The Duties of the Heart
Gate One. “The Wholehearted Acceptance of the Oneness of G-d”
Chapter Seven (Part II)
Let's continue exploring Ibn Pakudah's classical proofs for the fact that
there's only one G-d and Creator.
The fourth proof touches on the idea that if there were indeed more than one
Creator, then they'd naturally have to have been distinct from each other.
But that implies that there would necessarily be a point at which one would
end and the other begin, which would imply that each was finite and with
boundaries. But since G-d is infinite and without boundaries by definition,
we see that there simply couldn't have been more than one Creator.
The fifth proof is rather non-concrete and recondite (which is also true of
the others to follow). It's based on a definition of "oneness" (rather than
an instance of oneness, like a single apple). And it's rooted in the idea
that all instances of one are offshoots of the abstract concept of oneness.
Everything in this world is a product of the abstract concept behind it. As
such, the very chair I'm sitting on now would never have existed had no one
come up with the original concept of a chair. And the same goes for the desk
you're reading this on, or the glasses you're reading it with-- had no one
conceived of desks or glasses you'd have to make due without them.
The same is true for all instances of one, be it one book, one horse, or one
violin. Based on what we said above it follows that the concept of "oneness"
had to exist beforehand for there to be an instance of a single book, horse,
or violin. (It might be easier to understand it in terms of halves. There'd
never be half a book, horse, or violin had the concept of splitting a whole
one in half not existed. There'd only be whole books, horses, and violins.)
Now, since the idea of "pluralness" implies a combination of single things,
it follows that the concept of "pluralness" had to have come about after the
concept of "oneness". (After all, there had to be single things before there
could be a combination of single things; likewise, the concept of oneness had
to exist before the concept of pluralness.)
As such, if there had in fact been two Creators (a "pluralness" of Creators),
then there had to have been a *single one* before there could be the two of
them, and that single one would have been The Creator Himself. Since He'd
have already existed anyway before the "second" one would have come about.
The sixth proof is based on the fact that "pluralness" itself is merely a
depiction or description of something rather than the thing itself. For just
as we might be *described* as tall, wealthy, serious, etc., that has nothing
to do with our very *selves* so much as with our body and personality, the
same is true in general. A thing's description isn't the thing itself.
So since "pluralness" merely depicts something about the make-up of something
or someone's being, and by virtue of the fact that G-d is above all depiction
(after all, He created depictions, so by definition He can't be said to have
one, as that would put Him on par with His creations), it follows that He
isn't plural. (The legitimate question, "But isn't 'oneness' a description,
too?" will be answered in a later chapter. In short, it's not one.)
And finally the seventh proof comes to this. If there were in fact more than
one Creator, then one of them would have created the world on His own, or the
lot of them would have needed help from one or all. If one of them could have
done it on His own, then the others would have been superfluous, and there'd
only have been one Creator in the first place. Whereas if they needed help,
they wouldn't have been omnipotent, and hence not G-d.
Another point to be made is that if there were indeed more than one Creator,
they'd have disagreed about the criteria for creation, and creation would
thus never have come about. Hence, since the world functions in a cohesive
fashion and its many parts operate in tandem, it follows that there's but One
G-d and Creator.
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