With an Eye on Eternity - Chapter 1

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With an Eye on Eternity

Chapter 1

Introduction | Table of Contents | Chapter 2
This Book in One Big Document

1. The Creator

One must know, before all else, that there exists one Being who is master over all existing things [in the universe]. It is He who brought all things into existence at the time He desired, continues to sustain them for as long as He so desires; and it is He who reigns over them in complete mastery. This Being is G-d.

This Being is a perfect Being, one which contains every variety of perfection and is absolutely devoid of any imperfection whatsoever. He is neither dependent on anything else nor affected in any respect by any other entity. His existence is without beginning or end. Thus, He did not come into being following a state of non-existence, nor will He ever cease to exist; He always was and always will be. It is impossible that He should have been or will ever be non-existent. He is the cause of all things which exist and there is no antecedent cause beyond Him. His existence is an inescapable rational reality which could never be otherwise.

[What we must conclude above all else, regarding Divine authority, is that man has no other entity or power to turn to when seeking help and guidance about how to make his way and find his rightful place in life. No private territory can be acquired and no personal castle can be built which will be situated out of the bounds of the Creator and from which He can be shut out. No matter where a person goes or what a person does he is under the jurisdiction of this same Creator who created every endowment he possesses and every item within his whole world. The Master did not walk away from the finished masterpiece and leave it to function on automatic-pilot; He monitors His world and sustains it every second of every day. Without this constant Divine direction, recharging and renewal, all life would perish and all things would disintegrate. This is what is meant in our tefiloh (our morning prayers):

"In His goodness each and every day He renews the works of creation..."

To protect His "investment" the Master continually stands by His universe. He watches constantly over it, controls it, and runs it using perfect Wisdom. He moves around the people and the props of His creation in a way which conceals the Hand which moves them.1 This He does through His host of forces and agents who work behind the scenes. The man who thinks that he can, by himself, chart his destiny in life and prevent his Creator from influencing his plans is not in tune with reality.]

One must also realize that this Supreme Being possesses no component structure of multiplicity whatsoever; He is ultimately indivisible. [The term "indivisible," when used in relation to G-d, means that He is not made up of parts, individual powers, or diverse faculties as is man. Only the life processes of man consist of separate components and subunits which interact, mesh, and form synthetic wholes.]

We cannot associate Him with any of the properties of physical bodies and their occurrences. He is devoid of any limitation, [is not subject to] natural law, and cannot be defined by using any relative comparisons.

Above all, one must know that His true essence and being cannot be comprehended to any degree. There is no way to draw any analogy between Him and (a) any of the aspects of the world He created, (b) any of the conceptions produced by human imagination, or (c) any conceptions which the intellectual faculties of man may formulate. There are no words or descriptions which are truly fitting and proper and which can be used accurately in relation to Him. Whenever we describe Him in word form, we do so by using borrowed terms and with the help of metaphors. These provide a medium which enables us to grasp what is necessary for us to understand regarding Him. Because we have nothing available for this purpose other than words which define natural phenomenon and reflect the laws of the created universe, [clearly] it is impossible to work with anything else but such words and terminology. [It follows that] there is a most important point we need to underscore in regard to all we

examine and mention regarding Him: those descriptions and words which are used in reference to Him do not serve in the capacity of an accurate and true description (but only describe in purely borrowed terms). In this respect one must be extremely cautious.

[The Rambam sums up the barrier to our understanding and faithful conceptualization of the make-up of G-d in a few brief words: "If I fully knew Him - I would be Him." ]

1 The whole panorama of Jewish history proves this so perfectly. The continued existence of the Jewish people, "The one lamb surrounded by seventy wolves" (the nations of the world), miraculously surviving and thriving, is the clear reflection of G-d's intercession and monitoring of His world. The history of Purim and the sparing of the Jewish People form genocide, with all of the bizarre links in a chain of events that began with sure annihilation and ended in salvation and elevation, serve as the classical example of the concealed hand of G-d.

Introduction | Table of Contents | Chapter 2
This Book in One Big Document

With an Eye on Eternity is published by
The Kest-Lebovits Jewish Heritage and Roots Library
and is distributed by Feldheim Publishers
© 1994 Rabbi Yehudah Lebovits

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