Imagine you are walking down the block with Average Joe, and the two of you see a table standing there in the middle of the street. If you were to ask Average Joe, “Where did this table come from?” there are numerous possible answers Joe might have for you: a tree, a factory, IKEA, China, etc. All sorts of possibilities.
However, what Average Joe is not going to answer you is that the table just popped out of nowhere. He is not going to say this because the table is something that is finite – within the bounds of time and space.
There are two things we can know about anything that’s finite:
#1 – From nothing, nothing comes.
And #2 – Nothing finite can create itself.
That is to say, the table couldn’t have popped out of nowhere, and the table couldn’t have brought itself into existence.
As another example of something that is finite, take your own existence.
Are you finite? Are you within time and space? Certainly – whatever we perceive of you is within the finite bounds.
That means that, similar to the table, we can know two things about you straight off the bat:
#1 – You couldn’t have popped out of nowhere.
And #2 – You couldn’t have brought yourself into existence.
This means that it is not a matter of faith or belief, but we can know that you have or had parents. Or, you were created by scientists in a lab or you are a test tube baby, etc.
Let’s assume for now that you have parents.
Now, are your parents also finite beings? Of course. So, again, it is not a matter of faith or belief, but we can know that you have or had grandparents.
And with the grandparents it’s the same story – “from nothing nothing comes” and “nothing finite can create itself,” therefore I know that you have or had great-grandparents.
Suppose we take this all the way back to the first person – or if you want to throw in evolution for now, the first ape-like being, the first monkey, the first amoeba, the first gas, the first cell, the first and smallest finite thing that is so tiny that we’d need a super-powered microscope in order to see it – and we were to ask, “Where did this original finite entity come from?”
Since, within the finite, “from nothing, nothing comes” and “nothing finite can create itself,” it’s not a matter of faith or belief, but we can know that there can be no other logical alternative other than the idea that there is something outside the laws of the finite; something outside the laws of time and space that created time, space, and that which is in it.
And, in one word, we call this the “Infinite.”
Let us be clear that we are not saying anything more about the Infinite than what it’s not – “In-finite,” that which is “not finite” – that which is beyond the limitations of time and space.
In Judaism, this is what we are referring to when we say “God.”
Now, the question that is bigger than the God-question is: Who really cares? So there’s an Infinite Being – so what? What difference does this make to me?
And, given that there is this Infinite Being, what did He/She/It put me here for? After all, what can I possibly do for an Infinite Being?
Of course, we must begin by coming to terms with the fact that there is nothing that I can do for an Infinite Being. There is nothing I can do that will make a change in God’s essence. After all, if I am a good person or if I pray to God, is God now Infinite plus one?
Obviously that does not work.
So, the next question that arises is: If there is nothing that God gets out of my existence, what can I get out of my existence?
This leads us to search out what it is that people are searching for…
Tune in next week as we uncover the inner motivations of humanity to act, and the place that this takes us.
Rabbi Eliyahu Yaakov is a sought after international speaker on Kabbalah, relationships, parenting, and life. His recently released #1 Amazon Best Seller, Jewish By Choice: A Kabbalistic Take on Life & Judaism, has won wide acclaim as one of the clearest, most comprehensive, easily accessible, and practical depictions of Kabbalah and the “whys” of Judaism.