God is Not Unlimited II

Moshe Ben-Chaim

Reader: Your magazine has nice Torah articles but I take issue on the article you wrote on Dec. 23, 2005 that G-d is not unlimited. How else can you explain the creation of our universe from nothing, the crossing of the Red Sea, etc. Hashem can perform the impossible and He does so every day. Thank you.

Mesora: God can undo any “natural laws” He creates. This is what we term “miracle”. However, what God cannot violate...is “His nature”.

This means that He cannot be unjust, He cannot become physical, He cannot be ignorant, and He cannot die. In this sense, God is in fact limited...to being God. You must distinguish between His altering of created laws which He may do at His will, and between acting unlike God...which he cannot do. The 13 Middos recited to Moses mean that these traits of God (ale rachum, v'chanun, erech apayim, etc.) are real and unchanging. This is what a “midda” means. If however we are to assume that God at anytime might not be gracious, then He lied to Moses. This cannot be, since God is also limited to being truthful. Maimonides' descriptions of heresy include one who imagines God might be equated in any way to physical creation. This can only be heresy, if it is indeed truly “impossible” for God to partake of physical traits, like form, color, mass, and division. God Himself corroborates this, “To what shall you equate Me and I shall be similar?” (Isaiah 40:25)