900.11c Multiple levels of the Divine (pps.119-121)

hard cover page 120

As an infinite entity, God has infinite levels and possible permutations of manifesting His consciousness-and conse-quently of intervening with man. In turn, for man to be truly free and to be in a position to fulfill his great potential, there comes a point where a full manifestation of Divine consciousness in the here-and-now cannot be maintained on a steady basis.

The acceptance of El Moleh Rachamim and Divine omnipotence as tenets of Jewish theology forces us to address the here-and-now aspect of God’s omniscience. For, notwithstanding the need for man’s freedom, God’s mercifulness should force His hand.

It is indeed emotionally abhorrent to imagine a noninterven-ing God of Israel watching His children being used for medical experiments sans anesthesia in the factories of death. In the wake of Auschwitz it is difficult enough to maintain a belief in a nonintervening Deity à la Aristotle’s Unmoved Mover. It is pressing beyond credible limits to posit an active intervening God during the period.489 We reject, as a basis for a Jewish theological structure, a God who operates in a Kafkaesque moral theater. We are forced almost inexorably to address at least the here-and-now aspect of God’s omniscience.

Thus, an omnipotent Deity can indeed have foreknowledge, and here-and-now omniscience. It is, however, due to the Divine exigencies of the cosmos and the Divine plan for it that God contracts God’s consciousness.

Our explication of contraction of here-and-now Divine consciousness as a form of Hester should not be viewed as simply an onloff state. Rather it should be viewed as a range or spectrum. ranging from a high level of real-time conscious state to a totally non-real-time conscious state, with infinite multidimensional variations in between.

Norman Lamm points out that in between the two extremes in the relationship between God and Israel—on the one hand, complete severance of the dialogue between God and Israel

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489 See Paul A. Schilpp and Maurice Friedman, eds. The Philosophy of Martin Buber, p. 32, as cited in Schulweis, Evil and the Morality of God, p. 25. Buber goes on to explain that there is nothing astonishing in the fact that an observant Jew, “when he has to choose between [a merciful, caring] God and the [sometimes seemingly severe] Bible, chooses God: The God whom he believes, Him in whom he can believe.”

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