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René Posted - 20 May 2001 21:48
Can you cite some of the sources for me? Does it specifically say that Hashem is perfect or do we infer this somehow. And if it's inferred, how do we come to this conclusion? It's not so much that I doubt His perfection and omnipotence as much as I want to be sure of it. I don't need any more proof than what we have in the Torah.

MODERATOR Posted - 20 May 2001 21:58
Sure. But Hashem's omnipotence is not what it sounds like. Omnipotence means you can overcome all opposing power. With Hashem, the idea is that there can be no opposing power at all, since anything that happens in the entire world can only be because Hashem's doing. It's not that Hashem is the strongest one there is, but rather He is the Only one there is.

"Ain Od milvado" the posuk says. The Rambam (Yesodei HaTorah 1:4) comments: "This means there is no reality compared to Hashem".

Hashem is called "Makom" (place). The reason, Chazal say, is because "The world is not a place for Hashem, but rather Hashem is a place for the world". This means that the entire world, the entire universe, reality itself as we know it, is only an expression of Hashem's will. In other words, imagine in your mind a little world, complete with people and everything. Obviously, the world does have existence - it is comprised of neurological impulses - but compared to you, it is just imagination. So too our entire world only exists in Hashem's "mind" so to speak. It is only an expression of His will. He sustains it every moment, and its very existence is only to the extent that He continues to will it.

Now just like in your imaginary world nothing can happen without your willing it to happen, so to in our world, nothing can happen without Hashem willing it to happen.

Are you "omnipotent" in your world? Of course you are! Can you vanquish any opposing force? Whoa! There can be no opposing force! You are the only force in the world, and that is the source of your omnipotence.

Same thing with Hashem. because of Ain Od Milvado ("There is nothing except Hashem"), it is automatically derived that Hashem is omnipotent. But it does not mean "more powerful than anything", but rather "the only power at all."

This also means that Hashem created and maintains time, space and everything physical. That being the case, He is obviously not bound to any of that. The creator must be beyond the creation, since the creator preceded the creation.

Therefore Hashem is above time, space, and any other physical concept that exists.
What follows is that nothing can effect Hashem, and that He has no characteristics that we can imagine (since they would all be physical concepts.

Reneé Posted - 07 June 2001 16:59
How do we manage to have free will then? This has been discussed before and it seemed to make sense then, but in this new context I’m confused. Yeah, I can imagine my own little world and nothing can happen that is against my will, but then my little imaginary people have no wills of their own. They can’t even think. They just do whatever I imagine them doing. I don’t have to command them to do something if I envision it, it’s done.

And another thing: When we disobey Hashem, we are going against His will. It would seem that we have become an opposing force. But then, it is He Who sustains us, so even when we rebel against Him we are only doing so through the strength and will that He has bestowed upon us. This doesn’t make sense. In effect when we rebel against G-d it’s almost like He's the one supporting our efforts to rebel. And that would be like Him rebelling against Himself.

I’m struggling now with thoughts of dualism, cause I can’t see this any other way. I know it’s wrong but it seems so logical, two opposing forces.

There’s no way to completely cut yourself off from G-d is there? Could you exist otherwise?

MODERATOR Posted - 07 June 2001 21:17

First, you understand now why Free Will is a miracle. You are correct, according to the way Nature is set up, it can’t exist.

But Hashem found a way around that. What He did was, He created people out of a part of Himself. Meaning, your Soul was "sliced" from Hashem's essence. It is really a part of Hashem, but with your sentience superimposed on it. It’s like Hashem took pieces of Himself, with all the ability to make decisions, and animated those pieces by bestowing on them their own personalities.

When you rebel against Hashem, Hashem allows you to make the decision to rebel, and then, yes, He actually causes you to bring the decision to sin to fruition. Although the decision you made was against what G-d wanted you to do, but it is not dualism because it is the Will Of G-d that you should be able to go contrary to His preferences if you so desire.

It's like when you allow your kid to do something you don’t want him to do, knowing he will get hurt doing it because that way he will learn "the hard way" and be able to ultimately function better on his own.

So too Hashem allows us to do wrong because without the ability to choose wrong, we would never develop the ability to choose right over wrong.

No, a person cannot escape from Hashem's control. All of reality is only "inside" Hashem.

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