Monday, June 16, 2014

Reality and the Glory of God

Someone* says the spies attempted to prevent the people from entering the promised land because the spies wanted to prevent the people from losing sight of the Godly and the spiritual. In the desert the people lived through miracles. They ate magic food and drank magic water. After entering the land all that was destined to end. The maana would be replaced with manual labor and the idea that "By the strength of my own hand I have done it." Consequently, their acute, first-hand awareness of God's providence would fade. This loss is what the spies resolved to prevent. They were willing to ignore the reality of a divine promise -  'I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever' - for the sake of protecting the people's relationship with God.

This great man's teaching reminds me of two things.

First, I once knew a father who didn't want his son to learn about evaporation and condensation on the grounds that his son "needed to know rain comes from God". This father wantedt his son remain ignorant of the natural world, because it meant his son's acute recognition of God's hand in all things remained intact.

Second, the teaching reminds me of the rabbis who wish to conceal the age of the universe on the grounds that Shabbos becomes meaningless if it isn't remembered as the crown on a week of creation. They fear that shabbos will be forgotten, or treated with less reverence, if we accept scientific observations.

The father and the rabbis are both  meraglim. Both wish to conceal reality for the sake of God's glory. I reject that. I say the glory of God is found in reality - or not at all

*I'd name him, but I do not wish to provoke a firestorm

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