Thursday, January 08, 2015

If God Was One of Us…

Imagine the following:

A hundred thousand years from now, when technology has progressed almost beyond what anyone today could have imagined, an R&D engineer named Bob is fiddling with his company's latest model of long-distance transporter. He serendipitously discovers how to transport himself outside of space-time. After many years of research, Bob has designed and built instruments that let him measure and manipulate the non-space.

Using his futuristic technology, Bob creates a universe - our universe, the same one that he came from. Ignoring the paradox, Bob nurtures the universe. Existing outside of space-time, Bob is eternal and unconstrained by time. His instruments allow him to monitor everything about the universe, and he knows everything that happened/is happening/will happen in the universe. He wants only the best for the inhabitants of the universe, and he can use his technology to manipulate the universe at will. Bob arranges things so that intelligent beings evolve, and he gives them instructions for how to best live their lives. Unfortunately these instructions are almost always clothed in mythology, but Bob decides not to interfere too much, and lets the various intelligent species get on with their lives.

Bob is eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, and omni-benevolent, created the universe and has given revealed wisdom. Is Bob God?

If a human has all of God's attributes is he God? Or does God have to be a mysterious, unknowable Being in order for us to think of Him as God? Would you keep the mitzvos if it was Bob who gave the Torah?

In the 1993 Aish HaTorah Kiruv Primer, "The Eye of a Needle," R' Yitzchak Coopersmith (as part of larger discussion about using proofs for Judaism) writes that for an already-observant Jew, evidence for God's existence reduces His existence to a logical theorem, trivializes Judaism, and deprives him of a much greater religious experience. Why should that be?

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