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On the Divine Wisdom: From “The Guide for the Perplexed” by Maimonides (vegetarian), Part 1 of 2

2022-07-06
Lingua:English
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Maimonides, also known as HaRambam, or Rabbi Moses ben Maimon, was a notable medieval Jewish philosopher, astronomer, physician, and intellectual figure. Today, we will read selections from Part 3, Chapter 13, in Rabbi Moses ben Maimon’s book “The Guide for the Perplexed,” to better comprehend the True Nature of the Universe.

“There is no occasion to seek the final cause of the whole Universe, neither according to our theory of the Creation nor according to the theory of Aristotle, who assumes the Eternity of the Universe. Those who acknowledge the truth will accept as the best proof for the Creation the fact that everything in Nature serves a certain purpose so that one thing exists for the benefit of another; this fact is supported by numerous instances and shows that there is design in Nature, but the existence of design in Nature cannot be imagined unless it be assumed that Nature has been produced. Aristotle has already explained that in Nature, the efficient cause of a thing, its form, and its final cause are identical. Every individual thing arrives at its perfection fully and completely when the actions that produce its form are complete. The ultimate purpose of the species is the perpetuation of this form by the repeated succession of genesis and destruction so that there might always be a being capable of the greatest possible perfection. It seems therefore clear that, according to Aristotle, who assumes the Eternity of the Universe, there is no occasion for the question of what is the object of the existence of the Universe.”

“The Universe does not exist for man’s sake, but that each being exists for its own sake and not because of some other thing. Thus we believe in the Creation and yet need not inquire what purpose is served by each species of the existing things because we assume that God created all parts of the Universe by His will; some for their own sake, and some for the sake of other beings, that include their own purpose in themselves. In the same manner as it was the will of God that man should exist, so it was His will that the Heavens with their stars should exist, that there should be angels, and each of these beings is itself the purpose of its own existence. When anything can only exist provided some other thing has previously existed, God has caused the latter to precede it, as, e.g., sensation precedes comprehension.”
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