Part 3: "The Soul, Inspiration, Prophecy, and the Supernatural"
Chapter 2: "Theurgy"
Make no mistake about it, though -- one can tap into unholy and corrupt
forces through this system just as well, and harm himself and others. Since
it's axiomatic that for every good and holy force in the world there's a
countervailing bad and unholy one (and vice-versa). Ramchal thus takes this
opportunity to go off on a vital and enlightening excursus on the nature
and place of wrong and evil in the world which we'll now offer.
The obvious question underlying this entire subject is, "Why would G-d, who
is all-good and all-merciful, ever allow for wrong and evil?" After all, He
created everything of His own will and volition -- including wrong and
evil. So He must have had His reasons. What are they?
At bottom, it comes to this: wrong and evil have to exist along with right
and good if we're to be free enough have the option to choose one and
reject the other. Otherwise we'd be drones and be no more worthy of
consideration than pebbles and fish. Our task, then, is to undo the wrong
and evil in our hearts and our world after having realized its existence,
and to "establish good, both in ourselves and in the universe as a whole,
for ever and ever" in Ramchal's words.
Though we were created in "the image of G-d", our potential to actualize
wrong and evil sets us apart from Him. Yet, our ability to *reject* that
draws us closer to Him. Thus on one level, wrong and evil could be said to
be "right and good", since they challenge our beings and are capable of
bringing out the best in us when we meet their challenge (much like
adversity challenges someone yet makes him or her stronger when he
transcends it). As such, wrong and evil could be said to be "necessary
evils", if you will.
Of course, though, right and good are superior to wrong and evil, in that
they're rooted in G-d's own eternal perfection while wrong and evil are
merely created and temporal phenomena that will be annihilated once their
Suffice it to say, though, that the ramifications of all this are
extraordinarily broad, wide, and deep, and obviously far beyond the reaches
of this necessarily brief presentation.
This series is dedicated to the memory of Yitzchak Hehrsh ben Daniel,
and Sarah Rivka bas Yaakov Dovid.
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