Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Guest Post by Bob Miller

In many postings on the web, I've seen various ways of understanding the interaction of miracles with "nature and history". I'm beginning to think that the paradoxes associated with this interaction are a subset of the Big Paradox associated with the interaction between HaShem and the created world---that we associate with concepts like "tzimtzum".
Looking at it in this way, I marvel at the many weird solutions people feel they must advance to account for the apparent lack of "evidence on the ground" for past miracles documented in Tanach (e.g., the Mabul) and elsewhere. Because if HaShem, for His own reasons, including the maintenance of our ability to have free choice, conceals himself in varying degrees, why should it be impossible for them to understand that He "covers the tracks" of His miracles in varying degrees?
People often rule out the rapid creation of a fully functioning world, saying that the scientifically observed age of the world (whatever that is, lately) has to be real, because otherwise these observations would be the result of deception! Have they not heard our Sages call this a world of "sheker", while the afterlife is a world of "emes"? What do they suppose that means?
And, just because we are granted enough reliable sensory input and analytical capability to carry out our daily tasks, that doesn't mean we can have a complete model of how the whole world is run.
Looking at the final paragraph of the Shema, I note that our hearts and our eyes should be disregarded if they provide input injurious to our mitzvah observance or faith. I don't think this is limited to lustful thoughts and sights; there is reason to believe this applies also to very rational, scientific thoughts and sights.

We are not cheated of accurate knowledge about HaShem's miracles because of any missing or possibly misleading physical evidence. He gave us the Written and Oral Torah to supply everything we need to know about these events.

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