"The Way of G-d"
Part 1: "The Fundamental Principles of Reality"
Ch. 5: "The Spiritual Realm"
We raised a number of points last time that we’ll be expanding upon now. The
first was that since the transcendent forces are the backdrop behind
everything that happens in the world, both good and bad-- that that would
seem to suggest that they-- and primarily G-d-- are responsible for bad
things happening. Yet we learned earlier on that G-d is All-Good. So how is
We also discussed the point that the transcendent forces, and everything else
that results from them, are either in the favorable and good state of
“repair” or in the unfavorable and bad state of “impairment” all the time.
And that it all depends on whether G-d “shines His light” on them or
“withholds” it. We’ll go on from there.
We come now upon a fine distinction. The distinction, like much of what we’ve
said about the Spiritual Realm in general, will seem to be rather abstruse,
and of no practical usage. We’ll cite a practical bit of insight at the end
that will bring things more “down to earth” (quite literally). But suffice it
to say that knowing something of the backdrop of things helps bolster our
faith in an All-Knowing G-d who has His ways, His reasons, and His plans for
us and this world.
The fine distinction we come upon is this: G-d isn’t the direct cause of bad
in the world so much as its *indirect* cause.
For as we said, bad only comes about when G-d “withholds His light” from the
all-important transcendent forces. So when He withholds His light, G-d only
indirectly causes bad to come about. Since He doesn’t do anything per se to
bring evil into the world. He refrains from doing something-- He doesn’t
“shine His light”-- and evil results. We’ll explain that through an analogy.
Let’s compare G-d’s indirect cause of bad to the workings of the sort of
bumper-cars kids used to ride in theme-parks years ago. Bumper-cars didn’t
have brakes back then. Only accelerators. And they worked in such a way that
when the driver would step on the accelerator the car would go forward of
course; yet when he’d let his foot off of the accelerator, the car would
slow down and eventually stop. As such, the driver himself wouldn’t really
stop the car so much as stop allowing it to go forward.
That’s G-d’s relationship with evil, if you will. There are instances in
which He doesn’t press on the “goodness accelerator” so to speak in this
world and “shine His light”. Instead, He “eases off” of the accelerator those
times, i.e., He “withhold His light”, and thus allows for the “car” of
goodness to stop moving forward and for evil to function.
He did, though, create the root source of and mechanism behind evil which has
its own transcendent forces. They act as evil’s “backdrop”. And that’s the
mechanism behind evil’s ability to play itself out to the degree it has to in
We also find that the more G-d withholds His light, the more the transcendent
forces behind evil hold sway in the world. While the more light He shines,
the more goodness is allowed to hold sway.
It’s important to know, too, that the more these transcendent forces of evil
hold sway, the more harm they do, and the more “impaired” the transcendent
forces of good come to be. And contrarily, the weaker the transcendent
forces of evil are, the stronger the transcendent forces of good become.
So at bottom, as Ramchal put it, “everything therefore depends on the
strengthening of these forces“-- everything, that is, that touches upon good
and evil, growth and decay, perfection and deficiency, etc.
The practical implications of all that for us are that the more good
thoughts, words, and actions we generate, the more we mirror G-d’s shining of
light onto the transcendent forces of goodness. And the more we contribute to
the reparation of the forces as well as of the world at large.
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