"The Way of G-d"
Part 1: "The Fundamental Principles of Reality"
Ch. 2: "The Purpose of Creation"
People often ask why G-d created a universe in which people suffer.
The assumption is that life should be good. But where would such an
assumption come from? After all, it's easy enough to posit that life should
be bad. Why do we presume otherwise? Apparently because the human heart knows
only too well that G-d is good and is stunned when things seem to contradict
Ramchal (as well as the holy Ari, the Gaon of Vilna, and others) affirms our
assumption that G-d in fact is good. And he adds that He created the world in
order to "bestow good upon others".
Do people suffer? Decidedly so. But that doesn't deny G-d's *ultimate*
goodness. For His ultimate goodness touches upon things far beyond our
material experience, as we'll find.
The logic behind the assertion that G-d created the world in order to bestow
good is as follows.
We know that G-d Himself is good-- after all, He gives altruistically (what's
in it for Him anyway?) and takes nothing in return (what would He need?);
it's axiomatic that good entities do good things; and we know that acts of
goodness have to have their recipients ("benevolence objects", if you will).
It thus follows that G-d-- who is good-- created the universe in order to
"bestow good upon others"-- i.e., He created an atmosphere in which beings
could exist to receive His good.
Ramchal then continues with the point that since G-d is utterly whole, He
would logically be expected to bestow only whole (i.e., utter and complete)
goodness. And what is the "most whole" good G-d could provide us with? The
experience of Himself! Hence, we enjoy G-d's goodness most completely and
most manifestedly when we experience Him.
Such a full and utter experience of G-d Himself is referred to as d'vekus
(clinging on to G-d) in Hebrew, and it's an ongoing theme in Kabbalah,
Mussar, and Chassidic literature.
Perhaps the most cogent illustration of d'vekus is the one found at a
certain point in the Talmud, where the experience is likened to that of two
sticky dates attached to each other. The Talmud's point there seems to be
that what d'vekus is, is an instance of two separate entities "adhesing" on
to each other for a time and becoming one for all intents and purposes
(since it's hard to determine just where one date ends, and the other
remaining two separate entities in truth.
The truth be known, Ramchal speaks elsewhere about what could only be
referred to as "ultimate d'vekus", in the End of Days. But that's not the
subject at hand. His point here is that we can in fact attach ourselves on to
G-d in varying degrees *in this world*. And that while the ability to do that
varies from person to person, each realization of it brings us closer to Him
and allows us to enjoy His true goodness (i.e., Himself).
His underlying point here then seems to be that while we do indeed suffer and
life does undoubtedly seem to be bad at times, we can nonetheless bask in
G-d's actual goodness to degrees on a spiritual, transcendental level by
adhesing on to Him (and thus transcending material pain and suffering) as
best as we can.
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