reply to post by dontreally
Forgive me but i cant figure out the "why" of your question. Do you mean why would G-d want to create a self conscious being? The sages say that G-d
wanted another he could share himself with. Without creating the concept of 'other' G-d has no other to share himself - which is love, so he created
a man, built in his image who could serve and come to know him. So G-d created man so he could be known by another.
Thanks dontreally, I enjoyed the first part of your reply that emphasized divine transcendence, while still allowing limited creatures some access,
through divine action (as you explained, what he "does"). Certainly seems reasonable, and to the extent that forces, or creatures even can
"personify" the particular divine attribute, it could make sense that God might wish to convey knowledge of portions of his essence in such concrete
ways. Even allowing humans a part in that play, if what you say about Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is true. Sounds plausible.
What doesn't sound all that special when it comes to Judaism is the fact that practically EVERY religion at least begins to "personify" natural
forces (wind, or thunder), or virtues (like a "goddess of mercy" perhaps), or divine attributes, including pagans, who's "solution" is to simply
add another god to their pantheon. Perhaps not as enlightened as Jewish thought that maintains a laser-sharp focus on this unapproachable infinite
transcendent god, but perhaps not so different, when a Jew can honestly say that Shekkinah is "female".
The anthropomorphic tendency, in it's various manifestations, seems to go across the board, probably because it's a very natural human thing to do.
Obviously there is a broad spectrum, with crude attempts perhaps on one end (such as god having a body), to something perhaps more Jewish, where even
an "image" of God just can't make sense. And yet, we are stuck with images, in the broadest sense of that term, as we attempt to understand our
world, whether we like it or not.
And now to the quote above, yes, that was exactly my question, I apologize for not being more precise.
You answer that God wanted to create a self-conscious being because God wanted another to know him, and further, that "other" is made in God's
"image". Which obviously relates to the point I made above, so forgive this small digression...
I realize that traditional Judaism does seem to look at the multitude of "false" religions in the world pretty much as you pointed out, just many
different ways of worshiping "self", with the present trend to somehow deify Man practically on steroids these days. I made a narrow distinction
above specifying "traditional" Judaism, because this trend is very much alive in modern Judaism, just as it is everywhere else. Of course, the
attempt to deify A people is perhaps not as wild as trying to deify Man in general, but it's not a significant difference from my perspective.
And yet, even in traditional Judaism, we are stuck with a version of "self" literally at the very "genesis" (forgive me
) of this ancient faith,
that informs us that we ARE in fact made in "God's image". No, it doesn't say we "are" gods of course, but really the majority of traditional
religion doesn't either, as I'm sure you recall from your days as a Christian.
But let me move back to the point I initially wanted to make in quoting you.
God created the entire universe, seemingly, so he could be known by another. I'm sure you know where this is headed. This would imply a "need",
or some incompleteness in your version of god, which I know is entering into a very difficult area of theology. We're back at the Tzim Tzum.
So, on the one hand we are to believe that God simply IS, with no "lack" whatsoever in himself, and yet, he creates the entire universe so he could
be known by "other". Definitely a paradox!
And yet, let's look at the "christian" solution for a moment. As I'm sure you recall, since we are supposedly made in God's image, we can in
some sense legitimately look literally at ourselves for some clues to the Divine Nature.
One of the primary things we enjoy is RELATIONSHIP. One would see that if we are in God's image, this might be because he himself "enjoys" such a
thing. And yet, here it breaks down, because God "can't" have, what we have, when it comes to this "most" important thing. That is, the
solitary Jewish God can't enjoy relationship in the most important sense, with an equal, because he has no equal.
Some naively like to imagine that God made men for this reason, but I know you are beyond that. God could not get anything from a relationship with a
human, or even all of humanity. If we are truly less than a flea, what possible "relationship" can He have with fleas? To put it another way, if
God wanted to be known, why did he choose "fleas" to know him? And introducing "angels" with magnificent natures is not going to cut it either,
considering that in "comparison" to God, they are every bit stuck in the "flea kingdom".
And so back to the "Trinity". Not necessarily an idea introduced merely because of ancient pagan precedent, or even because of more basic
"three's" (as you pointed out), but primarily because God does in fact "need" an "equal", if He is to enjoy "relationship", as we do.
The pagans understood this, which is a reason why "the gods" enjoyed their separate existence on Olympus, perhaps painted as too "human", and yet
enjoying each other's company, the company of equals.
Christianity solved the puzzle neatly by positing "relationship" as part of the very essence of God, his nature remaining "one", and yet three
"persons" sharing that same divine nature, which was said to reduce to "love", finally making sense, at least within the human context, since it
is really "only" in relationship that we even approach genuine "love" at all.
And they dispensed with the superflous pantheon, rejecting "too many", yet retaining seemingly just enough to solve the "paradox" of missing equal
relationship, when such a thing is implied by monotheism.
Probably 30 years ago, I spoke to Dennis Prager, and a rabbi that he had on his radio show, about this very thing. I've still never heard a Jewish
answer that comes close to satisfactory.