Given the fact that man, like God, has as his core essence, the realization of his potential, it is an essentially foregone conclusion, written into the very act of creation, that man would eat of the fruit, be banished from Eden, and fulfill the dynamic of the Tree of Knowledge. As such both natural and moral evil would forevermore both plague and challenge mankind. Indeed, the very possibility of man’s fulfilling his potential for good, both on the individual and collective levels, is predicated on the possibility of both natural evil (as a challenge to man’s resources) and moral evil (as a challenge to his freedom).
The closer mankind comes to fulfilling his spiritual, intellectual and other potentials, the closer he comes to fulfilling his purpose on earth via his role as a partner with God in creation. In doing so, however, man must maximize his privacy, independence and freedom. As mankind then moves closer to its own self-actualization, God must, of necessity, retreat further and further into “eclipse.” Mankind has, over the centuries, indeed ascended greatly in knowledge, implicitly demanding greater and greater freedom. For God to intervene directly in human affairs at this late stage in mankind’s development, as he did, for example, for the Jews in Egypt, would reverse the very development of both His and mankind’s essence, and in Birnbaum’s terms, threaten to “unravel the cosmos.”
NY Jewish Review
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