Why Did G-d Create the World?

By Leibel Estrin

 

Given G-d’s Omniscience and Omnipresence, 0ne could ask why did G-d create the universe? After all, He made it, and by definition, knows all that was, is and will be. Therefore, the existence of the world appears to serve no useful purpose to Him. So even if it’s no bother at all; still, why bother?

Once again, this question can be answered in several ways:

1. As we just mentioned, G-d is the Essence of Good, and it is the nature of good to do good. G-d’s “nature” is to share His goodness (and other qualities). So G-d created the world so that we benefit. In essence, we are the purpose of creation.

2. Midrash Rabba (Nasso, Chapter 16) explains another reason for creating the world. Nisaveh Hashem diro lo Yisborech b’tachtonim, “G-d ‘desired’ to have a dwelling in the lower worlds.” Desire is not necessarily rational. It could be. But, often, it is supra-rational. For example, as a kid, you probably wanted a special toy. Why did you want this particular toy and not that one? You may never know the “true” reason and, realistically, it does not matter. You had a craving for a particular object. Similarly, G-d had a “desire” to manifest his Presence (called Shechina) in the world below. There was no “logic.” It was a desire, and as the Yiddish expression goes, oif a taiva, freght nisht ken kashios. “Regarding a desire, you can’t ask questions.”

3. From a slightly different angle, our sages say that there is no king without a people. A king surrounded by his relatives cannot be called a king. When we recognize and express our desire that the king rule, this elicits a similar response from the monarch. So, too, creation was formed as a crown for the Creator.

4. In a similar vein, G-d created Man to bring something novel into creation. Everything behaves according to rules that (to some extent) regulate their behavior. Man is the only creature that can choose to do or not to do.[1] Whenever we freely choose to set aside our selfish desires for the sake of our Creator, this act causes gratification on high. At the same time, G-d allows our acts to help “perfect” the state that G-d made.

How do we know this?

At the end of describing the first six days of creation, the Bible states (Chapter II. Verse 3), “And G-d blessed the seventh day and sanctified it; because He rested from all His work that G-d created to do.” The last two words do not add to the meaning. Rather, the words imply that something remains “to do.” Our sages say what remains is man’s duty to perfect himself and the world.

Kabbalah and Chassidus take this concept further, and explain that every one of us on Earth has a specific mission to perform. What’s more, G-d gave each of us a unique set of talents and capabilities so that we can fulfill our mission. No one else can fulfill my task or yours, no one who lived before or who will live after. Not only that. Fulfilling our mission is necessary to establish a dwelling place for G-d on Earth.

To summarize, G-d is beyond our conception and comprehension. That is why the 10 Commandments began with the word, Anochi, meaning “I.” The “I” (the Essence) of G-d is Unknowable. We can, however, come to recognize His existence by analyzing how G-d’s being exists in man and the universe.

Words of Wisdom:

There is nowhere in the world devoid of the Divine Presence.  (Bamidbar Rabbah)

You are far, farther than the heavens, and near, nearer than my body is to me. (Kad Hakemach)

G-d’s essence is all-inclusive, unlimited, without any structure or additional qualities whatsoever. Every possible perfection exists in Him, but in an absolutely “simple (i.e., non-complex, non-composite)” manner. (Ikkarim 2:9)

 

An excerpt from the book “Judaism From Above The Clouds.”

Leibel Estrin has been writing about Jewish topics for four decades. He is working as a Jewish chaplain for the Aleph Institute. Leibel has recently published a work on Jewish perspectives and values entitled “Judaism From Above The Clouds.” To read more of Leibel’s writings and to purchase his book click here


[1] Interestingly, we find this desire to have a person choose without compulsion mirrored in male-female relationships.  We want our spouse to choose us for who we are, and not for any other reason. This also is one reason why G-d’s reality is hidden from our view. If G-dliness were revealed, we could not but choose Him.

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