, we refer to God as the creator of the universe. He is not an “energy” in the universe, for energy is physical. Energy and physical existence are creations; that’s 2 proofs that God isn’t energy. God is also not “in” the universe, since before the universe was created, God existed. Thus, He exists separate from the physical spatial universe, and therefore He does not occupy space or location, which are physical. Space is a creation. God exists without space. Just as an idea does not occupy space, yet it exists, God too does not occupy space. God is not here or there. He exists in way we cannot grasp while alive.

 

God is not physical. He has no place. We cannot know what He is. But we know He is the cause of all that exists, and that means there is no other power; He is the “only” cause for everything that exists. Blow after blow during the 10 Plagues, all Egypt’s gods were inanimate and silent. All peoples’ gods were, and are silent; no people ever claimed their stone, metal or ivory idols communicated with them.

 

All existences require God’s will to continue existing. It is not that once God created something, that it now has independent existence outside of God’s will. Not so. After God created you, you continue to exist only if He wills you to continue.

 

From God’s Torah, we learn that God is perfectly just, that He knows all, including every person’s actions and thoughts. We learn that God punishes man for his sins, and rewards those that are close to Him; He saved the Jews from Pharaoh. God is merciful, as He canceled His planned destruction of Ninveh (Book of Jonah) when those Assyrians repented wholeheartedly.

We know that God favors charity and righteousness, as these were Abraham’s traits which God praised (Gen. 18:19). God also records Rebecca running to serve Eliezer.

 

What is God? He is the cause of the universe, Who is not physical, Who is not “in” the world, and Who designed the earth for man’s benefit. He is the cause of everything Who wishes man to have the most enjoyable existence through engaging in wisdom and proper morality. We don’t know why God created what He did, but we can know what He created, and what His will is for mankind. We can appreciate the great potential we each have due to God’s kindness and His will that we possess a soul, an intellect, that can find the greatest enjoyment in the pursuit of His wisdom, as seen in Torah and in the universe. God is the only Cause of the universe Whom we must praise and thank.

 

 

 

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