900.14a Divine Attributes (pps.138-139)
hard cover page 139
then only insofar as attributes are mandated by the Divinemortal interaction.541
In general, when attempting to delineate the Divine, one is on much safer footing positing what the Divine is not, rather than positing what the Divine is.542 To take Maimonides a step further,543 we would add that one is on surer footing positing what God does not always do, rather than positing what God always does. Therefore we posit that the Divine does not always exercise here-and-now omniscience.
Who is like the Lord our God
Who is enthroned on high?
For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
“To whom then will ye liken Me,
that I should be equal?” Saith the Holy One.
Can we conceptualize a Divine of various levels of contracted consciousness? Can we live with a post-churban II God of severely contracted consciousness? While we posit a rational morality of God, should we not posit a more conventional Divine omniscience?
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541 “Do not try to measure the immeasurable with words, nor with the plummet of thought to sound the unfathomable.” Saying of the Buddha, cited in Kaplan, The New World of Philosophy, p. 242. (One might cite this proposition to challenge our entire endeavor; to which we reiterate, that our primary purpose is not to demarcate the Divine, but rather to explore the relationship between the Divine and man.)
542 Maimonides, Guide 58 (Dover ed., p. 81). “Then I will show that we cannot describe the creator except by negative attributes.”
543 See Bleich, With Perfect Faith, p. 109. “It remained for Maimonides to assert the complete denial of all attributes. For Maimonides. all attributes, insofar as they purport to describe God, rather than His effects, involve a plurality. The only attributes which may be ascribed to God are negative ones. They do not tell us what God is, but what He is not.”
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