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In a beginning, when human beings first began to try and make sense of their existence - their thoughts on such things being all jumbled and incoherent, with fear of the un-illuminated upon their psyches, and wisps of understanding dangling just beyond comprehension-human beings said "Let their be abstract thought," and there was abstract thought. Human beings saw that the abstract thought was good, and distanced their abstract thoughts from their fears of the unknown. Human beings called the abstract thought theology, and the un-illuminated they called "things we should try to understand." And there was practical, and there was theoretical, a first step.
It's a chicken or egg question for some. Did G"d precede us and create us, or did we create G"d out of our own necessity for understanding? Of course, it need not be so black and white. We have those who adhere to a sort of "2001: A Space Odyssey" big black monolith concept. This begs the question of whether the power behind the monolith is G"d or some alien race out to seed the universe with intelligence.
Is our intelligence what enabled us to create G"d, or did the intelligence that G"d implanted within give us the ability to sense the divinity in the universe?
Does any of it matter? For biblical fundamentalists, perhaps. For those with the sense to recognize the creation story for the allegory it is, perhaps not.
Is it possible that mere human thought was/is powerful enough to have brought about the creation/existence of G"d? That's a pretty prideful idea. Yet they are plenty of proponents of variations on the old "Power of Positive Thinking" philosophy, which, in more recent times, has been refashioned as the "Law of attraction." By logical extension, if our thoughts are able to influence the universe, then they should be capable of actually creating a G"d.
I'm not sure I can go there (nor am I sure I want to go there.) I need enough mystery in my life to hold open the possibility of some form of Divine force in the universe, but considering what I know of human thought, I certainly wouldn't want a G"d that was/is fashioned on the basis of those thoughts.
Aha-maybe the Torah is actually a cautionary tale for the foolish notion of humans creating G"d with their thoughts. Look, the Torah says - create a G"d btzelem anashim, and you get a G"d that is petulant, inconsistent, vengeful, militaristic, a lousy parent, and so on. The creation story of G"d creating human beings is perhaps tongue-in-cheek? There's a radical interpretation.
Stick that in your pipe and smoke it this Shabbat.
©2010 by Adrian A. Durlester
Some previous musings on this parasha
B'reishit 5770 - One G"d, But Two Trees?
B'reishit 5769 - Do Fences Really Make Good Neighbors
B'reishit 5767-Many Beginnings
Bereshit 5766-Kol D'mei Akhikha
Bereshit 5765 (5760)-Failing to Understand-A Learning Experience
Bereshit 5764-Gd's Regrets
Bereshit 5762--The Essential Ingredient
Bereshit 5763--Striving to be Human
Bereshit 5761--Chava's Faith
Bereshit 5760-Failing to Understand
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