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The Eternity of the Universe: From "The Guide for the Perplexed" by Maimonides (vegetarian), Part 2 of 2

2021-02-02
Lingua:English

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Let us now continue with an excerpt from Part 2, Chapters 28 and 32, from Rabbi Moses ben Maimon’s book “The Guide for the Perplexed.” The Jewish philosopher reflects on more notable verses from the Hebrew Bible, in support of the authority of God’s will and His perfect doings. “The works of God being most perfect, admitting no addition or deduction, must remain the same forever. It is impossible that anything should exist that could cause a change in them. In the conclusion of the verse, Solomon, as it were, describes the purpose of exceptions from the laws of Nature, or an excuse for changes in them, when he says, ‘And God doeth it (meaning, He performs miracles) that men should fear before Him.’ The words which follow, ‘That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been, and God seeketh that which is pursued,’ contain the idea that God desires the perpetuity and continuity of the Universe.

The fact that the works of God are perfect, admitting of no addition or diminution, has already been mentioned by Moses, the wisest of all men, in the words: ‘He is the Rock, His work is perfect’ (Deuteronomy 32:14). All His works or creations are most perfect, containing no defect whatever, nothing superfluous, nor anything unnecessary. Also, whatever God decrees for those created things, and whatever He effects through them, is perfectly just, and is the result of His wisdom.”

“There are as many different opinions concerning Prophecy as concerning the Eternity or Non-Eternity of the Universe. Those who assume the existence of God as proved may be divided into three classes, according to the view they take of the question, whether the Universe is eternal or not. Similarly, there are three different opinions on Prophecy.” “There are, numerous passages in Scripture as well as in the writings of our sages, which support the principle that it depends chiefly on the will of God who is to prophesy, and at what time; and that He only selects the best and the wisest. We hold that fools and ignorant people are unfit for this distinction. It is as impossible for any one of these to prophesy; for prophecy is impossible without study and training; when these have created the possibility, then it depends on the will of God whether the possibility is to be turned into reality.”

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