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G-d's Unity

Why are Jews (and their source-book, the Bible) so insistent about there being only one G-d? Would it be so bad if their were two or three?

Think about some of the other basics: G-d is all-powerful. He can do anything and there's nothing in the world that can stop him.

That is why we trust and fear G-d, and G-d alone. He is eternal He has no beginning and no end. He is all-knowing there is no barrier to His knowledge of anything in the world.

If we could imagine a G-d who is powerful, but... part of a team, then none of the above traits could be true.

We couldn't say He's all-powerful, because there would be another G-d - an equal - who also enjoys G-dly power at the expense of "our G-d."
We could no longer say He is eternal, because only a being that is infinite could be eternal, but one of a group of two or three could never be infinite. He couldn't be all-knowing, because His partner might keep secrets.

The concept of more than one G-d, therefore, isn't really a concept of G-d at all, but of a group of competing supermen. The G-d who said "I am the L-rd your G-d..." (Exodus, 20:2) and "Hear, oh Israel, the L-rd G-d, the L-rd is one" (Deut, 6:4) is much more than a superman - he is eternal, infinite and all-knowing.

Going a step further, we can say that imagining a G-d who isn't infinite, eternal and all-knowing is illogical. It just isn't G-d that you're imagining.


Rabbi Boruch Clinton teaches at the Ottawa Torah Institute yeshiva high school and Machon Sarah high school for girls (both in Ottawa, Canada). You may reach him with comments and questions at bclinton@torah.org.

You can now read some of Rabbi Clinton's essays on Torah life at http://www.ncf.ca/~es625/essays

You can also buy his collection of essays on the Book of Shmuel (Samuel) in printed form at www.lulu.com/marbitzmedia

Copyright © 2000 by Rabbi Boruch Clinton and Project Genesis, Inc.

 

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