By: Rabbi Amiram Markel & Rabbi Shimon Markel
Our intent and goal here is to shed light on the True path to G-d. To truly grasp the True Path, one must fully comprehend the differences between it and false paths. Then one may follow it with the confidence and knowledge that it will lead him to his desired goal. The reason is quite simple. If the ultimate goal and claim of any path is to lead one to the ultimate Truth of reality, it must be established as valid, for if it is not, how could it lead to Truth? The ultimate purpose and claim of every religion or path is that it will lead one to the ultimate Truth of reality, i.e. G-d. This is the purpose of all religion. Certainly, those following these paths must be seeking ultimate Truth, for if they were not, they would not follow any path. Therefore, it is incumbent upon every seeker of truth to contemplate truth. This can be said to be the beginning of the path to truth. A person, who has not investigated truth, cannot be considered to be a true seeker of truth. This is simply because he has not taken the necessary steps to arrive at truth and distinguish it from the false.
Unfortunately today we find ourselves in a state of doubled and quadrupled darkness. So many competing religions and ideologies claim to be true. Therefore, our purpose here is to determine the foundational principles which may be regarded as self evident axioms and their logical ramifications. Through this we will be able to isolate the truth and reject the false. As explained above, this is clearly the beginning of the path for any seeker of truth. It is, therefore, the beginning of acquiring Divine wisdom and insight into the True Reality of G-d.
The Primary Axiom
The primary axiom, which is the foundation of all other axioms, is our own existence, and although this cannot be tested in a laboratory, there is not a single person on earth who is capable of denying or escaping the basic truth that he exists. Certainly, no one is willing to die based on this assumption. Moreover, the awareness of existing is far greater and more powerful than any other experience. The very fact that we are aware and experience anything, is proof positive that we exist, for otherwise, who is experiencing? We, therefore, accept our existence as axiomatic in everything we do, for if we actually believed we did not exist, and operated under that assumption, we would be incapable of doing anything. We could not eat, drink, move or even breathe. A nonexistent being does not breathe. The very fact that all people breathe, proves, without a doubt, that they believe they exist.
Because it is universally accepted that we exist (as evidenced by the fact that everyone eats, drinks, moves and breathes etc.) we may establish this as an incontrovertible and self evident truth. We will, therefore, use our existence as the primary axiom in determining the true path to G-d. (Anyone who seriously disputes this may demonstrate his convictions by jumping off a bridge with total indifference to his life.) We may, therefore, test the claims of all paths and religions against the axiom of our existence.
The Ancillary Axiom
Secondly, in regard to our existence, it is undeniable that we have limitations which we are incapable of overcoming. No matter how strongly I will it, I am incapable of flying like a bird or living underwater like a fish. Even the powers and qualities which I do possess are limited. I am limited in time (I live, but not eternally), and I am limited in space (I am here, but not everywhere). In every way, I am confined by my defining qualities and limitations, for that is the very nature of my existence. This truth is undeniable and inescapable. The “nature of our existence” is, therefore, our second axiom and self evident truth.
Now, we do not ask that any of our arguments be accepted, on faith alone. On the contrary, our entire purpose here is to come to an intelligent discernment between the true and the false. Therefore, all we ask is that the reader be objective and set aside his presuppositions and prior beliefs. He need not reject them outright, but merely disregard them for now. The reason is quite simple. The strength of long held beliefs and preconceived notions may be so overpowering as to blind one to truth. Furthermore, the power of desire is far greater than all the other powers of the mind. It, therefore, has the power to overcome one’s perception, distort his reasoning and deceive him into mistaking truth for false and false for truth.
An example of how desire can distort the intellect and conjure faulty rationalizations may be understood by the example of a child who desires a bicycle. Because he desires the bicycle his brain races (automatically) with rationalizations for why he needs it. He goes to his mother and tells her, “I need a bike to get to school every morning”. Clearly, this is not the true reason, but he has convinced himself of it. The proof is his reaction when his mother tells him, “Don’t worry honey, I’ll drive you to school every morning”. Now his intellect reverts back to its original desire, and he throws a tantrum saying, “But, I want a bike”.
Likewise, in our case, if one does not objectively analyze his beliefs, his conclusions will be distorted by his preconceived notions and desires. Only if he is able to step back from his beliefs, is he able to reflect upon them objectively, to discern their truth. If he is incapable of doing so, it is a clear sign that he may have been on a false path from the onset, for he has never taken the necessary prerequisite steps of any path, let alone the true path. He accepts his beliefs blindly, without foundation. Even if they happen to be true, he is unsure of it, for he has never truly examined them. Rather, he relies on others for his beliefs. Certainly, such a person is insecure and unsure of his beliefs.
Moreover, the fact that he is unwilling to objectively analyze and investigate his own belief system, clearly indicates that he is fearful of what he may discover. This gives us insight that although he may claim to be a true believer, who believes with all his heart, in truth, he is essentially unsure of his beliefs. This is the underlying reason for his fear of objectively investigating and analyzing them. Therefore, one who truly seeks Truth, and is unafraid of what he may discover, will set his current beliefs aside, and approach the analysis objectively. Only thus, can he ever hope to arrive at Truth.
As stated above, we exist and our existence is limited. Our existence is physical. Every physical thing, whether it is the human body, the planet earth, the entire galaxy or the whole universe, is limited. A physical thing, by definition, is composed of parts and is therefore quantifiable. If it is quantifiable, it is not infinite; it has a beginning and an end. It has a beginning and end both in time and space. A physical thing, by definition, has dimensions. It must exist within time and have length, width and depth. Anything that exists within time and has length, width and depth has measure and is therefore limited.
Even space itself, is finite. For space to exist there must be at least two points of position. If there are two points, the area between them has measure. Being that it has measure, space, by definition, is finite. (Of course, the space between two points is only one dimensional space and cannot exist as physical space. For actual physical space to exist there must be the three dimensions of length, width and depth. In any case, if the totality of the universe would be compressed into a single non-dimensional point which did not possess length, width nor depth, neither time nor space could exist. In addition, that point would not exist within time or space.) Time too, is finite. For time to exist there must be at least two points of sequence. The duration between the two points has measure. Being that it has measure, time, by definition, is finite. Obviously, that which is measurable cannot be immeasurable. It has a beginning and an end. Since time and space are limited, everything within time and space is most certainly limited. This means that the universe and everything therein is limited and has a beginning and an end. (However, the above statements about time and space do not necessitate that once they exist they cannot exist infinitely or eternally. Nonetheless, they would fall under the category of limited or “defined” infinities, which are discussed in chapter three of this treatise, and their existence would still be dependent on the existence of a “truly” infinite being. Continue to chapter three for further elucidation on this point.)
Now, if time and space are limited and have a beginning and an end, this means that their existence is not intrinsic to them. In and of themselves, they do not have to exist. If this is the case with time and space, then, certainly, this is the case with everything within time and space. We therefore see that the existence of the universe and everything therein, is not intrinsic to it. It does not have to be.
Now, since time, space and the universe had a beginning to their existence, this means that prior to it, they did not exist. This being the case, how did they come into being? Certainly, they could not bring themselves into being, for something that does not exist cannot bring itself or anything else into being. However, as mentioned above, our existence is a self evident truth which is undeniable, for here we are!
Now, if something that does not exist cannot bring itself or anything else into being, this means that a being that does exist, must bring everything into existence. Otherwise, how does anything exist? However, this being cannot be limited to time and space. Time and space are limited and have a beginning and an end. If they have a beginning, there was a point when they did not exist. If they did not exist, they could not bring themselves into being. If time and space cannot bring themselves into being, then, certainly, any being which is limited to time and space cannot bring itself or time and space, and the universe and everything therein, into being. Therefore, we must say that this Being is beyond time and space.
Furthermore, this Being cannot be a limited being with a beginning and an end whose existence is not intrinsic to it. A limited being has a beginning and an end. Since it has a beginning and an end, it does not have to be. Its existence is not intrinsic to it. Since its existence is not intrinsic to it, and it has a beginning, this means that before the beginning it did not exist. Something that does not exist cannot bring itself or anything else into being. Therefore, we must say that this Being is infinite. There was no point when it did not exist nor will there ever be a point when it does not exist. Its existence is intrinsic to it. It must be. From this we understand that this Being is the “True Being” whose existence is intrinsic and not dependent on any other being.
The existence of the universe, however, is not intrinsic to it. It does not have to be and by itself, it cannot be. On the contrary, its existence is an anomaly which must be imposed upon it, by this “True Being” whose existence is intrinsic and above time. As explained above, it is impossible for a limited being to bring itself into being. Only a being who is infinite and whose existence is intrinsic can bring other beings into existence. In other words, every being and every form of existence aside from this Infinite Being is a dependant being, rather than an intrinsic one. It depends on this Infinite Being for its very existence. Since it cannot exist by itself it is not a true being. Its “natural” state, so to speak, is not to exist.
It is clear that everything that exists, aside from this Infinite Being, must have its existence imposed upon it, for its existence is not intrinsic to it. On the contrary, its “nature”, so to speak, is not to exist. Furthermore, if the Infinite Being would stop imposing existence upon the created, it would cease to exist. This is clearly understood, for as explained, since every limited thing has a beginning and an end, and its existence is not intrinsic to it, it cannot exist by itself. Furthermore, as explained above, time and space are also limited and do not have an intrinsic existence. Their existence must be imposed upon them. Therefore, everything that exists within time and space must certainly be compelled into existence, along with time and space.
Furthermore, it is necessary to say that this Infinite Being is an absolute singularity whose existence alone is intrinsic and independent. In other words, there can only be one truly Infinite Being who exists intrinsically, without beginning or end. It is impossible for two truly infinite beings to co-exist. For, if there were more than one, neither of them would truly be infinite. There would be a point where the existence of the one would stop and the other would begin. Therefore, if there were two, they would of necessity be limited and therefore dependant upon a higher, truly infinite and singular being to bring them into being. Therefore, we must say that the Infinite Being we are speaking of is an absolute singularity. In other words, only this Singular Infinite Being truly exists, in a way which is intrinsic and independent of any other existence. He is alone, and all other beings do not exist intrinsically, but are, rather, dependant on His existence for their existence. This means that relative to His existence, they do not have an existence, even after having been brought into being. (Now, it must be pointed out that the use of the masculine gender in reference to this Singular Infinite Being is in no way to be taken as being sexist. Rather it is the result of the constraints of human language, which is the only means of communication at our disposal. Obviously, as will be explained shortly, in chapter three, this Being is beyond body or form, and is therefore also beyond gender. Nevertheless, we only have three possible options of terms which may be used to reference this Singular Infinite Being: It, He or She. We cannot use the term “it” for that would imply a being which is inferior to us. Of the two remaining terms, “He” is the more appropriate because in the relationship between the Singular Infinite Being and the Universe, He is the source of existence and we are the recipients. This parallels the biological relationship between male and female in that the male is the source of the seminal drop of life and the female is the receptacle.)
To summarize, we have concluded several crucial points:
1) Firstly, that our existence, because it is limited, necessitates the existence of an Infinite Being, whose existence is intrinsic. This Being is infinite, and has no beginning or end.
2) Secondly, this Infinite Being is absolutely singular and alone.
3) Thirdly, any existence, aside from this Infinite Being, does have a beginning and an end. Therefore, the existence of anything, besides this Infinite Being, is not intrinsic to it. Therefore its existence must be imposed upon it by this Infinite Being and is dependent upon it.
4) This Infinite Being is above time and space.
5) All other “dependant” beings have no existence relative to this Infinite Being.
It would therefore be improper to worship anything other than this Singular Infinite Being. If one were to worship anything besides Him, he would be worshiping a created, limited entity, that does not have an intrinsic existence and whose existence is imposed upon it by the Singular Infinite Being. He would, therefore, be guilty of worshiping a false god.
Now, this Singular Infinite Being cannot be described in the normal sense of the word “Infinite”. This is because the infinite is limited to being infinite. For example, an infinite number at no point transitions into a finite number. It can only be infinite. Though it is unlimited, nonetheless, to this degree it is limited, in that the beginning of the finite is the limit of the infinite. Therefore, this type of infinity is also limited to the definition of being infinite. It, too, has a beginning and an end. In other words, its end is where the finite begins. Therefore, this type of infinity also does not exist intrinsically and must be compelled into being. Moreover, a defined infinity is limited to its definition and is only infinite in that regard. For instance, an infinite number is limited to the definition of being a number, or even if we would say that time is infinite, nonetheless, it is limited to the definition of being time, rather than anything else. Rather, the infinity of the Singular Infinite Being mentioned above, is beyond this, for we must say that He is not limited in any way, whatsoever, and can do anything, literally. He absolutely has no defining limitations. Rather, He defines both the finite and the infinite, and is beyond both. (It is also clear from the above that relative to this Singular Infinite Being, it is an equally inconsequential effort to create a grain of sand as it is to create the above mentioned limited or defined infinities.)
Furthermore, for this same reason, it is necessary to state that this Being has no body or form. In other words, He has no defined form whatsoever. If one were to say that He has a body or form, even in the most refined and spiritual way, he would be imposing limitations upon this Being. This is impossible to say, as explained above. Therefore, it is necessary to say that He has no body or form whatsoever.
Because of all the above, it is impossible for those who are limited to grasp this Infinite Being through their own efforts, in any way whatsoever. For, as explained above, the finite can never reach the infinite. It is therefore impossible for a human being to grasp the ultimate truth of reality, this Singular Infinite Being, through any of his own efforts. This may be further understood from several points: Firstly, an effect can never grasp its cause, since, by definition, the cause must always be beyond the effect. Secondly, a limited being is confined to its limitations. It is impossible for it to transcend these limitations by its own means. It is therefore impossible for anything which has a body or defined form, even the “defined infinity” mentioned above, to grasp the essence of that which is beyond body or form.
Nonetheless, it is clear that this constraint only applies to limited beings, not to the Singular Infinite Being, since He has no limitations. In other words, although, by their own means, limited created beings can in no way grasp the Singular Infinite Being, nonetheless, the Singular Infinite Being can certainly make Himself known to them. This is quite simple to understand, for although He is beyond us due to our limitations, we are not beyond Him, for He has no limitations.
Let us now return to what we spoke of earlier, and understand some of its ramifications. We explained above that any limited entity must have its existence imposed upon it in order to be. If this was not the case, it would revert back to its original state of not being. In other words, all created existence is as nothing relative to the Singular Infinite Being, whose existence is intrinsic to Him. Therefore, it follows with certainty that any created entity must be created continuously, for, as explained above, it exists within time and space, and time and space are also compelled into being by this Infinite Being. In other words, there must be a constant creative force from the Singular Infinite Being, which imposes and compels time and space and everything therein into existence.
Since all of Creation is compelled into existence out of nothing continuously, we must say that this is intentional, rather than accidental. Firstly, something cannot come out of nothing accidentally, for there is nothing for the accident to occur upon. Therefore, all existence must be brought about intentionally. Secondly, this is further supported by the fact that, as explained above, the Infinite Being is not limited or defined by any nature, whatsoever. Rather, it is He who defines nature. Therefore, it would be erroneous to say that at some point, our existence just “came into being”, accidentally (especially since He is beyond time). Furthermore, it would be erroneous to say that there is some nature which compels the Infinite Being to create. This cannot be, for, as explained above, He is above nature. He defines nature, rather than being defined by it. Rather, we are forced to say that the Infinite Being chose to bring us into existence, intentionally. Furthermore, the intention for creation must be constant, for if it were to cease, our existence would cease.
Now, if there is an intention to our existence, this means it has purpose. By definition, something is purposeless if it occurs accidentally without intention. Conversely, if something is intentional, there is purpose. If we were to say that our existence was unintentional and accidental, we would be saying that there is no purpose to our existence. Such a view is impossible, as explained above, because something cannot come out of nothing unintentionally. It is also foolish, for clearly, even when a human being chooses to do something intentionally, there is purpose. If this is the case with a human being (who is limited and is only the effect), then, certainly, the Creator (who is unlimited and is the cause) is certainly capable of choosing to do or to not to do. Furthermore, our choices are limited, for we are limited. However, His choices are unlimited since He is unlimited. Therefore, He is the sole possessor of true choice and unlimited free will.
To argue that He cannot have free choice, because in order for there to be choice there must be “existent things” to choose from, is entirely foolish. Firstly, this would be limiting Him. Secondly, our existence itself is a testament to His free will. Thirdly, He can intentionally choose to bring “things” into being, as explained above. Since He is unlimited, He can do whatever He wishes. In any case, here we are! This means that He chose to create us, and that He chose to create us in the manner and way in which we are. On the other hand, His is the only existence which does not need to be intended into being, for He always exists and His existence is intrinsic to Him.
It follows from the above that there is a general intention for the whole of Creation and particular intentions for all the particulars of that whole, even to the finest particle. If a single particle of Creation lacked its intention for being, it could not exist. Everything that exists has an intention and purpose. In other words, all of existence, as a whole, fulfills a general purpose and intention, and every particular of that whole, fulfills its particular, specific intention and purpose, in order to bring about the general intention and purpose. This is obvious, since the particulars are merely part and parcel of the whole.
Furthermore, from the fact that the Singular Infinite Being compelled everything into being with purpose, intent and free will, it is quite clear that He is a conscious Being, rather than merely a “Primal Cause” which is devoid of any awareness or consciousness, and that He is aware of everything, down to the finest particular. If this was not so, they could not exist.
From all the above, we further understand that unless the nature of existence changes and is exchanged by a different nature, the purpose and intention of existence remains constant.
Now, it is impossible for a limited, human being to determine the purpose of our existence. Likewise, it is impossible for a human being to determine the nature of how our existence came into being. Any attempt at such speculations using human logic alone, is futile, for, as explained above, we are limited and can in no way grasp that which is beyond limitations. Likewise, it is impossible for a human being to determine the path which will achieve the intended purpose of Creation and bring it to its ultimate fruition. One person will use his limited intellect and come up with one “purpose” and “path”, while another will come up with entirely different reasoning. Firstly, how are we to determine which of them is correct? Secondly, by definition, their opinions are both wrong, because they were solely determined through human intellect, which is constrained by its limitations.
We are, therefore, forced to say that if any information on the purpose of existence and the path to its fulfillment is to be known, it must, of necessity, come from that which is beyond our limited existence. More specifically, this knowledge must be bestowed upon us by the Creator Himself, for only He can know the purpose of His Creation and the path to its fulfillment. Therefore, only the Creator can inform us of our intended purpose. Likewise, only the Creator can inform us of the true nature of existence, both His and ours. Since we are limited, it is impossible for us to determine and know this through our own efforts and devices.
It is therefore clear from all the above, that for this to be known to man, the Singular Infinite Being Himself would have to reveal it. There would have to be prophecy, which is the revelation to us, from the Singular Infinite Being who is above and beyond limited existence. If someone were to claim to have attained this knowledge without having received it from the Singular Infinite Being (that is, without prophecy), but rather through his own devices, we would, of necessity, be forced to categorically reject it as false.
Now, it is clear from the fact that there is a passage of time from the period in which the intention for Creation has not yet been fulfilled, to the point of its ultimate fulfillment, that its fulfillment is not solely dependant on the Creator alone. If this was not the case, it would be completely superfluous for there to be a passage of time. Since the Singular Infinite Being is unlimited and beyond the constraints of time, He could skip straight to the end result, in which the intent and purpose would be fulfilled immediately. Therefore, we are forced to say that the Creator intentionally and specifically gave over the fulfillment of Creation to a created being, who, because of his limitations, can only fulfill it gradually.
This created being would need to be endowed with superior intellect and free will, so as to be capable of receiving the knowledge of the intended goal, and fulfilling it with intent and purpose, for if this creature fulfilled the intention reflexively, without thought or choice, the whole matter would be rendered a useless endeavor, for it would have been just as well for the Creator to have fulfilled it Himself, immediately.
Now, since it is, specifically, man, who has been endowed with superior intellect and free will, it is clear that he must be the creature that was chosen to fulfill the ultimate purpose of the Creator in His Creation and that the Creator intended to make His will known to us. Otherwise, it would be completely superfluous for us to possess intellect and free will, and we could simply be like all other creatures which fulfill their purpose instinctually, without thought or choice, just as it is the inborn essential nature of an animal to fulfill its purpose instinctually. Rather, we must say that we were endowed with intellect and free will so that we could be informed of our purpose and fulfill it, freely.
From the above it is clear that if there were no revelation from above (prophecy), there could not be any relationship between us and that which is beyond our own limited existence and certainly not with the Creator. Furthermore, there could not be any established path of life or standard of morality etc. Rather, each person would, of necessity, “follow” his own heart, for there would be nothing else to follow. What one person or society would see as moral, another could see as immoral, since there would not be any means to establish universal standards.
Moreover, if no purpose would be revealed to us from above, there would not be any imperative to abide by any laws or morals altogether, no matter what their source, and certainly, one set of laws or morals could not be held as superior to another. Rather, each person or society could follow the dictates of their whims and pleasures without regard to the will of a Creator, for no laws or morals would have been given by Him. Even physical punishment or death for transgressing rules set by social convention would be rendered meaningless, for ultimately, if no purpose were made known to us in regard to our existence, there would be no purpose to live for and it would make no difference whether we lived or died. It is therefore understood that without any Divine purpose and law, that is, a law received from the Singular Infinite Being, there could not be good and evil, reward and punishment, or any ultimate purpose to our existence whatsoever.
However, we cannot say that the Singular Infinite Being is compelled to inform us of our purpose, or to decree laws and morals upon His creatures. However, though He is not compelled to do so, nonetheless, He could choose to. This is because in order for us to be aware of purpose and to distinguish between good and evil etc., the Singular Infinite Being would have to inform us of it. As long as this information would be missing, it would be impossible to consider anyone as being either good or evil or as doing the will of G-d or going against it, since the will of G-d would not have been made known to us. Moreover, as long as this information would be missing, we would only be capable of following the whims of our hearts, because since revelation would not have been given from above, it would be quite futile to seek anything which is beyond our limitations, since, as explained above, that is beyond our capabilities.
The opposite is also true. As soon as such information would be revealed to man, he would no longer be justified in merely following the whims of his own heart. Rather, he would have to follow the will of G-d, and the laws decreed by the Singular Infinite One. Furthermore, once we would have this information, we could be certain that there is a definite purpose to our existence. If after this information would be imparted, a person would transgress the Divine will, he would be a sinner who transgresses the will of G-d. Certainly, we must also say that once this knowledge would be bestowed upon us, there would be an absolute definition of good and evil. That is, the definition of good would be the fulfillment of the will of the Creator, and the definition of evil would be the defiance and transgression of His will.
There would certainly also be positive consequences which would result from fulfilling His will and negative ones from transgressing them. That is, if there were Divine laws, but no consequences or results, they would be futile acts that lead nowhere. However, since, as explained above, the Creator did invest intent and purpose in His Creation, we are forced to say that consequences would have to result. Those who fulfill the will of G-d would reap positive results, and those who transgress it would reap negative ones. This is necessary to say, for if this was not so, no purpose would be fulfilled by doing the will of the Creator. There would, therefore, be no purpose in the Creator imparting it. Therefore, if His will is imparted, since, as explained above, there is purpose and intention, it is certain that its fulfillment would lead to positive results, and its transgression would lead to negative ones.
Let us summarize all that has been said. Our existence is limited and therefore not intrinsic to us, yet we exist. Therefore, we must say that there is a Singular Infinite Being who imposes our existence upon us at all times. This must be intentional, for it cannot be accidental. There is, therefore, intent in Creation, both generally and particularly. If there is intent, this means there is purpose. As long as the nature of existence has not changed, we can be certain that the intent and purpose has not changed. Likewise, until the intent has been fulfilled it will not change. It is impossible for any limited entity to grasp anything beyond its limitations. Therefore, it is impossible for us to “reach beyond” and grasp the Singular Infinite Being and His intent and purpose in Creation. If this information is to be known by man, the Singular Infinite Being must inform us, Himself. For this to occur there would have to be prophecy. If this information would be lacking, there could not be any meaningful law, neither Divine nor human. Therefore, there could not be reward or punishment, nor purpose. However, if this information would be bestowed upon us, there would be a definite law, reward and punishment and, likewise, purpose.
Now, as mentioned previously, we are limited. Because of our limitations, it is not possible for us to believe the testimony of a single, lone prophet. If we were to believe a single, lone prophet, we would have to believe anyone claiming to be a prophet who speaks in the name of G-d. One prophet could come and tell us one thing and another could tell us another, conflicting thing. There would be no way to determine which is correct, if either. (Even according to scientific methodology, the testimony of a lone researcher cannot be regarded as credible, because his perceptions may have deceived him. Likewise, in the case of a “prophet” he may have been delusional and only seen or heard what he imagined to be prophecy. How then, is it possible for us to determine which prophecies are true, and which are delusional or fraudulent? What principles do we have to test the veracity of prophecies?
Therefore, it is clear that, due to our limitations, and the fact that we have no reference point from our own experience to determine the veracity of prophecies, there is only one possible way that we can accept a prophecy as being undeniably credible. There must be a mass prophecy involving the testimony of mass witnesses. However, for several reasons, there only needs to be one mass prophecy. Firstly, as mentioned earlier, unless the nature of existence changes, we can be sure that the intention and purpose of Creation has not changed, so there need not be more than one mass prophecy to express that intent. Secondly, because this knowledge would be received from the Singular Infinite Being, it would be the ultimate Truth, and would, therefore, be unchanging. Thirdly, once this knowledge would be received, as a gift from Above, we would now have a standard by which all prior or subsequent prophecies could be tested and verified. If they would concur with the mass prophecy and in no way disagree with it, they could be accepted as true. If they would be in disagreement with it, in any way, they would be verifiably false.
This is not to say that there could not or would not be subsequent prophecies by single individuals. Rather, since the mass prophecy would be a general prophecy for all of Creation, it would, therefore, be unchanging as long as Creation remains unchanged. Therefore, all other prophecies, whether for specific generations or for all generations, would, of necessity, need to be in concordance with the general, unchanging, mass prophecy. On the contrary, we would need to test them against the general mass prophecy to determine their veracity. If they would be in disagreement, in any way, with the mass prophecy, we would, of necessity, have to discard them as false. If they would be in concordance to it, we would, of necessity, regard them as true.
Now, since the Creator is the only truly unlimited Being, therefore, ultimately, no dependent being can obstruct His will from coming to its ultimate fruition. This is because all other wills are dependent upon His will to exist. Therefore, ultimately, they are negated by it. The only reason they exist at all is to create conditions of free will for human beings. This is because, as explained above, the Creator desires that man have free will, so that he could fulfill his purpose freely, rather than instinctually. However, ultimately, for the above reason, the will of man cannot obstruct G-d’s will from coming to its ultimate fruition.
Furthermore, since the Creator has an ultimate intention and purpose in His Creation, it follows that He would, therefore, bring about the ultimate and eternal positive consequences and results for those who advanced and worked toward its fulfillment.
Let us now recap and summarize what we have said to this point. It is impossible for a limited, created being to grasp his Creator or His intent in Creation. The only way this knowledge may be accessed is if the Creator Himself, the Singular Infinite Being, informs us of it. Therefore, in order for this information to exist in our limited world, in other words, in order for there to be a “True Religion”, there would have to be prophecy. Without prophecy, it would be impossible for any human being to acquire this knowledge, and it would be impossible to believe anyone who claimed to have acquired it without prophecy.
Likewise, a mass prophecy, with mass witnesses, would be required to verify all prophecy including prophecy received either prior to or subsequent to the mass prophecy. As limited beings we cannot accept, with confidence, the testimony of any single individual regarding even physical matters, let alone spiritual ones. If so, how much more so, in regard to matters that transcend our very existence, we certainly would require mass prophecy and mass testimony in order to believe in its veracity with confidence. Furthermore, this mass prophecy would have to be unchanging since its source is from the eternal, unchanging G-d. It is, therefore, this general mass prophecy and the Divine knowledge which it contains, which would either validate or discredit all other prophecies, both those prior to it or subsequent to it.
This mass prophecy would have to include a set of Divine laws which would be associated with positive consequences for those who follow them and negative consequences for those who transgress them. This is because something done with intent and purpose leads to resulting consequences, and as we have established above, there must be intent and, therefore, purpose. If there were no results to our actions, by definition, they would be devoid of purpose, and, therefore, the knowledge bestowed upon us by the mass prophecy would be superfluous. Only knowledge and laws given to us by the Singular Infinite Being could possibly give purpose to our existence, and once it would be made known to us, any person who transgresses them would thus be going against G-d’s will and there would be negative results if he does. The opposite is also true. There would be positive results if a person would fulfill the will of the Creator.
As explained above, since G-d is the only truly unlimited Being and all other beings are totally dependent on Him for their very existence, therefore, ultimately, nothing can stand in the way of His will. It is, therefore, certain that His will and intention in Creation will ultimately be fulfilled and that there would be eternal positive results for all those who advanced and worked toward the fulfillment of that ultimate purpose.
After all of the above, we may now establish the fundamental principles which a True religion must follow. If any religion does not abide by these principles, we must categorically reject it as false, and we would be foolish to follow it. This is because we accept our existence and the defining limitations of our nature as self evident, and all these principles naturally follow from them. Therefore, to deny them would be to deny one’s own existence and nature, and this we are incapable of doing, for, after all, here we are! These principles are as follows:
1. There is an Infinite Being, who brings all existence into being.
2. This Infinite Being is an absolutely singularity, and there is no singularity like His. He is alone, and there is none other. He has no limitations whatsoever; no beginning and no end, and His existence is intrinsic to Him.
3. He has absolutely no form or body whatsoever.
4. He is first, and He is last.
5. Any existence apart from this Being is imposed upon it by Him, therefore it is only fitting to pray to Him, and not to any other being.
6. There must be prophecy in order for us to have any knowledge of Him or His will.
7. There must be mass prophecy for us to be able to believe the words of any prophet. This mass prophecy is what validates all prior prophecies and all subsequent prophecies, and is, therefore, regarded to be the “father” of all prophecies.
8. The subject matter of this mass prophecy is the absolute unchanging Truth from the absolute unchanging Being. (Certainly, no human being may change a single word of this prophecy.) Therefore;
9. It is true for all generations, and will never be substituted for another.
10. This Infinite Being is conscious and all knowing.
11. There must be a set of laws given, which must be followed. Those who fulfill these laws will reap positive consequences, while those who transgress them will reap negative consequences.
12. The ultimate intention and purpose of the Creator in Creation will be fulfilled.
13. The fulfillment of the intention and purpose will ultimately result in the complete and eternal perfection of the world.
Now, any seeker of truth must follow the above principles in determining the True Religion. The religion which he accepts must include all of the above qualifications. These are principles that follow from the axiom that we exist. For a person to deny them, he must deny his own existence and the nature of his existence. Not only would he have to be a psychotic lunatic who is not based in reality, but actually, such a person does not exist, for even the most deranged psychotics in the highest security insane asylums are aware of their existence. On the contrary, in many cases their problem is that they find their existence to be too overbearing for them and they cannot cope with it.
Therefore, anyone who is a true seeker of Truth must accept these as self evident principles by which a religion must and can be accepted as true or rejected as false. If a religion does not fit theses qualifications, we can be certain, without a doubt that it is not based in reality and must be categorically rejected as false.
Now that we have laid the foundations of true faith, we may examine all religion and distinguish between the true and the false based on these self evident truths:
1) It is based on the claims of one individual and does not have a mass prophecy to back it up.
2) Even though it recognizes the mass prophecy of the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, and claims to be a continuation of it, this claim does not hold water, since Christianity claims to supersede and abrogate it. Moreover, there are many accounts in their “Testament” which portray the, so called, “Savior” as openly and flagrantly transgressing the commandments of the Torah or advising others to do so. This contradicts the above principle that all prophecies either prior to or subsequent to the mass prophecy must be in full concordance to it.
3) Many forms of Christianity profess the doctrine of the trinity in regard to G-d, heaven forbid. This contradicts the principle of G-d’s absolute Unity and singularity.
4) Even those forms of Christianity that do not profess trinity believe that a man, with a body and form, was (and is) G-d, heaven forbid. This contradicts the principle that G-d has neither body nor form.
5) Furthermore, this man said about himself, “I am first and I am last”. This contradicts the principle that only G-d is first and last. In other words, only the existence of G-d is intrinsic to Him. He existed before the existence of the world and He will continue to exist after the world ceases to exist. Moreover, by claiming to be the son of G-d he inadvertently contradicts his claim to being first and last. Through this statement we see that, even according to himself, he does not exist intrinsically, for otherwise, how could G-d be his father?
6) Christians pray to their, so called, “savior”. This contradicts the principle that it is only befitting to worship and pray to G-d, and that praying to anything other than Him constitutes the worship of false gods.
7) By acknowledging the giving of the Torah (The mass prophecy) at mount Sinai, but, nonetheless, not following its dictates and claiming that it has been superseded and abrogated, Christianity contradicts the principle that the mass prophecy is the unchanging truth.
8) In doing so, it also denies that the mass prophecy is true for all generations and will never be substituted for another.
1) It is based on the claims of an individual and does not have a mass prophecy to back it up.
2) Even though it recognizes the mass prophecy given to Moses at the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, it claims that Mohammed is a greater prophet whose prophecy supersedes the mass prophecy. This is in violation of the principle that all prophecies must be tested against the mass prophecy for their veracity.
3) There are many discrepancies in the accounts given in the Koran which diverge from those given in the mass prophecy of the Torah given at Mount Sinai. This is in violation of the principle that there can be no discrepancies between any other prophecies and the mass prophecy.
4) It modifies, changes or omits many of the commandments which were given in the mass prophecy at Mount Sinai. This is in violation of the principle that the dictates of the mass prophecy are unchanging and true for all generations.
1) It does not have a mass prophecy to back it up.
2) It does not have prophecy at all. This is in violation of the principle that without prophecy it is impossible to have any knowledge of G-d or matters of G-dliness.
3) It believes that its “holy” men are incarnations of G-d in the flesh. This is in violation of the principle that G-d does not have a body or form.
4) These “holy” men are actually worshiped and prayed to. This is in violation of the principle that it is only befitting to worship and pray to G-d.
5) It believes in many gods. This is in violation of the principle that there is only one G-d, that He is an absolute singularity and that it is only befitting to pray to Him.
6) They worship graven images. This is in violation of the principle that G-d has no form.
1) It does not have a mass prophecy to back it up.
2) It does not have prophecy at all. This is in violation of the principle that it is impossible to have any knowledge of G-d or matters of G-dliness without prophecy.
3) It believes in “holy” men who are incarnations of G-d in the flesh. This is in violation of the principle that G-d does not have a body or form,
4) Some forms of Buddhism actually worship and pray to these “holy” men. This is in violation of the principle that it is only befitting to worship and pray to G-d.
5) It does not believe in a G-d who is a conscious being who is aware of everything in existence. This is in violation of the principle that G-d is conscious and all knowing.
Now, it must be noted that here we have only pointed out several problems of these particular religions. Nonetheless, as explained above, even if only one of these principles is either missing or distorted, this, in itself, is sufficient reason to categorically reject that religion. Moreover, here we have only dealt with the world’s “Great” religions (And have found them to be deficient). The reader may feel free to examine any religion he so wishes, against the above standards.
As explained above, by definition, an effect cannot grasp its cause. Since this is the case, the only true possibility for us to have any knowledge about the Creator and the purpose of His Creation, is if the Singular Infinite Being Himself, informs us about it. Though, due to our own limitations, we are incapable of grasping this knowledge by ourselves, nonetheless, He, being unlimited, is capable of giving it to us. Moreover, in order for this knowledge to be recognized as the incontrovertible truth, it must be transmitted by way of mass prophecy. In doing so, there will thus be mass witnesses to testify to its veracity. Now, in contradistinction to all other religions, which base themselves on the claims of single individuals, Judaism is the only religion based on a mass prophecy and on the mass testimony of millions of witnesses.
At Mount Sinai, approximately 2,500,000 to 3,000,000 Jews experienced mass prophecy in the form of a direct revelation from G-d and received the Ten Commandments from Him. This verified, without a shadow of a doubt, that Moses was a true prophet of G-d, who could be relied upon with confidence. Moses then ascended the mount for forty days and forty nights and received the Torah in its entirety. This included the written Torah and the Oral Torah, which includes the Mishna, Gemara, Midrash etc. as well as the teachings of Kabbalah, which are the secrets of the Torah and explain the workings of Creation. It also included the teachings of Chassidus, which are the secrets of the secrets, and give insight into G-d himself.
The exodus from Egypt and the subsequent revelation at Mount Sinai fifty days later are historical fact that are not subject to serious historical debate. All accepted history is based on the fact that the event was witnessed by many people at the time and that there is an established tradition amongst their descendents that the event actually occurred. To the degree that there are no variant traditions that either negate or modify it, it is accepted as reliable historical fact.
A case in point is the American Revolution. Today, there is not a single living human being who witnessed the events of the American Revolution. This being the case, how do we know, with certainty, that it actually took place? Certainly, it is not because it is written about in history books, for many “history books” are fabricated out of whole cloth, such as The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, or The Book of Mormon. What makes the American Revolution reliable history is the fact that millions of people actually witnessed it at the time and that there is an unbroken tradition, amongst their descendents that it took place. Its reliability is further strengthened by the fact that there are no variant traditions amongst descendents of people who lived in the colonies at the time, who claim that American emancipation was achieved differently, through the peaceful withdrawal of British troops and a benevolent granting of independence by the British crown. The same principle holds true in regard to any other historical event.
Every year on Passover, Jews around the world gather together at the Seder table. The sole purpose of the Seder is specifically to recall and to transmit the events of the exodus from Egypt to the next generation. This has been taking place in an unbroken tradition, year after year, all the way back to the very first Seder which took place in Egypt as the events were actually happening! Furthermore, there are no variant traditions amongst Jews that differ in their account of what happened. There are not, and there have never been, Jews who claimed that they received a tradition from their forefathers, going all the way back that the events were different! (Reform or Conservative Jews, who may contest this, do not do so on the grounds that they have received a different tradition from their forefathers. Rather, they will be the first to admit that they are a break from tradition. It is specifically for this reason that their claims hold no water.)
No other nation on the surface of the earth has kept such a strong and unbroken tradition of transmitting its history, its teachings and its heritage, to the coming generations, as the Jewish nation. With this in mind, it must be concluded that this is a most reliable history. We can accept as incontrovertible historical truth, the account of the exodus from Egypt and the receiving of the Torah, directly from G-d, fifty days later.
With the above in mind, we can state with confidence, that even though the effect cannot understand the cause, and we cannot, through our own devices, understand the origin and development of the universe, what its purpose is, or what our role is in the fulfillment of that purpose, nonetheless, G-d, the Singular Infinite Being, who is not limited by these constraints, can and did inform us in this regard. This He did through the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai.
Now, in regard to all the self evident truths stated above, and their ramifications, not only is Judaism the single religion which fits them, but, more so, these principles, in and of themselves, are the recognized and articulated foundational principles of Judaism. This is so much so, that in many congregations these articles of faith are recited daily, as part and parcel of the liturgy. These are known as the “Thirteen Principles of Faith”. They are:
1) I believe with a perfect faith, that the Creator, blessed be His name, He created and conducts all the created, and He alone did, does and will do all that is done.
2) I believe with a perfect faith, that the Creator, blessed be His name, is singular and there is no singularity such as His, in any way. He alone is our G-d who was, is and will be.
3) I believe with a perfect faith, that the Creator, blessed be His name, is not physical and cannot be comprehended by physical comprehension. He has no likeness at all.
4) I believe with a perfect faith, that the Creator, blessed be His name, He is first and He is last.
5) I believe with a perfect faith, that the Creator, blessed be He name, it is only befitting to pray to Him. It is unbefitting to pray to anything other than Him.
6) I believe with a perfect faith that all the words of the prophets are true.
7) I believe with a perfect faith that the prophecy of our teacher Moses, peace be upon him, was true, and that he is the “Father” of the prophets, whether those who preceded him or those who followed him.
8) I believe with a perfect faith that the entire Torah, which is now in our hands, was given to our teacher Moses, peace be upon him.
9) I believe with a perfect faith that the Torah will not be changed and that there will not be another Torah from the Creator, blessed be His name.
10) I believe with a perfect faith that the Creator, blessed be His name, knows all the deeds of man, and all their thoughts, as it states, “Who forms all their hearts and understands all their deeds”.
11) I believe with a perfect faith that the Creator, blessed be He, rewards with goodness, those who keep His commandments and punishes those who transgress His commandments.
12) I believe with a perfect faith in the coming of the Moshiach, and though he may tarry, nonetheless, I await him every day, that he might come.
13) I believe with a perfect faith, that there will be a resurrection of the dead in the time that it is desired by the Creator, blessed and elevated be the memory of His name, for eternity and for ever and ever.
Now, in no way should it be construed from the above, that all peoples must become Jews in order to be followers of the “True Religion” or to be loved by G-d. On the contrary, Torah True Judaism is a universal religion which recognizes the value and role of every individual, Jew and non-Jew alike. We all have a role to play in coming close to G-d and fulfilling His purpose in Creation. Nonetheless, our roles are different. For more information as to the purpose and role of non-Jews in fulfilling G-d’s will, learn about the Seven Noahide Laws for all mankind.