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The Duties of the Heart

Gate One. “The Wholehearted Acceptance of the Oneness of G-d”

Chapter Seven (Part I)

Now that we've proven that the world had to have been created, we move on to prove that there could only have been one Creator. And we'll do that seven different ways, some here and some the next time.

The first proof touches on the idea of causes and effects. Unlike in the past, we won't use Ibn Pakudah's classical illustrations here, for clarity's sake.

It's interesting to note that there are always less causes than effects. And that the further back you go in your consideration of the matter, the fewer causes you find there to be. There are many more newspapers printed than there are printers, for example. And many more printers than producers of printers. As such, there may be 100 companies producing 100,000 printers, which then produce 100,000,000 newspapers.

But we can go further back, too. We can posit that there might only be 10 "parent companies" behind the 100 companies producing printers. We could even presume there to be 5 owners of the 10 parent companies. As such, 5 people would have caused the production of 100,000,000 newspapers. And it's also logical to posit the possibility of just one cause of all those papers-- the idea that a single person had to produce millions of newspapers.

Ibn Pakudah's point is that that's the way of the world as well. For out of the One G-d have come the many, many. Everything is ultimately an effect, a by-product of G-d's will and wishes.

The second proof is based on the make-up of the universe. The fact that so many things which are so fundamentally different from each other nonetheless have so much in common points to there being a profoundly wise Creator behind it all. And to just a single one at that. For if there were more than one Creator, there'd be far too many radically different, utterly contradictory and antagonistic phenomena in creation.

It's also verified by the fact that everything in the universe is enmeshed and intertwined, like parts of a whole, with each part contributing to the whole as if orchestrated to do that by one Mind. "You can see it", Ibn Pakudah points out, "in how the moon and the stars need the light of the sun; how the earth needs the heavens and the seas; how animals need each other; how man needs them all and how they all need him; and how countries and economies, sciences and professions need each other."

The third proof (similar to the second) is based on the following analogous example. If we were to find a hand-written manuscript that was clearly consistent in literary style and handwriting we'd reasonably assume it was written by a single individual. After all, it certainly couldn't have been written by less than one, and we wouldn't have to consider whether or not it was written by more than one, seeing how uniform the handwriting and style were.

We also wouldn't have to see the author with our own eyes to prove he exists. We could depend on our findings alone. In fact, we could even make a number of assumptions about him, based on what we've read of his work. And we could feel safe in assuming that he wrote it on his own, simply because we'd likely have found inconsistencies and contradictions if the work had been written along with others.

Ibn Pakuda's point is that the same can be said about G-d's role in creation. For His "handwriting" and "style" are consistent throughout the world much the same way.

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