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Causality and Efficacy[edit]

It refutes against the arguments that the universe is timeless, or that it came into being through some massive coincidence–or accident.

is created ex nihilo by , if:
  1. causes to exist
  2. does not cause to exist by transforming some other material stuff.
  • creatio ex nihilo ("creation out of nothing")
  • ex nihilo nihil fit ("out of nothing, nothing it becomes")
  • creatio ex materia ("creation out of material" [e.g. primordial matter])
  • creatio ex deo ("creation out of GOD").

The most important classical theories in cosmological and cosmogony philosophy is "Cause and Effect". In causality and efficacy, we discuss the linear relationship between one event to the next subsequent event, by which the subsequent event is understood as a consequence of the initial previous event. It is purely by empirical definition that causality is self-evident in human nature and inside our basic levels of logic, reasoning, and intellect; whereas no one cannot reject: "for every effect, initially there must always be a cause."

The cause is anything that is responsible for any event, change, motion, or action.

The event change, motion, or action that became the result–due to the cause–is known as the effect.

Empirical Premise[edit]

For every event/change/motion—which is the effect—must be subjected to a cause, whether it is the initial cause or the prior cause. Therefore, every effect must be caused by another effect/prior cause, and the earlier effect must in turn be a result of another effect/prior cause, and so on. Further, we conclude that there is an initial cause. The initial cause must be entirely the uncaused cause which primarily causes its contingents to be set into motion, producing changes, and/or establishing the event(s); it is the primary mover (initial cause) which causes the effect (or contingent cause) without itself being subjected to any movement, change, and/or event. This primary mover/initial cause may also be known as the starting point of all causes. The primary mover/initial cause is to be considered by definition as the Uncaused Absolute.

Principles of Cause and Effect[edit]

  1. Prior to Effect: For every cause, there must always be an effect; The cause must be prior to the effect, true either temporally or logically.
  2. Similar to Effect: Every effect is less than the cause; The effect must be similar, or have relationship to its cause.

Laws of Cause and Effect[edit]

  • The initial cause must be an uncaused cause.
  • Only the contingent (dependent, finite), is result of an effect.
  • The cause (initial or contingent) has a determining principle, or sufficient reason that initiates the (subsequent or similar) effect.
  • Effects must be ultimately dependent to their cause to have an 'existing' condition, an actuality.
  • The existing condition of the effect can equate as a different (contingent) cause but not the initial, or prior cause.
  • The initial cause is greater than the effect (or contingent cause); every effect (or contingent cause) is less than the initial/prior cause.
  • The effect (or contingent cause) must be analogically similar to the initial/prior cause.

Theo-Philosophical Arguments[edit]


The first option is that the universe caused itself to exist. Yet this is logically impossible. According to Thomas Aquinas, “There is no case known (nor indeed is it possible) in which a thing is found to be the efficient cause of itself, because in that case it would be prior to itself, which is impossible.”[9] If the universe had a beginning, and it caused itself into existence, then there is an example in cosmological history in which nothing caused something. John Locke wrote, “This being of all absurdities the greatest, to imagine that pure nothing, the perfect negation and absence of all beings, should ever produce any real existence.”[10] To believe that nothing could cause something to exist is unreasonable and illogical.


The second option is that the universe is uncaused. Even without a very close look at this option it seems unlikely. Everything that one can observe within the universe is in submission to the principle of causation. Would not the whole have the same attributes as the parts? Geisler writes, “Either the whole universe is equal to all its parts or else it is more than all its parts. If it is equal to them, then it too needs a cause.”[11] If this is true, then it eliminates the possibility that the universe is a self-caused entity made up of smaller interdependent entities.

One can imagine a system of interdependent entities, without a sustaining cause. However, a simple illustration demonstrates the difficulty of such a proposition. A single playing card taken from a deck of cards cannot stand alone at a forty-five degree angle. It can only do so if it is glued to a surface, or supported by some other object. It is possible that one could lean two cards on each other, facing each other. What was not possible on its own, is now possible as the two lean on each other, causing each other to stand. Each card is contingent on the other card to keep it from falling. Yet, someone had to place those cards into position on a stable surface so that they could stand. Even if a valid argument could be set forth that demonstrated a universe of many contingent parts without a sustaining cause, a universe without a first cause is not possible.[12]

Is it possible that there is something in the whole universe that is greater than the sum of its parts? Geisler writes, The sum of many dependent parts will never equal more than a dependent whole, no matter how big it is. Only if the universe is more than all its effects, can it be uncaused and necessary. But to claim that there is a something more, uncaused and necessary on which everything in the universe is dependent is to claim exactly what the theist means by a Necessary Being on which all contingent beings depend for their existence.[13] The conclusion must be made that the universe cannot be uncaused. Every observable entity within the universe is in submission to the principle of causation. The only way the whole could be uncaused is if it has always existed and is, therefore, infinitely old. This is only possible if an infinite series of causes exists in cosmic history.

Infinite Regress[edit]

The third option is that there is an infinite series of causes. This is a common position for non-theistic scientists and philosophers today. Matter or energy would have existed throughout all of time, without a first cause. Stephen Hawking theorizes that the universe has been forever expanding and contracting. The universe is not singular, but a series of multiple histories.[14] Others, like George Gamow, envision an extremely dense mass that gave birth to specific atoms, either in an explosion like the Big Bang, or gradually over time.[15] Neither of the proposed views gives an adequate explanation of how something could exist forever in history without having a first cause. Both universes have change. Change requires a cause. What set Hawking’s universe in motion for its perpetual expansion and contraction? What caused Gamow’s dense mass to exist? And if it had existed forever, what caused the change within it to begin the expansion? Perhaps these brilliant men lost sight on the logic of causation in all of their mathematical formulas and physical theories.

An infinite regress in time is not possible because one would never arrive at the present. There must have been a first cause to start everything. An infinite series is possible in the abstract, mathematical world. A potential infinite series is also possible in the future. But one will never arrive there, because there would always be more moments to traverse. According to Geisler, “Such a series, however, would not be actually infinite but only potentially infinite. That is, it would never be complete, always being capable of having one more added to the series.”[16] It is not possible for finite matter, limited to time, to traverse an actual infinite series in time. Therefore, it is not possible for matter to exist forever in past history.

Primum Movens[edit]

It has been demonstrated that the universe cannot be self-caused, uncaused, or part of an infinite series of causes. This leaves only one other option—that the universe came into existence as a result of the First Cause. This cause must be a necessary, powerful, eternal being. Aquinas points out that “if there be no first cause among efficient causes, there will be no ultimate, nor any intermediate cause.”[17] Without a first cause there is no ultimate effect. An infinite series of causes obviously has no first cause. Furthermore, if an infinite number of causes exist, one would expect to see an infinite number of effects. However, no one can demonstrate that this is true. In fact, the opposite seems to be the case. Therefore, an infinite regress of causes is logically impossible.


The argument has several forms, the basic first-cause argument runs as follows:

Kalām Cosmology Argument[edit]

دَلِل ألْحُدوث كَلام (dalil al-huduth kalām) The Kalām cosmological argument is a variation of the cosmological argument that argues for the existence of a First Cause for the universe. Its origins can be traced to medieval Jewish, Christian and Muslim thinkers, but most directly to Islamic theologians of the Kalām tradition.[1] Its historic proponents include John Philoponus,[2] Al-Kindi,[3] Saadia Gaon,[4] Al-Ghazali,[5] and St. Bonaventure.[6] A prominent contemporary Western proponent is William Lane Craig.[7]

The basic premise of all of these is that something caused the Universe to begin to exist, and this First Cause must be God. It is also applied by the Spiritist doctrine as the main argument for the existence of God.

The Kalām argument was named after the Kalām tradition of Islamic discursive philosophy through which it was first formulated. In Arabic, the word Kalām means "words, discussion, discourse."

The cosmological argument was first introduced by Aristotle and later refined by Al-Kindi, Al-Ghazali (The Incoherence of the Philosophers), and Ibn Rushd (Averroes).[8] In Western Europe, it was adopted by the Christian theologian and Saint of the Roman Catholic Church, Thomas Aquinas. Another form of this argument is based on the concept of a prime-mover; this Aristotelian form of the argument was also propounded by Averroes. The premise is that every motion must be caused by another motion, and the earlier motion must in turn be a result of another motion and so on. The conclusion thus follows that there must be an initial prime-mover, a mover that could cause motion without any other mover. One of the earliest formations of the Kalām argument comes from Al-Ghazzali, who wrote, "Every being which begins has a cause for its beginning; now the world is a being which begins; therefore, it possesses a cause for its beginning."[1]

Two kinds of Islamic perspectives may be considered with regard to the cosmological argument. A positive Aristotelian response strongly supporting the argument and a negative response which is quite critical of it. Among the Aristotelian thinkers are Al-Kindi, and Averroes. In contrast Al-Ghazzali and Muhammad Iqbal[9] may be seen as being in opposition to this sort of an argument.

  1. Everything that has a beginning has a cause.
  2. The universe has a beginning.
  3. The universe must have a cause.
  4. The cause must be prior to the effect.

The Kalām cosmological argument:[10] Everything that has a beginning of its existence has a cause of its existence;

  • The universe has a beginning of its existence;


  • The universe has a cause of its existence.

Conceptual analysis of what it means to be the cause of the universe then aims to establish some of the theologically significant properties of this being.


Every event must have a cause, and each cause must in turn have its own cause, and so forth. Hence, there must either be an infinite regress of causes or there must be a starting point or first cause. Al-Kindi (as Aristotle) rejected the notion of an infinite regress and insisted that there must be a first cause, and the first cause must be God.

Another form of this argument is based on the concept of a prime-mover (This is the Aristotelian form of the argument also propounded by Averroes). The premise is that: every motion must be caused by another motion, and the earlier motion must in turn be a result of another motion and so on. The conclusion thus follows that there must be an initial prime-mover, a mover that could cause motion without any other mover.

It is possible to prove God’s existence by understanding the concept of being as being and building on first principles of knowledge. “From the principle of causality or finality we can conclude to the existence of God; from principles of negation and eminence, we can conclude to the simplicity and eternity of God; from the principle of causality and analogy, we can conclude to the fact that God has intellect, a will, and so forth.”[1] Natural theology can give certain and necessary knowledge of God because it is built on certain undeniable first principle of knowledge. There are several philosophical arguments that have been around for many centuries regarding the existence of God. Of these, the cosmological argument is considered by many proponents of theism as the most important. The cosmological argument is often divided into two separate presentations—the horizontal or kalam cosmological argument and the vertical cosmological argument. The difference is made in whether one is arguing how the universe came to be (kalam), or how the universe continues to be (verticle). Though several forms of the argument do overlap, for the purpose of this paper, the kalam cosmological argument will be presented in a form similar to that of Saint Thomas Aquinas’ argument from efficient causality.

There are two Islamic perspectives with regard to the cosmological argument. A positive Aristotelian response strongly supporting the argument with thinkers such as Al-Kindi, and Averroes. And a negative response which is quite critical of it with thinkers such as Al-Ghazzali and Iqbal which may be seen as being in opposition to this sort of an argument.

Al-Kindi is one of the many major and first Islamic philosophers who attempt to introduce an argument for the existence of God based upon purely empirical premises. In fact, his chief contribution is the cosmological argument (dalil al-huduth) for the existence of God, in his On First Philosophy.[11]

He presents four different versions of this argument, all are variation of the cosmological argument which require a cause.

The first argument revolves around the principle of determination (tarjjih), that is prior to the existence of the universe it was equally likely for it to exist or not to exist. The fact that it exists implies that it required a determining principle which would cause its existence to prevail over non-existence. This principle of determination is God.[12]

This is similar to Leibniz’s principle of sufficient reason[13][14] Leibniz argues that everything in the world is contingent that it may or may not have existed. Something will not exist unless there is a reason for its existence. This rests on his premise that the actual world is the best possible world, as such we can account for everything in it as being there for a specific reason. But the universe as a whole, requires a further reason for existence, and that reason for Leibniz is God.

A second argument of his draws its inspiration from Islamic and Aristotelian sciences. He argues that only God is indivisible, and everything other than God is in some way composite or multiple. Kindi describes his concept of God, he has no matter, no form, no quantity, no quality, no relation; nor is He qualified by any of the remaining categories (al-maqulat). He has no genus, no differentia, no species, no proprium, no accident. He is immutable… He is, therefore, absolute oneness, nothing but oneness (wahdah). Everything else must be multiple.[15]

This for Kindi was a crucial distinction upon which he rested some of his main arguments for God’s existence. In Kindi’s theory only God’s oneness is necessary whereas that of all others is contingent upon God. Hence all other beings single or multiple must emanate from the ultimate essential being. In addition this first being must be uncaused, since it is the cause of everything else.[16]

The material world cannot exist ad infinitum because of the impossibility of an actual infinite (a concept borrowed from Aristotle). The material world can also not be "eo ipso" eternal, because of the impossibility of an infinite duration of time, since the existence of time is contingent upon the existence of bodies and motion, which have been shown to be finite. As such the world requires a creator, or rather a generator (mudhith) in Kindi’s scheme, who could generate the world ex nihilo.[17]

The third and fourth arguments he presents are similar versions of the first cause argument, and hence are subject to the same criticisms that apply to any cosmological argument. These criticisms come not only from Western scholars but also Islamic ones. Al-Ghazzali is unconvinced by the first-cause arguments of Kindi. In response to them he writes: "According to the hypothesis under consideration, it has been established that all the beings in the world have a cause. Now, let the cause itself have a cause, and the cause of the cause have yet another cause, and so on ad infinitum. It does not behove you to say that an infinite regress of causes is impossible." [18]

Ghazzali thought that it is at least theoretically possible for there to be an infinite regress, and that there is nothing that necessitates a first-cause simply by pure deductive reason. He thus undermines one of the essential premises of the first-cause argument.

Al-Kindi's argument has been taken up by some contemporary Western philosophers and dubbed the Kalam Cosmological Argument. Among its chief proponents today is Dr. William Craig.[19] It proposes to show (contrary to what Ghazzali thought) that the universe must have necessarily had a beginning. A contrast is drawn between two concepts, the “potential infinite” and an “actual infinite.”

Contemporary argument[edit]

William Lane Craig has formulated the argument as follows:[1]

  • Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
  • The universe began to exist.
  • Therefore, the universe has a cause.

With two sub-sets of arguments.

The first sub-set of arguments:

Argument based on the impossibility of an actual infinite:

  1. An actual infinite cannot exist.
  2. An infinite temporal regress of events is an actual infinite.
  3. Therefore, an infinite temporal regress of events cannot exist.

The second sub-set of arguments:

Argument based on the impossibility of the formation of an actual infinite by successive addition:

  1. A collection formed by successive addition cannot be an actual infinite.
  2. The temporal series of past events is a collection formed by successive addition.
  3. Therefore, the temporal series of past events cannot be actually infinite.


Craig argues that the first premise is supported most strongly by intuition, but also by experience. He asserts that it is "intuitively obvious," based on the "metaphysical intuition that something cannot come into being from nothing,"[2] and doubts that anyone could sincerely deny it.[1] Additionally, he claims it is affirmed by interaction with the physical world. If it were false, he states, it would be impossible to explain why things do not pop into existence uncaused.[2]

The second premise is often supported by philosophical arguments and scientific verification for the finitude of the past.[3] Craig claims that the number of past events cannot be infinite, meaning that the universe must be finite and therefore must have begun to exist. He also cites the Big Bang theory as evidence for the second premise. Craig interprets the Big Bang as the temporal beginning of the universe, and discounts the Cyclic model, vacuum fluctuation models, and the Hartle-Hawking state model which suggest otherwise.[4]

The argument concludes, often through a process of elimination, that the cause of the universe must be a personal, uncaused, beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, enormously powerful, and enormously intelligent being,[5] which is God.



Abstract: William Lane Craig claims that the doctrine of creation ex nihilo is strongly supported by the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe. In the present paper, I critically examine Craig’s arguments for this claim. I conclude that they are unsuccessful, and that the Big Bang theory provides no support for the doctrine of creation ex nihilo. Even if it is granted that the universe had a “first cause,” there is no reason to think that this cause created the universe out of nothing. As far as the Big Bang theory is concerned, the cause of the universe might have been what Adolf Grünbaum has called a “transformative cause”—a cause that shaped something that was “already there.”

When God began to create the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a mighty wind swept over the face of the waters. Genesis 1:1–2

We are got into fairy land, long ere we have reached the last steps of our theory; and there we have no reason to trust our common methods of argument, or to think that our usual analogies and probabilities have any authority. Our line is too short to fathom such immense abysses.

As Adolf Grünbaum has pointed out, many familiar causes are “transformative” in character. When a person makes something, he makes it out of something.1 He transforms a pre-existent material into something else (the effect). The carpenter cuts the wood and fits it together so as to make a house, the potter shapes and bakes his clay so as to make a pot, and so on.

Genesis 1 can be read as saying that God did something of this sort with the “formless void”—shaping it in a step-by-step process that led to sky and earth and sea. But according to the traditional Christian interpretation, this is not the whole story. If there was a First Stuff (a “formless void,” perhaps) out of which God made the universe, then he must have made that too. And inasmuch as it is the First Stuff, he did not make it out of any other stuff. He created it ex nihilo.

The traditional Christian doctrine of creation has often been stated in Aristotelian terms: God is the efficient cause of the universe. No doubt God had something definite in mind when he created (the formal cause), and no doubt he had his reasons for creating (the final cause)—but there was no material cause—no “stuff” that God worked with in the very first act of creation.

But we don’t need Aristotle’s Four Causes to explain what is meant by creation ex nihilo. For present purposes I shall adopt the following definition:

x is created ex nihilo by y if and only if i) y causes x to exist, and ii) y does not cause x to exist by transforming some other material stuff.2

For convenience and stylistic variation, I shall continue to use the Aristotelian expression, “material cause,” to refer to whatever underlying material stuff is altered by a “transformative cause.”

Now suppose, for the sake of argument, that the universe was caused to exist by a very powerful person. Why isn’t this person a “transformative cause?” Why not suppose that there is a material cause? Why do Christians insist that God must have created the universe ex nihilo?

Although there is little scriptural support for this traditional doctrine,3 there are obvious theological motives. Philosophically minded Christians have long held God to be, not just the greatest being who happens to exist, but the Greatest Conceivable Being. A God who could not create without shaping a pre-existent material stuff would be limited by the nature of that stuff—he could create only what his stock of materials permits. Such a God would not be the Greatest Conceivable Being since one can consistently conceive of a God whose power is not limited in this way.

In recent years, however, some Christian philosophers have suggested that purely scientific and philosophical considerations show that the universe was not made out of anything. William Lane Craig, in particular, has argued that creation ex nihilo is strongly supported by the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe. Craig gives at least two different arguments for this conclusion. The first depends on the supposed “infinite density” of the initial singularity, the second on the claim that there was no time prior to the initial singularity.

Grünbaum, on the other hand, has forcefully argued that creation ex nihilo does not follow from any reasonable interpretation of the claim that the universe has a cause. Causes of the sort that are acknowledged in everyday experience and in scientific explanations either do not involve conscious agency, or, if they do, they also involve the transformation of some pre-existing material. In neither case do we have the sort of cause envisaged by classical theism. So even if one were to grant the premise that everything (including the beginning of the universe) has a cause, it would not follow that the universe was created ex nihilo.4

In the present paper, I shall show that neither of Craig’s “Big Bang” arguments is successful in refuting Grünbaum’s contention, or in establishing a link between the Big Bang theory and creation ex nihilo. Even if it is granted that the universe was created by a very powerful person, the Big Bang theory provides no support for the further claim that this person created the universe out of nothing. As far as the Big Bang theory is concerned, the creation of the universe might have consisted in the transformation of something else. And even if God is the cause of the Big Bang, his first creative act might have consisted in the shaping of something that he did not create.

The First Argument[edit]

In an article with the title, “Philosophical and Scientific Pointers to Creation ex Nihilo,” Craig argues that the Big Bang theory entails creation ex nihilo. The “staggering implication” of what is known about the expansion of the universe, he says, is that “at some point in the past, the entire known universe was contracted down to a single point. . . .”5 As we go back in time, we reach “a point at which . . . the universe was ‘shrunk down to nothing at all.’” And this, Craig insists, shows that the universe was created out of nothing.

This event that marked the beginning of the universe becomes all the more amazing when one reflects on the fact that a state of “infinite density” is synonymous with “nothing.” There can be no object that possesses infinite density, for if it had any size at all, it would not be infinitely dense. . . . Thus, what the Big Bang model requires is that the universe had a beginning and was created out of nothing.6

The argument can be conveniently outlined as follows:

1. According to the Big Bang theory, the universe “began with a great explosion from a state of infinite density.”7

2. “There can be no object” having “infinite density.”

3. So, “‘infinite density’ is synonymous with ‘nothing.’”

4. Therefore, the Big Bang theory “requires” that “the universe had a beginning and was created out of nothing.”

This argument of Craig’s need not detain us for long. There are at least three quite obvious—and decisive—objections to it.

(i) In the first place, “infinite density” is not synonymous with “nothing,” and the “initial singularity” that figures in Craig’s statement of the Big Bang theory8 is not simply nothing at all. A mere nothing could not begin expanding, as the infinitely dense “point universe”9 is supposed to have done. And even if it lacks spatial and temporal spread, the initial singularity would have other properties—for example, that of “being a point.” It would therefore be a quite remarkable something, and not a mere nothing. So, step 3 is obviously false.

(ii) In the second place, (3) does not follow from (2). No one would suppose that it follows from the fact that there can be no round squares, that “round square” is synonymous with “nothing.” But neither should anyone suppose it follows from the fact (assuming it is a fact) that there can be no infinitely dense objects, that “infinite density” is synonymous with “nothing.”

(iii) Something interesting does follow from (2), however. If no object can have infinite density, then the universe was never in a state of infinite density, and the interpretation of the Big Bang that figures in step 1 of the argument is false. It seems, then, that Craig must either scrap this way of describing what the Big Bang theory says, or else relax his strictures against infinite density. Either way, this particular argument for creation ex nihilo is unsound.

Nowadays, few Big Bang theorists would say that there ever was a “point universe” or a “state of infinite density.”10 It is true that on the standard Big Bang model, the “geometry” of the continuing expansion is such that, as we trace its history backwards in time, the diameter of the universe continually decreases—gradually approaching a limit of zero. But having a diameter of zero can be thought of as an ideal limit, rather than as the state of anything that once actually existed.

As we approach this limit, however, we have no theory that enables us to draw reliable inferences about the behavior of the universe. It is well known that general relativity breaks down prior to 10-43 seconds (or “Planck time,” as it is called), and that quantum effects then become significant. What is needed is a theory that somehow “incorporates the principles of both general relativity and quantum theory.”11 Until such a theory emerges, all claims about the earliest stage in the history of the universe remain in the category of sheer speculation.12 The Second Argument

In “The Ultimate Question of Origins: God and the Beginning of the Universe,” Craig explains the relation between creation ex nihilo and the Big Bang theory in a rather different way.

The standard Big Bang model . . . describes a universe which is not eternal in the past, but which came into being a finite time ago. Moreover—and this deserves underscoring—the origin it posits is an absolute origin ex nihilo. For not only all matter and energy, but space and time themselves come into being at the initial cosmic singularity. . . . On such a model the universe originates ex nihilo in the sense that at the initial singularity it is true that There is no earlier space-time point or it is false that Something existed prior to the singularity.13

In this passage, Craig does not equate the “initial cosmic singularity” with “nothing.” What he says instead is that nothing preceded the initial singularity in time, and this is supposed to show that it came into existence ex nihilo. If it was created—and Craig, of course, believes he can show that it was created by a timeless person—then it must have been created out of nothing. In that case, it has an efficient, but not a material, cause. The Creator did not make the initial singularity by transforming a pre-existent material stuff. He couldn’t have, since there was no time prior to creation.

This argument can be conveniently summarized as follows:

5. The initial singularity exists at the earliest point of space-time.

6. There is no time prior to the earliest point in space-time.

7. Therefore, there was nothing temporally prior to the initial singularity.

8. So, the initial singularity must have come into existence out of nothing.

9. If, therefore, the initial singularity was created, it must have been created out of nothing.

There are at least two problems with this argument. The first is that the Big Bang theory does not entail the truth of premise 6. Even it is granted that the space-time of our universe begins at (or shortly “after”) the initial singularity, it does not follow that time begins then.

To see this, suppose that God created the initial singularity, but that he did a lot of other things first. Maybe he created other universes (with their own “space-times”)—or perhaps he just thought things over for a while prior to creating the universe. As Craig himself has suggested in one of his responses to Grünbaum, God might have “counted up” to creation.

. . . [S]uppose that God led up to creation by counting, “1, 2, 3, . . ., fiat lux!” In that case the series of mental events alone is sufficient to establish a temporal succession prior to the commencement of physical time at t = 0. There would be a sort of metaphysical time based on the succession of contents of consciousness in God's mind prior to the inception of physical time. Thus, it is meaningful to speak both of the cause of the Big Bang and of the beginning of the universe.14

In view of the way Craig characterizes the Big Bang theory, perhaps the “count” in his thought experiment should go like this: “1, 2, 3, . . ., Let there be an infinitely dense particle!”15 Space-time begins when (or shortly after) God says, “Let there be an infinitely dense particle!” In this imaginary scenario, the creation of space-time takes place within a more fundamental kind of time—a kind of time that is perfectly conceivable independently of the existence of our universe. Craig refers to it as “metaphysical time.”

What is the nature of metaphysical time? According to Craig, it is tensed, dynamic, and non-relative. There is an ever changing fact of the matter about which events are future, which present, and which past. Future events become present, present events become past, and past events sink further and further into the past.

We have just seen that a temporal series of purely mental events, coming into existence and passing away in metaphysical time prior to the beginning of the universe, is possible. But there also does not seem to be any a priori bar to the possibility of a temporal series of non-mental events occurring prior to the beginning of our space-time. If he had wished to do so, God could have created a whole series of universes, each with its own history and its own special laws, prior to creating ours.

Craig, of course, thinks that any such temporal series must have a beginning. He offers a pair of well-known (and controversial) a priori arguments against the possibility of a beginningless series of events, and he also argues that the ultimate cause of the very first event in metaphysical time must be a timeless person. I will not reproduce or challenge any of these arguments here.16 I shall assume, for the sake of argument, that metaphysical time has a beginning. What is important in the context of this paper is that such a beginning need not coincide with the beginning of space-time.

If, as Craig explicitly acknowledges, God could have created metaphysical time long before creating the space-time of our universe, it follows that there could have been something temporally prior to the earliest point in space-time (t = 0), and premise 6 of Craig’s argument for creation ex nihilo would then be false. Premise 6 may be true anyway—metaphysical time and space-time could have begun together. But since the Big Bang theory says nothing about metaphysical time, Craig cannot consistently appeal to that theory to show that this is so.

If this were the only thing wrong with Craig’s argument, it might seem easy enough for him to produce an argument for the same conclusion without relying on the disputed premise 6. If, as Craig holds, metaphysical time must have a beginning, then whenever that beginning occurs—whether before or at t=0—there is no time prior to it. And in either case, I believe Craig would say that something comes into existence out of nothing.

It is only fair to point out, however, that the Big Bang theory would contribute nothing to such an argument. More importantly, perhaps, the revised argument would not establish that the universe (or any part thereof) was created ex nihilo, but only that something or other was. Even if Craig’s a priori arguments against the possibility of an infinite past were successful, they would not enable him to show that the heavens and the earth were created out of nothing.

Leaving this point aside, let us ask how Craig’s argument fares if it is assumed that the first moment of metaphysical time coincides with t=0 in space-time. It seems to me that this still doesn’t give us “origination ex nihilo.” What follows from step 7 of the argument is only that the universe didn’t emerge from something that existed at a time earlier than t=0—not that it wasn’t made out of anything at all. To get from (7) to (8), we need an additional premise:

71/2. If there was nothing temporally prior to the initial singularity, then it must have come into existence out of nothing.

Unfortunately, it is not at all clear that (71/2) is true. Even if we accept Craig’s contention that the universe was caused by a timeless and personal God, why should we join him in supposing that God is the only being who exists outside time? Why could there not also have been a timeless “stuff” out of which God “formed” the universe? If God had created the singularity out of something timeless, then it would not have come out of nothing even though there was nothing temporally prior to it, and (71/2) would be false. It seems, then, that the beginning of the universe could have had a material cause even if there is no time prior to the beginning of the universe

I believe the reason Craig doesn’t take this possibility into account is that he equates the possibility of a material cause of the universe with the possibility that matter/energy plays a certain role in creation. Assuming that matter/energy is itself created, it can hardly be among the causes of creation. And since matter/energy has temporal duration, it also follows that the material cause (if any) of the universe cannot be timeless.

That this is how Craig thinks about the possibility of a material cause of the universe can be seen in his recent discussion of “vacuum fluctuation” models of the origin of the universe.

Still, insofar as vacuum fluctuation models render it plausible that the universe lacks a material cause, they are of service to theism. . . . There is no reason that the theist could not explain creation ex nihilo by saying that the sum total of the matter/energy in the universe is zero and thus God in creating the universe required no material substratum.17

Craig here assumes that matter/energy is the only possible “material substratum” for creation. If, prior to the Big Bang, the sum total of matter/energy were zero (as Craig apparently believes is postulated by a vacuum fluctuation model of creation18), Craig thinks this would support his claim that the universe was created out of nothing. And since, as he has also argued, matter/energy is never “quiescent,”19 it also follows that there could not be a timeless material cause.

But why suppose that matter/energy is the only possible “stuff” out of which God might have made the universe? It’s true that we don’t seem to be acquainted with any timeless “stuffs” that could have played this role. But we don’t encounter any timeless persons either, and Craig has no trouble with that idea. Indeed, he thinks that the need for an efficient cause of the beginning of the whole temporal order forces him to postulate one. So why should there not also have been a timeless material “stuff” for God to work with?

Craig has claimed that it is obvious—so obvious that no honest and rational person could fail to agree—that nothing can begin to exist without a cause.20 But as far as I can see, the need for a material cause is exactly on a par with the need for an efficient cause. To see this, consider the following “stories” that might be offered to explain the coming into existence of a house.

Story 1. There was no lumber, no nails, no bricks, no mortar, no building materials of any kind. But there was a builder. One day, the builder said, “Five, four, three, two, one, Let there be a house!” And there was a house.

Story 2. There was no builder, but there were lumber, nails, bricks, mortar, and other necessary building materials. One day, these materials spontaneously organized themselves into the shape of a house.

I do not see that Story 1 is in any way superior to Story 2. Both stories are incompatible with our experience of the way the world works. Both are deeply counter-intuitive. The fact is that a house needs both an efficient and a material cause.

Admittedly, the universe is not a house. But as far as I can see, the universe is at least as much (or as little) in need of a material as of an efficient cause. Let us suppose, then, that Craig is right in thinking that the causes (if any) of the universe would have to be timeless. And let us suppose further that he is right in thinking that—although we have never encountered a timeless person—we must postulate one as the efficient cause of the universe. Why, then, would it not be equally appropriate to postulate a timeless material cause?

I do not have a candidate for the timeless material cause of the universe. The only “stuffs” with which we are familiar are this-worldly materials, all of which exist in time. But it is equally true that the only persons with which we are familiar are this-worldly persons, and all of them exist in time. My question, then, seems perfectly reasonable. If we follow Craig in postulating a timeless person as the efficient cause of the whole natural order, why should we not also postulate a timeless “stuff” as the material cause of the universe?

It might occur to someone to object that the material cause of the universe couldn’t be timeless because it is a part or an aspect of the universe, and because every such part or aspect is temporal. The material cause of the universe (if there were one) wouldn’t just disappear after creation. It would remain within the physical universe—as the stuff of which it continues to be “made.” If there were a material cause of the universe, it would necessarily have temporal duration.

Perhaps. But even if this is so, it is not an adequate defense of Craig’s position. For it fails to demonstrate a clear difference with respect to temporality between a timeless efficient cause and a timeless material cause. Craig, it will be recalled, holds that the efficient cause of the universe is timeless only sans the universe. When God created the universe, Craig thinks that he also placed himself within time. Assuming that this makes sense, we may ask why God could not also have placed a timeless material cause within time (and the universe). The “stuff” of which the universe is made would then be timeless sans the universe. But when he created a universe with a beginning in time, we may suppose that God put this same “stuff” into time. At the point of creation, so to speak, both the material and the efficient cause of the universe enter time.

I hasten to assure the reader that my purpose here is not to recommend such a doctrine of creation. I claim only that, given what is known about the Big Bang, creation out of an unknown timeless stuff is not less likely than creation by an equally unknown timeless person.

When I say that creation out of some timeless stuff is not less likely than creation ex nihilo, I do not mean to suggest that either possibility is especially likely. My own humble and admittedly non-expert view is that since almost everything connected with the Big Bang theory is highly speculative, it would be a grave mistake to draw from it any firm conclusions about the cause(s) of the Big Bang. Deriving any conclusion from the Big Bang theory about the truth or falsity of classical theism is premature at best.

But this is not all. Those who support Craig’s argument believe that the universe requires an efficient cause, but that it is not, and does not need to be, made out of anything. I believe my argument shows that this position is not sustainable. Either our commonsense intuitions about ordinary intra-mundane cases of causation can reasonably be applied to the beginning of the universe, or they cannot be. If they can be, then creation out of some uncreated “stuff” may actually be quite a lot more likely than creation ex nihilo! In our experience of the world, after all, the making of enduring things always involves the transformation of some pre-existent material.21 So, if commonsense intuitions are to be relied upon here, creation ex nihilo is out. If, on the other hand, our commonsense intuitions about causation cannot reasonably be applied to the beginning of the universe,22 then our epistemic situation does not allow us to draw any conclusion whatever about the existence or nature of a first cause. Either way, Craig’s Big Bang argument for creation ex nihilo lacks cogency.

A wise philosopher once said,

Though the chain of arguments . . . were ever so logical, there must arise a strong suspicion, if not an absolute assurance, that it has carried us quite beyond the reach of our faculties, when it leads to conclusions so extraordinary, and so remote from common life and experience. We are got into fairy land, long ere we have reached the last steps of our theory; and there we have no reason to trust our common methods of argument, or to think that our usual analogies and probabilities have any authority. Our line is too short to fathom such abysses.23

Hume’s target in this remarkable passage was Malebranche’s claim that God is “the sole and immediate cause of every event which appears in nature.” But I think these eloquent words are well adapted to the present context as well. They provide a quite accurate description our epistemic situation with respect to creation ex nihilo and the Big Bang theory. Here too, I think some philosophers have gotten themselves pretty far into “fairy land.” Here too, “our common methods of argument” fail to settle all the hard questions we are capable of asking.

In the last analysis, we simply do not have enough to go on to say what the causes (efficient or material) of the beginning of the universe are likely to be. Certainly, the Big Bang theory does not settle the issue in favor of creation ex nihilo. Even if time and the universe began together, they may, for all we can tell, have been created by an unknown efficient cause out of an equally unknown material “stuff.” The best course may well be to suspend judgment about all of these bizarre possibilities.24

University of Colorado, Boulder


1. Adolf Grünbaum, “The Pseudo-Problem of Creation in Physical Cosmology,” Philosophy of Science vol. 56, no. 3 (1989): 373–394. See also Grünbaum, “Creation as a Pseudo-Explanation in Current Physical Cosmology,” Erkenntnis 35: 233–254.

2. When I use the expression “material cause” below, I am referring to an underlying “stuff” that is affected by a “transformative cause” in Grünbaum’s sense of that expression.

3. The claim that God created out of nothing is not well supported by Genesis 1. Readings of verse 1 range from “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth . . .” to “When God began to create the heavens and the earth . . .” Neither reading entails creation ex nihilo. Both are consistent with the view that God made the heavens and the earth out of something that was already there when God “began to create,” and the second reading is at least consistent with the view that the “formless void” was the stuff out of which God made the earth. The only unambiguous biblical assertion that God created out of nothing occurs in 2 Maccabees 7:18. (Maccabees is accepted as scripture by Roman Catholics, but not by Protestants.)

4. In “The Pseudo-Problem of Creation in Physical Cosmology.”

5. William Lane Craig, “Philosophical and Scientific Pointers to Creation ex Nihilo,” in Contemporary Perspectives on Religious Epistemology, ed. R. Douglas Geivett and Brendan Sweetman (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), 191.

6. “Philosophical and Scientific Pointers,” 192. Craig repeats this argument almost verbatim in Theism, Atheism, and Big Bang Cosmology (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), 43–44.

7. “Philosophical and Scientific Pointers,” 192.

8. Craig refers to it as the “Standard Big Bang Model.” See “The Ultimate Question of Origins: God and the Beginning of the Universe,” Astrophysics and Space Science 269–270 (1999): 723–740.

9. This phrase is used by “four prominent astronomers” whom Craig approvingly quotes in “Philosophical and Scientific Pointers” and in Theism, Atheism, and Big Bang Cosmology (43). Writing in Scientific American (March 1976), J. Richard Gott III, James E. Gunn, David N. Schramm, and Beatrice M. Tinsley say this: “The universe began from a state of infinite density about one Hubble time ago. . . . The point universe was not an object isolated in space; it was the entire universe . . .” (65, my italics).

10. Even those who believe there was an initial singularity do not hold that it possessed infinite density. They suppose instead that the singularity had no density, since it had zero volume. For a helpful explanation, see Milton K. Munitz, Cosmic Understanding (Princeton University Press: Princeton, NJ, 1990), 111.

11. R.M. Wald, Space, Time, and Gravity: The Theory of the Big Bang and Black Holes (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1977), 53.

12. Ohio State astronomer Barbara Ryden puts the the point quite bluntly: “Frankly, we are clueless about how matter behaves at higher temperatures and densities. Our experience is all with densities which are much lower by comparison. A naïve extrapolation tells us that when the universe was 0 seconds old, it had infinite density and temperature, but again, our knowledge of what happens in the extremely early universe is pure speculation.” See:

13. Craig, “The Ultimate Question of Origins.”

14. William Lane Craig, “The Origin and Creation of the Universe: A Response to Adolf Grünbaum,” British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 43 (1992): 233–240.

15. Craig sees this as a “knockdown argument” for the conclusion that “time as it plays a role in physics is at best a measure of time rather than constitutive or definitive of time.” See William Lane Craig, “Design and the Cosmological Argument,” in Mere Creation: Science, Faith and Intelligent Design, ed. William A. Dembski (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1998), 350–1.

16. Though I have done so elsewhere. See “Must the Past Have a Beginning?” Philo vol. 2, no. 1(1999): 5–19. See also “Craig on the Actual Infinite,” Religious Studies (forthcoming).

17. William Lane Craig, “Design and the Cosmological Argument,” in Dembski, Mere Creation, 345–6.

18. I cannot vouch for the accuracy of Craig’s understanding of the vacuum fluctuation model.

19. William Lane Craig, “The Kalam Cosmological Argument and the Hypothesis of a Quiescent Universe,” Faith and Philosophy 8, no. 1 (1991): 104–108.

20. I have argued elsewhere that, when applied to a “beginning” prior to which there is no time, this principle is not obviously true. See “Must the Beginning of the Universe Have a Personal Cause? A Critical Examination of the Kalam Cosmological Argument,” Faith and Philosophy 17, no. 2 (2000): 149–169.

21. Any exception to this rule would surely be regarded as a miracle. If there were strong empirical evidence of miracles of this sort, that would boost the prior probability of creation ex nihilo. But even if they were well evidenced, the standard Christian miracles are not of this sort. Jesus turns water to wine. He makes the sea “be still.” He raises Lazarus from the dead. And so on.

22. This is my own position, which I have developed in “Must the Beginning of the Universe Have a Personal Cause?” Craig’s reply to this paper, “Must The Beginning Of The Universe Have A Personal Cause?: A Rejoinder,” as well as my response to Craig, “Causes and Beginnings in the Kalam Argument: Reply to Craig,” are also forthcoming in Faith and Philosophy.

23. David Hume, Enquiry Concerning the Human Understanding, section vii, part i.

24. I would like to thank the editor of Philo for his insightful comments and judicious advice. I would also like to thank Eric Vogelstein for straightening me out on several things.

Welcome to Philo Online

Only GOD سبحانه و تعالى is indivisible, and everything other than GOD سبحانه و تعالى is in some way composite or multiple. GOD سبحانه و تعالى has no matter, no quantity, no quality, no form, no relation; nor is GOD qualified by any of the remaining categories. "He has no genus, no differentia, no species, no proprium, no accident. He is immutable… He is, therefore, absolute oneness, nothing but oneness (wahdah). Everything else must be multiple."[7]

Thus in order that something may exist, substance must exist. But nothing can exist merely as a substance; it must have accidental forms (a‘rad).

For instance,
1)A cat cannot exist unless it has some colour, while it cannot have colour unless it has quantity or some kind of magnitude. At once, then we have the first three categories: substance, quality and quantity, which are the intrinsic determinations of all objects.
2)The cat is equal or unequal in size to other substances; in other words, it stands in some relation to other objects.
3) The cat must exist at a certain period of time and in a certain place; must have a certain position or posture; and must possess (or be in) a state of comfort or discomfort. Again, all material substances as belonging to a cosmic system both act and a reacted upon.

Only the oneness of GOD سبحانه و تعالى is necessary whereas that of all others is contingent upon GOD. Hence all other beings single or multiple must emanate from the ultimate essential being. In addition this first being must be uncaused, since it is the cause of everything else.[8]

The material world cannot exist ad infinitum because of the impossibility of an actual infinite (a concept borrowed from Aristotle). The material world can also not be "eo ipso" eternal, because of the impossibility of an infinite duration of time, since the existence of time is contingent upon the existence of bodies and motion, which have been shown to be finite. As such the world requires a creator, or rather a generator (mudhith) in Kindi’s scheme, who could generate the world ex nihilo.[9]

Objections and criticism[edit]

The argument has been criticized [26] by such philosophers as J. L. Mackie, Graham Oppy, and Quentin Smith, and physicists Paul Davies and Victor Stenger.

Stenger has argued that quantum mechanics dis-confirms the first premise of the argument, that is, that something can not come into being from nothing. He postulates that such naturally occurring quantum events are exceptions to this premise, like the Casimir effect and radioactive decay. Craig responds to this in two different ways: (1) the indeterministic origination of virtual particles in the quantum vacuum is not true creatio ex nihilo (creation from nothing) since the vacuum contains a sea of fluctuating energy, empty space, and is governed by physical laws; none of which is "nothing." (2) Craig states that the interpretations to which Stenger appeals are indeterministic interpretations which are one of many interpretations, some of which are wholly deterministic and none of which is actually known to be true. Thus, Craig rejects this as a refutation of premise one. However, Stenger continues that "...Craig is thereby admitting that the "cause" in his first premise could be...something not predetermined. By allowing probabilistic cause, he destroys his own case for a predetermined creation."[27]

Ghazzali thought that it is at least theoretically possible for there to be an infinite regress, and that there is nothing that necessitates a first-cause simply by pure deductive reason. He thus disputes one of the essential premises of the first-cause argument.

Muhammad Iqbal also rejects the argument stating, “Logically speaking, then, the movement from the finite to the infinite as embodied in the cosmological argument is quite illegitimate; and the argument fails in total.” For Iqbal the concept of the first uncaused cause is absurd, he continues: "It is, however, obvious that a finite effect can give only a finite cause, or at most an infinite series of such causes. To finish the series at a certain point, and to elevate one member of the series to the dignity of an un-caused first cause, is to set at naught the very law of causation on which the whole argument proceeds."[28]. That is a misunderstanding of the argument however. First developed by Aristotle, the argument itself necessitates an Unmoved Mover as an infinite regress is possible. In addition, Christopher Martin in his book Thomas Aquinas: God and Explanations, explains that to postulate an infinite number of causes does not serve as an answer to the cosmological question. He uses the analogy of a broom, whereby making the handle longer will not cause the broom to sweep[29]. In addition, John Frame through the the work of Bas Van Fraassen in “Presupposition, Implication, and Self-Reference” indicates that logically, a First Cause is imperative in making the very concept of causality intelligible

Kant also rejects any cosmological proof on the grounds that it is nothing more than an ontological proof in disguise. He argued that any necessary object’s essence must involve existence, hence reason alone can define such a being, and the argument becomes quite similar to the ontological one in form, devoid of any empirical premises.[30].

Another objection comes from the B-theory of time. On a B-theory of time, the universe doesn't come into being, it just exists tenselessly as a four-dimensional space-time block. [31] According to Craig, the Kalām cosmological argument is predicated upon the A-Theory of time.

According to McTaggart, there are two distinct modes in which all events can be ordered in time. In the first mode, events are ordered by way of the non-relational singular predicates "is past", "is present" and "is future." When we speak of time in this way, we are speaking in terms of a series of positions which run from the remote past through the recent past to the present, and from the present through the near future all the way to the remote future. The essential characteristic of this descriptive modality is that one must think of the series of temporal positions as being in continual transformation, in the sense that an event is first part of the future, then part of the present, and then past. Moreover, the assertions made according to this modality imply the temporal perspective of the person who utters them. This is the A-series of temporal events.

From a second point of view, one can order events according to a different series of temporal positions by way of two-term relations which are asymmetric, irreflexive and transitive: "comes before" (or precedes) and "comes after" (or follows). This is the B-series, and the philosophy which says all truths about time can be reduced to B-series statements is the B-theory of time.

The logic and the linguistic expression of the two series are radically different. The first is tensed and the second is tenseless. For example, the assertion "today it is raining" is a tensional assertion because it depends on the temporal perspective—the present—of the person who utters it, while the assertion "It rains on 15 June 1996" is non-tensional because it does not so depend. From the point of view of their truth-values, the two propositions are identical (both true or both false) if the first assertion is made on June 15, 1996. The non-temporal relation of precedence between two events, say "E precedes F", does not change over time (excluding from this discussion the issue of the relativity of temporal order of causally disconnected events in the theory of relativity). On the other hand, the character of being "past, present or future" of the events "E" or "F" does change with time. In the image of McTaggart the passage of time consists in the fact that terms ever further in the future pass into the present...or that the present advances toward terms ever farther in the future. If we assume the first point of view, we speak as if the B-series slides along a fixed A-series. If we assume the second point of view, we speak as if the A-series slides along a fixed B-series. Relation to other ideas in the philosophy of time

There are two principle varieties of the A-theory, presentism and the growing block universe.[1] Both assume an objective present, but presentism assumes that only present objects exist, while the growing block universe assumes both present and past objects exist, but not future ones. Ideas that assume no objective present, like the B-theory, include eternalism and four-dimensionalism.


  1. a b Craig 1994: 92
  2. a b Craig 2007
  3. Craig 1994: 94
  4. Craig 1994: 100-116
  5. Craig 1996
  6. "Creation ex Nihilo and the Big Bang"
  7. Sharif, M. M. A History of Muslim Philosophy. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1966, pp. 429
  8. Fakhry, Majid A History of Islamic Philosophy. New York : Columbia University Press : Longman, 1983, pp. 78
  9. Fakhry, Majid A History of Islamic Philosophy. New York : Columbia University Press : Longman, 1983, pp. 74-78

The Words of God[edit]

Since God سبحانه وتعالى created the universe in consonance with the Torah's requirements, logic demanded that the Torah descend to earth where ordinary human beings could carry out its precepts literally.

"Through the Words of God the heavens were made."—[Psalms 33:6]

Heaven and earth and all their fullness became the clothing for the 'Word of God', which infuses Creation, and without which the world could not continue to exist.

"You shall not steal"–has a spiritual dimension that is above human comprehension, but if that was all it meant, then God سبحانه وتعالى would not have created a physical world filled with animal temptations and larcenous instincts. Had He been concerned only with angelic concepts of honor, then He would not have created flesh and blood with the blend of harmony and friction, love and resentment that makes the relationship between humans simultaneously beautiful and chaotic. Moses عليه السلام convinced the angels that the physical universe translated the Torah into its material manifestation, that only people could carry out God's Will, and that only with the Torah could they do so.

The Heavens and earth and all their fullness became the accoutrement for the Word of God which permeates His Creation; and without with the world, as we know it, could not continue to exist. We can conclude that God's divine word took physical form.

Basic principles of Kalam[edit]

Some of the basic principles of the Jewish Kalam are as follow (Stroumsa 2003). See also Rambam's characterization of the principles below.

  • Observation of the natural world reveals the existence of a Creator
  • The world/universe must have been created ex nihilo rather than from preexisting matter
  • The Creator is absolutely different (opposite) from anything in the created world
  • The Creator is a perfect unity, with no division
  • Human moral criteria can be applied to God. To say God is "wise" or God is "good" is to apply those terms meaningfully, and their meaning is related to the mundane meaning of those terms (cf. Rambam)

Rambam's characterization---Rambam refers repeatedly to the Mutakallimūn (Kalam philosophers) in his Guide to the Perplexed. Some examples of his characterization of Kalamic thought can be found at the end of Book I (Chapters 73–76), see also Wolfson (1967). The translation which follows is from Pines (1963):

As for that scanty bit of argument (kalam) regarding the notion of the unity of God and regarding what depends on this notion, which you will find in the writings of some Gaonim and in those of the Qaraites, the subject matter of this argument was taken over by them from the Mutakallimūn of Islam and that this bit is very scanty indeed if compared to what Islam has compiled on this subject. Also it has so happened that Islam first began to take this road owing to a certain sect, namely, the Mutazila, from whom our co-religionists took over certain things walking upon the road the Mutazila had taken. After a certain time another sect arose in Islam, namely, the Ashariyya, among whom other opinions arose. You will not find any of these latter opinions among our co-religionists. This was not because they preferred the first opinion to the second, but because it so happened that they had taken over and adopted the first opinion and considered it a matter proven by demonstration

Rambam continues in that section to provide a history of Kalamic thought, its sources and subsequent development, and then proceeds to condemn a certain laxity of thought to be found in this philosophical school. In particular, Rambam takes strong issue with the Kalamic proof of God's existence and unity from the Creation of the World in time. While Rambam himself does regard the world as having been created ex nihilo (rather than being eternally existing, as Aristotle would have it; see GP, Book II Chapter 25, for example), Rambam also considers this proposition as being far from obvious, and in all likelihood not susceptible to proof. He thus regards the Kalamic approach as starting from a position of convenience rather than from an irrefutable premise, and their methodology as being entirely tainted by their eagerness to produce certain results which support their prior beliefs.

Additionally he considers their premises to "run counter to the nature of existence that is perceived." He writes that "every one of their premises, with few exceptions, is contradicted by what is perceived of the nature of that which exists, so that doubts come up with regard to them." However, it can be noted below, that in many cases the Kalamists were indeed more prescient than Rambam himself in their beliefs regarding the discrete nature of matter, existence of vacuum, and other physical characteristics of the natural world. Principles of Kalam according to Rambam

In Book I Chapter 73, Rambam presents the 12 premises of the Mutakallimūn, and disputes most of them. The premises are, in brief, as follow:

  • Existence of atoms: The world is composed of small particles which are not divisible, and which have no identifying essential properties (only accidents).
  • Existence of vacuum: There exist certain spaces which are devoid of all substance and material.
  • Time is discrete: Time is made up of fundamental instants which are not themselves subject to further division.
  • Every body is subject to accidents: Any body must have either an accident (non-essential feature) or its opposite. A body cannot be without accidents.
  • These accidents exist in the atom.
  • An atom has one-instant duration: An atom does not persist (its accidents do not persist) more than one moment of time. God must repeatedly create these accidents at each time instant, or they permanently go out of existence.
  • Accidents in bodies also do not persist and must be recreated. This and the previous principle constitute a denial of causality.
  • Only substance and accident exist: Bodies differ only in regard to their accidents.
  • Accidents subsist in a common substratum: An accident cannot subsist in another accident.
  • Any state of affairs which can be imagined is admissible in intellectual argument.
  • All kinds of infinity are impossible.
  • The senses may be in error: The senses should not be trusted in matters of demonstration.

Not all of these principles were elements of the Jewish Kalam as practiced by particular thinkers. For example (Wolfson 1967), atomism was a principle embraced by Karaites but not by the Geonim or later Karaites. Wolfson considers it doubtful whether any Jewish thinkers ever embraced the denial of causality.


The Kabbalah is a group of works which present mystical interpretations of the Jewish holy books, known as Tanakh, which consist of the Torah (5 books of Moses), Novim (Prophets), and Ketuvim (Writings).

The literal meaning of the term Kabbalah refers to the act of transmitting secret knowledge, and as with all forms of mysticism, Kabbalah explores the secret or hidden meanings of the universe.

However, because these aspects of the universe are so complicated and difficult to understand, the authors of Kabbalistic works rely heavily on symbols and analogies to make their point.

One way of distinguishing the symbolic from the literal is by knowing which ideas are acceptable and which are taboo. For example, one book describes God's physical proportions in great detail; however, an important belief in Judaism is that God is completely incorporeal, and thus these measurements are really symbols for God's power.

Other basic tenets of Judaism are that God is indivisible, eternal and has alone complete authority over the universe; there are no intermediaries between God and Man; and God is the creator of the universe and all men.

As mentioned earlier, mystics of all cultures attempt to explain how the universe works and why. Unlike rationalists who explore the physical aspects of the universe, the mystics try to understand the spiritual aspects.

The Kabbalistic view of the universe is much different from that held by most Western scientists. First of all, the "true" universe consists of the En Sof (literally the infinite or the incomprehensible), which is the spiritual universe. The spiritual universe is inseparable from God, and has no beginning and no end (unlike the physical universe). God has many characteristics, but they can be logically separated into ten groupings. When these characteristics are all present in a particular "region," that region is perfect. However, God has several times removed certain characteristics from a point in the En Sof (the act is called tzimtzum, contraction) thus creating a point of imperfection wherein a physical universe can exist.

Our current universe is not believed to be the first, but it may be the longest-lived. It was created by removing Law from a point and filling the "vacuum" with Kindness. This was necessary for it was God's desire to give Man free will or the power to decide good or evil, and this would not be possible if Divine Law permeated the universe. The act of creation itself was accomplished through ten emanations (esher sephirot in Hebrew).... First, Keter (Crown) was emanated as a projection of En Sof into the physical universe. From this sphere of emanation came Khokhmah (Intelligence), called the father sphere, and Binah (Wisdom), the mother sphere. The remaining seven spheres come from Wisdom, and represent each of the seven days of Creation.
The six "active" spheres are:

  1. ) Khesed (Kindness) also known as Gedulah (Greatness),
  2. ) Din (Law) or Gevurah (Power) or Pakhad (Fear),
  3. ) Tiferet (Beauty) or Rokhmim (Mercy),
  4. ) Netzakh (Victory or Endurance),
  5. ) Hod (Glory or Majesty), and
  6. ) Yesod (Foundation) or Tzaddik (Righteousness).

The last sphere, which represents the physical universe, is Malkhut (Kingdom), also called Knesset Yisroel (Community of Israel) or Shekhinah (God's female aspect). The variety of names for some of the emanations reflect the multitude of ways one can interpret God's characteristics.

It should be noted that these spheres are inseparable. They merge, divide, reflect and act as catalysts for one another, and have different amounts of influence at any particular time or place. Some mystics have gone into great detail to explain the various influences the emanations have on each other. From a fantasy role-playing game standpoint, these spheres of emanation are the root of magic. Knowing the relative influence of the spheres [one can tell] the future, and exercising any control over the spheres will influence future events.

The spheres themselves are often grouped in various ways, such as by triangles or columns. To view the tree of emanations (Hebrew: Etz Khayim) as triangles, imagine the top nine spheres as one triangle pointing up over two triangles pointing down. For this interpretation, neither Crown nor Kingdom are used, as they represent the spiritual and physical universes, respectively. The top triangle consists of Intelligence, Wisdom and Da'at (Knowledge, or a combination of Intelligence and Wisdom). Knowledge is the external or more physical aspect of the Crown, and is often placed directly between Intelligence and Wisdom and beneath Crown. These top three spheres are more intertwined and interdependent than any other combination of spheres. Sometimes Crown is referred to as "the knowledge," Intelligence as "that which knows," and Wisdom as "the thing known." Thus it is not surprising that the first triad is known as the Intellectual triad, or the brain of the tree of emanations.

The second triangle consists of Kindness, Law and Beauty, and is called the moral triad. As mentioned earlier, the current physical universe is believed to have been created by an act of both Law and Kindness. These two characteristics are viewed as the archetypes of the duality of good versus evil, where Kindness is good and (unrestrained) Law is evil, but many of the mystics who developed this principle further borrowed heavily from the Zoroastrians, and thus their ideas tend to be inconsistent with the other philosophies of Judaism. This triad also defines the three columns of the tree of emanations, these being the right side (Intelligence, Kindness and Victory) which signifies mercy, the left side (Wisdom, Law and Glory) which signifies judgement, and the center (Crown, Beauty, Foundation and Kingdom) which mediates.

The third triangle is known as the natural triad. It contains Victory, Glory and Foundation. This triad is seen as baser or more physical than the others due to its proximity to Kingdom, which represents the physical universe.

The ten emanations are seen as the means by which the universe was created and maintained. They are occasionally represented as a wheel with Beauty in the center, or as ten concentric circles which either begin or end with Crown. There are also ten "intangible" spheres, a shadow of the tree of emanations, which consists of 1) Rom (Height), 2) Mizrakh (East), 3) Tzofun (North), 4) Tove (Good), 5) Ra (Evil), 6) Reysheet (First, 7) Durem (South), 8) Mariv (West), 9) Akhrit (Last), and 10) Takhat (Depth). The relationships of the spheres of emanation, particularly in their tree structure, is constantly referenced or alluded to in mystical works, as we shall see.

The physical universe itself is composed of four worlds, which are not planets, and correspond to the four stages of Creation. These stages are another aspect of the creation process and do not conflict with the six phases or "days" of Creation listed in the beginning of the Torah.
The four worlds, and their related stages of creation, are:

  1. ) Olam HaAtzilut (World of Emanation), which represents the archetypal ten emanations and the creation of primeval light;
  2. ) Olam HaBeriah (World of Creation), which contains the Divine Throne and symbolizes the spiritual universe apart from God, and Man's divine "spark";
  3. ) Olam HaYetzirah (World of Formation), wherein reside the angels and men's souls, and symbolizes the concept within creation of individual existence (i.e., number, measure and form) as opposed to archetypes or ideas; and
  4. ) Olam HaAsiyah (World of Activity) which is the material universe.

There are many theories concerning the relationship of these four worlds to the ten emanations. In one, the four worlds are all part of what we call the physical universe, and thus they reside below the emanations, which are more spiritual in nature. Another theory states that there is a set of ten emanations within each of the worlds, and while the names and positions of the emanations within each tree stays the same, their inter-relationships within each tree does not. Yet another view has each of the first three worlds associated with the three triangles mentioned earlier, and the fourth world identified with the emanation Kingdom.

Judaism was the first religion to conceive of time as linear: the physical universe has a beginning, a life-span, and an end. Yet in Kabbalah some cycles are mentioned. Of course there is the seasonal cycle, the most important seasons being Spring (the time of planting) and Autumn (the time of harvest). Spring is associated with Kindness, for it represents the re-birth of nature. It is also the time when the Jews celebrate Pesakh (Passover), which commemorates God's Kindness in intervening to free the Jewish slaves of Egypt more than 3500 years ago, even though they had not shown themselves worthy. Autumn, on the other hand, is associated with Law, for it is then that one reaps what one has sown, and the Jews observe Rosh Hashonah (Spiritual New Year) when God judges men and determines their fates for the coming year. It has been postulated that the world was conceived in Autumn, and that this was when Law was removed from the supernal point which was to become the physical universe; and the world was created in Spring, when Kindness moved in to fill the "vacuum."

Yet another theory postulates cycles occurring on a much grander scale. In this theory, one of God's days is 1000 of our years. His week is 7000 years, and His jubilee is 50,000 years. Each of the seven creative spheres (all but the Intellectual triad) dominates a week, and the interpretation of the Torah changes with each week. Thus the time of the Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) was dominated by Kindness, but Moses' receiving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai marked the beginning of the week controlled by Law. This conveniently explains why the early Jews did not have to follow all of the various restrictions in the Bible (particularly the dietary laws), and expresses the hope that in the future these rules will be less harsh. After each of the spheres has had its week, the Messianic Age begins and all souls are forgiven. There is then a millennium of reshaping, in which a new physical universe is created complete with a new set of souls and the process starts over. The number of cycles, while limited, is not known.

An important principle in Jewish mysticism is the power contained in letters, words, names and especially in the Torah. While the Jews did not invent the alphabet, they were one of the first people to use it and even to this day tend to be obsessed with it. Each letter was originally a symbol for the first sound in that word. In addition, the Semitic alphabets also serve as numerals. Thus was established the principle of secret meanings behind each letter.

The Kabbalistic view of the letters in the Hebrew alphabet is that they represent the 22 "gates" or "pathways" between the ten spheres of emanation. Thus letters can be used to "enter" or understand the emanations.... It should be noted that since there are only ten emanations, Knowledge should be ignored (alternatively, Crown could be ignored and Knowledge take its place).

The 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet are also linked to different parts of the universe, parts of Man, or other symbols. The Hebrew alphabet is often divided into three classes: the three mother letters, the seven double letters and the twelve single letters. The mother letters each correspond to a different element (Earth was not considered an element by most Kabbalists), as well as the three triangles of the tree of emanations. The double letters each represent a different day of the week, facial orifice, direction, noble metal and heavenly body (only five planets were known then). Each single letter represents a different sign of the Zodiac, month, complex direction, ancient Israelite tribe and stone in the breast plate of the High Priest. [See Appendix]

One line of mysticism, called Gematria, interchanges letters based on order of numeric value. For example, the tetragrammaton is sometimes spelled with the letters which come directly after the true letters. Another example is that since the name of the demon Ashmodai (Asmodeous in Latin) has a numeric value of 355, which is the same as Pharoah, it is believed that Ashmodai is a king of demons. Many similar associations between words or phrases have been found by [Kabbalists]. In addition, sometimes the values of the lettes cycle around from 1 to 9 and then back to 1 again, or the value of the letters' names spelled out is used, or the values of the letters are squared and then compared to the value of a word whose letter values were not squared. Of course this form of mystical analysis requires fluency in Hebrew. Hebrew has a special advantage over many other alphabets in that the frequency of use varies little from letter to letter.

The main use that Gematria is put to by Kabbalists is understanding the hidden meanings of the Torah. The Torah is perceived by Jews as Man's interpretation of God's blue-print for the universe. Because of Man's and his language's inherent inability to grasp the complicated secrets of the universe, many details were hidden in the words transmitted to Moses at Mt. Sinai. Thus the words themselves, as well as the ta'amim (musical symbols), nekudot (vowels), Tagim (seriphs), and Otyot (letters) all contain hidden meanings. The anagram PARDES (literately: "orchard", but translated into Latin as paradise) was used to describe this principle. Every phrase, word, letter or stroke has four meanings: poshit (simple), remel (hint), drash (concept) and sod (secret). The mystics were, of course, more interested in the latter meaning.

It is believed that the spiritual Torah (i.e. not translated into any human language) existed before the created universe. Some even state that the physical universe was created to give life to the Torah. As mentioned earlier, it has been postulated that the Torah changes every cosmic week. This change has been described as the re-assembling of the letters of the holy books, and thus their numerical values would remain unchanged.

Names are of particular importance in Judaism, especially those of the Deity. It is often held that the entire Torah is simply one long name of God. Most names, however, are much shorter, and thus often refer to only one aspect or view of God. Probably the best known name of God is the tetragrammaton, represented in English as YHVH (because the printing of certain holy names on anything which may be destroyed is considered blasphemous, all names given here are transliterated...). This name is often mistranslated as Yahweh or Jehovah. Neither of these translations are really Jewish, for YHVH is not pronounced in Hebrew (the word HaShem, meaning "the name," or in prayer Adonai is substituted instead). The tetragrammaton is often linked to the ten emanations as follows: the serif of the yod is Crown and its body is Intelligence; the first heh is Wisdom; the vov, which has the numerical value of six, stands for the next six spheres; and the second heh is Kingdom.

Another system used by Kabbalists links a different name of God to each sphere. Thus Crown is EHYH, pronounced Ehyeh, which refers to being, and Intelligence is linked to YH (Yah), a simple name for God. The name spelled YHVH but pronounced Elohim is linked to Wisdom, and stands for the emanations. Kindness's name is ELHI (Elohai), literally "my God." The name EL is also associated with Kindness, and is often appended to the names of angels to signify their service to God. Another misunderstood name is ELHIM (Elohim), which is linked to the Law. The name itself refers to God as the unifying force behind the universe's multplicities, but it is often mistakenly interpreted as a symbol for multiplicities within God Himself. The tetragrammaton is placed in the middle of the tree of emanations with Beauty. Victory is symbolized by the name YHVH TzBAOTh (Tzeva'ot) and its counterpart Glory by ELHIM TzBAOTh; Tzava'ot refers to the angels as a group or army. Both the names EL KhY (El Khai) "living God" and ShDI (Shaddai) "the all-powerful" are associated with Foundation, and Kingdom's name is ADONI (Adonai), which means "my Lord."

The names just mentioned are recognized as God's names by all Jews. Several others, however, were introduced by Kabbalists and have meanings only to them. Four of these are known as the names of 45, 52, 63, and 72. All of these spell out the letters in the tetragrammaton in different ways, and the numbers refer to the total numeric value of the letters in each name. Another popular name consists of 42 letters and is often used in charms. Its pronunciation is uncertain.

A major area of Kabbalistic magic consists of amulets and seals. It is important to note that these terms are used differently by Jews than by others. The term amulet refers not to a container of a demon's soul but rather to an enchanted item bearing various names of God and of angels in an attempt to bring their desired characteristics into play. For example, an amulet for protection in child birth will often bear the names of the three angels who once captured the demon-Queen Lilith, who swore she would kill all human children. On the other hand, a seal of a particular angel or demon can be used to gain some (but not absolute) control over them. In the case of angels it is possible that they comply with the wishes of the seal-bearer out of respect for their knowledge, as evidenced by their writing of the seal, and not because the seal itself holds power.

Amulets can be designed in a variety of ways to appeal to the beings listed thereon. One of the simplest is the magic triangle.... Sometimes an entire passage from the Bible is taken and each word is placed in a magic triangle. It is also possible to select a word whose meaning changes as one lops off or adds on letters. A famous example of this principle is one version of the golem story where the word emet (truth) was written on the golem's forehead, and in order to deactivate it the first letter was taken off so that it read met (corpse).

Another, more complicated construct is the magic square. In its most straightforward form, the magic square contains a name and switches the positions of the letters.... A more complicated version involves the use of different words and names so that no matter which direction one reads, there is a word or name....

Popular among later mystics were amulets in the shape of a hexagram, also known as mogen David (shield of David). A few centuries ago this became the symbol of Judaism, replacing the more complicated menorah, or seven branched candelabra, which is now believed to be what King David really did have painted on his shield! The hexagram symbolized (1) protection from the six directions (north, south, east, west, up and down); (2) a man's body (head, two arms, two legs, and either soul or female aspect), and (3) Heaven. The latter association is [somewhat] complicated. The word for Heaven in Hebrew is Shamayim, while the Hebrew for fire and water are esh and mayim. Thus it is believed that Heaven is made of fire and water. The alchemical symbol for fire is a triangle, and water's symbol is an upside-down triangle, and if they are super-imposed on each other one has a hexagram. These amulets are commonly found with the names Dovid Melekh (King David), Mogen Ben-Dovid (shield of the son of David, i.e., the messiah), and Yerushayalem (Jerusalem).

Other amulets are drawn in various shapes (especially hands or menorahs) and contain names, words or combinations of the letters of a particular biblical passage.

In the Middle Ages no distinction was made between devices of protection and holy items. In order to fulfill the commandment "... these words, which I command thee this day... thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thy hand, and they shall be for frontlets between thine eyes, and thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thy house and upon thy gates" (Deut. VI, 6-9), Jews place boxes containing this passage on their door posts (called mezuzah) and in morning prayers place smaller boxes on their left arm and forehead (called tefilin). It was often believed during Medieval times that these devices warded off demons, and so Jews often wrote additional names and symbols upon the parchment containing the biblical passage. This belief was held by many Christians as well, for they called the tefilin phylacterys, Greek for amulet, and often tried to purchase these protection from the Jews!

Three groups of beings mentioned most often in Kabbalistic works are angels, demons, and souls. Belief in a soul is probably the oldest religious idea, dating back 10,000 years or more. Jews believe in three souls, each successively more spiritual. At the top of this hierarchy is the neshomah (lit. life or spirit), which is linked with the intellectual triad of the spheres of emanation. It is believe by some that these souls never leave Heaven, but move closer to God as their associated humans become more pious, and move away from God when the human breaks commandments. Next is the ru'akh (lit. air), related to the moral triad, and responsible for sentience. After the body dies, the ru'akh stays on Earth for between a week and a year, and then goes to Heaven. The lowest form of soul, which even the animals have, is nefesh (lit. breath), which stays on Earth and haunts the location of its body's death. It is connected with the natural triad of spheres.

At the time of Creation, only a limited number of souls were made. Their purpose is to reunify God's characteristics within the physical universe, and they do so only by fulfilling the 613 mitzvot (commandments) of the Bible (the souls of Gentiles are not required to fulfill some of the commandments which are unique to the Jewish religion). Those souls which do not succeed perform gilgul (transmigration) and reappear in a body of a human infant. If a soul has but one commandment left to fulfill, it may become an ibur, which means that it takes temporary possession of the body of one who is in a position to fulfill that commandment. On the other hand, a soul which is very wicked may be banished from God's presence altogether, and in order to become corporeal, take possession of another's body by force (generally while that person is ill) and is known as dibbuk. When this occurs, the victim must undergo an exorcism, and in order to prevent the evil soul's regaining control, the victim's name is changed, since names are external reflections of one's soul.

It is believed that the original souls are complete, i.e., both male and female. These two sections split when they incarnate, but if the corresponding humans find and marry each other they will have a perfect marriage. It should not be assumed, however, that a male soul always takes a male body and a female soul a female body. If the genders are mixed then some imbalances occur, and the body is usually barren or impotent. If, however, a man with a female soul weds a woman with a male soul, then procreation is possible. The institution of marriage itself is seen as an important part of the soul's work, for the union of the two people and their souls is analagous to the unifying of God's characteristics as well as the unifying aspect of God (Elohim).

Death is usually interpreted as a natural and necessary part of life. There are, however, two forms of death with supernatural implications. One is known as the Kiss of Death, whereby God rewards those who are extremely wise (as in Moses) or those who are so pious that they have completed the 613 commandments in an unusually short time (this explains the demise of certain sages). Opposite to this form of death is karet, whereby one's soul is removed by the Angel of Death as punishment for grave sins.

Another form of unnatural death is that of sorcery, or biting off more knowledge than one can chew. It is difficult to say whether this form of death is bad or good, for the soul is liberated from the body by the knowledge which has just been learned, similar to the Kiss of Death except that it is enacted from below instead of above. On the other hand, the Talmud and other works forbid the teaching of mystical works to any younger than a certain age, usually between 20 and 40, in order to prevent this form of demise.

The goal of the Kabbalah is to obtain a complete understanding of God, the universe and their inter-relationships. It strives to achieve this understanding through the use of symbols and analogies, particularly the Jewish holy books. These symbols and ideas are useful to fantasy role-playing games and fantastic literature as a source of magical concepts. Rejuvenating old ideas through new uses has long been a means of keeping a genre alive, healthy and growing. The Jewish Kabbalah can and should be used to expand the horizons of the fantasy role-playing game and modern fantasy in general.

The Zohar[edit]

The Zohar, which is the foundational work in the literature of Jewish mystical thought–Qabbala–contains a discussion of the nature of GOD سبحانه وتعالى, the origin and structure of the universe, and the nature of the "inner-self," which is perceived as the spirit, or soul (Arabic: nafs | Hebrew: nefeš). It's commentary on the mystical aspects of the Torah and scriptural interpretations, as well as material on Jewish mysticism, mythical cosmogony, and mystical psychology.

In terms of Jewish mysticism in the Qabbala, the "Crown of Creation" is an overarching symbol equating with the top sephirot of Keter ("Crown"), which is situated between Chokmah ("Wisdom/Conception") and Binah ("Understanding"), and it sits above Tiphereth ("Adornment"), and is usually given three paths, or connections, to Chokmah, Tiferet, and Binah. Keter is so sublime and described as absolute compassion, it is considered "the most hidden of all hidden things", and is completely incomprehensible and ineffable to man.

The first Sephirah is called the Crown, since a crown is worn above the head. The Crown therefore refers to things that are above the mind's abilities of comprehension. All of the other Sephirot are likened to the body which starts with the head and wends its way down into action. But the crown of a king lies above the head and connects the concept of "monarchy", which is abstract and intangible, with the tangible and concrete head of the king.

This first Sefirah represents the primal stirrings of intent in the Ein Soph, or the arousal of desire to come forth into the varied life of being.[1] But in this sense, although it contains all the potential for content, it contains no content itself, and is therefore called 'Nothing', 'The Hidden Light', 'The air that cannot be grasped'. Being desire to bring the world into being, Keter is absolute compassion.[2]

The name of God associated with Keter is Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh (Hebrew: אהיה אשר אהיה), the name through which he revealed himself to Moses from the burning bush.[3] "It is from the name Ehyeh that all kinds of sustenance emanate, coming from the source, which is the infinite".

Keter, although being the highest Sephirah of its world, receives from the Sephirah of Malkuth of the domain above it (see Sephirot). The uppermost Keter sits below no other Sephirah, although it is below Or Ein Soph which is the source of all Sephirot.

Da'at and Keter are the same Sephirah from two different aspects. From one aspect this Sephirah is referred to Keter and from another aspect it is referred to as Da'at. Therefore when Da'at is counted then Keter is not counted and when Keter is counted Da'at is not counted[citation needed].

The School in Lurianic thought[edit]

Isaac Luria introduced three central themes into kabbalistic thought (also known as Lurianic Kabbalah), Tzimtzum, Shevirat HaKelim (the shattering of the vessels), and Tikkun (repair). These three are a group of interrelated, and continuing, processes. Tzimzum describes the first step in the process by which God began the process of creation by withdrawing his own essence from an area, creating an area in which creation could begin. Shevirat HaKelim describes how, after the Tzimtzum, God created the vessels (HaKelim) in the empty space, and how when God began to pour his Light into the vessels they were not strong enough to hold the power of God's Light and shattered (Shevirat). The third step, Tikkun, is the process of gathering together, and raising, the sparks of God's Light that were carried down with the shards of the shattered vessels.[2]

Since Tzimtzum is connected to the concept of exile, and Tikkun is connected to the need to repair the problems of the world of human existence, Luria unites the cosmology of Kabbalah with the practice of Jewish ethics, and makes ethics and traditional Jewish religious observance the means by which God allows humans to complete and perfect the material world through living the precepts of a traditional Jewish life.[3] Inherent paradox

A commonly held [4] understanding in Kabbalah is that the concept of Tzimtzum contains a built-in paradox, requiring that God be simultaneously transcendent and immanent.

On the one hand, if the "Infinite" did not restrict itself, then nothing could exist—everything would be overwhelmed by God's totality. Thus existence requires God's transcendence, as above.

On the other hand, God continuously maintains the existence of, and is thus not absent from, the created universe. "The Divine life-force which brings all creatures into existence must constantly be present within them... were this life-force to forsake any created being for even one brief moment, it would revert to a state of utter nothingness, as before the creation..." [5]. This understanding is supported by various biblical teachings: "You have made the heaven... the earth and all that is on it... and You give life to them all" (Nehemiah 9:6); "All the earth is filled with God's Glory" (Numbers 14:21); "God's Glory fills the world" (Isaiah 6:3). Creation therefore requires God's immanence.

Rabbi Nachman of Breslav discusses this inherent paradox as follows: “ Only in the future will it be possible to understand the Tzimtzum that brought the 'Empty Space' into being, for we have to say of it two contradictory things... [1] the Empty Space came about through the Tzimtzum, where, as it were, He 'limited' His Godliness and contracted it from there, and it is as though in that place there is no Godliness... [2] the absolute truth is that Godliness must nevertheless be present there, for certainly nothing can exist without His giving it life. (Likkutei Moharan I, 64:1) ”

This paradox is strengthened by reference to the closely related doctrine of divine simplicity, which holds that God is absolutely simple, containing no element of form or structure whatsoever. This gives rise to two difficulties. Firstly, according to this doctrine, it is impossible for God to shrink or expand (physically or metaphorically)—an obvious contradiction to the above. Secondly, according to this doctrine, if God's creative will is present, then He must be present in total—whereas the Tzimtzum, on the other hand, results in, and requires, a "partial Presence" as above.

The paradox has an additional aspect, in that the Tzimtzum results in a perception of the world being imperfect despite God's omniperfect Presence being everywhere. As a result, some Kabbalists saw the Tzimtzum as a cosmic illusion. Chabad view

In Chabad Hassidism, on the other hand, the concept of Tzimtzum is understood as not meant to be interpreted literally, but rather to refer to the manner in which God impresses His presence upon the consciousness of finite reality [2]: thus tzimtzum is not only seen as being a real process but is also seen as a doctrine that every person is able, and indeed required, to understand and meditate upon.

In the Chabad view, the function of the Tzimtzum was "to conceal from created beings the activating force within them, enabling them to exist as tangible entities, instead of being utterly nullified within their source" [6]. The tzimtzum produced the required "vacated space" (chalal panui חלל פנוי, chalal חלל), devoid of direct awareness of God's presence.

Here Chassidut sheds light on the concept of Tzimtzum via the analogy of a person and his speech. (The source of this analogy is essentially Genesis Chapter 1, where God "spoke" to create heaven and earth.):

In order to communicate, a person must put aside all that he knows, all his experiences, and all that he is, and say only one thing ("the contraction"). This is especially the case when we speak of an educator, whose level of mind and understanding is almost completely removed and incomparable to his student, that has to "find" an idea that is simple enough to convey to the student. However, when he goes through this process and now is choosing to express himself through this particular utterance, he has not in any way lost or forgotten all the knowledge of who he really is ("thus the contraction is not a literal contraction").

(Furthermore, the one who hears his words also has the full revelation of who that person is when he hears those words, though he may not realize it. If the listener understood the language and was sensitive enough, he would be able to pull out from those words everything there is to know about the person.)

So too, God chose to express Himself through this world with all of its limitations. However, this does not mean, as pantheism posits, that God is limited to this particular form, or that God has "forgotten" all He can do. He still "remembers what He really is", meaning that He remains always in His infinite essence, but is choosing to reveal only this particular aspect of Himself. The act of Tzimtzum is thus how God "puts aside" His infinite light, and allows for an "empty space", void of any indication of the Divine Presence. He then can reveal a limited finite aspect of his light (namely our imperfect, finite reality).

(As clarified before, if man were spiritually sensitive enough, we would be able to see how God is truly giving us a full revelation of His infinite self through the medium of this world. To a listener who does not understand the language being spoken, the letters are "empty" of any revelation of the person. In the analogue this means that the world looks to us to be "empty" of Godly revelation. Kaballah and Chassidus, however, teaches one how to meditate in order to be able to understand God's "language" so that one can see the Godly revelation in every aspect of creation.)

Therefore, no paradox exists. The finite Godly light that is immanent within the universe, constantly creating and vivifying it, is only a "faint glimmer of a glimmer of a glimmer" (Tanya, Iggeret HaKodesh, Chapter 20) of God's infinite, transcendent light that has been completely concealed by tzimtzum. (See also Dovber Schneuri, Ner Mitzva Vetorah Or, Kehot Publication Society. ISBN 0-8266-5496-7.) Vilna Gaon's view

The Gaon held that tzimtzum was not literal, however, the "upper unity", the fact that the universe is only illusory, and that tzimtzum was only figurative, was not perceptible, or even really understandable, to those not fully initiated in the mysteries of Kabbalah.[7][8]

The Leshem articulates this view clearly (and claims that not only is it the opinion of the Vilna Gaon, but also is the straightforward and simple reading of Luria and is the only true understanding).

He writes: “I have also seen some very strange things in the words of some contemporary kabbalists who explain things deeply. They say that all of existence is only an illusion and appearance, and does not truly exist. This is to say that the ein sof didn’t change at all in itself and its necessary true existence and it is now still exactly the same as it was before creation, and there is no space empty of Him, as is known (see Nefesh Ha-Chaim Shaar 3). Therefore they said that in truth there is no reality to existence at all, and all the worlds are only an illusion and appearance, just as it says in the verse “in the hands of the prophets I will appear” (Hoshea 12: 11). They said that the world and humanity have no real existence, and their entire reality is only an appearance. We perceive ourselves as if we are in a world, and we perceive ourselves with our senses, and we perceive the world with our senses. It turns out [according to this opinion] that all of existence of humanity and the world is only a perception and not in true reality, for it is impossible for anything to exist in true reality, since He fills all the worlds…. How strange and bitter is it to say such a thing. Woe to us from such an opinion. They don’t think and they don’t see that with such opinions they are destroying the truth of the entire Torah….[9]"

However, the Gaon and the Leshem held that tzimtzum only took place in God's Will (Ratzon), but that it is impossible to say anything at all about God Himself (Atzmut). Thus, they did not actually believe in a literal Tzimtzum in God's Essence.[citation needed] Luria's Etz Chaim itself, however, in the First Shaar, is ambivalent: in one place it speaks of a literal tzimtzum in God's Essence and Self, then it changes a few lines later to a tzimtzum in the Divine Light (an emanated, hence created and not part of God's Self, energy).[citation needed]


physics in theoretical science

The B-theory of time is a term, given to one of two positions taken by theorists, in the philosophy of time. The labels, A-theory and B-theory, are derived from the analysis of time and change developed by Cambridge philosopher J. M. E. McTaggart in The Unreality of Time, in which events are ordered via a tensed A-series or a tenseless B-series.

Events (or 'times'), McTaggart observed, may be characterized in two distinct, but related, ways. On the one hand they can be characterized as past, present or future, normally indicated in natural languages such as English by the verbal inflection of tenses or auxiliary adverbial modifiers. Alternatively events may be described as earlier than, simultaneous with, or later than others. Philosophers are divided as to whether the tensed or tenseless mode of expressing temporal fact is fundamental. Those who (like Arthur Prior[1]) take the tensed notions associated with the past, present and future to be the irreducible foundations of temporality and our conceptions of temporal fact, are called A-theorists (or presentists). A-theorists deny that past, present and future are equally real, and maintain that the future is not fixed and determinate like the past. Those who wish to eliminate all talk of past, present and future in favour of a tenseless ordering of events are called B-theorists. B-theorists (such as D.H. Mellor[2] and J.J.C. Smart[3]) believe that the past, the present, and the future are equally real.

The past, the present and the future feature vary differently in deliberation and reflection. We remember the past and anticipate the future, for example, but not vice versa. B-theorists maintain that the fact that we know much less about the future simply reflects an epistemological difference between the future and the past: the future is no less real than the past; we just know less about it (Mellor 1998). A view was held, for example by Quine and Putnam that physical theories such as special relativity, and latterly Quantum mechanics provide the B-theory with compelling support. [4] [5]

A-theorists on the other hand believe that a satisfactory account of time must acknowledge a fundamental metaphysical difference between past, present and future (Prior 2003). The difference between A-theorists and B-theorists is often described as a dispute about temporal passage or 'becoming'. B-theorists argue that this notion embodies serious confusion about time, while many A-theorists argue that in rejecting temporal 'becoming', B-theorists reject time's most vital and distinctive characteristic. It is common (though not universal) to identify A-theorists' views with belief in temporal passage.

It is also common (though not universal) for B-theorists to be four-dimensionalists, that is, to believe that objects are extended in time as well as in space and therefore have temporal as well as spatial parts. This is sometimes called a time-slice ontology (Clark, 1978).

The debate between A-theorists and B-theorists is a continuation of a metaphysical dispute reaching back to the ancient Greek philosophers Heraclitus and Parmenides. Parmenides thought that reality is timeless and unchanging. Heraclitus, in contrast, believed that the world is a process of ceaseless change, flux and decay. Reality for Heraclitus is dynamic and ephemeral. Indeed the world is so fleeting, according to Heraclitus, that it is impossible to step twice into the same river. The metaphysical issues that continue to divide A-theorists and B-theorists concern the reality of the past, the reality of the future, and the ontological status of the present.


Building from a mix of insights from the historical debates of absolutism and conventionalism as well as reflecting on the import of the technical apparatus of the General Theory of Relativity, details as to the structure of spacetime have made up a large proportion of discussion within the philosophy of space and time, as well as the philosophy of physics. The following is a short list of topics. The relativity of simultaneity

According to special relativity each point in the universe can have a different set of events that compose its present instant. This has been used in the Rietdijk-Putnam argument to demonstrate that relativity predicts a block universe in which events are fixed in four dimensions.

Invariance vs. covariance[edit]

Bringing to bear the lessons of the absolutism/relationalism debate with the powerful mathematical tools invented in the 19th and 20th century, Michael Friedman draws a distinction between invariance upon mathematical transformation and covariance upon transformation.

Invariance, or symmetry, applies to objects, i.e. the symmetry group of a space-time theory designates what features of objects are invariant, or absolute, and which are dynamical, or variable.

Covariance applies to formulations of theories, i.e. the covariance group designates in which range of coordinate systems the laws of physics hold.

This distinction can be illustrated by revisiting Leibniz's thought experiment, in which the universe is shifted over five feet. In this example the position of an object is seen not to be a property of that object, i.e. location is not invariant. Similarly, the covariance group for classical mechanics will be any coordinate systems that are obtained from one another by shifts in position as well as other translations allowed by a Galilean transformation.

In the classical case, the invariance, or symmetry, group and the covariance group coincide, but, interestingly enough, they part ways in relativistic physics. The symmetry group of the general theory of relativity includes all differentiable transformations, i.e., all properties of an object are dynamical, in other words there are no absolute objects. The formulations of the general theory of relativity, unlike those of classical mechanics, do not share a standard, i.e., there is no single formulation paired with transformations. As such the covariance group of the general theory of relativity is just the covariance group of every theory.

Historical frameworks[edit]

A further application of the modern mathematical methods, in league with the idea of invariance and covariance groups, is to try to interpret historical views of space and time in modern, mathematical language.

In these translations, a theory of space and time is seen as a manifold paired with vector spaces, the more vector spaces the more facts there are about objects in that theory. The historical development of spacetime theories is generally seen to start from a position where many facts about objects are incorporated in that theory, and as history progresses, more and more structure is removed.

For example, Aristotelian space and time has both absolute position and special places, such as the center of the cosmos, and the circumference. Newtonian space and time has absolute position, but not special positions. Galilean space and time has absolute acceleration, but not absolute position or velocity. Holes

With the general theory of relativity, the traditional debate between absolutism and relationalism has been shifted to whether or not spacetime is a substance, since the general theory of relativity largely rules out the existence of, e.g., absolute positions. One powerful argument against spacetime substantivalism, offered by John Earman is known as the "hole argument".

This is a technical mathematical argument but can be paraphrased as follows:

Define a function d as the identity function over all elements over the manifold M, excepting a small neighbourhood H belonging to M. Over H d comes to differ from identity by a smooth function.

With use of this function d we can construct two mathematical models, where the second is generated by applying d to proper elements of the first, such that the two models are identical prior to the time t=0, where t is a time function created by a foliation of spacetime, but differ after t=0.

These considerations show that, since substantivalism allows the construction of holes, that the universe must, on that view, be indeterministic. Which, Earman argues, is a case against substantivalism, as the case between determinism or indeterminism should be a question of physics, not of our commitment to substantivalism.

The direction of time[edit]

The problem of the direction of time arises directly from two contradictory facts. Firstly, the fundamental physical laws are time-reversal invariant; if a cinematographic film were taken of any process describable by means of the aforementioned laws and then played backwards, it would still portray a physically possible process. Secondly, our experience of time, at the macroscopic level, is not time-reversal invariant.[8] Glasses can fall and break, however shards of glass cannot reassemble and fly up onto tables. We have memories of the past, and none of the future. We feel we can't change the past but can influence the future.

The causation solution[edit]

One solution to this problem takes a metaphysical view, in which the direction of time follows from an asymmetry of causation. We know more about the past because the elements of the past are causes for the effect that is our perception. We feel we can't affect the past and can affect the future because we can't affect the past and can affect the future.

There are two main objections to this view. First is the problem of distinguishing the cause from the effect in a non-arbitrary way. The use of causation in constructing a temporal ordering could easily become circular. The second problem with this view is its explanatory power. While the causation account, if successful, may account for some time-asymmetric phenomena like perception and action, it does not account for many others.

However, asymmetry of causation can be observed in a non-arbitrary way which is not metaphysical in the case of a human hand dropping a cup of water which smashes into fragments on a hard floor, spilling the liquid. In this order, the causes of the resultant pattern of cup fragments and water spill is easily attributable in terms of the trajectory of the cup, irregularities in its structure, angle of its impact on the floor, etc. However, applying the same event in reverse, it is difficult to explain why the various pieces of the cup should fly up into the human hand and reassemble precisely into the shape of a cup, or why the water should position itself entirely within the cup. The causes of the resultant structure and shape of the cup and the encapsulation of the water by the hand within the cup are not easily attributable, as neither hand nor floor can achieve such formations of the cup or water. This asymmetry is perceivable on account of two features:- i) the relationship between the agent capacities of the human hand (i.e., what it is and is not capable of & what it is for) and non-animal agency (i.e., what floors are and are not capable of and what they are for) and ii) that the pieces of cup came to possess exactly the nature and number of those of a cup before assembling. In short, such asymmetry is attributable to the relationship between temporal direction on the one hand and the implications of form and functional capacity on the other.

The application of these ideas of form and functional capacity only dictates temporal direction in relation to complex scenarios involving specific, non-metaphysical agency which is not merely dependent on human perception of time. However, this last observation in itself is not sufficient to invalidate the implications of the example for the progressive nature of time in general.

The thermodynamics solution[edit]

The second major family of solutions to this problem, and by far the one that has generated the most literature, finds the existence of the direction of time as relating to the nature of thermodynamics.

The answer from classical thermodynamics states that while our basic physical theory is, in fact, time-reversal symmetric, thermodynamics is not. In particular, the second law of thermodynamics states that the net entropy of a closed system never decreases, and this explains why we often see glass breaking, but not coming back together.

But in statistical mechanics things get more complicated. On one hand, statistical mechanics is far superior to classical thermodynamics, in that thermodynamic behavior, such as glass breaking, can be explained by the fundamental laws of physics paired with a statistical postulate. But statistical mechanics, unlike classical thermodynamics, is time-reversal symmetric. The second law of thermodynamics, as it arises in statistical mechanics, merely states that it is overwhelmingly likely that net entropy will increase, but it is not an absolute law.

Current thermodynamic solutions to the problem of the direction of time aim to find some further fact, or feature of the laws of nature to account for this discrepancy. The laws solution

A third type of solution to the problem of the direction of time, although much less represented, argues that the laws are not time-reversal symmetric. For example, certain processes in quantum mechanics, relating to the weak nuclear force, are not time-reversible, keeping in mind that when dealing with quantum mechanics time-reversibility comprises a more complex definition. But this type of solution is insufficient because 1) the time-asymmetric phenomena in quantum mechanics are too few to account for the uniformity of macroscopic time-asymmetry and 2) it relies on the assumption that quantum mechanics is the final or correct description of physical processes.[citation needed]

One recent proponent of the laws solution is Tim Maudlin who argues that the fundamental laws of physics are laws of temporal evolution (see Maudlin [2007]). However, elsewhere Maudlin argues: "[the] passage of time is an intrinsic asymmetry in the temporal structure of the world... It is the asymmetry that grounds the distinction between sequences that runs from past to future and sequences which run from future to past" [ibid, 2010 edition, p. 108]. Thus it is arguably difficult to assess whether Maudlin is suggesting that the direction of time is a consequence of the laws or is itself primitive. The flow of time

The problem of the flow of time, as it has been treated in analytic philosophy, owes its beginning to a paper written by J. M. E. McTaggart. In this paper McTaggart proposes two "temporal series". The first series, which means to account for our intuitions about temporal becoming, or the moving Now, is called the A-series. The A-series orders events according to their being in the past, present or future, simpliciter and in comparison to each other. The B-series eliminates all reference to the present, and the associated temporal modalities of past and future, and orders all events by the temporal relations earlier than and later than.

McTaggart, in his paper The Unreality of Time, argues that time is unreal since a) the A-series is inconsistent and b) the B-series alone cannot account for the nature of time as the A-series describes an essential feature of it.

Building from this framework, two camps of solution have been offered. The first, the A-theorist solution, takes becoming as the central feature of time, and tries to construct the B-series from the A-series by offering an account of how B-facts come to be out of A-facts. The second camp, the B-theorist solution, takes as decisive McTaggart's arguments against the A-series and tries to construct the A-series out of the B-series, for example, by temporal indexicals.


Apophatic theology[edit]

Apophatic theology (from Greek ἀπόφασις from ἀπόφημι – apophēmi, "to deny")—also known as negative theology or via negativa (Latin for "negative way")—is a theology that attempts to describe God, the Divine Good, by negation, to speak only in terms of what may not be said about the perfect goodness that is God.[1] It stands in contrast with cataphatic theology.

In brief, negative theology is an attempt to achieve unity with the Divine Good through discernment, gaining knowledge of what God is not (apophasis), rather than by describing what God is. The apophatic tradition is often, though not always, allied with the approach of mysticism, which focuses on a spontaneous or cultivated individual experience of the divine reality beyond the realm of ordinary perception, an experience often unmediated by the structures of traditional organized religion or the conditioned role-playing and learned defensive behavior of the outer man.

Cataphatic (sometimes spelled kataphatic) theology is the expressing of God or the divine through positive terminology. This is in contrast to defining God or the divine in what God is not, which is referred to as negative or apophatic theology. The word cataphatic itself is formed from two Greek words, "cata" meaning to descend and "phatos" meaning to speak. Thus, to combine them translates the word roughly as "to bring God down in such a way so as to speak of him."[1]

To speak of God or the divine cataphatically is thought by some to be by its nature a form of limiting to God or divine. This was one of the core tenets of the works of St Dionysus the Aeropagite. By defining what God or the divine is we limit the unlimited as Saint Dionysus outlined in his works. A kataphatic way to express God would be that God is love. The apophatic way would be to state that God is not hate (although such description can be accused of the same dualism). Or to say that God is not love, as he transcends even our notion of love. Ultimately, one would come to remove even the notion of the Trinity, or of saying that God is one, because The Divine is above numberhood. That God is beyond all duality because God contains within Godself all things and that God is beyond all things. The apophatic way as taught by Saint Dionysus was to remove any conceptual understanding of God that could become all-encompassing, since in its limitedness that concept would begin to force the fallen understanding of mankind onto the absolute and divine.

Divine Simplicity[edit]

In theology, the doctrine of divine simplicity says that God is without parts. The general idea of divine simplicity can be stated in this way: the being of God is identical to the "attributes" of God. In other words, such characteristics as omnipresence, goodness, truth, eternity, etc. are identical to God's being, not qualities that make up that being, nor abstract entities inhering in God as in a substance. Varieties of the doctrine may be found in Jewish, Christian, and Muslim philosophical theologians, especially during the heyday of scholasticism, though the doctrine's origins may be traced back to ancient Greek thought, finding apotheosis in Plotinus' Enneads as the Simplex [1].

In Christian thought[edit]

In Christian theism (to be accurate "Classical theism"), God is simple, not composite, not made up of thing upon thing. In other words, the characteristics of God are not parts of God that together make up God. Because God is simple, God is those characteristics; for example, God does not have goodness, but simply is goodness. For typical Christian theologians, divine simplicity does not entail that the attributes of God are indistinguishable to thought. It is no contradiction of the doctrine to say, for example, that God is both just and merciful. Thomas Aquinas, for instance, in whose system of thought the idea of divine simplicity is central, wrote in Summa Theologica that because God is infinitely simple, God can only appear to the finite mind as infinitely complex.[citation needed]

Theologians holding the doctrine of simplicity tend to distinguish various modes of the simple being of God by negating any notion of composition from the meaning of terms used to describe it. Thus, in quantitative or spatial terms, God is simple as opposed to being made up of pieces, present in entirety everywhere, if in fact present anywhere. In terms of essences, God is simple as opposed to being made up of form and matter, or body and soul, or mind and act, and so on: if distinctions are made when speaking of God's attributes, they are distinctions of the "modes" of God's being, rather than real or essential divisions. And so, in terms of subjects and accidents, as in the phrase "goodness of God", divine simplicity allows that there is a conceptual distinction between the person of God and the personal attribute of goodness, but the doctrine disallows that God's identity or "character" is dependent upon goodness, and at the same time the doctrine dictates that it is impossible to consider the goodness in which God participates separately from the goodness which God is.

Furthermore, according to some, if as creatures our concepts are all drawn from the creation, it follows from this and divine simplicity that God's attributes can only be spoken of by analogy — since it is not true of any created thing that its properties are identical to its being. Consequently, when Christian Scripture is interpreted according to the guide of divine simplicity, when it says that God is good for example, it should be taken to speak of a likeness to goodness as found in humanity and referred to in human speech. Since God's essence is inexpressible; this likeness is nevertheless truly comparable to God who simply is goodness, because humanity is a complex being composed by God "in the image and likeness of God". The doctrine aides, then, in interpreting the Scriptures so as to avoid paradox—as when Scripture says, for example, that the creation is "very good", and also that "none is good but God alone"—since only God is goodness, while nevertheless humanity is created in the likeness of goodness (and the likeness is necessarily imperfect in humanity, unless that person is also God). This doctrine also helps keep trinitarianism from drifting into tritheism, which is the belief in three different gods: the persons of God are not parts or essential differences, but are rather the way in which the one God exists personally.

The doctrine has been criticized by some Christian theologians, including Alvin Plantinga, who in his essay Does God Have a Nature? calls it "a dark saying indeed."[2] Plantinga's criticism is based on his interpretation of Aquinas's discussion of it, from which he concludes that if God is identical with properties of God such as goodness etc., then God is a property; and a property is not a person. Plantinga concludes that divine simplicity does not do justice to the personal nature of the Christian God.[3]

In Jewish thought[edit]

In Jewish philosophy and in Jewish mysticism Divine Simplicity is addressed via discussion of the attributes (תארים) of God, particularly by Jewish philosophers within the Muslim sphere of influence such as Saadia Gaon, Bahya ibn Paquda, Yehuda Halevi, and Maimonides, as well by Raabad III in Provence.

Some identify Divine simplicity as a corollary of Divine Creation: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" (Genesis 1:1). God, as creator is by definition separate from the universe and thus free of any property (and hence an absolute unity); see Negative theology.

For others, conversely, the axiom of Divine Unity (see Shema Yisrael) informs the understanding of Divine Simplicity. Bahya ibn Paquda (Duties of the Heart 1:8) points out that God's Oneness is "true oneness" (האחד האמת) as opposed to merely "circumstantial oneness" (האחד המקרי). He develops this idea to show that an entity which is truly one must be free of properties and thus indescribable - and unlike anything else. (Additionally such an entity would be absolutely unsubject to change, as well as utterly independent and the root of everything.) [1]

The implication - of either approach - is so strong that the two concepts are often presented as synonymous: "God is not two or more entities, but a single entity of a oneness even more single and unique than any single thing in creation… He cannot be sub-divided into different parts — therefore, it is impossible for Him to be anything other than one. It is a positive commandment to know this, for it is written (Deuteronomy 6:4) '…the Lord is our God, the Lord is one'." (Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Mada 1:7.)

Despite its apparent simplicity, this concept is recognised as raising many difficulties. In particular, insofar as God's simplicity does not allow for any structure — even conceptually — Divine simplicity appears to entail the following dichotomy.

On the one hand, God is absolutely simple, containing no element of form or structure, as above.

On the other hand, it is understood that God's essence contains every possible element of perfection: "The First Foundation is to believe in the existence of the Creator, blessed be He. This means that there exists a Being that is perfect (complete) in all ways and He is the cause of all else that exists." (Maimonides 13 principles of faith, First Principle).

The resultant paradox is famously articulated by Moshe Chaim Luzzatto (Derekh Hashem I:1:5), describing the dichotomy as arising out of our inability to comprehend the idea of absolute unity: “God’s existence is absolutely simple, without combinations or additions of any kind. All perfections are found in Him in a perfectly simple manner. However, God does not entail separate domains — even though in truth there exist in God qualities which, within us, are separate… Indeed the true nature of His essence is that it is a single attribute, (yet) one that intrinsically encompasses everything that could be considered perfection. All perfection therefore exists in God, not as something added on to His existence, but as an integral part of His intrinsic identity… This is a concept that is very far from our ability to grasp and imagine…”

The Kabbalists address this paradox by explaining that “God created a spiritual dimension… [through which God] interacts with the Universe... It is this dimension which makes it possible for us to speak of God’s multifaceted relationship to the universe without violating the basic principle of His unity and simplicity” (Aryeh Kaplan, Innerspace). The Kabbalistic approach is explained in various Chassidic writings; see for example, Shaar Hayichud, below, for a detailed discussion.

See also: Tzimtzum; Negative theology; Jewish principles of faith; Free will In Jewish thought; Kuzari

free will[edit]

Overview of the antinomy[edit]

The theological doctrine of divine foreknowledge is often alleged to be in conflict with free will, particularly in Calvinistic circles. For if God knows exactly what will happen (right down to every choice a person makes) it would seem the "freedom" of these choices is called into question.[1]

This problem is related to the Aristotelian problem of the sea battle: tomorrow either there will or will not be a sea battle. According to the Law of excluded middle, there seems to be two options. If there will be sea battle, then it seems that it was true even yesterday that there would be one. Thus it is necessary that the sea battle will occur . If there won't be one, then by similar reasoning, it is necessary that it won't occur.[2] This means that the future, whatever it is, is completely fixed by past truths—true propositions about the future (i.e. we reach a deterministic conclusion: things could not have been any other way).

However, some philosophers follow William of Ockham in holding that necessity and possibility are defined with respect to a given point in time and a given matrix of empirical circumstances, and so something that is merely possible from the perspective of one observer may be necessary from the perspective of an omniscient.[3] Some philosophers follow Philo of Alexandria, a philosopher known for his homocentrism, in holding that free will is a feature of a human's soul, and thus that non-human animals lack free will.[4] Common defenses

Jewish philosophy stresses that free will is a product of the intrinsic human soul, using the word neshama (from the Hebrew or .נ.ש.מ meaning "breath"), but the ability to make a free choice is through Yechida (from Hebrew word "yachid", יחיד, singular), the part of the soul that is united with God, the only being that is not hindered by or dependent on cause and effect (thus, freedom of will does not belong to the realm of the physical reality, and inability of natural philosophy to account for it is expected).

In Islam the theological issue is not usually how to reconcile free will with God's foreknowledge, but with God's "jabr," or divine commanding power. al-Ash'ari developed an "acquisition" or "dual-agency" form of compatibilism, in which human free will and divine jabr were both asserted, and which became a cornerstone of the dominant Ash'ari position.[5] In Shia Islam, Ash'aris understanding of a higher balance toward predestination is challenged by most theologists.[6] Free will, according to Islamic doctrine is the main factor for man's accountability in his/her actions throughout life. All actions taken by man's free will are said to be counted on the Day of Judgement because they are his/her own and not God's.

The philosopher Søren Kierkegaard claimed that divine omnipotence cannot be separated from divine goodness.[7] As a truly omnipotent and good being, God could create beings with true freedom over God. Furthermore, God would voluntarily do so because "the greatest good ... which can be done for a being, greater than anything else that one can do for it, is to be truly free."[8] Alvin Plantinga's "free will defense" is a contemporary expansion of this theme, adding how God, free will, and evil are consistent.[9] In Christian thought

History of Calvinist–Arminian debate[edit]

In Christian theology, God is described as omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent; a notion which some people, Christians and non-Christians alike, believe implies that not only has God always known what choices individuals will make tomorrow, but has actually determined those choices. That is, they believe, by virtue of his foreknowledge he knows what will influence individual choices, and by virtue of his omnipotence he controls those factors. This becomes especially important for the doctrines relating to salvation and predestination. In Arminianism

Christians influenced by Jacobus Arminius, such as Methodists, believe that while God is all-knowning and always knows what choices each person will make, he still gives them the ability to choose (or not choose) everything, regardless of whether there are any internal or external factors contributing to that choice. Like John Calvin, Arminius affirmed total depravity, but Arminius believed that only prevenient grace allowed men to choose salvation:

Concerning grace and free will, this is what I teach according to the Scriptures and orthodox consent: Free will is unable to begin or to perfect any true and spiritual good, without grace.... This grace [prœvenit] goes before, accompanies, and follows; it excites, assists, operates that we will, and co operates lest we will in vain.[10]

Prevenient grace is divine grace which precedes human decision. It exists prior to and without reference to anything humans may have done. As humans are corrupted by the effects of sin, prevenient grace allows persons to engage their God-given free will to choose the salvation offered by God in Jesus Christ or to reject that salvific offer.

Thomas Jay Oord offers perhaps the most cogent free will theology presupposing prevenient grace. What he calls "essential kenosis" says God acts preveniently to give freedom/agency to all creatures. This gift comes from God's eternal essence, and is therefore necessary. God remains free in choosing how to love, but the fact that God loves and therefore gives freedom/agency to others is a necessary part of what it means to be divine. In Lutheranism

[11] Lutherans believe that although humans have free will concerning civil righteousness, they cannot work spiritual righteousness without the Holy Spirit, since righteousness in the heart cannot be wrought in the absence of the Holy Spirit.[12] In other words, humanity is free to choose and act in every regard except for the choice of salvation.

Lutherans teach that sinners, while capable of doing works that are outwardly "good," are not capable of doing works that satisfy God's justice.[13] Every human thought and deed is infected with sin and sinful motives.[14]

Orthodox Lutheran theology holds that God made the world, including humanity, perfect, holy and sinless. However, Adam and Eve chose to disobey God, trusting in their own strength, knowledge, and wisdom.[15][16] Consequently, people are saddled with original sin, born sinful and unable to avoid committing sinful acts.[17] For Lutherans, original sin is the "chief sin, a root and fountainhead of all actual sins."[18]

According to Lutherans, God preserves his creation, in doing so cooperates with everything that happens, and guides the universe.[19] While God cooperates with both good and evil deeds, with evil deeds he does so only inasmuch as they are deeds, but not with the evil in them. God concurs with an act's effect, but he does not cooperate in the corruption of an act or the evil of its effect.[20] Lutherans believe everything exists for the sake of the Christian Church, and that God guides everything for its welfare and growth.[21]

Lutherans believe that the elect are predestined to salvation.[22] Lutherans believe Christians should be assured that they are among the predestined.[23] Lutherans believe that all who trust in Jesus alone can be certain of their salvation, for it is in Christ's work and his promises in which their certainty lies.[24] According to Lutheranism, the central final hope of the Christian is "the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting" as confessed in the Apostles' Creed rather than predestination. Conversion or regeneration in the strict sense of the term is the work of divine grace[25] and power[26] by which man, born of the flesh,[27] and void of all power to think,[28] to will,[29] or to do[30] any good thing, and dead in sin[31] is, through the gospel and holy baptism,[32] taken[33] from a state of sin and spiritual death under God's wrath[34] into a state of spiritual life of faith and grace,[35] rendered able to will and to do what is spiritually good[36] and, especially, led to accept the benefits of the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.[37]

Lutherans disagree with those that make predestination the source of salvation rather than Christ's suffering, death, and resurrection. Lutherans reject the Calvinist doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. Like both Calvinist camps, Lutherans view the work of salvation as monergistic in that "the natural [that is, corrupted and divinely unrenewed] powers of man cannot do anything or help towards salvation" (Formula of Concord: Solid Declaration, art. ii, par. 71), and Lutherans go further along the same lines as the Free Grace advocates to say that the recipient of saving grace need not cooperate with it. Hence, Lutherans believe that a true Christian (that is, a genuine recipient of saving grace) can lose his or her salvation, "[b]ut the cause is not as though God were unwilling to grant grace for perseverance to those in whom He has begun the good work... [but that these persons] wilfully turn away..." (Formula of Concord: Solid Declaration, art. xi, par. 42). Unlike Calvinists, Lutherans do not believe in a predestination to damnation.[38] Instead, Lutherans teach eternal damnation is a result of the unbeliever's sins, rejection of the forgiveness of sins, and unbelief.[39] In Calvinism

Calvinist Protestants embrace the idea that God chose who would be saved and who would be not saved prior to the creation. They quote Ephesians 1:4 "For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight" and also 2:8 "For it is by grace you are saved, through faith, and this not of yourselves, it is the gift of God." One of the strongest defenders of this theological point of view was the American Puritan preacher and theologian Jonathan Edwards.

Edwards believed that indeterminism was incompatible with individual dependence on God and hence with his sovereignty. He reasoned that if individuals' responses to God's grace are contra-causally free, then their salvation depends partly on them and therefore God's sovereignty is not "absolute and universal." Edwards' book Freedom of the Will defends theological determinism. In this book, Edwards attempts to show that libertarianism is incoherent. For example, he argues that by 'self-determination' the libertarian must mean either that one's actions including one's acts of willing are preceded by an act of free will or that one's acts of will lack sufficient causes. The first leads to an infinite regress while the second implies that acts of will happen accidentally and hence can't make someone "better or worse, any more than a tree is better than other trees because it oftener happens to be lit upon by a swan or nightingale; or a rock more vicious than other rocks, because rattlesnakes have happened oftener to crawl over it." [40]

It should not be thought that this view completely denies freedom of choice, however. It claims that man is free to act on his strongest moral impulse and volition, which is externally determined, but is not free to act contrary to them, or to alter them. Proponents, such as John L. Girardeau, have indicated their belief that moral neutrality is impossible; that even if it were possible, and one were equally inclined to contrary options, one could make no choice at all; that if one is inclined, however slightly, toward one option, then that person will necessarily choose that one over any others.

Some non-Calvinist Christians attempt a reconciliation of the dual concepts of predestination and free will by pointing to the situation of God as Christ. In taking the form of a man, a necessary element of this process was that Jesus Christ lived the existence of a mortal. When Jesus was born he was not born with the omniscient power of God the Creator, but with the mind of a human child - yet he was still God in essence. The precedent this creates is that God is able to will the abandonment of His knowledge, or ignore knowledge, while remaining fully God. Thus it is not inconceivable that although omniscience demands that God knows what the future holds for individuals, it is within his power to deny this knowledge in order to preserve individual free will. Other theologians argue that the Calvinist-Edwardsean view suggests that if all human volitions are predetermined by God, then all actions dictated by fallen will of man necessarily satisfy His sovereign decree. Hence, it is impossible to act outside of God's perfect will, a conclusion some non-Calvinists claim poses a serious problem for ethics and moral theology.

An early proposal toward such a reconciliation states that God is, in fact, not aware of future events, but rather, being eternal, He is outside time, and sees the past, present, and future as one whole creation. Consequently, it is not as though God would know "in advance" that Jeffrey Dahmer would become guilty of homicide years prior to the event as an example, but that He was aware of it from all eternity, viewing all time as a single present. This was the view offered by Boëthius in Book V of the Consolation of Philosophy.

Calvinist theologian Loraine Boettner argued that the doctrine of divine foreknowledge does not escape the alleged problems of divine foreordination. He wrote that "what God foreknows must, in the very nature of the case, be as fixed and certain as what is foreordained; and if one is inconsistent with the free agency of man, the other is also. Foreordination renders the events certain, while foreknowledge presupposes that they are certain."[8] Some Christian theologians, feeling the bite of this argument, have opted to limit the doctrine of foreknowledge if not do away with it altogether, thus forming a new school of thought, similar to Socinianism and process theology, called open theism.

In Catholicism[edit]

Theologians of the Catholic Church universally embrace the idea of free will, but generally do not view free will as existing apart from or in contradiction to grace. St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas wrote extensively on free will, with Augustine focusing on the importance of free will in his responses to the Manichaeans, and also on the limitations of a concept of unlimited free will as denial of grace, in his refutations of Pelagius.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church suggests that "Freedom is the power, rooted in reason and will".[42] It goes on to say that "God created man a rational being, conferring on him the dignity of a person who can initiate and control his own actions. "God willed that man should be 'left in the hand of his own counsel,' so that he might of his own accord seek his Creator and freely attain his full and blessed perfection by cleaving to him.""[43] The section concludes with the role that grace plays, "By the working of grace the Holy Spirit educates us in spiritual freedom in order to make us free collaborators in his work in the Church and in the world."[44]

Catholic Christianity views on free will and grace are often contrasted with predestination in Reformed Protestant Christianity, especially after the Counter-Reformation, but in understanding differing conceptions of free will it is just as important to understand the differing conceptions of the nature of God, focusing on the idea that God can be all-powerful and all-knowing even while people continue to exercise free will, because God does not exist in time.

Edward Schillebeeckx in his book:"Mensen als verhaal van God" states, "Daring to call human beings to life creatively is from God's perspective a vote of confidence in humankind and in its history, without any condition being placed on human beings or any guarantee being asked of them. The creation of human beings is a blank check for which God alone is a guarantor. By creating human beings with their own finite and free will, God voluntarily renounces power. That makes [God] to a high degree dependent on human beings and vulnerable."[45] Schillebeeckx’s claim that this view of God's power as "non-authoritarian, vulnerable, even helpless" should serve as a model for how ministerial authority is to be exercised in the church.[46] (Church: The Human Story of God, 221; Mensen als verhaal van God, 239) is intended as a critique of an authoritarian exercise of leadership by those in the ecclesiastical hierarchy. That model of ministerial authority, particularly in the English translation, is problematic, especially for women, who have been characterized as "vulnerable" and even at times "helpless," and who are prevented structurally from exercising authority in relation to word and sacrament. A more adequate expression of Jesus' exercise of authority is reflected in Schillebeeckx's citation from Aquinas: "The power and rule of Christ over human beings is exercised by truth, justice and above all love." (III Sent., d. 13, q. 2; ST III, q. 8 and q. 59, a. 4).] In Eastern Christianity Oriental Orthodox

The concept of free will is also very important in the Oriental Orthodox Churches, especially in the Coptic affiliated ones. As in Judaism, free will is regarded as axiomatic. Everyone is regarded as having a free choice as to in what measure he or she will follow his or her conscience or arrogance, these two having been appointed for each individual. The more one follows one's conscience, the more it brings one good results, and the more one follows one's arrogance, the more it brings one bad results. Following only one's arrogance is sometimes likened to the dangers of falling into a pit while walking in pitch darkness, without the light of conscience to illuminate the path. Very similar doctrines have also found written expression in the Dead Sea Scrolls "Manual of Discipline", and in some religious texts possessed by the Beta Israel Jews of Ethiopia. Eastern Orthodox

Eastern Orthodox Church holds a view different from the Calvinist, Arminian, and Lutheran ones. The difference is in the interpretation of the Original sin, where the Eastern Orthodox do not believe in Total depravity. The Orthodox do not accept the Pelagian view that the original sin did not damage human nature, they accept that the human nature is depraved, but not totally, and they avoid calling it "depraved" preferring "fallen nature".

Orthodox Church holds to the teaching of synergy (συνεργός, meaning working together), which says that man has the freedom to, and must if he wants to be saved, choose to accept and work with the grace of God. The first who defined this teaching was John Cassian, 4th century Church Father, and a pupil of John Chrysostom, and all Eastern Fathers accept it. He taught that "Divine grace is necessary to enable a sinner to return unto God and live, yet man must first, of himself, desire and attempt to choose and obey God", and that "Divine grace is indispensable for salvation, but it does not necessarily need to precede a free human choice, because, despite the weakness of human volition, the will can take the initiative toward God.".

Some Orthodox use the parable of a drowning man to plainly illustrate the teaching of synergy: God from the ship throws a rope to a drowning man, pulls him up, saving him, and the man, if he wants to be saved, must hold on tightly to the rope; explaining both that salvation is a gift from God and man cannot save himself, and that man must co-work (syn-ergo) with God in the process of salvation.

Dostoevsky (an Eastern Orthodox Christian) the novelist suggested many arguments for and against free will. Famous arguments are the Grand Inquisitor, Notes from Underground and the argument that suicide, if chosen out of the irrational, was validation of freewill (see Kirilov in the Demons) novel. As for the argument presented in The Brothers Karamazov's section "The Rebellion" that the suffering of innocents was not worth the price of freewill, Dostoevsky appears to propose the idea of Apocatastasis as one possible rational solution.

Roman Catholic teaching[edit]

Illustrating as it does that the human part in salvation (represented by holding on to the rope) must be preceded and accompanied by grace (represented by the casting and drawing of the rope), the image of the drowning man holding on to the rope cast and drawn by his rescuer corresponds closely to Catholic teaching, which holds that God, who "destined us in love to be his sons" and "to be conformed to the image of his Son",[47] includes in his eternal plan of "predestination" each person's free response to his grace.[48]

The Catholic Church holds to the teaching that "by free will, (the human person) is capable of directing himself toward his true good … man is endowed with freedom, an outstanding manifestation of the divine image'."[49] Man has free will either to accept or reject the grace of God, so that for salvation "there is a kind of interplay, or synergy, between human freedom and divine grace".[50] "Justification establishes cooperation between God's grace and man's freedom. On man's part it is expressed by the assent of faith to the Word of God, which invites him to conversion, and in the cooperation of charity with the prompting of the Holy Spirit who precedes and preserves his assent: 'When God touches man's heart through the illumination of the Holy Spirit, man himself is not inactive while receiving that inspiration, since he could reject it; and yet, without God's grace, he cannot by his own free will move himself toward justice in God's sight' (Council of Trent)."[51]

God has freely chosen to associate man with the work of his grace. the fatherly action of God is first on his own initiative, and then follows man's free acting through his collaboration.[52] For Catholics, therefore, human cooperation with grace is essential.[53] When God establishes his eternal plan of 'predestination', he includes in it each person's free response to his grace, whether it is positive or negative: "In this city, in fact, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place" (Acts 4:27-28).[54]

The initiative comes from God,[55] but it demands a free response from man: "God has freely chosen to associate man with the work of his grace. the fatherly action of God is first on his own initiative, and then follows man's free acting through his collaboration".[52] "Since the initiative belongs to God in the order of grace, no one can merit the initial grace of forgiveness and justification, at the beginning of conversion. Moved by the Holy Spirit and by charity, we can then merit for ourselves and for others the graces needed for our sanctification, for the increase of grace and charity, and for the attainment of eternal life.";[56] Orthodox criticism of Catholic doctrine

Orthodox theologian Vladimir Lossky has stated that the teaching of John Cassian, who in the East is considered a witness to tradition, but who "was unable to make himself correctly understood", "was interpreted, on the rational plane, as a semi-pelagianism, and was condemned in the West".[57] Where the Catholic Church defends the concept of faith and free will these are questioned in the East by the conclusions of the Second Council of Orange. This council is not accepted by the Eastern churches and the Catholic Church's use[not in citation given][58] of describing their position and St Cassian as Semi-Pelagian is also rejected.[59]

Although the Roman Catholic Church explicitly teaches that "original sin does not have the character of a personal fault in any of Adam's descendants",[60] some Eastern Orthodox nevertheless claim that Roman Catholicism professes the teaching, which they attribute to Saint Augustine, that everyone bears not only the consequence, but also the guilt of Adam's sin.[61][62] Differences of view between Catholic and Orthodox Churches

Various Roman Catholic theologians identify Cassian as a teacher of the Semi-Pelagian heresy which was condemned by the Council of Orange.[63][64][65][66][67][68][69][70][71] While the Orthodox do not apply the term Semi-Pelagian to their theology, they criticize the Catholics for rejecting Cassian whom they accept as fully orthodox,[72] and for holding that human consent to God's justifying action is itself an effect of grace,[73] a position shared by Eastern Orthodox theologian Georges Florovsky, who says that the Eastern Orthodox Church "always understood that God initiates, accompanies, and completes everything in the process of salvation", rejecting instead the Calvinist idea of irresistible grace.[74]

Recently, some Catholic theologians have argued that Cassian's writings should not be considered Semi-Pelagian.[citation needed] And scholars of other denominations too have concluded that Cassian's thought "is not Semi-Pelagian",[75] and that he instead taught that "salvation is, from beginning to end, the effect of God's grace"[75] and held that "God's grace, not human free will, is responsible for 'everything which pertains to salvation' - even faith."[76]

The Orthodox Church holds to the teaching of synergy (συνεργός, meaning working together), which says that man has the freedom to, and must if he wants to be saved, choose to accept and work with the grace of God. Once baptised the experience of his salvation and relationship with God is called theosis. Mankind has free will to accept or reject the grace of God. Rejection of the gifts of God is called blasphemy of the Holy Spirit (gifts of grace, faith, life).[77][78] The first who defined this teaching was John Cassian, 4th-century Church Father, and a pupil of John Chrysostom, and all Eastern Fathers accept it. He taught that "Divine grace is necessary to enable a sinner to return unto God and live, yet man must first, of himself, desire and attempt to choose and obey God", and that "Divine grace is indispensable for salvation, but it does not necessarily need to precede a free human choice, because, despite the weakness of human volition, the will can take the initiative toward God.".[citation needed]

Some Orthodox use the parable of a drowning man to plainly illustrate the teaching of synergy: God from the ship throws a rope to a drowning man, pulls him up, saving him, and the man. If he wants to be saved, man must hold on tightly to the rope. Explaining both that salvation is a gift from God and man cannot save himself. That man must co-work (syn-ergo) with God in the process of salvation. As God does not predestine persons to eternal life, rather because he is God, he can see who will ultimately choose or not choose to follow him. In the LDS (Mormon) Church Main article: Agency (LDS Church)

Mormons or Latter-day Saints, believe that God has given all humans the gift of moral agency. Moral agency includes free will and agency. Proper exercise of unfettered choice leads to the ultimate goal of returning to God's presence. Having the choice to do right or wrong was important, because God wants a society of a certain type—those that comply with eternal laws. Before this Earth was created, this dispute over agency rose to the level that there was a "war in heaven." Lucifer (who favored no agency) and his followers were cast out of heaven for rebelling against God's will. Many Mormon leaders have also taught that the battle in Heaven over agency is now being carried out on earth[citation needed], where dictators, influenced by Satan, fight against freedom (or free agency) in governments contrary to the will of God.

Mormons also believe in a limited form of foreordination — not in deterministic, unalterable decrees, but rather in callings from God for individuals to perform specific missions in mortality. Those who are foreordained can reject the foreordination, either outright or by transgressing the laws of God and becoming unworthy to fulfill the call. In the New Church

The New Church, or Swedenborgianism, teaches that every person has complete freedom to choose heaven or hell. Emanuel Swedenborg, upon whose writings the New Church is founded, argued that if God is love itself, people must have free will. If God is love itself, then He desires no harm to come to anyone: and so it is impossible that he would predestine anyone to hell. On the other hand, if God is love itself, then He must love things outside of Himself; and if people do not have the freedom to choose evil, they are simply extensions of God, and He cannot love them as something outside of Himself. In addition, Swedenborg argues that if a person does not have free will to choose goodness and faith, then all of the commandments in the Bible to love God and the neighbor are worthless, since no one can choose to do them - and it is impossible that a God who is love itself and wisdom itself would give impossible commandments.

Other views[edit]

Free will is also a point of debate among both sides of the Christian communist theory. Because some Christians interpret the Bible as advocating that the ideal form of society is communism,[citation needed] opponents of this theory maintain that the establishment of a large-scale communist system would infringe upon the free will of individuals by denying them the freedom to make certain decisions for themselves.[citation needed] Christian communists adamantly oppose this by arguing that free will has and always will be limited to some extent by human laws.[citation needed]

In Jewish thought[edit]

The belief in free will (Hebrew: bechirah chofshit בחירה חפשית, bechirah בחירה) is axiomatic in Jewish thought, and is closely linked with the concept of reward and punishment, based on the Torah itself: "I [God] have set before you life and death, blessing and curse: therefore choose life" ( Deuteronomy 30:19).

Free will is therefore discussed at length in Jewish philosophy, firstly as regards God's purpose in creation, and secondly as regards the closely related, resultant, paradox. The topic is also often discussed in connection with Negative theology, Divine simplicity and Divine Providence, as well as Jewish principles of faith in general.

Free will and creation[edit]

The traditional teaching regarding the purpose of creation, particularly as influenced by Jewish mysticism, is that "This world is like a corridor to the World to Come" (Pirkei Avoth 4:16). "Man was created for the sole purpose of rejoicing in God, and deriving pleasure from the splendor of His Presence… The place where this joy may truly be derived is the World to Come, which was expressly created to provide for it; but the path to the object of our desires is this world..." (Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, Mesillat Yesharim, Ch.1). Free will is thus required by God's justice, “otherwise, Man would not be given or denied good for actions over which he had no control” [9].

It is further understood that in order for Man to have true free choice, he must not only have inner free will, but also an environment in which a choice between obedience and disobedience exists. God thus created the world such that both good and evil can operate freely [10]; this is the meaning of the Rabbinic maxim, "All is in the hands of Heaven except the fear of Heaven" (Talmud, Berachot 33b). The paradox of free will

In Rabbinic literature, there is much discussion as to the apparent contradiction between God's omniscience and free will. The representative view is that "Everything is foreseen; yet free will is given" (Rabbi Akiva, Pirkei Avoth 3:15). Based on this understanding, the problem is formally described as a paradox, beyond our understanding. “The Holy One, Blessed Be He, knows everything that will happen before it has happened. So does He know whether a particular person will be righteous or wicked, or not? If He does know, then it will be impossible for that person not to be righteous. If He knows that he will be righteous but that it is possible for him to be wicked, then He does not know everything that He has created. ...[T]he Holy One, Blessed Be He, does not have any temperaments and is outside such realms, unlike people, whose selves and temperaments are two separate things. God and His temperaments are one, and God's existence is beyond the comprehension of Man… [Thus] we do not have the capabilities to comprehend how the Holy One, Blessed Be He, knows all creations and events. [Nevertheless] know without doubt that people do what they want without the Holy One, Blessed Be He, forcing or decreeing upon them to do so... It has been said because of this that a man is judged according to all his actions. (Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Teshuva 5:5 [79]) ”

The paradox is explained, but not resolved, by observing that God exists outside of time, and therefore, his knowledge of the future is exactly the same as his knowledge of the past and present. Just as his knowledge of the past does not interfere with man's free will, neither does his knowledge of the future [11]. This distinction, between foreknowledge and predestination, is in fact discussed by Maimonides' critic Abraham ibn Daud; see Hasagat HaRABaD ad loc.

(One analogy here is that of time travel. The time traveller, having returned from the future, knows in advance what x will do, but while he knows what x will do, that knowledge does not cause x to do so: x had free will, even while the time traveller had foreknowledge; see [12]. However, one objection raised against this analogy – and ibn Daud’s distinction – is that if x truly has free will, he may choose to act otherwise when the event in question comes to pass, and therefore the time traveller (or God) merely has knowledge of a possible event: even having seen the event, there is no way to know with certainty what x will do; see the view of Gersonides below. Further, the presence of the time traveller, may have had some chaotic effect on x's circumstances and choice, absent when the event comes to pass in the present.)

Alternate approaches[edit]

Although the above discussion of the paradox represents the majority Rabbinic view, there are several major thinkers who resolve the issue by explicitly excluding human action from divine foreknowledge.

Both Saadia Gaon and Judah ha-Levi hold that "the decisions of man precede God's knowledge" [13]. Gersonides holds that God knows, beforehand, the choices open to each individual, but does not know which choice the individual, in his freedom, will make. Isaiah Horowitz takes the view that God cannot know which moral choices people will make, but that, nevertheless, this does not impair His perfection.

In line with this thinking, the teaching from Pirkei Avoth above, is then to be read as: "Everything is observed (while - and no matter where - it happens), and (since the actor is unaware of being observed) free will is given ".[80]

In Kabbalistic thought[edit]

The existence of free will, and the paradox above (as addressed by either approach), is closely linked to the concept of Tzimtzum. Tzimtzum entails the idea that God "constricted" his infinite essence, to allow for the existence of a "conceptual space" in which a finite, independent world could exist. This "constriction" made free will possible, and hence the potential to earn the World to Come.

Further, according to the first approach, it is understood that the Free-will Omniscience paradox provides a temporal parallel to the paradox inherent within Tzimtzum. In granting free will, God has somehow "constricted" his foreknowledge, to allow for Man's independent action; He thus has foreknowledge and yet free will exists. In the case of Tzimtzum, God has "constricted" his essence to allow for Man's independent existence; He is thus immanent and yet transcendent. In Islamic thought See also: Predestination in Islam

Disputes about free will in Islam began with the Mu'tazili vs Hanbali disputes,[81] with the Mu'tazili arguing that humans had "qadar," the capacity to do right or wrong, and thus deserved the reward or punishment they received, whereas Hanbali insisted on God's "jabr," or total power and initiative in managing all events.[82] Schools that developed around earlier thinkers such as Abu Hanifa and al-Ash'ari searched for ways to explain how both human qadar, and divine jabr could be asserted at the same time. Ash'ari develops a "dual agency" or "acquisition" account of free will in which every human action has two distinct agents. God creates the possibility of a human action with his divine jabr, but then the human follows through and "acquires" the act, making it theirs and taking responsibility for it using their human qadar.[83]

In Jewish belief[edit]

God is defined as the Creator of the universe: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" (Genesis 1:1); similarly, "I am God, I make all things" (Isaiah 44:24). God, as Creator, is by definition separate from the physical universe and thus exists outside of space and time. God is therefore absolutely different from anything else, and, as above, is in consequence held to be totally unknowable. It is for this reason that we cannot make any direct statements about God. (See Tzimtzum (צמצום): the notion that God "contracted" his infinite and indescribable essence in order to allow for a "conceptual space" in which a finite, independent world could exist.) [18]

Bahya ibn Paquda shows that our inability to describe God is similarly related to the fact of His absolute unity. God, as the entity which is "truly One" (האחד האמת), must be free of properties and is thus unlike anything else and indescribable; see Divine simplicity. This idea is developed fully in later Jewish philosophy, especially in the thought of the medieval rationalists such as Maimonides and Samuel ibn Tibbon.

It is understood that although we cannot describe God directly (מצד עצמו) it is possible to describe Him indirectly via His attributes (תארים). The “negative attributes” (תארים שוללים) relate to God Himself, and specify what He is not. The “attributes of action” (תארים מצד פעולותיו), on the other hand, do not describe God directly, rather His interaction with creation [2]. Maimonides was perhaps the first Jewish Thinker to explicitly articulate this doctrine (see also Tanya Shaar Hayichud Vehaemunah Ch. 8): “ God's existence is absolute and it includes no composition and we comprehend only the fact that He exists, not His essence. Consequently it is a false assumption to hold that He has any positive attribute... still less has He accidents (מקרה), which could be described by an attribute. Hence it is clear that He has no positive attribute whatever. The negative attributes are necessary to direct the mind to the truths which we must believe... When we say of this being, that it exists, we mean that its non-existence is impossible; it is living — it is not dead; is the first — its existence is not due to any cause; it has power, wisdom, and will — it is not feeble or ignorant; He is One — there are not more Gods than one… Every attribute predicated of God denotes either the quality of an action, or, when the attribute is intended to convey some idea of the Divine Being itself — and not of His actions — the negation of the opposite. (The Guide for the Perplexed, 1:58) ”

In line with this formulation, attributes commonly used in describing God in rabbinic literature, in fact refer to the "negative attributes" — omniscience, for example, refers to non-ignorance; omnipotence to non-impotence; unity to non-plurality, eternity to non-temporality. Examples of the “attributes of action” are God as creator, revealer, redeemer, mighty and merciful [3]. Similarly, God’s perfection is generally considered an attribute of action. Joseph Albo (Ikkarim 2:24) points out that there are a number of attributes that fall under both categories simultaneously. Note that the various Names of God in Judaism, generally, correspond to the “attributes of action” — in that they represent God as he is known. The exceptions are the Tetragrammaton (Y-H-W-H) and the closely related "I Am the One I Am" (אהיה אשר אהיה — Exodus 3:13–14), both of which refer to God in his "negative attributes", as absolutely independent and uncreated; see "Names of God in Judaism".

Since two approaches are used to speak of God, there are times when these may conflict, giving rise to paradoxes in Jewish philosophy. In these cases, two descriptions of the same phenomenon appear contradictory, whereas, in fact, the difference is merely one of perspective: one description takes the viewpoint of the "attributes of action" and the other, of the "negative attributes". See the paradoxes described under free will, Divine simplicity and Tzimtzum.

metaphyics in theology[edit]

According to al-Kindi, the goal of metaphysics is the knowledge of God. For this reason, he does make a clear distinction between philosophy and theology, because he believes they are both concerned with the same subject. Later philosophers, particularly al-Farabi and Avicenna, would strongly disagree with him on this issue, by saying that metaphysics is actually concerned with qua being, and as such, the nature of God is purely incidental.[12]

Central to al-Kindi's understanding of metaphysics is God's absolute oneness, which he considers an attribute uniquely associated with God (and therefore not shared with anything else). By this he means that while we may think of any existent thing as being "one", it is in fact both "one" and many". For example, he says that while a body is one, it is also composed of many different parts. A person might say "I see an elephant", by which he means "I see one elephant", but the term 'elephant' refers to a species of animal that contains many. Therefore, only God is absolutely one, both in being and in concept, lacking any multiplicity whatsoever. Some feel this understanding entails a very rigorous negative theology because it implies that any description which can be predicated to anything else, cannot be said about God.[31][32]

In addition to absolute oneness, al-Kindi also described God as the Creator. This means that He acts as both a final and efficient cause. Unlike later Muslim Neo-Platonic philosophers (who asserted that the universe existed as a result of God's existence "overflowing", which is a passive act), al-Kindi conceived of God as an active agent. In fact, of God as the agent, because all other intermediary agencies are contingent upon Him.[33] The key idea here is that God "acts" through created intermediaries, which in turn "act" on one another - through a chain of cause and effect - to produce the desired result. In reality, these intermediary agents do not "act" at all, they are merely a conduit for God's own action.[30] This is especially significant in the development of Islamic philosophy, as it portrayed the "first cause" and "unmoved mover" of Aristotelian philosophy as compatible with the concept of God according to Islamic revelation.[34]

Al-Kindi theorized that there was a separate, incorporeal and universal intellect (known as the "First Intellect"). It was the first of God's creation and the intermediary through which all other things came into creation. Aside from its obvious metaphysical importance, it was also crucial to al-Kindi's epistemology, which was influenced by Platonic realism.[35]

According to Plato, everything that exists in the material world corresponds to certain universal forms in the heavenly realm. These forms are really abstract concepts such as a species, quality or relation, which apply to all physical objects and beings. For example, a red apple has the quality of "redness" derived from the appropriate universal. However, al-Kindi says that human intellects are only potentially able to comprehend these. This potential is actualized by the First Intellect, which is perpetually thinking about all of the universals. He argues that the external agency of this intellect is necessary by saying that human beings cannot arrive at a universal concept merely through perception. In other words, an intellect cannot understand the species of a thing simply by examining one or more of its instances. According to him, this will only yield an inferior "sensible form", and not the universal form which we desire. The universal form can only be attained through contemplation and actualization by the First Intellect.[36]

The analogy he provides to explain his theory is that of wood and fire. Wood, he argues, is potentially hot (just as a human is potentially thinking about a universal), and therefore requires something else which is already hot (such as fire) to actualize this. This means that for the human intellect to think about something, the First Intellect must already be thinking about it. Therefore he says that the First Intellect must always be thinking about everything. Once the human intellect comprehends a universal by this process, it becomes part of the individual's "acquired intellect" and can be thought about whenever he or she wishes.[37]

Metaphysics and cosmology[edit]

In contrast to al-Kindi, who considered the subject of metaphysics to be God, al-Farabi believed that it was concerned primarily with being qua being (that is, being in of itself), and this is related to God only to the extent that God is a principle of absolute being. Al-Kindi's view was, however, a common misconception regarding Greek philosophy amongst Muslim intellectuals at the time, and it was for this reason that Avicenna remarked that he did not understand Aristotle's Metaphysics properly until he had read a prolegomenon written by al-Farabi.[47]

Al-Farabi's cosmology is essentially based upon three pillars: Aristotelian metaphysics of causation, highly developed Plotinian emanational cosmology and the Ptolemaic astronomy.[48] In his model, the universe is viewed as a number of concentric circles; the outermost sphere or "first heaven", the sphere of fixed stars, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, Venus, Mercury and finally, the Moon. At the centre of these concentric circles is the sub-lunar realm which contains the material world.[49] Each of these circles represent the domain of the secondary intelligences (symbolized by the celestial bodies themselves), which act as causal intermediaries between the First Cause (in this case, God) and the material world. Furthermore these are said to have emanated from God, who is both their formal and efficient cause. This departs radically from the view of Aristotle, who considered God to be solely a formal cause for the movement of the spheres, but by doing so it renders the model more compatible with the ideas of the theologians.[49]

The process of emanation begins (metaphysically, not temporally) with the First Cause, whose principal activity is self-contemplation. And it is this intellectual activity that underlies its role in the creation of the universe. The First Cause, by thinking of itself, "overflows" and the incorporeal entity of the second intellect "emanates" from it. Like its predecessor, the second intellect also thinks about itself, and thereby brings its celestial sphere (in this case, the sphere of fixed stars) into being, but in addition to this it must also contemplate upon the First Cause, and this causes the "emanation" of the next intellect. The cascade of emanation continues until it reaches the tenth intellect, beneath which is the material world. And as each intellect must contemplate both itself and an increasing number of predecessors, each succeeding level of existence becomes more and more complex. It should be noted that this process is based upon necessity as opposed to will. In other words, God does not have a choice whether or not to create the universe, but by virtue of His own existence, He causes it to be. This view also suggests that the universe is eternal, and both of these points were criticized by al-Ghazzali in his attack on the philosophers[50][51]

In his discussion of the First Cause (or God), al-Farabi relies heavily on negative theology. He says that it cannot be known by intellectual means, such as dialectical division or definition, because the terms used in these processes to define a thing constitute its substance. Therefore if one was to define the First Cause, each of the terms used would actually constitute a part of its substance and therefore behave as a cause for its existence, which is impossible as the First Cause is uncaused; it exists without being caused. Equally, he says it cannot be known according to genus and differentia, as its substance and existence are different from all others, and therefore it has no category to which it belongs. If this were the case, then it would not be the First Cause, because something would be prior in existence to it, which is also impossible. This would suggest that the more philosophically simple a thing is, the more perfect it is. And based on this observation, Adamson says it is possible to see the entire hierarchy of al-Farabi's cosmology according to classification into genus and species. Each succeeding level in this structure has as its principal qualities multiplicity and deficiency, and it is this ever-increasing complexity that typifies the material world.[52] Epistemology and eschatology

Human beings are unique in al-Farabi's vision of the universe because they stand between two worlds: the "higher", immaterial world of the celestial intellects and universal intelligibles, and the "lower", material world of generation and decay; they inhabit a physical body, and so belong to the "lower" world, but they also have a rational capacity, which connects them to the "higher" realm. Each level of existence in al-Farabi's cosmology is characterized by its movement towards perfection, which is to become like the First Cause; a perfect intellect. Human perfection (or "happiness"), then, is equated with constant intellection and contemplation.[53]

Al-Farabi divides intellect into four categories: potential, actual, acquired and the Agent. The first three are the different states of the human intellect and the fourth is the Tenth Intellect (the moon) in his emanational cosmology. The potential intellect represents the capacity to think, which is shared by all human beings, and the actual intellect is an intellect engaged in the act of thinking. By thinking, al-Farabi means abstracting universal intelligibles from the sensory forms of objects which have been apprehended and retained in the individual's imagination.[54]

This motion from potentiality to actuality requires the Agent Intellect to act upon the retained sensory forms; just as the Sun illuminates the physical world to allow us to see, the Agent Intellect illuminates the world of intelligibles to allow us to think.[55] This illumination removes all accident (such as time, place, quality) and physicality from them, converting them into primary intelligibles, which are logical principles such as "the whole is greater than the part". The human intellect, by its act of intellection, passes from potentiality to actuality, and as it gradually comprehends these intelligibles, it is identified with them (as according to Aristotle, by knowing something, the intellect becomes like it).[56] Because the Agent Intellect knows all of the intelligibles, this means that when the human intellect knows all of them, it becomes associated with the Agent Intellect's perfection and is known as the acquired Intellect.[57]

While this process seems mechanical, leaving little room for human choice or volition, Reisman says that al-Farabi is committed to human voluntarism.[56] This takes place when man, based on the knowledge he has acquired, decides whether to direct himself towards virtuous or unvirtuous activities, and thereby decides whether or not to seek true happiness. And it is by choosing what is ethical and contemplating about what constitutes the nature of ethics, that the actual intellect can become "like" the active intellect, thereby attaining perfection. It is only by this process that a human soul may survive death, and live on in the afterlife.[55][58]

According to al-Farabi, the afterlife is not the personal experience commonly conceived of by religious traditions such as Islam and Christianity. Any individual or distinguishing features of the soul are annihilated after the death of the body; only the rational faculty survives (and then, only if it has attained perfection), which becomes one with all other rational souls within the agent intellect and enters a realm of pure intelligence.[57] Henry Corbin compares this eschatology with that of the Ismaili Neo-Platonists, for whom this process initiated the next grand cycle of the universe.[59] However, Deborah Black mentions we have cause to be skeptical as to whether this was the mature and developed view of al-Farabi, as later thinkers such as Ibn Tufayl, Averroes and Ibn Bajjah would assert that he repudiated this view in his commentary on the Nicomachean Ethics, which has been lost to modern experts.[57]


Philosophy of Wujūd[edit]

The Arabic-English dictionary defines wujūd (وجود) as presence, appearance; attendance; visiting

Ibn Arabi[edit]

Ibn Arabi is most often characterized in Islamic texts as the originator of the doctrine of wahdat al-wujud, however, this expression is not found in his works and the first who employed this term was perhaps, in fact, the Andalusian mystical thinker Ibn Sabin.[4] Although he frequently makes statements that approximate it, it cannot be claimed that "Oneness of Being" is a sufficient description of his ontology, since he affirms the "manyness of reality" with equal vigor.[5]

In his view, wujūd is the unknowable and inaccessible ground of everything that exists. God alone is true wujūd, while all things dwell in nonexistence, so also wujūd alone is nondelimited (mutlaq), while everything else is constrained, confined, and constricted. Wujūd is the absolute, infinite, nondelimited reality of God, while all others remain relative, finite, and delimited.[6]

Since wujūd is nondelimited, it is totally different from everything else. Whatever exists and can be known or grasped is a delimitation and definition, a constriction of the unlimited, a finite object accessible to a finite subject. In the same way, wujūd's self-consciousness is nondelimited, while every other consciousness is constrained and confined. But we need to be careful in asserting wujūd's nondelimitation. This must not be understood to mean that wujūd is different and only different from every delimitation. The Shaykh is quick to point out that wujūd's nondelimitation demands that it be able to assume every delimitation. If wujūd could not become delimited, it would be limited by its own nondelimitation. Thus "He possesses nondelimitation in delimitation" Or, "God possesses nondelimited wujūd, but no delimitation prevents delimitation. Rather, He possesses all delimitations, so He is nondelimited delimitation, since no single delimitation rather than another rules over Him.... Hence nothing is to be attributed to Him in preference to anything else" . Wujūd must have the power of assuming every delimitation on pain of being limited by those delimitations that it cannot assume. At the same time, it transcends the forms by which it becomes delimited and remains untouched by their constraints.[6]

Only He who possesses Being in Himself (wujûd dhâtî) and whose Being is His very essence (wujûduhu 'ayn dhâtihi), merits the name of Being. Only God can be like that.[7]

On the highest level, wujūd is the absolute and nondelimited reality of God, the "Necessary Being" (wājib al-wujūd) that cannot not exist. In this sense, wujūd designates the Essence of God or of the Real (dhāt al-haqq), the only reality that is real in every respect. On lower levels, wujūd is the underlying substance of "everything other than God" (mā siwā Allāh)—which is how Ibn Arabi and others define the "cosmos" or "universe" (al-'ālam). Hence, in a secondary meaning, the term wujūd is used as shorthand to refer to the whole cosmos, to everything that exists. It can also be employed to refer to the existence of each and every thing that is found in the universe.[5]

God's 'names' (asma') or 'attributes' (sifat), on the other hand, are the relationships which can be discerned between the Essence and the cosmos. They are known to God because he knows every object of knowledge, but they are not existent entities or ontological qualities, for this would imply plurality in the godhead.[8]

For the creatures, Being is not part of their essence. So a creature does not own its being, that it can never be independent in itself . In this sense, the created does not deserve the attribution of Being. Only God is Being, and all the rest is in reality a possibility (imkân), a relative, possible non-existence.[7]

Ibn 'Arabî used the term "effusion" (fayd) to denote the act of creation. His writings contain expressions which show different stages of creation, a distinction merely logical and not actual. The following gives details about his vision of creation in three stages: the Most Holy Effusion (al-fayd al-aqdas), the Holy Effusion (al-fayd al-muqaddas) and the Perpetual Effusion (al-fayd al-mustamirr).[7]

Wahdat-ul-Wujood spread through the teachings of the Sufis like Qunyawi, Jandi, Tilimsani, Qayshari, Jami etc.[9] It is also associated with the Hamah Ust (Persian meaning "He is the only one") philosophy in South Asia. Sachal Sarmast and Bulleh Shah two Sufi poets from Pakistan, were also ardent followers of Wahdat-ul-Wujood.

Today, some Sufi Orders, notably the Bektashi sect and the non-traditional sects of Universal Sufism, place much emphasis on the concept of wahdat-ul-wujood.

Tashkeek or gradation is closely associated with Sadrian interpretation of wahdat al-wujud. According to this school, not only there is gradation of existence that stand in a vast hierarchical chain of being (maratib al-wujud) from floor (farsh) to divine throne (arsh), but the wujud of each existent maahiya is nothing but a grade of the single reality of wujud whose source is God, the absolute being (al-wujud al-mutlaq). What differentiates the wujud of different existents is nothing but wujud in different degrees of strength and weakness. The universe is nothing but different degrees of strengths and weaknesses of wujud, ranging from intense degree of wujud of arch-angelic realities, to the dim wujud of lowly dust from which adam was made.[10]

Criticism of the concept[edit]

Some Muslims, including both Sufis and Salafis, have made comparisons between wahdat ul-wujood and Pantheism, the concept that all is God. This criticism has come both from Salafis and from Sufis as well.

Some, however, will counter that the two concepts differ in that wahdat ul-wujood states that God and the universe aren't identical.[11] They hold real existence to be for God only and the universe to have no existence on its own (without God).

Some Salafis criticize the concept of wahdat al-wujud on the grounds that it was a product of Arab interaction with Hindu philosophy, and is not a purely Islamic concept. However, this is highly improbable simply because Muslims did not begin their interactions with the Hindus of India until the 12th century whereas prominent Sufis had already openly published some of their writings as early as the 6th century, including Al-Hallaj, Dhul-Nun al-Misri, and so on. Although Salafis cite similarities with Kabbalah as a criticism, even a cursory study of the history of Kabbalah would indicate that the formulation of Kabbalah was based on Sufi doctrines as espoused through secret publications by the Brethren of Purity. For example, Brethren of Purity discussed the doctrine of emanations which mention there being eight sephiroth, whereas in Kabbalah it is mentioned that there are ten sephiroth. However, the writings of the Brethren of Purity did not reach the Jews until during the time of the Muslim rule of Spain and the time of the Crusades. Before then however such doctrines already existed and were well established.

Some Sufis, such as Ahmad Sirhindi (Mujaddid Alif Sani), have criticised wahdat ul-wujood. Ahmad Sirhindi wrote about the sayings that universe has no existence of its own and is a shadow of the existence of the necessary being. He also wrote that one should discern the existence of universe from the absolute and that the absolute does not exist because of existence but because of his essence.[12]


This list of categories given in the al-Qatighuriyas wa Tubiqa is not exhaustive or final.

(Greek: ousia, essence or substance |Arabic jauhar, q.v.).[13] Substance is that which cannot be predicated of anything or be said to be in anything. Hence, this particular man or that particular tree are substances. Later in the text, Aristotle calls these particulars “primary substances”, to distinguish them from secondary substances, which are universals and can be predicated. Hence, Socrates is a primary substance, while man is a secondary substance. Man is predicated of Socrates, and therefore all that is predicated of man is predicated of Socrates.

kamm, q.v.; (poson, how much). This is the extension of an object, and may be either discrete or continuous. Further, its parts may or may not have relative positions to each other. All medieval discussions about the nature of the continuum, of the infinite and the infinitely divisible, are a long footnote to this text. It is of great importance in the development of mathematical ideas in the medieval and late Scholastic period. Examples: two cubits long, number, space, (length of) time. quality (kaif, q.v.)

kaif, q.v.; (poion, of what kind or quality). This determination characterizes the nature of an object. Examples: white, black, grammatical, hot, sweet, curved, straight.

’idafah, q.v.; (pros ti, toward something). This is the way one object may be related to another. Examples: double, half, large, master, knowledge.

aina, q.v.; (pou, where). Position in relation to the surrounding environment. Examples: in a marketplace, in the Lyceum.

mata, q.v.; (Greek: pote, when). Position in relation to the course of events. Examples: yesterday, last year.

wad‘, q.v.) (keisthai, to lie). The examples Aristotle gives indicate that he meant a condition of rest resulting from an action: ‘Lying’, ‘sitting’, ‘standing’. Thus position may be taken as the end point for the corresponding action. The term is, however, frequently taken to mean the relative position of the parts of an object (usually a living object), given that the position of the parts is inseparable from the state of rest implied. Others read: posture, attitude.

  • State of condition

jiddah, q.v.; (echein, to have, to be, in a state or condition). The examples Aristotle gives indicate that he meant a condition of rest resulting from an affection (i.e. being acted on): ‘shod’, ‘armed’. The term is, however, frequently taken to mean the determination arising from the physical accoutrements of an object: one's shoes, one's arms, etc. Traditionally, this category is also called a habitus (from Latin habere, to have).

  • Possession

lahu, q.v.;

fi‘l, also called yaf‘al; (poiein, to make or do). The production of change in some other object (or in the agent itself qua other).

’inf‘al and anf‘il; (paschein, to suffer or undergo). The reception of change from some other object (or from the affected object itself qua other). Aristotle's name paschein for this category has traditionally been translated into English as "affection" and "passion" (also "passivity"), easily misinterpreted to refer only or mainly to affection as an emotion or to emotional passion. For action he gave the example, ‘to lance’, ‘to cauterize’; for affection, ‘to be lanced’, ‘to be cauterized.’ His examples make clear that action is to affection as the active voice is to the passive voice — as acting is to being acted on.

misc. info[edit]

The Qur'an itself contains a very rich vocabulary that relates to the phenomena study of nature, such verbs as yarâ, yafqahûn, yataḏhakkarûn, ya'qilûn, and ya'lamûn; they are used in different verses with different meanings. It alludes to the level and depth of understanding the phenomena of nature.[14] Which is implicit in the Creation teachings in the Qur'an and traditional Torah. There is not just one level of knowing, or one particular type of science of nature, but many that range from simple observation that is related to 'seeing' (ruˀyâˀ), to include intellect (taˁaqqul), and the in-depth knowledge of the essence of things (ˁilm). However, we as humans begin to lose sense of reality of our Creator, moreover, by all the works of humanity—clothing, computers and electronics, appliances, buildings and infrastructure—the commodities and luxuries that separate us from the harsh, unforgiving environment; before all of that, they did not exist, at least in their fashionable forms.

Documentary Hypothesis[edit]

It has been by ancient Judaeo-Islamic tradition that according to the account given in the Exodus narrative, Moshe received the Torah, or "Instructions/Law", atop Mount Sinai. Modern biblical scholars today, however, have become convinced that the theory of authorship is not tenable and that the five books of the traditional Torah are not the single work of any man, and certainly not of Moshe. Rather, they are carefully edited compilation of material from a number of sources. Although the theory of multiple authorship of the Torah dates only from the eighteenth-nineteenth century from the attempt to reconcile inconsistencies in the biblical text, becoming later known as the Documentary Hypothesis. It was held that the traditional Torah was derived from originally independent, parallel and complete narratives, which were subsequently combined into the current form by a series of redactors, or editors. Biblical scholars, using source criticism, eventually arrived at the theory that the Torah was composed of selections woven together from separate, at times inconsistent, sources, each originally a complete and independent document.


Diagram of the Documentary Hypothesis.
* includes most of Leviticus
includes most of Deuteronomy
"Deuteronomic history": Joshua, Judges, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings

Within the context of Judaeo-Christian scriptures, from what is inscribed in the Torah, only brevity of events concerns the 'Six Days of Creation', in which 'Man' becomes the pinnacle of creation, Decreed by GOD HIMSELF سبحانه وتعالى, let alone the events that chronologically unfold from Adam to Noah عليهم السلام The manuscripts, according to those that have most carefully studied the Torah, the period of primeval history—particularly the antediluvian era—are primarily based on four primary documentary sources: the Jahwist source (J), the Elohist source (E), the Deuteronomist (D), and the Priestly source (P).

Being compiled by scribal editors (redactors), the documents threaded the different strands together producing the final form of the Torah, circa 450 BCE: first JE, then JED, and finally JEDP.

Distribution of materials of Jahwist, Elohist, and Priestly sources, as well as the Redactors contribution in the first four books.


Written circa 950 BCE in the southern Kingdom of Judah.

The J-document, the oldest source of the manuscripts inscribed, contains dramatic, yet historical importance to Hebrew history, dating back to the B'nei Ysra'el, and the latter tribe of Yehuda. The text that are inscribed within the J-document may have been written down early as ca. 700 BCE, before reaching its present form some time before ca. 950 BCE, perhaps when Assyria–from its base in the Tigris-Euphrates valley (modern Iraq)–was the strongest kingdom in western Asia. Even before Assyria became powerful, the culture of the Tigris-Euphrates dominated western Asia, even as far back as ca. 3,400 BCE, when the Sumerians (who lived in the region prior to the latter, the Assyrians) reinvented writing in the postdiluvian age. The Sumerian legends and their theories of the creation of the Universe, and of early history spread to all the surrounding people, exerting strong influence.


Written circa 850 BCE in the northern Kingdom of Israel.


Written circa 600 BCE in Jerusalem during a period of religious reform.


Written circa 500 BCE by Aaronic priests in exile in Babylon.

The P-document was compiled during the time when the people of Judah (the "Jewish") were in captivity in the Tigris-Euphrates region from circa 600–500 BCE. At that time, the dominant tribe of the region was the Chaldeans, and their capital was in Babylon, so that the P-document picked up what we might call Chaldean or Babylonian views of cosmic history—striking parallelism between the Babylonian creation myth prescribed in the ancient Akkadian Enûma Eliš clay cuneiforms—which in turn were based on nearly three thousand years of thought dating back to the Sumerians.

The period of primeval history based in the traditional Torah illustrates two accounts, according to two different strands of documents contained therein: the J-document and the P-document.

the culture of the Tigris-Euphrates dominated western Asia, even as far back as 3400 B.C.E., when the Sumerians, who were living in the area at that time, invented writing. The Sumerian legends and their theories of the creation of the Universe and of early history spread to all surrounding societies, exerting a strong influence throughout Mesopotamia.

The P-document, or Priestly strand, was compiled and introduced into a single form during the time when the Tribe of Judah (of B'nei Ysrael [Children of Israel]), commonly known as the Jewish people, were during bondage and captivity (known as the Babylonian captivity) in the Tigris-Euphrates region (modern day Iraq) in the sixth century B.C.E.. At this time, the dominant tribe of the region was the Chaldeans, and their capital was in Babylon; the P-document has been greatly influenced by the Chaldean or Babylonian views of cosmic history, which were based off the Sumerians concept and thought nearly dating three thousand years prior.

The J-document, or Jawhist strand, is somewhat more archaic in views than that of the P-strand, which it contains dramatic historical legends that were current among the people of ancient Israel (before the first major diaspora), which the tales were written down and reached their present form some time before 700 B.C.E.; this was before the period when Assyria–from its base in the Tigris-Euphrates valley–became the strongest kingdom in western Asia.

These two documents were combined by reverent editors and redactors whom threaded and stitched the two strands together. Sometime around 500 B.C.E., the first eleven chapters of the 'Book of Bereishit (Genesis)' reached its final form by the time Tribe of Judah returned back to Eretz Ysrael (Land of Israel) from Babylonian exile, it is copied in every traditional Torah today. All through the first eleven chapters of the Book of Genesis (Bereishit), there is a strong tinge of the Sumerian/Babylonian creation myth that is unmistakable in the both threads.

1st Book of Moses[edit]

Syllable-word frequency pattern analysis, using the chi-square test, identifies significant differences within Genesis chapters 1-4, 6-9, 12-13, 16-21, 26, 28, 30-33, 39 and 41-43.[15]

The statistical results are interpreted to suggest that to an extended composition by an initial Jahweh-writer (J2-4, 6-8, 12-13, 16) four other Jahweh-writers successively added J18-19, J26, J28-33 and J39-43.[15]

In a second major stage of development an Elohim-writer expanded chapters 2-3 (using the dual divine name as a distinctive introductory signature mark), wrote chapters 20-21 and enhanced the stories in chapters 7-8, 28, 31, 33. A second Elohim-writer added the punishments in 3.14-19, enhanced chapters 30-32 and expanded the Joseph story of ch. 41.[15]

Finally, a first Priestly-writer composed 1.1-2.3 to introduce a third major version of Genesis and also enhanced chapters 6-8. A second P writer added 1.11, 22, 28-30 and ch. 9, a third Priestly-writer composed ch. 17 and a fourth Priestly-writer edited the narratives of chapters 12-36.[15]

The analysis argues against the explanation of Genesis as consisting of layers of tradition; against the thesis that the primeval and patriarchal stories as written were developed separately; and against the use of redactors who combined sources.[15]

?date of creation?[edit]

Various Biblical scholars have made every effort to deduce its date by using various statements found in the Torah and Bible as indirect evidence. However, none has came up with the answer as precisely of one another. Though many rabbis attempted this calculation, it was that of Rabbi Yossi ben Halafta who declared that the day Creation began on Monday, 7th of October, 3761 B.C.E.. It has gained much currency that it became the acclaimed as the origin of the modern Hebrew calendar. Other Jewish scholars had placed 25th of September, 3760 B.C.E. as the date of Creation.

James Ussher, the Anglican archbishop of Armagh, Ireland, decided in 1654, that on the other hand, the date of Creation took place at 9:00 A.M., on the 23rd of October, 4004 B.C.E.. Even other calculations have put the Creation date as far back as 5509 B.C.E.. Thus, so far, the estimates have placed the age of the heavens and the earth, from Biblical data, that about 5700–7500 B.C.E.. The weight of scientific evidence is that Earth, and the solar system generally, came into being into their approximate form about 4.6-billion years ago; the Universe as it seems, about 15-billion years ago. The mere agreement between the Bible and science loses of its value in terms of discrepancy.

Six Days of Creation[edit]

בראשית ברא אלהים את השמים ואת הארץ "In the beginning of GOD's creating—the heavens and the earth."

The Day of One[edit]

The first day of creation has intrigued Jewish and Islamic scholars for thousands of years.

Abraham ibn Ezra comments:

When GOD سبحانه وتعالى created Darkness, he didn't bring into existence as if it were an 'absence of light', He created it but for a specific type of creation, such as the revelations made by Prophet Isaiah عليه السلام:
אני יהוה עשה כל־אלה...יוצר אור ובורא חשך "Forming light and creating darkness..I am the LORD [that] does all these."—[Yeshayahu 45:7]
וַיֹּ֥אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֖ים יְהִ֣י אֹ֑ור וַֽיְהִי־ אֹֽור׃ "GOD said, "Let there be light," and there was light; and אלהים separated between the light and the darkness.".—[Genesis 1:3]

To conclude that it should not mingled with the darkness, but should function independently. Other sources also uphold a mysticism view, which the Midrash states accordingly that the original light was of an intense spirituality and GOD سبحانه وتعالى saw that the wicked were unworthy of enjoying it. Therefore, he separated it from the rest of the universe and set it aside for the use of the righteous in the Olam Haba. It was an implication that patches of light and darkness were intermixed with one another during its initial point-of-origin. Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, also renown Jewish scholar and philosopher, held onto this view, which he stated that "... they functioned in a mixture".

"All praise and thanks are Allâh’s, Who (Alone) created the heavens and the earth, and originated the darkness and the light; yet those who disbelieve hold others as equal with their Lord."—[Al-An’âm:1]
"Elohim אלהים called to the light: Day, and to the darkness He called: Night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.—[Bereishyt 1:5]
"God summoned the light and appointed it for duty by day, and He summoned the darkness and appointed it for duty by night."—[Pesachim 2a]

The completion of the First Day of Creation. Scriptures uses the cardinal number אֶתָר to signify, one day, instead of the ordinal number רִאשׁוֹן, first day, to indicate the Oneness of GOD's سبحانه وتعالى essence. Because in the Masoretic text, it is also rendered as "...the day of the One and Only".

[Al-Anbiyâ':164]—In the creation of the heavens and the earth, the alternation of night and day, the ships that roam the ocean for the benefit of the people, the water that GOD sends down from the sky to revive dead land and to spread in it all kinds of creatures, the manipulation of the winds, and the clouds that are placed between the sky and the earth, there are sufficient proofs for people who understand.

[Adh-Dhâriyât:47]—We constructed the sky with our hands, and we will continue to expand it.

[Al-Hajj:47]—They challenge you to bring retribution, and GOD never fails to fulfill His prophecy. A day of your LORD is like a thousand of your years.

[Al-Ma'ârij:3-4]—From GOD; Possessor of the highest Height. • The angels, with their reports, climb to Him in a day that equals fifty thousand years.

[Fussilat:11]—Then He turned to the sky, when it was still gas, and said to it, and to the earth, "Come into existence, willingly or unwillingly." They said, "We come willingly."

A Second Day[edit]

Until this day, God سبحانه وتعالى was the only spiritual being in existence, for the angels were not created until the second day.—[Rashi] The heavens had been created on the first day, but they were still in a state of flux.

"Verily, in the alternation of the night and the day and in all that Allâh الله has created in the heavens and the earth are Ayât (proofs, signs, evidences, lessons, verses, revelations, etc.) for those people who keep their duty to Allâh الله, and fear Him much."—[Yûnus:6]

1:6 Elohim אלהים said, "Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it (that it may shall) separate between water and water."

On the second day, at the Decree of God, the firmament could be reasoned as it solidified, creating a division between the waters above and the waters below.

It also can be thought as a separation beyond our reason, as mentioned is this verse, it is wholly spiritual, extraterrestrial aspects of Creation and the tangible world that is within the province of Man [which would include even the furthest reaches of our solar system].—[Rashi]

1:7 So Elohim אלהים made the firmament (or expanse), and it separated between the water which was-were beneath (below) the firmament (and) from the waters which was-were above the firmament. And it so.

The verses in their literal sense do not require such an explanation. Those who understand the explanation are forbidden to reveal it. For those of us who do not understand, [it is forbidden to speculate about the unknown]. The implication is clear that the "firmament" and the "upper and lower waters" are among the mysteries of Creation that are either unknowable to Man or must be limited to those qualities to know them.

Maimonides states:
"Do not expect me to write anything about [the creation of the second day] since Scripture itself did not elaborate [any further] upon it..."

1:8 Elohim אלהים called the firmament Sky—

Jewish Scholars and philosophers Ibn Ezra, Malbim, and R' Hirsch, discussed the meaning of the word 'firmament'. Generally, they commented that since there is no solid dome encircling dome, the term refers to the atmosphere that encircles earth.

As we look at today, it comes to direct proven reference of the ozone layer that surrounds the earth, protecting it from the harmful radiation that is omitting in space. Uniquely, the Noble Qur'an makes mention of the 'protected roof [layer]', during the His Decree in creating the earth.

"And We have made the heaven a roof, a safe and well guarded. Yet they turn away from the signs [i.e. sun, moon, winds, clouds, etc.]."—[Al-Anbiyah':32]

—And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.

"Then He completed and finished their creation as seven heavens in two Days and He made in each heaven its affair. And We adorned the nearest (lowest) heaven with lamps (stars) to be an adornment as well as to guard."—[Fussilat:12]

This is the only 'Day' that isn't mentioned בִּי טוֹב, " was good.". This term is commonly used only for a finished creation, such as the waters in this case. Throughout the narrative, the term "that it was good" means that the creation of the item under discussion was completed. Thus, for example, the light is described as 'good', because of its existence and function were final. It wasn't until the third day did God سبحانه وتعالى say that the waters were good.

To the dimensions of height, width, length and time the Kabbalists have added the dimension of spirituality. In the positive spiritual direction are the seven heavens. Farthest from Earth is Araboth, which contains uncreated objects and is the permanent residence of men's souls. It is associated with the emanation Greatness (Kindness). Makhon, the second heaven, contains the precipitants rain, snow, hail, fog, and dew. Makhon is presided over by Moses the Law Giver and the emanation Law, and emits a lightning bolt into Ma'on, the third heaven, presided over by Father Abraham who alters the bolt into four "rays of foundation" corresponding to the four spheres of emanations along the central axis and are colored black, white, red and green. The third heaven is filled with harmonizing lights and sounds that sing praises to God, and is symbolized by the emanation Beauty. Above this is Zebhul, a spiritual Jerusalem corresponding to the emanation Victory which is the positive aspect of cosmic power. In this city is a tabernacle, personified by Metatrone, with Michael as high priest, surrounded by the souls of martyrs. There is also a heavenly tribunal of seven lights. The fifth heaven is called Shekhakim and is associated with Glory. It contains millstones whch grind manna for the righteous and is presided over by Jacob and the twelve heads of the Israelite tribes. It is surrounded by a river of fire wherein reside the angels of destruction, and this river is held back by a colorless light of monotheism, which is fueled by prayers from below and projected out from Shekhakim as an archetypal alphabet of 22 colors. Next is Rakiya, the firmament. Symbolized by the emanation Foundation, this heaven supports the heavenly bodies, which are endowed with divine knowledge. The lowest heaven is called Vilon (lit. veil), which shields the heavens during he day and "rolls" down each night. It is associated with the Kingdom, is the main source [of] prophetic visions, and is presided over by Joseph, the interpreter of dreams.

Below the Earth spiritually are seven abysses, known as Gehenna, Death's Shadow, Death's Gate, Filth, Destructive Whirlpools, Place of Perdition and Sheol. Interpretations on these vary considerably; however, it is generally held that they are made up of tohu (impure earth), bohu (impure water), and darkness (opposite of fire).

Associated with the heavens, and perhaps above them, are the seven hekhalot (palaces) in the merkavah (Divine Chariot). The seventh palace leads to the Throne of God, symbolized by sapphire and emerald. Here the souls of mystics travel outside of their bodies and rise up to the Veil of God. The veil is not physical, for God has no physical form; it is a symbol for the limitations of Man's comprehension of God.

These palaces are dangerous, and the mystics who travel them must carry with them the seals of the two angels designated for each gate to show to the eight angels who guard each of the seven entrance ways. Those that do not have the proper seals are said to be swept away in a fiery tornado. The sixth palace is particularly hazardous, for it is made of sparkling marble, and if the traveller mistakes it for water the angels chastise and punish him for his ignorance.

The demons, called sheydim (violent ones), mazikim (destructive ones), and ru'akhim (spirits). It has been postulated that demons come either from the left-hand side of the tree of emanations, called Sitra Akhar (the other side), or from a perverted opposite of the tree of emanations, composed of impore kelifot (shells) instead of spheres. It is widely held that Lilith is the Queen of demons, and that she was created for Adam as his wife. However, it was found that two separately created individuals were incompatible, so she flew off (she has wings) and God created Eve from Adam's rib. Lilith never forgave Adam, however, and she seeks revenge by killing infants and women during and shortly after child birth. Lilith is associated with the Kingdom in the tree of impurity.

The physical make-up and attitudes of the demons differs greatly, though they are all mortal. Some are quite physical but also cold and can become invisible; these are said to be the offspring of Adam and Lilith, and they carry on the tradition by mating only with humans. Others are said to be formless spirits, made solely of fire and air, and feed on incense and flames. The latter are particularly useful to witches, for black magic can be learned from them. Those demons who have wings are said to live in the upper atmosphere and "speak" with the Princes of the Zodiac, and therefore know in advance what will be.

The main king of the demons is Som, also known as Samael (lit. blind to God), who is associated with the equivalent of the emanation Glory in the sinister tree of emanations. He is quite evil, often committing the sins of adultery and murder. However, it should be noted that not all demons or demon kings are evil. They, like Man, have both good and evil inclinations, called yetzer tove and yetzer ra, respectively. The best known example is Ashmodai, who studies Torah with God. While he is still rather mischievous, he has perfect foresight and is generally beneficial.

Different from both men and demons are the m'lakhim (angels). The term m'lakh literally means messenger, and the angels are the servants of God. Unlike demons and men, angels have no free will, tend to specialize in their functions, and can assume both spiritual and physical forms. It is believed by some mystics that the gods of the pagan religions were actually angels.

Angels can take on a variety of physical forms. The Torah often mentions angels who take the form of men, and Ezekial describes ofanim, angels in the shape of wheels. In addition to these there are serafim with six wings, symbolized by fire or snakes and serve as God's messengers; cherubim who are part human, lion and bull, and accompany God; and khayot (lit. living things) who surround God on His throne.

The four archangels, associated with the khayot, are Michael (lit. who is like unto God), Raphael (lit. God has healed), Gabriel (lit. strength in God), and Oriel (lit. light of God). Though interpretations vary, these four correspond to the different Greek elements, directions, colors, precious metals and worlds. Michael, made of snow, is the angel of south, gold, fire, World of Emanations, red and symbolized by the lion. Oriel is the angel of east, copper, air, World of Creation, yellow and symbolized by the eagle. He is also known as the angel of mercy, and is believed to have taken the form of a lion and accepted offerings made to God. Rapheal is the angel associated with west, iron, earth, World of Formation, green, symbolized by the ox, and is the angel of healing. Last and in no way least is Gabriel, whose symbols are north, silver, water, World of Activity, blue and man. Gabriel is an avenging angel, made of fire and responsible for the destruction of Sodom and the taken of the souls of kings when their time has come.

Many angels serve as guards for spiritual places and the heavens, while others have specific tasks. The angel Sandalfon weaves a crown for God out of the prayers of the faithful. The infamous Satan (lit. adversary) points out the faults of Man to God, and encourages their punishment or extermination. The angel Samael, sometimes identified as the demon Som, is the main angel of death. The angel primarily responsible for the revealing of secret knowledge is called Raziel (lit. mysteries of God), and the heavenly scribe is Metatrone (lit. in Hebrew, keeper of the watch; in Greek, behind the throne).

There are also angels who guard over and personify the different nations. The Kabbalists believe that there are 70 nations, each descended from a particular son, grandson or great-grandson of Noah (the nations which existed previously were wiped out in the Great Flood). Whatever activities occur on Earth between nations are preceded by similar activities in Heaven between the respective guardian angels. Michael is the guardian of the Jews, and often intervenes on their behalf. Satan, on the other hand, is the guardian angel of Rome, for the Roman Empire was the agent of the Diaspora (exile), which is widely held to have been imposed on the Jews as punishment for their infidelity to God.

One work divides the angels into two categories: the angels in God's name, led by Totarkhiel, and the angels of God's countenance, lead by Suriyah. [See Appendix]

A Third Day[edit]

1:9 Elohim אלהים said, "Let the water beneath the firmament be gathered into one area, and let the dry land appear." And it so.

Pirkei d'Rabbi Eliezer commented that, scarcely had God Himself سبحانه وتعالى uttered the words, "Let the gathered" when mountains and hills appeared, and the waters collected in the deep-lying valleys. But the water threatened to flood the earth until He forced it back into the seabed, walling in the sea with sand.

This aspect of God's activity means that He determines the proper limits—to Creation itself, and to an individual human being's resources and sufferings.—[Zohar] The concept of God Himself سبحانه وتعالى as determining what is sufficient and setting limits is alluded to in His Name Shaddai, from the word רַּי, meaning "enough, sufficient". As Talmudic literature puts it: מִי שֶׁאָמַר לְעוֹלָמוֹ רַּי "He Who said to His World, 'It is enough!'"

1:10 Elohim אלהים called the dry land Earth, and the gathering waters He called Seas. And Elohim אלהים saw that this was good.

The word "Earth" is from the word רצה desire, i.e. it was desired to do God's Will. God began by creating one rock; and it rushed to expand, in order to fulfill His desire.

"And the earth We have spread out, and have placed therein firm mountains, and caused to grow therein all kinds of things in due proportion."—[Al-Hijr:19]

Both Rashi and Maimonides agree that the earth had been created on the first day, but it was neither visible nor dry until the waters were commanded to assemble in their designated areas.

"And We have placed on the earth firm mountains, lest it should shake with them, and We placed therein broad highways for them to pass through, that they may be guided."—[Al-Anbiyâ’:31]

The waters did not receive recognition by God سبحانه وتعالى that it were too indeed–good. Resisei Layla comments, it was because strife began on the second day. The waters were created on this day, symbolizing strife, which occurs when the bonds that unite people are broken. Schism and dispute cannot be called good.

Rabbeinu Bachya also comments that because the creation of the angels and the firmament, though momentous, was not the prime purpose of Creation. Rather, the prime purpose of Creation is the "lower world," the world where Man does his work by bringing God's plan to fruition. Only when Man's interests are served do the heavens and the heavenly beings justify their existence.

"...the Righteous are greater than the ministering angels."—[Sandhedrin 93a]

1:11 And Elohim אלהים said, "Let the earth sprout vegetation: seed-bearing plants, fruit trees of every kind on earth that bears fruit with the seed in it." And it was so.

"A Sign for them is the earth that is dead: We do give it life, and produce grain therefrom, of which ye do eat."—[Yâ-Sîn:33]

By the third day of Creation, the earth already has an atmosphere, plus land that is already to be inhabited by mankind and of the other living. On this day, He commanded that the vegetation should grow its own seed within itself, so that it could be planted elsewhere.—[Rashi]

"It is He Who sends down water (rain) from the skies, and with it We bring up forth green vegetation of all kinds, and out of it We bring forth green stalks (crops), and out of it We bring up forth thick clustered grain. And out of the date-palm and its spathe(or sheaths) (come) forth clusters of dates hanging low and near, and (then there are) gardens of grapes, olives, and pomegranates, each similar (in kind) yet different (in variety and taste). Look at their fruits and (feast your eyes) when they begin to bear, and the ripeness thereof. Verily, in these things there are signs for a people who believe."—[Al-An'âm:99]

1:12 –The earth brought forth vegetation: seed-bearing plants of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And Elohim אלהים saw that this was good.

The Talmudic sage Rav Assi noted the apparent contradiction between this verse and the Torah's statement that nothing had grown prior to the creation of Adam {Gen 2:5}. He explains that the herbs began to grow on the third day, as they had been commanded, but stopped before they broke through the soil. It remained for Adam to pray for them, whereupon rain fell (or a mist came upon the ground) and the growth was completed. This teaches that God سبحانه وتعالى longs for the prayers of the righteous.—[Chullin 60b]

1:13 And there was evening and there was morning, a third day.

Up to now, the entire earth was submerged under water. On the third day, God سبحانه وتعالى decreed boundaries for water, making way for the development of land, vegetation, animal life, and ultimately, Man.

A Fourth Day[edit]

1:14 Elohim אלהים said, "There shall be luminaries in the firmament in the heaven to separate between the day and the night; and they shall serve as (omens) [i.e. signs], and for (defining) festivals, and days and years;—

The creations of the first three days and those of the next three days parallel and complement one another. Light was created on the first day, and the luminaries were then created from it, which were then set in place on the fourth.

"It is He who made the sun a shining thing and the moon as a light and measured out for it stages that you might know the number of years and the reckoning. Allâh الله did not create these but in truth. He explains the Ayât (proofs, signs, evidences, lessons, verses, revelations, etc.) in detail for a people who have knowledge."—[Yûnus:5]

The luminaries are signs of God's greatness in many ways, the heavenly bodies are constant reminders of His omnipotence.

1:15 —and they shall serve as luminaries in the firmament of the heaven to shine upon the earth." And it was so.

It is believed that the celestial bodies were formed from these clouds of hot gases and particles of dust, some merged and became stars, others into gas planets. Whatever other metallic and rocky ingredients that God سبحانه وتعالى required to create earth, and other planets, He too gathered them and formed them into being.

"The He rose over toward the heaven when it was smoke, and said to it and to the earth: “Come both of you willingly or unwillingly.” They both said: “We come willingly."—[Fussilat:11]

In the physical universe, hot gases and dust are literately in the form of smoke—substance of gaseous material that exists within our universe, which we know as interstellar gas clouds, or nebulas.

Sun and moon[edit]

1:16 And Elohim אלהים made the two great luminaries, the greater luminary to dominate the day and the lesser luminary to dominated the night;—

The word "greater" should not be taken literately to size, or proportion. Obviously the stars are much greater in size than the moon. Instead, the 'luminaries' are described as "great" in relation to the luminosity, or intensity of their brightness. Hence the moon is much closer than the stars, its light appears more illuminated than theirs. The greatness of the sun is that it is a source of light, while the moon is small because it can only reflect what it receives from the sun.

The concept of great and small offers a homiletical insight—for a growing child is the recipient of wisdom and training from parents and teachers. We pray that the infant will grow up to become an independent source of greatness, who will enlighten others.

—and the stars.

"And indeed, We have put the big stars in the heaven and We beautified it for the beholders."—[Al-Hijr:16]

God سبحانه وتعالى had (or planned to–) created the stars on the first day, but hadn't been set until fourth day—to serve mankind.

"It is He Who set the stars for you, so that you may guide your course with their help through the darkness of the land and the sea. We have (indeed) explained in detail Our Ayât [proofs, signs, evidences, lessons, verses, revelations, etc.] for a people who know."—[Al-An’am:97]

The Qur'an speaks about the stars are not only used for its luminance, but they also serve the purpose to drive away the devils.

"And indeed We have (also) adorned the nearest heaven with lamps (stars), and We have made such lamps as missiles to drive away the Shayâtîn (devils), and have prepared for the torment of the blazing Fire."—[Al-Mulk:5]

1:17 And Elohim אלהים set them in the firmament of the heaven to give them light upon the earth,—

Then by the command of God سبحانه وتعالى, all the stars within the universe (including the sun) were placed within its own spot, according to the Will of God; they first 'illuminated' for the first time. Although light was already created, He didn't assign light to anything, it was still in a dimensionless state—until the fourth day.

God سبحانه وتعالى commands all the celestial bodies in the universe to go about its course, or orbit. They sometimes diverge from their natural course to comply with His Will, as when the sun stopped for Prophet Joshua عليه السلام.

"And He it is who has created the night and day, and the sun and the moon (and all the celestial bodies) swim along, in each rounded course (orbit)."—[Al-Anbiyâ’:33]

1:18 —to dominate by day and by night, and to separate between the light and the darkness.

This verse defines the functions between the two luminaries. Their dominion consists of causing a distinction between the darkness and the light. The great luminary, the sun, will dominate by day and its light will be everywhere–even in places where its direct rays do not reach. The smaller luminary, the moon, will dominate by night–although it will do no more than relieve the darkness.—[Maimonides]

1:19 And there was evening and there was a morning, a fourth day.

The luminaries, which had been created on the first day, were set in place on the fourth. Indeed, all the potentials of heaven and earth were created on the first day but each was set in place on the day when it was so commanded.

A Fifth Day[edit]

1:20 Elohim אלהים said, "Let the waters teem with teeming living creatures, and fowl that fly about over the earth across the expanse of the heavens."

The earth was full of marine and bird life.

God سبحانه وتعالى gave the seas the power to produce marine life, whereupon the waters became filled with living beings. Thereafter, the marine creatures would procreate naturally, through the powers granted by God's Blessing to be fruitful and multiply.

The term "teeming" refers to any living creature that does not rise from the ground.—[Rashi]

1:21 And Elohim אלהים created the great sea-giants and every living being that creeps, with which the waters teemed after their kinds; and all winged fowl of every kind. And God saw that it was good.

Arbarbanel comments that the term, "And God created...," refers to something preternatural. During the first day it was referred to Creation from a total vacuum.; here, it refers to the huge size of some of the marine life; and, the last time it was used, it refers to the Creation of Man, intelligent life form that God has imagined.

1:22 Elohim אלהים blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas; but the fowl shall increase the earth. 1:23 And there was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.

These creatures needed a special blessing because so many intentionally reduced in number—hunted down [i.e. fished out] and eaten. The land animals that were created on the sixth day needed such a blessing too, but God سبحانه وتعالى did not bestow a blessing on them, so as not to include the serpent—which was destined to be cursed much later.

Had not God سبحانه وتعالى added וּרְבוּ, "...and multiply," each creature would only produce one offspring—multiply adds multiple births to the blessing, so each would bring forth many.—[Rashi] In this context, the phrase is as blessing that the creatures would have the capacity to populate the earth. Later, with relation to Man, it was also a commandment that he engage in procreation.

A variety of creatures are mentioned in mystical works. There is adne hasadeh, a [man-like] creature with an umbilical cord attached to the ground. These beings die when their umbilical cords are cut, and are probably a symbol for how Man's ultimate ancestor is the Earth (even today's scientists believe that life started from chemicals in the ground). Another strange creature is the barnacle goose, which grows on trees using its bill as a stem until it finally breaks off and flies away. The shamir is a tiny worm which splits even the hardest rocks, and the takhash is a type of unicorn which is spiritually clean (kosher). Among the largest animals are the leviathon, king of the fishes; ZiZ, the largest of all birds (rocs); and the behemoth or reem, which are fantastically huge oxen. These oxen are so large that their hoofbeats cause earthquakes. The female of the species always gives birth to a male and female set of twins, and both parents die in the reproductive process, for if there ever were more than two behemoth at the same time, the other species would be placed in jeopardy. Other animal myths developed along the same lines or were adopted from other cultures.. Se'irim or satyrs are goat demons, basisks and cockatrices can kill all but weasels with a touch or a glance, the rahab or tannim is an evil dragon, and a werewolf is a sorcerer incognito.

The Sixth Day[edit]

1:24 Elohim אלהים said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures, each according to its kind: animal, and creeping being, and beast of the land each according to its kind." And it was so.

The term, "bring forth", implies that a concealed, dormant presence was being brought into existence.—[Ahavas Yonasan] The potential for everything was created on the first day; it was necessary only to bring them forth.—[Rashi]

These were independently living, breathing beings, capable of reproducing their own species...The term could also include any living thing not specifically mentioned, as for example, germs.—[R' Munk]

The singular form that is implied in: "...according to its kind:..."; God سبحانه وتعالى endowed each of the species with whatever senses and faculties it required to thrive—[Sforno], and endowed each with its own peculiar nature and instincts.—[Minchah Belulah]

1:25 Elohim אלהים made the beast of the earth according to its kind, and the animal according to its kind, and every creeping being of the ground according to its kind. And Elohim אלהים saw that it was good.

The expression of approval, "...that it was good.", also applies to a facet of Creation after it was complete. Animal, vegetable, and mineral existence were complete and good as soon they were created, because they had neither the ability nor the requirement to develop themselves further. Man, however, is in a different category. His creation, which is about to be recounted, is not followed by a similar declaration of approval, because Man's creation is never complete; he must always strive to better himself and his world.

Man and Woman[edit]

1:26 And Elohim אלהים said, "Let us make Man in our image, after our likeness. They shall rule over the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and over the animal, the whole earth, and every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth."

The preamble, "'Let us make Man...,'" indicates that Man was created with great deliberation and wisdom. God did not say, "Let the earth bring forth...," as He did with other creatures; instead, Man was brought into being with the deepest involvement of Divine Providence and wisdom.—[Abarbanel]

Targum Yonasam paraphrases: "And God said to the ministering angels who had been created on the second day of Creation to the world, 'Let us make Man.'"

According to the Midrash, when Moses عليه السلام wrote the Torah and came to this verse (let us make), which is in the plural and implies that there is more than one Creator, he said:

"Sovereign of the Universe! Why do You thus furnish a pretext for heretics to maintain that there is a plurality of divinities?"
"Write!" God replied. "Whoever wishes to err will err...Instead, let them learn from their Creator Who created all, yet when He came to create Man He took council with the ministering angels."

Regarding the creation of Man, God سبحانه وتعالى tells the angels that He is creating man. The angels questioned Him why would he create such a being that might cause destruction and bloodshed upon the earth. He replies that only He alone would understand the purpose of creating Man.

"Verily, I am going to place (mankind) generations after generations on earth." They said: "Will You place therein (man) and shed blood, while we (angels) glorify You with praises and thanks and sanctify You." He said: "I know that which you do not know."—[Al-Baqarah:30]

Thus, God سبحانه وتعالى taught that one should always consult others before embarking upon major new initiatives, and He was not deterred by the possibility that some might choose to find a sacrilegious implication in the verse. The implication of God's response, "Whoever wishes to err," is that one who sincerely seeks the truth will see it; one who looks for an excuse to blaspheme will find it.

And the text, " our image,", i.e. in Our Mold, meaning that God prepared the mold with which He would now shape man. To include, "..., after our likeness." Referring to the power of understanding and intellect.—[Rashi]

"And indeed, We created man from dried (sounding) clay of altered mud. –And (remember) when your Lord said to the angels: 'I am going to create a man (Adamah) from dried (sounding) clay of altered mud."—[Al-Hijr:26,28]

God سبحانه وتعالى created the human body from the earth and from water combined, producing a clay; hence, the human body is made up of 70-75% water:

"And it is He Who has created man from water, and has appointed for him kindred by blood, and kindred by marriage. And your Lord is Ever All-Powerful (to do what He wills)."[Al-Furqân:54]

Also, illustrating the procreation of the human race...

"Verily, We have created man from Nuftah [i.e. nuftatul amshajthe–mixed discharges of sperm and egg intermingled] of man and woman, in order to try (test) him: so We made him hearer and seer. –Verily, We have showed him the way, whether he be grateful or ungrateful."—[Al-Qiyamâh:2-3]

1:27 So Elohim אלהים created Man in His image, in the image of Elohim אלהים He created him; male and female He created them.

Just as Man is unique, so the manner of his creation was unique and exalted. Throughout the chapter of B'reishis (Genesis), God سبحانه وتعالى brought all things into being with an utterance of His Word, but He created Man with His own hands as it were.—[Rashi]

1:28 Elohim אלהים blessed them and Elohim אלהים said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea, the bird of the sky, and every living thing that moves on the earth."

In accordance with the Divine command, the world is to be inhabited...One who neglects this has abrogated a positive commandment, incurring great punishment, because he thereby demonstrates that he does not wish to comply with the Divine will to populate the world.—[Sefer HaChinuch]

1:29 Elohim אלהים said, "Behold, I have given to you all herbage yielding seed that is on the surface of the entire earth, and every tree that has seed-yielding fruit; it shall be yours for food—

These verses together indicate that Man and beast shared the same herbal diet; Man was instructed "...not to devour the flesh and consume the blood" of the animals–eating them was strictly forbidden at that time. Such permission was granted to Noah, only after the Flood.[Sanhedrin 59b]

Curious mystery on the human anatomy: our appendices is considered an useless organ. It is a long thought that it once served as a secondary stomach used to help process the enzymes from the vegetation, essential for the human body to metabolize the protein into amino acids, and thenceforth–much similar to a cow, which has four stomachs used to digest its main food source for its body's needs; to include its nourishment from its milk through productive milk glands.

1:30 —And to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the sky, and to everything that moves on the earth, within which there is a living soul, every green herb is for food." And it was so.

The climax of the physical creation is at hand. Animal life was created first, and then Man, the being whose performance for good and ill would determine the destiny of the universe. This sequence implies that God سبحانه وتعالى was telling Adam, in effect, "...the complete world is now in your hands. Your task is to make it function properly."

1:31 And Elohim אלהים saw that He had made, and behold it was very good. And there was evening and there was a morning, the sixth day.

Maimonides comments on the text, "...and behold it was very good." –Everything was fit for its purpose and able to act accordingly.

The Torah declares that Creation in its entirely was not only good, as the individual components were described above, but it was very good. Something may be good in isolation, but not when it is combined with other things. God's work, however, are good in themselves and also with others.[Vilna Gaon] The components of Creation are even better in combination than they are individually.[Meshech Chochmah]

Even things that seem to be evil—such as suffering, death, temptation—appear to be only when viewed in isolation, but in total context of existence they can be seen as good, even very good. If we could but perceive at one glance the entire picture of God's management of intertwining events, we would agree with this verdict.[R' Hirsch]

In other words, we see all the chaos in the world as an act of evil, but since everything is at the disposal of God's Will—it is He afterward causing all these catastrophe of events that are taking place—it is He Who only knows the good of what comes in the world.

The definite article ה, the, before the word שִׁשִּׁי, sixth, indicates that this day is distinguished from the other days of Creation, because this is the one in which all His productive work was completed.[Chizkuni]

The word, Day, is youm, it is understood to be a long period of time—an era or eon—that a "six day" creation may be viewed as six distinct periods, or eons.

Rashi cites the Midrash that the application of distinction–the sixth day–alludes to the sixth of the month Sivan, when the Torah would be given. It was because of that auspicious day that the world was created.

The verses that mention, "six days" , appears several other times in the Qur'an, each denoting a different measurement of time. Therefore, it can be interpreted by the description, the length of these periods is not precisely defined, nor are the specific developments that took place during each period.

In one case, the measure of a day is equated with 50,000 years:

"The angels and the Angel Gabriel ascends to Him in Day the measure whereof is fifty thousand years."—[Al-Ma'ârij:4]

In another, one day is equal to a thousand years:

"And they ask you to hasten on the torment! And Allâh الله fails not His Promise. And verily, a day with your Lord is as a thousand years of what you reckon."—[Al-Hajj:47]

Very interesting that we may consider this a scientific fact due to the warping of time in the universe. Albert Einstein had strongly made an issue about his Theory of Relativity, that time isn't constant.

The Sabbath[edit]

2:1 Thus the heaven and the earth were finished, and all their array.

The Sabbath is introduced with the declaration that the work of heaven and earth were complete, and that they stand before us in their final intended state of harmonious perfection. Then God سبحانه وتعالى proclaimed His Sabbath.

According to the Midrash, the term, "..were finished,.." homiletically relates to בִּלָּיוֹן, longing, and בְּלִי, utensil. Heaven and earth and God Himself سبحانه وتعالى longed for the coming of the Sabbath, which would infuse the world with holiness.—[Tzor HaMor] And the universe was created to serve as a tool for the service of God سبحانه وتعالى, a task that was compete with the advent of the Sabbath.—[Sfas Emes]

2:2 By the seventh day Elohim אלהים completed His work which He had done, and He abstained on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.

"He it is Who created the heavens and the earth in six Days, then rose over the Throne. He knows that goes into the earth, and what comes forth from it, what descends from the heaven, and what ascends thereto. And He is with you wherever you may be. And Allâh الله is All-Seer of what you do."—[Al-Hadîd:4]

After completing the Creation, God settled Himself upon the Throne to oversee His Work. There is no contradiction, but the meaning of rest is someone should not misinterpret. God rested from physical creation, but He created the spiritual universe that comes into being every Sabbath. The world of the Sabbath is far above that of the six days it succeeds, but they are not separate from one another.

God سبحانه وتعالى is never "done" with His Work–the process of Creation is ever-extant, it continues non-stop. Each new child who is born, every seed that sprouts into a new sapling, every rain drop that falls from sky, every atom that bears its elemental structure, plays in part of the ongoing process of God's Creation.

"We created the heavens and the earth and all that is between them in six days, nor did any sense of weariness touch Us."—[Qâf:38]

The bridge between the mundane and the sacred, between the weekdays and the Sabbath, is Man. Adam and Eve were created last, just before the Sabbath, because Man has the intelligence and wisdom to bring the holiness of the Sabbath into the activities of the workweek. Of all the creatures of the universe, only Man can create holiness. Angels are holy, but they are static, unchanging. They cannot improve themselves or the world. Only Man can do both.

The Sabbath is God's seal, and Man is the one who must impress it upon God's universe; indeed, Man's activities transform the universe from an apparently aimless amalgamation of matter into the mirror of God's Will.

2:3 Elohim אלהים blessed the seventh day and sanctified it because on it He abstained from all His work which Elohim אלהים created to make.

The Sabbath is a day saturated with purpose. The Torah states that God سبحانه وتعالى sanctified it because on it He abstained from all His work, implying that the essence of the day is to commemorate cessation from work, but in the very next phrase, the Torah says to make, implying that accomplishment was simultaneous with rest.

Adam and Eve[edit]

2:4 These are the products of the heaven and the earth when they were created on the day that YHWH Elohim יהוה אלהים made earth and heaven—

This is the first mention of the Hebrew four-letter 'Name of God', the Tetragrammaton י-ה-ו-ה (YHWH). This is also the proper 'Name of God'. In respect for its intense holiness, it is not pronounced as it is spelled. In Jewish scriptures, while in prayer or when reciting a verse, His Name is pronounced Adonay. Otherwise, it is referred to as HASHEM, or 'The Name'.

The first account of Creation [see 1 B'reishis (Genesis 1)], God سبحانه وتعالى created the World exclusively with the Attribute of Justice [Elohim אלהים], because the ideal state is for Man to be judged according to his deeds, without a need for special mercy. God سبحانه وتعالى knew that Man cannot survive without His Mercy and Forbearance. Therefore He added the Name יהוה to signify mercy, to teach that He would temper justice with compassion.—[Rashi to 1:1]

The Name יהוה denotes His Attribute of Mercy, also which signifies the Eternity of God سبحانه وتعالى, because its letters are also those of the words, הָיָה הוֶה וְיִהְיֶה, He was, is, and will be. In the words of Maimonides's fourth principle of faith, God سبحانه وتعالى "is the very first and the very last." Which also reflects the Greek phrase, τὸ Α καὶ τὸ Ω, I am the Alpha and the Omega, in the Book of Revelations of the New Testament.—[Revelations 1:8]
Similarly, الأول, al-Awwal, and الأخر, al-Akhir, literally rendered as "the First", and "the Last", appears in the Qur'an.—[Al-Ḥadīd:3] Everything in the created universe must have a moment when it came into existence, but God سبحانه وتعالى is infinite.; He transcends time. In recognition of this concept, the Tetragrammaton is often translated, the "Eternal One".

The Creation of Man that was narrated in the first Chapter of B'reishis (Genesis) was to be described in a very brief and sketchy detail because God سبحانه وتعالى did not intend for Man to understand the entire process of Creation–it's beyond human capacity–but to recognize that He is the Creator.—[B'chor Shor]

The Torah reverts to elaborating on the narrative by focusing on events of that which led to the emergence of Man.—[Akeidas Yitzochok]

This narrative leads to the incident of the Tree of Life and Tree of Knowledge, it begins by describing how plant life came about.—[Radak]

According to the Midrash, the letters of the phrase, בהבראם "..when they were created..", can also be arranged to spell באברהם, meaning that God سبحانه وتعالى created the world for the sake of Abraham. Abraham ليه السلام was the epitome of kindness, one of the pillars of the world.—[Zohar]

2:5 —now all the trees of the field were not yet on the earth and all the herb of the field had not sprouted, for YHWH Elohim יהוה אלהים had not sent rain upon the earth and there was no man to work the soil.

He had not sent rain because there was no man to work the soil, and no one to recognize the utility of rain. But when Adam was created, he recognized its importance for the world. He prayed, and rain fell, causing the trees and vegetation to spring forth.—[Rashi]

Plant life has already been created and was waiting just below the surface for Adam to pray [see: First Account—Third Day (§1:12)]. This demonstrates a basic article of faith: God provides what Man needs, but it is up to Man to pray and otherwise carry out his spiritual responsibilities. As the Talmudic Sages say regarding the Matriarchs: Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah were each, by nature, incapable of bearing children. God created them that way because He knew that they and their husbands would pray for children, and God سبحانه وتعالى desires the prayers of the righteous.

2:6 A mist ascended from the earth and watered the whole surface of the soil.

Allegorically, before the Great Deluge [Flood], rain did not fall upon the face of the earth, but instead, a mist moistened the vegetation, by the whim of Adam's prayers to God سبحانه وتعالى. It is perceived to be likened to the dew saturating the ground which one would find in the morning. Earth was a tropical utopia with warm and pleasant climate all-year round.

2:7―And YHWH Elohim יהוה אלהים formed the man of dust from the ground, and He blew into his nostrils the soul of life; and man became a living being.

These verses describe the preliminary steps of Adam's creation: God caused the deep to rise, forming the low-flying clouds, filled with water to moisten the dust—into a manner of clay—from which Adam was created. It is similar to a kneader who first pours in water and then kneads the dough. Here, too: First, He watered the soil [B'res 2:6], and then He formed Man. God thus made Man out of both lower [earthly] and upper [heavenly] matter: his body from the ground and his soul from the spirit, created by the Decree of God سبحانه وتعالى.—[Rashi]

In the words of the Zohar:
"One who blows, blows within himself," indicating that Man's soul is part of God's essence, as it were. This soul made Man a living being, which Talmudic philosopher Onkelos defines as a speaking spirit. Accordingly, the life that is unique to Man and which only God سبحانه وتعالى could "blow" into him is the rational soul that inclines the power of intelligent speech. This is what elevates a human above animal life: the ability, and therefore the responsibility, to use his intelligence in God's service.

God سبحانه وتعالى commanded the angels to bow down before Adam, but Lucifer [Satan] refused to do so and disobeyed Him.

And (remember) when We said to the angels: "Prostrate yourselves before Adam." And they prostrated except Iblîs [Shaitân], he refused and was proud and was one of the disbelievers (disobedient to Allâh).—[Al-Baqarah:34]

2:8 YHWH Elohim יהוה אלהים planted a garden in Eden, to the east, and placed therein the man whom He had formed.

First the Torah describes the Garden, which was created especially for Man; then, in verse 15, it resumes the story of Adam and Eve.[Or HaChaim] God سبحانه وتعالى formed Adam outside the garden so that he would see the world of thorns and thistles; only did God سبحانه وتعالى lead him into the garden, so that he would see the alternatives before he was given his first commandment.[Chizkuni]

2:9 And YHWH Elohim יהוה אלהים caused to sprout from the ground every tree that was pleasing to the sight and good for food; also the Tree of Life in the midst of the garden, and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

As Adam and Eve were originally created, their natural impulse was to do 'good'. Although they knew in the abstract that there was such a thing as sin. it was not something they craved. The tree that of which was forbidden by God سبحانه وتعالى embodied both a mixture of good and evil—for that reason it bears its name, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. They both brought evil into themselves and made it part of their nature, which also the nature of Man. From then on, Man was born with evil impulses, such as greed, selfishness, and lust for whatever suits his developing appetite. Through study, thought, and self-discipline, he must harness his base nature and desires, and implant into himself a desire for good and an abomination of evil.

It may also refer to a Man's impure ability to choose what is apparently sweet [good], even though it is harmful to him; and to reject what is evidently bitter [bad], even when it is truly beneficial.[Sforno]

2:10 A river issues forth from Eden to water the garden, and from there it is divided and becomes four headwaters. 2:11 The name of the first is Pishon, the one that encircles the whole land of Havilah, where the gold is. 2:12 The gold of that land is good; the bedolach is there, and the shoham stone.

הַבְּרלת Bedolach is a gem that is identified as either crystal, according to Rashi, or pearl, cited by Ibn Ezra.

2:13 The name of the second river is Gihon, the one that encircles the whole land of Cush. 2:14 The name of the third river is Hiddekel, the one that flows toward the east of Assyria; and the fourth river is the Euphrates.

Man in the Garden[edit]

2:15 YHWH Elohim יהוה אלהים took the man and placed him in the Garden of Eden, to work it and to guard it. 2:16 And YHWH Elohim יהוה אלהים commanded the man, saying "Of every tree of the garden you may eat freely;—

Adam was placed in the Garden of Eden to work and to guard it. The Midrash interprets this indirectly, since the Torah mentioned above that the trees in the garden grew of their own accord and the river provided the necessary irrigation. Rather, Adam was to work the garden through the study of Torah and the performance of positive commandments, and to guard it by refraining from forbidden activities.[Pirkei d'Rabbi Eliezer]

This means that Man's task in this world is to serve God سبحانه وتعالى. If he does that, then his material needs will be satisfied, as Adam's were in Eden in the beginning, for to think that only physical exertion can bring success is to believe in an illusion.

2:17 —but of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, you must not eat thereof; for on the day you eat of it, you shall surely die."

In other words, it is believed that God سبحانه وتعالى was generally stating,

...on that day the evil impulses of jealousy, lust, and honor will be aroused within you, making it impossible for you to attain the goal of complete spirituality as long as you are still on earth. Thus, eternal life will be an intolerable burden for you.[Malbim]

Since Adam lived to the age of 930, it is clear that he was not to die as soon as ate the fruit. Rather, he would become subject to death, whereas if he had never sinned, his holiness would have kept him alive forever.

And We said: "O Adam! Dwell you and your wife in Paradise and eat both of you freely with pleasure and delight, of things therein as where you will, but come not near this tree or you both will be of the Zâlimûn (wrong-doers).—[Al-Baqarah:35]

2:18 YHWH Elohim יהוה אלהים said, "It is not good that man be alone; I will make him a helper corresponding to him."

God سبحانه وتعالى knew that Adam needed a companion. Her purpose was not for reproduction, for Adam had been created with that function. Rather, God سبحانه وتعالى wanted Adam to have the companionship, support, and challenge that is present in good marriages, and He wanted the children who would be born to Adam and his future mate to be reared by both a father and a mother. The needs for such assets in human life are too obvious to require elaboration.

עֵזֶר בְּנֶגְרּוּ—A helper corresponding to him [lit. a helper against him]. If the man is worth, the woman will be a helper; if he is unworthy, she will be against him.—[Yevamos 63a] Many have noted that the ideal marriage is not necessarily one of which the couple maintain total agreements in all matters. Often it is the wife's responsibility to oppose her husband and prevent him from acting foolishly, or to help him achieve a common course by questioning, criticizing, and discussing issues pertaining to her husband. Thus, the verse means literally that there are at times a wife can best be a helper by being beneficially against him. Similarly to the issue discerning Prophet Abraham عليه السلام ,in which God سبحانه وتعالى advised him to listen to the wisdom of his spouse.[see 21 B'reishis:12]

2:19 Now, YHWH Elohim יהוה אלהים had formed out of the ground every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call each one; and whatever the man called each living creature, that remained its name.

Before creating Adam's helpmate, GOD سبحانه وتعالى brought all the creatures to him so that he could see for himself that none was suited to his needs, and he would ask for a companion. Then he would appreciate his newly fashioned mate and not take her for granted. However, as each creature was brought to Adam, he did not quintessentially name the animals accordingly to their kind and quality; by names (asmâˀ), it is not simply a convenient convention, or understanding. God سبحانه وتعالى then told the angels to also name each one accordingly, such as Adam as successfully done. It displayed human's capacity of intellect endowed by GOD سبحانه وتعالى, the power of knowledge in contrast the angels has no capacity. It was because Adam had the ability to reflect upon the creatures nature, and their role alongside their essential reality, given in the total scheme of the universe. It was to prove that the earth and everything contained within universe is for the purpose of Man. The names had a profound significance that expressed their mission. Adam had the power to recognize the essence of every animal and name it accordingly. It is this knowledge that humans have higher status over angels, because it can range from knowledge of the most outward aspect of the reality of an object, to its most exalted, or inward, aspect as it resides in GOD Himself. Human knowledge cannot of course encompass all things, it relates a spiritual and physical connection to nature and earth, our primal knowledge that GOD سبحانه وتعالى has instilled into humankind. As the angels were not ideally created for that particular purpose, they therefore wouldn't possess the ability to known the names and therefore impossible for angels to recognize their essential reality.

And He taught Adam all the names (of everything), then He showed them [the animals] to the angels and said, "Tell me the names of these if you are truthful." —They (angels) said: "Glorified are You we have no knowledge except what you have taught us. Verily, it is You, the All-Knower, the All-Wise."—[Al-Baqarah:31–32]

According to the Principle of Adequation, the faculties of the knower must be adequate to the object to be known. Humans has been created in such manner that there exists within him a hierarchy of inherent power and ability ranging from the outward senses, to the highest level of intellect.[16] Humans are able to know all levels of reality, from the lowly sand pepple, to the ONE, the Absolute, to Whom has created the Heavens and the Earth and everything in between. It is the instilled capacity withing humans to know the created order–not only on the level of physical reality–but also on all levels of existence reaching ultimately to the Divine; it is an unique ability that the angels clearly do not possess. However, due to having this insight, he realized that none of them corresponded to his essence, socially and intellectually.

"And the man assigned names to all the cattle and to the birds of the sky and to every beast of the field; but as for man, he did not find a helper corresponding to him."—[B'reishit 2:20]

2:21 So YHWH Elohim יהוה אלהים cast a deep sleep upon the man and he slept; and He took one of his sides and He filled in flesh in its place. 2:22 Then YHWH Elohim יהוה אלהים fashioned the side that He had taken from the man into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

Unlike man's, the woman's body was not taken from the earth. God built one side of man into woman—so that the single human being became two, thereby demonstrating irrefutably the equality of man and woman.[R' Hirsch]

2:23 And the man said, "This time it is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. This shall be called Woman, for from man was she taken."

Adam named her gender Ishah [Woman], because she was taken from Ish [Man]; left unanswered, however, is why Man is called Ish. Either the name derives from eish or fire [אֵשׁ or אִישׁ], because Man is unique among all living beings in the characteristics symbolized by fire: verve and enthusiasm, lust and initiative. These characteristics enable Man to achieve dominance, attain wisdom, and develop culture. But the same fire can cause the mass destruction that has marred humanity almost since the beginning of time. Controlled and directed, that fire can created spiritual kingdoms that surpass the angels.

The presence of Godliness in human beings is expressed by the letters that are added to their names: a י in the name אִישׁ and a ה in the name of אִשָּׁה. Those two letters spell the Divine Name יָהּ—because God سبحانه وتعالى must be present in the union of a man and wife. If they allow Him in, their union is Godly; if not, they are left with אֵשׁ, a destructive fire, that will not only harm their own relationship, but may well unleash a conflagration that will harm all around them.

2:24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and cling to his wife—

This doesn't imply that a man should not continue to serve or honor his parents, only a physical separation; that his attachment to his wife should be so strong that he will move out of his parents' house and establish a new home with her.[R' Hirsch; R' Meyuchas]

—and they shall become one flesh.

Let him cling to his wife and to none other, because man and wife are in reality one flesh, as they were at the beginning of Creation (Tur). But that can happen only if they also become one mind, one heart, one soul...and if they subordinate all their strength and effort to the service of God سبحانه وتعالى.[R' Hirsch]

2:25 They were both naked, the man and his wife, and they were not ashamed.

This is an indication of the purity of Adam and Eve. People are ashamed of their nakedness because they associate vileness and lust with their genitals. But not Adam and Eve.

They used all their organs [sexual organs] exclusively to do God's Will, not to satisfy their personal desires. To them, even cohabitation was as innocent as eating and drinking, so they had no reason to cover their bodies.[Sforno]

But what we do know is that Adam and Ḥawwâ (Eve)—the forerunners of humanity had the mission of bringing about the fulfillment of Creation by carrying out GOD's commandments. They failed, and were driven to exile. The mission did not change, however, only the condition in which it would be carried out. GOD سبحانه وتعالى punished the transgressors, but through His Mercy and Compassion, He did not discard them. They were given to lesson of repentance; indeed, the concept of repentance is a prerequisite to our very existence, because we plainly cannot survive without GOD's Oft-Forgiveness and Grace. This is the major lesson that we must take from the Creation narrations in the texts: Humans [Man and Woman] may sin, but are given the potential and opportunity to come back, and GOD سبحانه وتعالى allows us the opportunity and inspiration to do so.

Biblical Viewpoints[edit]

The Re-creation (Gap) Theory[edit]

View 1: Re-creation (Gap) Theory

This argument maintains the view of the original creation of the earth[17] prior to the fall of ha-Satan[18].

As a result of ha-Satan's fall[19], the earth lost its original state of beauty and bliss, and is found in a state of chaos[17].

It also views that ha-Satan's fall is the 'gap' explained, between the verses contained in the first chapter of B'reshit, verse 1 and 2[20] of the Torah.

It however must explain the time period contained within the gap thereof, to help harmonize the creation account with modern scientific theoryb.

Initial Chaos Theory[edit]

View 2: Initial Chaos Theory

This argument briefly holds that the accounts portrayed in B'reshit (or Genesis), verse 1,[17] would be an 'independent' introductory statement, set aside differently from verse 2. Verse 2 would describe the state of the initial creation as unformed and unfilled[20].

In other words, the universe is like untouched potter's clay, before the sculptor begins to fashion it.

The creation is not in an evil state, as the result of catastrophic fall, but merely in its initial unformed state, like a lump of clay in the potter's hands.

Verse 3 of the first chapter of B'reshit, and the following, begin to describe GOD's working and fashioning of the mass, transforming it from "chaos to cosmos".c

Procreation Chaos Theory[edit]

View 3: Procreation Chaos Theory

This argument holds the view that verse 1[17] is understood either as a 'dependent' clause ("When GOD began to create...") or as an 'independent' introductory summary statement ("In the beginning GOD created...").

The creation account summarized in verse 1, begins in verse 2[20]. This "creation" is not ex nihilo, but out of the stuff existing in verse 2. Where this comes from is not explained in these verses.

In effect, this view holds that the chaotic state does not occur between verses 1 and 2, but before verse 1 of an unspecified time. The absolute origin of matter is, then, not the subject of the "creation" account of the first chapter of B'reshit (or Genesis), but only the relative beginning of the world and civilization as we know it today.b

Dimensional Time & the Cosmos[edit]

[Al-An'am:73]—He is the One who created the heavens and the earth, truthfully. Whenever He says, "Be," it is. His word is the absolute truth. All sovereignty belongs to Him the day the horn is blown. Knower of all secrets and declarations, He is the Most Wise, the Cognizant.

[Al-Anbiyâ':16]—We did not create the heavens and the earth, and everything between them just for amusement.

[Al-Anbiyâ':30]—Do the unbelievers not realize that the heaven and the earth used to be one solid mass that we exploded into existence?[21] And from water we made all living things. Would they believe?

[Al-Anbiyâ':104]—On that day, we will fold the heaven, like the folding of a book. Just as we initiated the first creation, we will repeat it. This is our promise; we will certainly carry it out.

[Al-Anbiyâ':164]—In the creation of the heavens and the earth, the alternation of night and day, the ships that roam the ocean for the benefit of the people, the water that GOD sends down from the sky to revive dead land and to spread in it all kinds of creatures, the manipulation of the winds, and the clouds that are placed between the sky and the earth, there are sufficient proofs for people who understand.

[Adh-Dhâriyât:47]—We constructed the sky with our hands, and we will continue to expand it.

[Al-Hajj:47]—They challenge you to bring retribution, and GOD never fails to fulfill His prophecy. A day of your LORD is like a thousand of your years.

[Al-Ma'ârij:3-4]—From GOD; Possessor of the highest Height. • The angels, with their reports, climb to Him in a day that equals fifty thousand years.

[Fussilat:11]—Then He turned to the sky, when it was still gas, and said to it, and to the earth, "Come into existence, willingly or unwillingly." They said, "We come willingly."

Kərūbîm כְּרוּבִים ("Divine Esprits")[edit]

Mal'ákîm מַלְאָךְים‎[edit]

[Al-Hijr:8]—We do not send down the angels except for specific functions. Otherwise, no one will be respited.

[Al-Al-Muddathir:31]—We appointed angels to be guardians of Hell, and we assigned their number to disturb the disbelievers, to convince the Christians and Jews (that this is a divine scripture), to strengthen the faith of the faithful, to remove all traces of doubt from the hearts of Christians, Jews, as well as the believers, and to expose those who harbor doubt in their hearts, and the disbelievers; they will say, "What did GOD mean by this allegory?" GOD thus sends astray whomever He wills, and guides whomever He wills. None knows the soldiers of your LORD except He. This is a reminder for the people.

Śərāfîm שְׂרָפִים[edit]

[Al-Hijr:27]—As for the jinns, we created them, before that, from blazing fire.

[Adh-Dhâriyât:47]—I did not create the jinns and the humans except to worship Me alone.

Seven Firmaments, Skies, Heavens[edit]

[Al-Baqarah:29]—He is the One who created for you everything on earth, then turned to the sky and perfected seven universes therein,[22] and He is fully aware of all things.

[Al-Isrâ:44]—Glorifying Him are the seven universes, the earth, and everyone in them. There is nothing that does not glorify Him, but you do not understand their glorification. He is Clement, Forgiver.

[Al-Mu’minûn:17]—We created above you seven universes in layers, and we are never unaware of a single creature in them.

[Al-Mu’minûn:86]—Say, "Who is the LORD of the seven universes; the LORD of the great dominion?"

[Fussilat:12]—Thus, He[23] completed the seven universes in two days, and set up the laws for every universe. And we[23] adorned the lowest universe with lamps, and placed guards around it. Such is the design of the Almighty, the Omniscient.

[At-Talaq:12]—GOD created seven universes and the same number of earths.[24] The commands flow among them. This is to let you know that GOD is Omnipotent, and that GOD is fully aware of all things.

[Al-Mulk:3]—He created seven universes in layers. You do not see any imperfection in the creation by the Most Gracious. Keep looking; do you see any flaw?

[Nuh:15]—Do you not realize that GOD created seven universes in layers?

[Al-Naba:12]—We built above you seven universes.

[Al-Baqarah:117]—The Initiator of the heavens and the earth: to have anything done, He simply says to it, "Be," and it is.

Six Days, Epochs, Temporal Stages[edit]

[Al-A'râf:54]—Your LORD is the one GOD, who created the heavens and the earth in six days,[25] then assumed all authority. The night overtakes the day, as it pursues it persistently, and the sun, the moon, and the stars are committed to serve by His command. Absolutely, He controls all creation and all commands. Most Exalted is GOD, LORD of the Universe.

[Yûnus:3]—Your only LORD is GOD; the One who created the heavens and the earth in six days, then assumed all authority.[26] He controls all matters.[27] There is no intercessor, except in accordance with His will. Such is GOD your LORD. You shall worship Him. Would you not take heed?[28]

[Al-Furqân':59]—He is the One who created the heavens and the earth, and everything between them, in six days, then assumed all authority.[26] The Most Gracious; ask about Him those who are well founded in knowledge.[29]

[Hûd:7]—He is the One who created the heavens and the earth in six days,[30]—and His (earthly) domain[31] was completely covered with water[32]—in order to test you, to distinguish those among you who work righteousness. Yet, when you say, "You will be resurrected after death," those who disbelieve would say, "This is clearly witchcraft."

Light and Darkness[edit]

[Al-An'am:1]—Praise be to GOD, who created the heavens and the earth, and made the darkness and the light. Yet, those who disbelieve in their LORD continue to deviate.

Firmaments: Sky and Water[edit]

[Al-Baqarah:22]—The One who made the earth habitable for you, and the sky a structure. He sends down from the sky water, to produce all kinds of fruits for your sustenance. You shall not set up idols to rival GOD, now that you know.

[Al-Baqarah:164]—In the creation of the heavens and the earth, the alternation of night and day, the ships that roam the ocean for the benefit of the people, the water that GOD sends down from the sky to revive dead land and to spread in it all kinds of creatures, the manipulation of the winds, and the clouds that are placed between the sky and the earth, there are sufficient proofs for people who understand.

[Al-Anbiyâ':32]—And we rendered the sky a guarded ceiling. Yet, they are totally oblivious to all the portents[33] therein.

[Luqmân':10]—He created the heavens without pillars that you can see. He established on earth stabilizers (mountains) lest it tumbles with you, and He spread on it all kinds of creatures. We send down from the sky water to grow all kinds of beautiful

[An-Nûr:45]—And GOD created every living creature from water. Some of them walk on their bellies, some walk on two legs, and some walk on four. GOD creates whatever He wills. GOD is Omnipotent.

[Ar-Rûm:48]—GOD is the One who sends the winds, to stir up clouds, to be spread throughout the sky in accordance with His will. He then piles the clouds up, then you see the rain coming down therefrom. When it falls on whomever He chooses from among His servants, they rejoice.

[Al-Mala'ikah/Fâṭir:12]—The two seas are not the same; one is fresh and delicious, while the other is salty and undrinkable. From each of them you eat tender meat, and extract jewelry to wear. And you see the ships sailing through them, seeking His provisions, that you may be appreciative.

Earth: Geology, Hydrology, Meteorology, Geodetic Science[edit]

[Al-Hijr:19]—As for the earth, we constructed it, and placed on it stabilizers,[34] and we grew on it a perfect balance of everything.

[Al-Anbiyâ':31]—And we placed on earth stabilizers,[34] lest it tumbles with them, and we placed straight roads therein, that they may be guided.

[Yâ-Sîn:36]—Glory be to the One who created all kinds of plants from the earth, as well as themselves, and other creations that they do not even know.

[Fussilat:9–10]—Say, "You disbelieve in the One who created the earth in two days,[35] and you set up idols to rank with Him, though He is LORD of the universe." • He placed on it stabilizers,[34] made it productive, and He calculated its provisions in four days, to satisfy the needs of all its inhabitants.

Celestial Bodies; Sol System[edit]

[Al-'Imrân:190]—In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of night and day, there are signs[36] for those who possess intelligence.

[Al-An'âm:97]—And He is the One who made the stars to guide you during the darkness, on land and on sea. We thus clarify the revelations for people who know.

[Yûnus:5]—He is the One who rendered the sun radiant, and the moon a light, and He designed its phases that you may learn to count the years and to calculate. GOD did not create all this, except for a specific purpose. He explains the signs[36] for people who know.

[Al-Hijr:16]—And indeed, We have put the big stars in the heaven and We beautified it for the beholders.

[Al-Anbiyâ':33]—And He it is Who has created the night and day, and the sun and the moon, each in an orbit floating.

[Yâ-Sîn:37-40]—Another sign for them is the night: we remove the daylight therefrom, whereupon they are in darkness. • The sun sets into a specific location, according to the design of the Almighty, the Omniscient. • The moon we designed to appear in stages, until it becomes like an old curved sheath.[37] • The sun is never to catch up with the moon—the night and the day never deviate—each of them is floating in its own orbit.

[Az-Zumar:5]—He created the heavens and the earth truthfully. He rolls the night over the day, and rolls the day over the night.[38] He committed the sun and the moon, each running for a finite period. Absolutely, He is the Almighty, the Forgiving.

[Ar-Rahman:5]—The sun and the moon are perfectly calculated.

[Nûh:16]—He designed the moon therein to be a light, and placed the sun to be a lamp.

[Yûnus:6]—Surely, in the alternation of night and day, and what GOD created in the heavens and the earth, there are signs[36] for people who are righteous.

[Al-Furqân':61–62]—Most blessed is the One who placed[39] constellations in the sky, and placed in it a lamp, and a shining moon. • And He it is Who has made the night and the day in succession, for whoever such desires to remember or desires to show his gratitude.

[Al-Ra'ad:2]—GOD is the One who raised the heavens without pillars that you can see, then assumed all authority. He committed the sun and the moon, each running (in its orbit) for a predetermined period. He controls all things, and explains the revelations, that you may attain certainty about meeting your LORD.

[Ibrâhîm:33]—He has committed the sun and the moon in your service, continuously. He has committed the night and the day to serve you.

[An-Naḥl:12]—And He commits, in your service, the night and the day, as well as the sun and the moon. Also, the stars are committed by His command. These are (sufficient) proofs for people who understand.

[Al-Anbiyâ:33]—And He is the One who created the night and the day, and the sun and the moon; each floating in its own orbit.

[Al-‘Ankabût:61]—If you ask them, "Who created the heavens and the earth, and put the sun and the moon in your service," they will say, "GOD." Why then did they deviate?

[Luqman:29]—Do you not realize that GOD merges the night into the day and merges the day into the night, and that He has committed the sun and the moon in your service, each running in its orbit for a specific life span, and that GOD is fully Cognizant of everything you do?

[Al-Mala'ikah/Fâṭir:13]—He merges the night into the day, and merges the day into the night. He has committed the sun and the moon to run for a predetermined period of time. Such is GOD your LORD; to Him belongs all kingship. Any idols you set up beside Him do not possess as much as a seed's shell.

[Ya-Sîn:39]—The moon we designed to appear in stages, until it becomes like an old curved sheath.

[Ya-Sîn:40]—The sun is never to catch up with the moon - the night and the day never deviate - each of them is floating in its own orbit.

[Al-Inshiqaq:18]—And the moon and its phases.

Rebellion of Iblîs (ha-Shayṭān)[edit]

[Al-Baqarah:30]—Recall that your LORD said to the angels, "I am placing a representative vicegerent on Earth." They said, "Will You place therein one who will spread evil therein and shed blood, while we sing Your praises, glorify You, and uphold Your absolute authority?" He said, "I know what you do not know."

[Al-Baqarah:34]—When we said to the angels, "Fall prostrate before Adam," they fell prostrate, except ha-Shayṭān; he refused, was too arrogant, and a disbeliever.

[Al-A'arâf:11–18]—We created you, then we shaped you, then we said to the angels, "Fall prostrate before Adam." They fell prostrate, except Iblîs; he was not with the prostrators. • He said, "What prevented you from prostrating when I ordered you?" He said, "I am better than he; You created me from fire, and created him from mud." • He said, "Therefore, you must go down, for you are not to be arrogant here. Get out; you are debased." • He said, "Grant me a respite, until the Day of Resurrection." • He said, "You are granted a respite." • He said, "Since You have willed that I go astray,[40] I will skulk for them on Your straight path. • "I will come to them from before them, and from behind them, and from their right, and from their left, and You will find that most of them are unappreciative." • He said, "Get out therefrom, despised and defeated. Those among them who follow you, I will fill Hell with you all.
ta[Al-Isrâ/Bani Isra'il:61–65]—When we said to the angels, "Fall prostrate before Adam," they fell prostrate, except ha-Shayṭān. He said, "Shall I prostrate to one You created from mud?" • He said, "Since You have honored him over me, if You respite me till the Day of Resurrection, I will possess all his descendants, except a few." • He said, "Then go; you and those who follow you will end up in Hell as your requital; an equitable requital. • "You may entice them with your voice, and mobilize all your forces and all your men against them, and share in their money and children, and promise them. Anything the devil promises is no more than an illusion. • "As for My servants, you have no power over them." Your LORD suffices as an advocate.
[Al-Kahf:50]—We said to the angels, "Fall prostrate before Adam." They fell prostrate, except ha-Shayṭān. He became a jinn, for he disobeyed the order of His LORD.[41] Will you choose him and his descendants as lords instead of Me, even though they are your enemies? What a miserable substitute!

[Tâ-Hâ:115–116]—We tested Adam in the past, but he forgot, and we found him indecisive.[42] • Recall that we said to the angels, "Fall prostrate before Adam." They fell prostrate, except ha-Shayṭān; he refused.

[Al-Hijr:30–43]—The angels fell prostrate; all of them, • except Iblîs (ha-Shayṭān). He refused to be with the prostrators. • He said, "O Iblîs (ha-Shayṭān), why are you not with the prostrators?" • He said, "I am not to prostrate before a human being, whom You created from aged mud, like the potter's clay." • He said, "Therefore, you must get out; you are banished. • "You have incurred My condemnation until the Day of Judgment." • He said, "My LORD, respite me until the day they are resurrected." • He said, "You are respited. • "Until the specified day and time." • He said, "My LORD, since You have willed that I go astray, I will surely entice them on earth; I will send them all astray. • "Except those among Your worshipers who are devoted absolutely to You alone." • He said, "This is a law that is inviolable. • "You have no power over My servants. You only have power over the strayers who follow you. • "And Hell awaits them all.

Adamic Period; Adam and Eve[edit]

[Al-Hijr:26]—We created the human being from aged mud, like the potter's clay.

[Al-Hijr:28–29]—Your LORD said to the angels, "I am creating a human being from aged mud, like the potter's clay. • "Once I perfect him, and blow into him from My spirit, you shall fall prostrate before him."

[Sâd:67–69]—Say, "Here is awesome news.• "That you are totally oblivious to. • "I had no knowledge previously, about the feud in the High Society.[43]

[Sâd:70–72]—"I am inspired that my sole mission is to deliver the warnings to you." • Your LORD said to the angels, "I am creating a human being from clay. • "Once I design him, and blow into him from My spirit, you shall fall prostrate before him."

[Al-Baqarah:31–33]—He taught Adam all the names then presented them to the angels, saying, "Give me the names of these, if you are right." • They said, "Be You glorified, we have no knowledge, except that which You have taught us. You are the Omniscient, Most Wise." • He said, "O Adam, tell them their names." When he told them their names, He said, "Did I not tell you that I know the secrets of the heavens and the earth? I know what you declare, and what you conceal."

Garden of Eden[edit]

[Al-Baqarah:34–38]—We said, "O Adam, live with your wife in Paradise, and eat therefrom generously, as you please, but do not approach this tree, lest you sin." • But the devil duped them, and caused their eviction therefrom. We said, "Go down as enemies of one another. On Earth shall be your habitation and provision for awhile." • Then, Adam received from his LORD words, whereby He redeemed him. He is the Redeemer, Most Merciful. • We said, "Go down therefrom, all of you. When guidance comes to you from Me, those who follow My guidance will have no fear, nor will they grieve.

[Al-A'arâf:19–25]—"As for you, Adam, dwell with your wife in Paradise, and eat therefrom as you please, but do not approach this one tree, lest you fall in sin." • The devil whispered to them, in order to reveal their bodies, which were invisible to them. He said, "Your LORD did not forbid you from this tree, except to prevent you from becoming angels, and from attaining eternal existence." • He swore to them, "I am giving you good advice." • He thus duped them with lies. As soon as they tasted the tree, their bodies became visible to them, and they tried to cover themselves with the leaves of Paradise. Their LORD called upon them: "Did I not enjoin you from that tree, and warn you that the devil is your most ardent enemy?" • They said, "Our LORD, we have wronged our souls, and unless You forgive us and have mercy on us, we will be losers." • He said, "Go down as enemies of one another. On earth shall be your habitation and provision for awhile." • He said, "On it you will live, on it you will die, and from it you will be brought out."

[Tâ-Hâ:117–123]—We then said, "O Adam, this is an enemy of you and your wife. Do not let him evict you from Paradise, lest you become miserable. • "You are guaranteed never to hunger therein, nor go unsheltered. • "Nor will you thirst therein, nor suffer from any heat." • But the devil whispered to him, saying, "O Adam, let me show you the tree of eternity and unending kingship." • They ate from it, whereupon their bodies became visible to them, and they tried to cover themselves with the leaves of Paradise. Adam thus disobeyed his LORD, and fell. • Subsequently, his LORD chose him, redeemed him, and guided him. • He said, "Go down therefrom, all of you. You are enemies of one another. When guidance comes to you from Me, anyone who follows My guidance will not go astray, nor suffer any misery.

Post-Exilic Period[edit]

Cain and Abel[edit]

[Al-Ma'ida 27–31]—Recite for them the true history of Adam's two sons. They made an offering, and it was accepted from one of them, but not from the other. He said, "I will surely kill you." He said, "GOD accepts only from the righteous. • "If you extend your hand to kill me, I am not extending my hand to kill you. For I reverence GOD, LORD of the universe. • "I want you, not me, to bear my sin and your sin, then you end up with the dwellers of Hell. Such is the requital for the transgressors." • His ego provoked him into killing his brother. He killed him, and ended up with the losers. • GOD then sent a raven to scratch the soil, to teach him how to bury his brother's corpse. He said, "Woe to me; I failed to be as intelligent as this raven, and bury my brother's corpse." He became ridden with remorse.



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  1. Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Arthur Green. Guide to the Zohar
  2. Rabbi Moshe Cordovero. The Palm Tree of Devorah
  3. Aryeh Kaplan. Meditation and Kabbalah
  4. S.H. Nasr (2006), Islamic Philosophy from Its Origin to the Present: Philosophy in the Land of Prophecy, State University of New York Press, p. 156
  5. a b Imaginal worlds, William Chittick(1994), pg.15
  6. a b Imaginal worlds, William Chittick(1994), pg.53
  7. a b c Souad Hakim - Unity of Being in Ibn 'Arabî
  8. Ibn al-'Arabi, Muhyi al-Din (1164-1240)
  9. Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Islamic Philosophy from Its Origin to the Present(2006), pg76
  10. Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Islamic Philosophy from Its Origin to the Present, pg 78
  11. Tehqiq ul Haq fi Kalamat ul Haq a book by Pir Meher Ali Shah
  12. Maktoobat Rabbaniyah
  13. Note that while Aristotle's use of ousia is ambiguous between 'essence' and substance' there is a close link between them. See his Metaphysics
  14. Maurice Bucaille. "La Bible, le Coran et la Science: Les Écritures Saintes examinées à la lumière des connaissances modernes. (Seghers, 1976). Pocket 2003.
  15. a b c d e
  16. Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Nasr Science
  17. a b c d In the beginning of GOD's creating the heavens and the earth…—[B'reshit 1:1]
  18. How are you fallen from Heaven, O Shining One, son of Dawn! How are you felled to earth, O vanquisher of nations! • Once you thought in your heart, "I will climb to the sky; Higher than the stars of God I will set my throne. I will sit in the mount of assembly, On the summit of Zaphon: I will mount the back of a cloud—I will match the Most High!" • Instead, you are brought down to Sheol, to the bottom of the Pit.—[Isaiah 14:12–15]
  19. …Thus said the Lord GOD: You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and flawless beauty. • You were in Eden, the garden of GOD; every precious stone was your adornment:… • I created you as a cherub with outstretched shielding wings; and you resided on GOD's holy mountain; you walked among stones of fire. • You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created until wrongdoing was found in you. • By your far-flung commerce you were filled with lawlessness and you sinned. So I have struck you down from the mountain of GOD, and I have destroyed you, O shielding cherub, from among the stones of fire. • You grew haughty because of your beauty, you debased your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I have cast you to the ground, I have made you an object for kings to stare at. • By the greatness of your guilt, through the dishonesty of your trading, you desecrated your sanctuaries. So I made a fire issue from you, and it has devoured you; I have reduced you to ashes on the ground, in the sight of all who behold you. • All who knew you among the peoples are appalled at your doom. You have become a horror and have ceased to be, forever.—[Ezekiel 28:12–19]
  20. a b c —when the earth was astonishingly empty, with darkness upon the surface of the deep, and the Divine Presence hovered upon the surface of the waters,…—[B'reshit 1:2]
  21. [21:30] The Big Bang Theory is now supported by the Creator's infallible mathematical code. Thus, it is no longer a theory; it is a law, a proven fact.
  22. [2:29] Our universe with its billion galaxies, spanning distances of billions of light years, is the smallest and innermost of seven universes (Appendix 6). Please look up 41:10-11.
  23. a b [41:12] GOD alone created the universe (see 18:51), but the angels participated in handling certain jobs in the lowest universe. Our universe cannot stand the physical presence of GOD (see 7:143). The plural tense acknowledges the angels' role in our universe (Appendix 10).
  24. [65:12] Although GOD created six other planets that are identical to our Earth, there is life only on our planet. Thus, the evolutionists will be shown on the Day of Judgment that life did not just evolve on the planet because of its particular circumstances.
  25. [7:54] The six days of creation are allegorical; they serve as a yardstick to let us know the relative complexity of our infinitesimal planet Earth - it was created in ``4 days (see 41:10).
  26. a b {Also translated as} …then rose over the Throne (really in a manner that suits His Majesty).
  27. [10:3] {Also translated as} …disposing the affair of all things
  28. {Also translated as} Then, will you not remember?
  29. [25:59] He is Khabîr (Well-Acquainted with everything i.e. GOD).
  30. [11:7] The six days are simply a yardstick providing us with a lot of information. Thus, we learn that the vast lifeless physical universe was created in two days, while the tiny mote called Earth was created in four days [see Fussilat:10–12 (41:10–12)]. The provision of food, water, and oxygen for the earth's inhabitants had to be precisely calculated and arranged.
  31. {Also translated as} "His Throne".
  32. [11:7] The earth was initially covered with water. Subsequently, the land mass emerged, and the continents drifted apart.
  33. [21:32] Sun, moon, winds, clouds, etc.
  34. a b c I.e. firm mountains.
  35. [41:9-10] The days of creation represent a yardstick. Thus, the physical universe was created in two days, while the calculation of provisions for all the creatures on earth required four. This also teaches us that there is life only on this planet Earth.
  36. a b c I.e. proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, revelations, etc.
  37. {Also translated as} And the moon, We have measured for it mansions (to traverse) till it returns like the old, dried, curved date stalk.
  38. [39:5] This verse clearly informs us that the earth is round. The Arabic for He rolls (Yukawwir) is derived from the Arabic word for ball (Kurah). Since the Earth is not exactly round, a specific reference to its shape is given in 79:30. The Quran is replete with scientific information that became known to us centuries after the revelation of the Quran. (See Appendix 20).
  39. [25:61–62] {Also translated as} …placed in the heaven "great mansions of the stars" (or galaxies).
  40. [7:16] ha-Shayṭān is a proven liar, and so are his constituents (see 2:36, 6:22–23, & 7:20–22).
  41. [18:50] When the great feud in the heavenly society took place, all host of heaven became classified into angels, jinns, and humans.
  42. [20:115] When ha-Shayṭān challenged GOD's absolute authority, you and I did not make a firm stand against ha-Shayṭān. GOD is giving us a chance, on this earth, to redeem ourselves by denouncing ha-Shayṭān and upholding GOD's absolute authority.
  43. [38:69] The feud in the High Society was triggered by ha-Satan's challenge to GOD's absolute authority. This is definitely the most important event in the history of the human race. We failed to make a firm stand regarding GOD's absolute authority. This life represents the third and final chance to redeem ourselves (See the Introduction and Appendix 7).
  44. The development of the Islamic sciences as the philosophical cosmology which originated with al-Fârâbî and Ibn Sînâ (Avicenna); and further views presented by Ibn 'Arabî, Ibn Rushd, Naṣîr al-Dîn Ṭûsî.
  45. The Different Aspects of Islamic Culture, Volume Four, Science and Technology in Islam, A.Y. al-Hassan et al (eds.) [Paris:UNESCO Publishing, 2001], 361-404.



Herschel. Hershel, Abraham J. “The Prophets.” 4th Ed.; Harper & Row, 1962. Preface and Introduction. The book reflects mostly on the divine pathos, loosely considered the ‘emotions’ of the Divine (deity). This essay adopts conclusions from Herschel’s Preface and Introduction, and stresses lightly on the pathos. The author [essay] has some minor distinctive disagreements of Herschel’s definition and usage of pathos, although the essay does not cover the difference of opinion of the author and Herschel, the author solely sets apart the concepts of pathos in the manner of discussion.

JPS. “Hebrew-English Tanakh”. 2nd Ed.; Jewish Publication Society (JPS), 1917, 1999. The Traditional Hebrew Text and the ‘New JPS Translation’. The author utilizes the JPS for academic reasons of the Masoretic text, for the reader’s intention of maintaining easy understanding. Special cases may occur where the author [essay] will translate the Hebrew text by personal knowledge of Classical Hebrew—author feels that the pertaining verses of the JPS Tanakh may have slight inaccurate translation in the rendered Masoretic meaning. Author’s intention is to imply certain phrases and/or words to be translated as accurate to English meaning as possible without hindering the true meaning of the Semitic trilateral root.

Greek NT. Word Study: Greek-English New Testament. "Greek New Testament", 3rd. Ed.; United Bibles Societies, 1966, 1983 "New Revised Standard Version"; Division of Education and Ministry, National Council of the Churches of Christ, 1990. By Prof. Paul McReynolds. This Word Study book is a consolidation of ancient Greek codex, with Strong's Exhaustive Concordance. It is written in interlinear text with up-to-date working knowledge of the Greek letters and words contained.

Qur'an. "The Noble Qur'an". English Translation of the meanings and commentary. King Fahd Complex for the Printing of Holy Qur'an, Medinah, K.S.A; 1995. Written by scholars Dr. Muhammad Taqî-ud-Dîn al Hilâlî, Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khân. This copy contains both English translation ,as well as the Arabic copy of the Qur'an. Reading it in Arabic is for most the best method to fully understand the meanings of the verses of the Qur'an.

Chumash. "The Chumash", 11th Ed. The ArtScrolls Series/The Stone Edition. Mesorah Publications, Ltd., 1998, 2000. The Chumash is a consolidated form of the complete Torah, Haftaros and Five Megillos, and Talmudic writings, to include edited texts from Onkelos and Rashi. The chapters of the Torah, the main texts, are written in parshas rather than the contemporary traditional texts. The contemporary traditional text will be used for the reader's convenience.