I mentioned in my post about “Is God good?” that I had a conversation with my friend Daniel. Well, this friend, Daniel Elnecave, has generously agreed to try to share in a few paragraphs what he said to me in an hour-long conversation. I wonder what you guys think of his argument that, in fact, God is good. Thanks Daniel for contributing!
So Yes, Deena is right! Hashem did create the world JUST the way he wanted it to be, and it does seem cruel, that in it he would place these pesky little “people” things that tend to get themselves in trouble (lots of it) … and allow things to get so messy and undeniably uncomfortably painful lonely and sad down here, in our little speck of star dust floating in the mostly-empty vastness of the cold universe…
That being said, the ultimate truth is that beyond all the suffering and injustice experienced in the world there are also moments of joy, love, compassion heroism, growth and passion, moments that if you ask almost any individual they will cherish and hold sacred. So, what I don’t really agree with Deena about is the idea that there is less evidence pointing us towards a GOOD G-D than BAD G-D.
Consider, if you will; An all powerful EVIL DEITY bent on creating a baddie universe for the sole purpose of putting sensitive loving little creatures through endless infinite painful suffering; What would this place look like? Should it have flowers? How about puppies, trees, children, mothers, colours, friendship, love or cotton candy? Maybe flames, giant precipices, sharp edges, then flames again? That’s more like it! If you think about it pain is bad enough on its own, all you need to know when you feel pain is that and that alone, suffering needs no frame of reference. No TRULY EVIL entity needs to create enjoyment at all in order to get anyone to experience pain.
On the other hand, picture a world made by a GOOD G-D, at first glance one might assume the same but opposite creation is applicable to pleasure, right? Wrong! In fact when analyzed in depth, bunnies and puppies and flowers and colours and mothers and brownies are good, but not good enough to provide eternal pleasure (picture eating the same brownie for the rest of eternity*); we can begin to see, that even through our measly limited human experience, life is full of surprises and many of the biggest pleasures in the world come from our ability to overcome challenges within our lives, learning new things and helping to make the world a better place are some of the most satisfying experiences available, and none of these pleasures would be available if the world was perfect to start with
Rav Chaim Lutzzato in Messilas Yesharim (The Path of The Just), teaches that this life is a mere corridor towards the ultimate purpose of creation (eternal bliss and closeness with Hashem in full knowledge of the truth); Jewish tradition, teaches us that our soul comes to earth (by choice) in full awareness of the challenges it will face in order to experience growth and to learn, to act justly in the face of injustice, to be sacred in the face of desecration, and to be holy in a world so seemingly removed form holiness that we may forget our true purpose. The joy derived from overcoming challenges like these cannot be attained through any other means. Now, one can argue that a GOOD G-D might chose this path of action.
*don’t get me wrong I love brownies and puppies as much as the next guy