"The Way of G-d"
Part 1: "The Fundamental Principles of Reality"
Ch. 2: "The Purpose of Creation"
Paragraph 5 (Part 1)
Sad to say, we're often very naive when it comes to the spiritual
underpinnings of the universe. We seem to think that something has to be
seen, smelled, felt, heard, or tasted for it to be real. And while we
certainly acknowledge many invisible things (like ideas, emotions, etc.) and
take them seriously, we nonetheless don't go very much further than that, and
thus miss the mark.
Suffice it to say that most of the universe is invisible, intangible, and
far removed from our personal experience.
We're not just referring to the relatively vast empty spaces between
minuscule molecules that modern physicists acknowledge, which they say make
up the majority of the largely "empty" physical universe. Because those vast
empty spaces are physical too, albeit invisible and intangible.
We're referring instead to the vast invisible and intangible mechanisms by
means of which G-d controls the universe that our sages referred to as the
"spheres", "worlds", "angels", "G-dly traits", etc. which we'll touch upon,
with G-d's help, in the course of our studies.
Just know that there's a teeming, roiling, thrusting, and parrying invisible,
intangible world out there we're utterly unaware of that affects us far more
deeply, far more consequentially than anything in our experience. And that
everything out there in the physical world that teems, roils, thrusts, and
parries is at best metaphoric of what we're talking about.
In fact, most of us know as little about the vast eclectic forces outside of
ourselves as 19th and 20th century mankind knew about the vast eclectic
forces inside us, both on a physically sub-microscopic level, and on an
emotionally "sub-microscopic" level, if you will. Or as little as we know
about the vast eclectic forces of the great seas to this day.
Our point is this, though. Last time we spoke of the fact that we humans
stand center-stage in creation, and that everything else serves to provide us
with an environment in which to achieve the sort of perfection and closeness
to G-d that He expects of us. And we took some pains to explain how that
doesn't demean things lower than ourselves.
But Ramchal introduces a couple of additional point here at the end of this
second chapter, which discusses the purpose of creation, that we’ll touch
The first is that not only do creations of a lower spiritual content and
potential serve our ends-- the sort of invisible, intangible creations of
higher spiritual content we've been talking about also serve our ends!.
As such, we humans stand at the very nexus of a stunning, immeasurably vast
visible and invisible universe. And everything-- inside and out-- is there to
aid us in our task of perfecting ourselves and thus drawing close to G-d.
(A quick aside-- G-d is so unspeakably "vast" and all-encompassing that He
not only surpasses all that, and infinitely so... He utterly ,i>transcends it!
There's a lot to say about that, but this isn't the place for it.)
Ramchal's final point is that in view of the fact that we humans are of such
significance and are capable of drawing close to G-d unlike anything else,
we'd need to know where "control-central" is in our beings-- what we'd need
to foster and use in order to accomplish our goal.
What will do it, we're told, are a developed mind and a laudable character.
Which is to say, acquired wisdom and personal excellence.
And what will prevent it are (dependence upon) materiality and a bad
character. Which is to say, settling for appearances, and personal
We'll return to this point in our next class.
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