Friday, April 27, 2007

Thought Experiment

or The Random Thoughts Currently Bumping around my Head

I once heard somebody asked the classic question 'Can G-d make a rock that He cannot lift?', to which he gave the very interesting answer, "No. G-d can do everything except that He cannot not be G-d." Well, I like the answer insofar as it goes, but it leaves two interesting holes: A) Then there is something G-d can't do and B) then G-d does not really have free will. Which I suppose are not killer questions, because face it, we can't hope to understand even the concept of infinitude, so what do we know?

But here is an alternative train of thought: What if G-d thought of a scenario in which He could be not G-d- not infinite, that is? And what if that thought experiment is the world?

No, really. Listen. For G-d to be truly infinite, He must contain even the possibility of non-infinitude- He must be able to create a situation in which He cannot lift the rock. And from that quality of G-d's infinitude, He can create matter, space, time-crazy ideas really for a Being that is not bound in any of them.

So G-d creates/thinks of (I'm not sure there's a difference for Him) a universe in which He isn't infinite. If that universe is this one, it happens in two ways: 1) He makes a set of rules that He agrees to play by- but these rules probably aren't all that binding and choosing not to do something isn't the same as inability and 2) He creates flakes of Himself that are bound up by finity. By which I mean man.

Thus the universe is simply the forum in which G-d binds Himself up in non-omni-ness. Which would seem to deprive the whole thing of a sense of purpose. Unless- here's where B comes in. G-d in His infinite sense cannot have free will because He just is by virtue of being. And stuff. But G-d given limitations can then have the choice to choose whether or not to be divine. The universe- and specifically man- then becomes a place for man to choose to be divine, and all the rest of it is just thrown in to give man both true free will and a place to wander about being finite without being dead and stuff. A place in which G-d asks "What if I could choose not to be G-d?" and sees what happens.

Okay, it's a little random, and it may very well be stupid and/or heretical. But there you go.


Halfnutcase said...

tobie, it isn't stupid or heretical at all, actually it is a very well rooted idea in our mesorah (at least kabbalisticaly, you may or may not go for such things).

But I guess its kind of like the question of could g-d make another g-d? Well, that would involve a couple of issues, one of them being if g-d could make another g-d, wouldn't that devide the world in to a before when there was one g-d, and then after the one made the other so there where two g-ds, and that forces a concept of before and after (which isnt' relevant to g-d) and a creator and a created, niether of which are relevant to g-d so in the end sum total you end up with several things: g-d himself, two created g-ds, time, and an alternate universe. So can g-d create another g-d? I'm not sure, other than to say yes you'd have to posit that our logic doesn't work at all concerning the issue.

see how that thorny little issue works? This I think is part of why we posit that one cannot know that origional state of unity at all, because once you proceed from basic assumptions all kinds of bizzare changes start happening once you make any other possitions.

Hope I'm not to tangential.

e-kvetcher said...

I do have to say that until I became observant, the term 'heretical' was really not anything I could possibly think of as applying to the world around me. I mean I'd use it if I were talking about Giordano Bruno or maybe Arius...

Tobie said...

hnc- if G-d were to make another G-d and both of them were really G-d, wouldn't they simply be one entity? I mean, in a way, there could be an infinite number of G-d, except that they are all G-d. Or something

Halfnutcase said...

and hence all exactly identical.

Yup, thats scenerio number two. One could probably spend all day contemplating the different possible scenerios, and end up with a million different answers, all fundementaly contradictory and all equaly interesting. it's really hard to avoid a tautology when dealing with that kind of thing, which is one reason why metaphysics (which is what this is) is so hard and there have been no diffinitive theorys independent of anything religious like kabala (which bases it's self on hints in the verses so it is based off something, and therefore helps avoid tautologous statements, but then it's predicated off this understanding of that book, which for us is great since we believe in the torah and it's mesorah, but for others its like totaly not a selling point.)

and of course one of the reasons why I am wary of descarte, plus he has some bizzare presumptions on which he bases his phisophy. Did you know he was also rather lazy and sick as a child? when he went to gymnasium such as it existed in jesuit academies in those days he was accorded the privleges of noble children on account of his doctors requests. Plus he was enough of a coward to refuse to publish his major works untill he was dead and the church couldn't come and burn him at the stake like they did a number of other scientists and philosophers. But he made an excelent coordiante system. :-)

Richard said...

G-d is being. Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh, to me, indicates that all that is is G-d, and G-d is all that is. That is to say, the sum of matter and energy and anything else in the universe is "G-d;" and at the same time, G-d is inside of and enveloping everything. We are each equally G-d, and equally far from (and near to) G-d.

You might enjoy reading certain of R' Aryeh Kaplan's writings.