Gentiles & Torah: Part III

Rabbi Moshe Ben-Chaim

Reader: Why did  G-d  create two separate standards (7 laws and Torah ) for the Gentile and the Jew? Why are the 7 laws general and the Torah laws specific if G-d intended Man to use his intellect in the first place? Isn't this unjust to the Jew and the Non Jew?

Rabbi: Incorrect, as prior to Revelation at Sinai, all people were identical, they were all gentiles. God gave Adam one command prohibiting idolatry. The plan was for man to use his mind and unravel more of God’s will. God desires that man’s mind be engaged, and He gave man deductive and inductive  reasoning for this goal. This would enable Adam and all others to explore and uncover greater truths, as exemplified by Abraham.

As time progressed and man declined morally, as seen through need for the Flood and in man's rebellion against God by building the Tower of Babel, God increased the laws to seven. Man sinned during Noah's era through robbery and rape and we see these two prohibitions in the seven Noachide laws, also including setting up courts to respond to the rampant disrespect of property. Throughout this time we see one system for the single mankind. God is not playing favorites.

Idolatry then took a strong foothold even though it started with Adam’s grandson Enosh. Abraham stood alone as a monotheist. God’s will is that man obtain the truth, and He therefore chose Abraham to be a leader of a nation who would study, protect, share monotheism. But God did not remove the minimal laws from the rest of mankind. Therefore, the two systems are not to be viewed as display favoritism, but as a minimal system for people to retain their right to exist, but the descendants of Abraham would receive God's directives in the form of Torah to enable any human being to reach human heights: “perfection.”

Reader: How will G-d judge a Gentile who is aware of both the 7 laws and Torah but choose not to reach the ultimate perfection through conversion?

Rabbi: As the intelligent fulfillment (not blind religiosity) of the greater amount of Torah laws requires greater study and impresses one's mind, thereby perfecting his soul, it is sensible that it is irrelevant if one's parents were gentiles or Jews. What is relevant is the path that the child followed. As both children are identical in design, it is sensible that if they both choose the proper lifestyle, their rewards are identical. Alternatively, both the Jew and the gentile can choose not to perfect themselves and therefore their ultimate fate would be identical.

Reader: If G-d has a change of direction in method of guiding mankind (7 laws to Torah), how is it not possible that He may change direction again?

Rabbi: I believe you can now answer this question that there was no change in direction, but that God responded to mankind as needed. The rabbis say that “God looked at the Torah and created the world.” This is a homiletic lesson that the world was designed with the goal of Torah. Therefore one can say the Torah was the ultimate plan, but God in His wisdom gave it at the proper time. The prophet also says, “I am God I do not change” (Malachi 3:6). The philosophers too have arrived at the conclusion that a perfect being does not change. Change would imply that something is lacking in that being until the change is made. “Need” is a property of that which does not have essential existence, and therefore had to be brought into existence by another being. Therefore, need is a characteristic of every existence except for God. And as God has no needs, there is no change in His nature.

Furthermore, we see from God's creations that He knows the future. For example, His creation of vegetation as food was a response to his future forecast of His creation of beings that require food. The same applies to water and weather. He created an atmosphere that provides limits to the extremes of temperature, thereby preserving the life He would create. We see in the Bible that God forecasted the Jews enslavement.

With His omniscience, He is aware of all generations and therefore there can be no surprises forcing Him to change his course.