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Does God Exist?
By Nachum Mohl
Does God exist? This is a question that almost everyone asks themselves. The answer that each person will give, will define his life as he/she develops in life. If a person has chosen to decide that there is no God, he has, in effect chosen to free himself from the many responsibilities that the belief in God obligates. Non-belief in God translates into believing that life is what you get; physical becomes real spiritual becomes a myth. Life becomes one effort of acquiring either possessions or pleasures or both; because lack of belief in God automatically means what you see is what you can get or when you die, everything ends.
On the other hand, when a person has decided that God does exist, life becomes more meaningful. Accidents can not happen; God happens them to you. Material acquisitions become meaningful only in that they permit one to become a spiritual being, pleasures loose their grasp, because the physical is only passing and the spiritual is forever. Being spiritual becomes the focus of life.
However many do not make the decision, rather they live undecided never being able to get satisfaction from life for they distrust the spiritual and can not truly enjoy a life devoid of moral ethics. They do not strive for material excellence since they realize material acquisition is not the essence of life, yet they have no spiritual leaning since they look suspecting on spirituality. For these people, life is not satisfying.
They demand to be presented with a proof of the existence of God. To be told that there is no conclusive proof, it is a matter of belief is to them an evasion. They really want concrete evidence that God does or does not exist.
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To get past all of the problems stated above, we must realize that there are two basic ways that we know something exists: One is through logic and the other is through experience.
Logic works similar to mathematics, if two and two equal four, then four minus two must be two, for if four minus two equals three, then two plus two cannot equal four. Logic utilizes human intelligence to build understanding. The problem with using our intelligence to understand God is two fold: one you must believe that you have all the pertinent facts - for if you lack one fact, your conclusion will be lacking. Secondly, the human logic can only perceive that which is physical or at least has physical properties. One and one equal two is not physical, but since we know what we mean by one and by two we can understand abstraction that one which is not defined when added to the same type of one will give two of the same kind. This is based on an abstraction of the physical, but nonetheless, it is based on physical.
Our minds work through the physical, because we are after all physical beings in a physical world. When we try to apply this reasoning to understanding or proving the existence of God, we run amok since God by definition is not physical not only not physical, but not even finite, rather infinite. We cannot positively understand the infinite; we understand it by negation. This means since something is not as we know it, it must be something that does not possess any known properties. Since we live in a world that is made up of dimensions, the infinite by definition must not have any dimensions, and that includes dimensions of space and time. Since we live in time and space, the infinite transcends time and space living in all time and all space all at the same time in the same space, which is difficult to understand and impossible to truly fathom.
The second manner of perception is experiential. We experience something therefore, we know about it even if we cannot explain it or logically. Eating chocolate is an experience, perhaps we can put it into words, but the essential aspect of taste is experiential not logical. If you like the taste of something, logic is futile to convince you that it tastes bad.
When we deal with the divine and spiritual aspects of life, like chocolate, it can be put into words, but the essential aspect is the experience, not the understanding. The second problem with experiential experiences is that they are deceiving. It is possible to convince ones self that a certain happening was spiritual when in reality it was not. Few people actually have spiritual experiences, much less those that can include the presence of the Almighty.
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What is one to do to determine if God really exists? First, there is the Torah. Besides being a legal document, it is a historic statement of Gods relationship to the world and to the Jews in particular. The Jews are a living historical testimony to the existence of God. Never has a nation been persecuted and exiled, yet maintained its national character for two thousand years with out having a national homeland. All other nations, great and small, have risen and disappeared. Yet Israel has continued its existence until the present century when miraculously they have returned to their homeland.
Secondly, there is the Passover Seder, this is a tradition that every Jew, irregardless of his level of religiosity, observes. Passover has been observed from the time of leaving Egypt to the present time. From the earliest generations, it is the father who tells his children about the miraculous event of leaving Egypt, receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai, and entering into the Land of Israel. This is a tradition that all Jews practice in one form or another; this is an experience through which we transfer the belief of God to our descendents from father to son, down through the generations.
Once a person activates the belief in God, he may then activate the spiritual treasures that await him.
from the June 2007 Edition of the Jewish Magazine
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