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Why did G-d create the world?

by Rabbi Mendy Hecht

  

Library » Philosophy » Creation | Subscribe | What is RSS?


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A. This is one of the oldest questions in the book. And the answer is the ultimate paradox--it is both simple and complex simultaneously.

B. According to the Midrash Tanchuma (Parshat Nasso), G-d wanted "a dwelling place in the 'lower worlds.'" The "lower worlds" is our physical universe (in contrast to the "upper" spiritual worlds). G-d wanted a physical universe to exist in which He could be seen only with the mind, not with the eyes. He wanted Man to find Him, and make the physical universe a spiritual place--a "dwelling place for G-d"--where G-d would be obvious to all. And that's why He gave the Torah--so Man would know how to make the physical, spiritual.

C. That's the simple part of the answer. Now that you know that G-d created the world because "He wanted a dwelling place in the lower worlds," here's where it gets complex: why did G-d want a dwelling place in the lower worlds? Why the need?

1. Universe Creation 101

The subject of the creation of the world is one of most explored subjects in the vast world of Chassidic philosophy. As explained at scholarly length in dozens of books, a spiritual evolutionary process was put in motion for the physical universe to come into being.

He wanted Man to find Him, and make the physical universe a spiritual place... that's why He gave the Torah--so Man would know how to make the physical, spiritual
Like oxygen, whose natural state is gaseous and must be condensed, chilled, and concentrated to become a liquid, and must undergo yet further chemical processes to become solid, the physical universe arose from G-d’s infinitude after a spiritual chain of events.

G-d first created a hollow space, a vacuum, within His infinite Light into which he injected a metaphoric "laser beam" of spiritual energy containing highly coded information--the DNA of the spiritiual and material universes and everything in them. This laser beam then formed a sphere at its tip, like the huge glass bubble at the end of a glassblower's tube, containing Atzilut, or Emanation, the first of four energy zones. A second laser beam burst from the sphere's inside surface and shot shortly towards the center, only to stop shortly and form a second, smaller sphere within Atzilut. This was Briah, or Generation, the second energy zone.

In like manner were Yetzirah (Formation) and Asiyah (Creation) formed in succession, each contained within the one above it like the layers of an onion. And within the zone of Asiyah, the final evolution of G-d's pure energy crossed the barrier between spiritual and physical and manifested itself in what's called Asiyah Gashmit--Physical Creation. Asiyah Gashmit is the physical universe as we know it. 1

2. Perfectly Imperfect

In the spiritual zones beyond our imagination, G-d is Reality. In Atzilut, Briah and Yetzirah, there is only Light. Everything is perfect. Only in Asiyah Gashmit--here on good ol' Earth--are there opposites: Light and Darkness, Good and Evil, Happiness and Pain, Life and Death. We are here to make the dark light. To turn the pain into happiness. To transform the very evil into good. Above us, it's already done. Here, we have to do it. That's why we're here. To make this imperfect world, perfect.

3. Couldn’t He Have Done It Himself?

Yes. But he wanted free-thinking creatures--us--to arrive at His doorstep from our own intellectual conclusions, and to choose to spend our lives building Him a home rather than aimlessly livin' it up. It would be no big deal for G-d to make a world where He is obvious. But it is a big deal if we do.

So He created a world to give us an opportunity to create. But why did He want to give us that opportunity? Ultimately we can keep asking "Why?" And here our minds simply hit their limit: we don't know why. Because it's not only complex; it is beyond human understanding.

Footnotes

  • 1. The above is simply a metaphorical description of metaphysical concepts. There are obviously no beams, bubbles, or onions.

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COMMENTS

Why did G-d create the world?

Posted by: Ralph G., Phila., Pa. on Jan 05, 2005

I disagree with your explaination. G-d made us to love and serve Him!

Editor's Comment

But why?

G-d with a dash

Posted by: Kenneth, Ky on Jan 06, 2005

Why do you spell God, G-d?

Editor's Comment


Why G-d created the universe

Posted by: Jonathan on Jan 30, 2005

You are surprisingly specific on certain aspects of the creation of the universe - bubbles and laser beams and so on. How can this possibly be known?

Editor's Comment

This information was passed on by the Kabbalists who received it through tradition (back to Abraham), divine intuition, and understanding the deep cosmic secrets hidden in the Torah.

Creation

Posted by: Anonymous, Aurora, CO on Apr 12, 2005

G-d, created the world without assistance from anything, He spoke, and it was done. He is G-d, and there is no for Him to need anything during the creation process.

We tend to bring G-d to the human level, and it is impossible for me to believe that G-d received help from any chemical or laser. All G-d needed to do is to speak, and it was done.

Editor's Comment

The omnipotent G-d didn't NEED to use anything in order to create the world, but he CHOSE to do so. G-d wanted there to be a spiritual ladder comprised of spiritual worlds which spans the distance between us and Him, thus allowing us the possibility of ascending this ladder to unite with Him.

"Light-DeLight-The Light"

Posted by: JCObadja, Perth, WA, Australia on Jul 25, 2005

I am delighted by your explanation about 'light', but more delighted if you could elaborate the difference between G-d's Light and His created light. Todah! Perhaps this is only a light question, but please respond!

Editor's Comment

Not a light question at all, but we will attempt to shed some light on this matter... The "Divine Light" which is described in this article is not at all light as we know it. Rather it is divine energy which is euphemistically called light, because we have no other way to describe the indescribable. Attempting to describe G-dliness to mortals is akin to describing colors to a person who was born blind. "So why do you use the metaphor of 'light'?" you ask. "You may as well euphemistically call it a stone or a spider!" The answer is that divine energy and light shares many features. Two examples: light is always connected to its source, as is divine energy. Light only reveals the nature of its source, for it has nothing of its own to offer, so does divine energy. This divine energy should not be confused with the physical light which G-d created during the Six Days of Creation

Light-DeLight-THELIGHT

Posted by: JCObadja, Perth, WA, Australia on Jul 26, 2005

Todah ravah askmoses, for your quick reply! It's not a light answer to understand, but I got the concept clearly.

My next question is "Did G-D create darkness, since G-d is Light and there is no darkness in Him? (Gen. 1:2)

If so, then 'darkness' is not 'the absence of light', because He's there when He created the first light for the dark and empty world.

Am I thinking right? Enlighten me again, todah!

Editor's Comment

According to the teachings of Kabbalah, there actually is a certain darkness which is a real substance -- not only the "absence of light" -- and it manifested itself during the Egyptian plague of Darkness. Note that during the morning prayer services we state, "He who forms light and creates darkness." This is especially true on a spiritual plane, where there are forces of Darkness (which were created and are empowered by G-d) which are very real. However, the standard darkness which we experience is indeed merely an absence of light. The same is true with the standard powers of Darkness -- they are just an absence of light (G-dliness, spirituality), and can be dispelled through shining the candle of G-d upon them.

Why Hashem created the world

Posted by: Alex, Vancouver, Canada on Jun 12, 2006

I think one of the answers to be-is that He wanted True Friends (as HE reffered to Avraham). And true friends of their own will, where else could he find or create them?

For whose benefit

Posted by: Tim, Beaverton, OR on Jun 18, 2007

Understanding that all of this is true, I think it beneficial to add that, ultimately, G-d did not do all of these things for HIS benefit (for we could not add to or take anything away from G-d), but rather for our own. G-d's creation was the most perfect act of altruism, we are the ones who benefit when He makes his place in our lives and when He will soon make his dwelling place in our world.

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G-d » Creation

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Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Chassidic
(Pl.: Chassidim; Adj.: Chassidic) A follower of the teachings of Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov (1698-1760), the founder of "Chassidut." Chassidut emphasizes serving G-d with sincerity and joy, and the importance of connecting to a Rebbe (saintly mentor).
Midrash
(Pl. Midrashim). Non-legal material of anecdotal or allegorical nature, designed either to clarify historical material, or to teach a moral point. The Midrashim were compiled by the sages who authored the Mishna and Talmud (200 BCE-500 CE).
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.