18 QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
    CONCERNING THE TORAH

    by

    Aron Katsenelinboigen

                                                     

CONCLUSION

In this Conclusion, I will provide brief approaches to the answers of the 18 questions that I raised in the Introduction. These questions were formulated in a way that is close to the development of the Torah. In these brief answers, I will use a different sequence of the initial questions, a sequence that is based on a vision of their importance. First, I will make some preliminary remarks. The Torah is a great combination of myths, legends, and historical events. As usual a creationistic approach to creation of the world expressed in the Torah is opposed to the scientific theories of development of the world expressed in the concept of the Big Bang and evolutionary theory. Meanwhile, being recognized as two modes of presentation of a system these two approaches could be complementary. This is analogously to the approach to the motion of planets on the basis of a system of differential equations that looks like a scientific, and on the basis of the external principle that looks as associated with God. And this brings the answer to the question “1) Could be complimentary the evolutionist and creationist approaches to the development of the Universe”?

The further analyses of the myths that are included in the Torah shows that some of them are reflections of very old myths, and some of them are reflections of relatively new myths. The last statement could help: to understand why does the Torah contain two versions of the creation of the universe and living beings (respectively Chapter 1 and 2 in Genesis)”? the question “10) Why is it mentioned in Chapter 1 of Genesis that God created Man and Woman simultaneously, but in Chapter 2 it says that God created Woman from Man”? The second part of this question “Also, why did God create Woman from Man”? continuous to be a subject of discussion till today. It seems, that the present state of the evolutionary theory allows bypassing this discussion. In the light of this theory the simple living beings have been asexual and multiplied by fragmentation or specialized reproductive cells as spores. Later on appeared two kinds of specialized reproductive cells – male and female. But they have been in one body like in such hermaphrodites as African snails. During the evolution appeared specialized bodies that respectively hold one kind of these cells – the male and female genders.

Now let me discuss the major set of questions raised in the 18 Questions and bring to them some brief answers.

THE FIRST SET OF PIVOTAL IDEAS

For me, the major idea of the Torah is expressed in the question: “12) Why is God willing to engage in a struggle with a Man (Jacob) and accept criticism from a Man (Moses)”? The answer to this question is related to the parity of God and Man. I intentionally use capital letters for God and Man to emphasize this parity. The parity is formally supported by the covenant between God and Abraham and by actions like the struggle between God and Jacob and the criticism of God by Moses.

To the best of my knowledge, the Jewish religion is the one religion that is based on the idea of parity between God and Man. On the one hand, this idea is a result of the Jewish mentality. This mentality is based on biological origins that are related to the attitude of an animal to the leader of the group. That is, these origins that are related to the different degrees of subordination of an animal to its leader and correspondingly of a human being to an authority. On the other hand, this feature of the Jewish mentality influences the behavior of influential Jews (I mean, the core of this ethnos) in a way that allows them to the challenge any authority. That is why it is not by chance that there are a disproportionately high number of innovators among Jews relative to the size of the population.

If what I have just said makes sense, perhaps there should be certain modifications in Jewish religious rituals. Today, it is typical in different denominations of the Jewish religion for there to be a disproportional praising of God during prayer, and the role of Man's positive actions is enormously underestimated. It seems to me that it might be a good idea to revise Jewish religious rituals, so that prayer pays more attention to the parity of God and Man, and so that it praises both of them for their good actions, in order to thank both of them for their good deeds. When I ask myself, “Why do I think that I am a Jew”? the answer is evident to me: “I am first of all not afraid to challenge any authority!” Certainly, I have respect for authorities that make great contributions to their fields, but I do not make idols out of them. When I ask myself: “Why I don’t belong to a synagogue when I fully understand its great role in integrating a community”? The answer is evident to me: “I could not accept the disproportional praising of God and Man in favor of God!”

THE SECOND PIVOTAL SET OF IDEAS

This set of ideas is related to questions concerning the nature of God and Man that could help to clarify the previous statement of their parity. I mean here the elaboration, on the basis of Vera Ulea’s ideas, the statement that God is a creator but not a wizard, and on the basis of Process Theology that God is an mutable, evolving entity. Here I also will try to answer on the questions 6) and 7). The answer on the question  “6) Is God an entity that has feelings, or is God making only rational decisions”? is based on the interpretation of a complex living being as an amalgamation of rational thinking and feelings that allow to combine the decision making methods that respectively require relatively long and short times. The answer on the question “7) Is God an entity that has a gender or God is asexual”? is based on the assumption that sexuality is irrelevant to God because sexuality is applicable only to entities that multiply; God in the Torah is not a multiplying entity.

The Jewish religion, as it is expressed in the Torah, assumes God and living beings expresses the unity of good and evil, in comparison to many other religions that separate good and evil between different entities. This unity helps to avoid the temptation to find final happiness by extermination of the holders of evil. Such an approach to good and evil provides guidelines to answer the question “14) Do good and evil coexist in God”?

The limitations of God stimulate God to create amplifiers of own strength, and this can explain why God created human beings in own image and why God prevents them from self-extermination. It seems that human beings as creative entities struggling for development (survival is just a necessary condition) try to develop beings that are more sophisticated than they themselves – an answer to the question “11) Are human beings the climax of the creative universe”?

Meanwhile, the novelties created by human beings could be very dangerous.  I want to repeat that the story of the Tree of Knowledge is very profound. The danger for a Man to be acquainted with knowledge is a result of the inconsistency between the negative unexpected outcomes of human activities and the lack of might of a Man to correct these outcomes. [79] The Torah shows a deep understanding of the danger of creation of novelties by ordinary people. On the basis of the text of the Torah I developed a 2x2 matrices that combines the source of ideas for novelties (God or Man) and the entity that implemented these ideas (God or Man). The analysis of this matrices shows that a positive attitude to novelties is typical for novelties that were coming from God even they are implemented by a Man. It is possible to speculate that the emphasis on the leading role of God in creation of novelties is accompanied by human beings who understand God’s ideas and implement them. It seems these people are exceptional in the eyes of God. The Torah expressed predominantly a negative attitude to the ideas of novelties that are coming from a Man and implemented by a Man. Such a caution attitude to Man’s innovations is very difficult to implement. On the one hand, mankind to preserve itself from destruction by dangerous events like epidemics, famine, cosmic catastrophes, etc. tries to create more sophisticated means. On the other hand, the creation of these means is dangerous because it has the hidden immanent forces that could destroy the mankind. It seems that mankind is trapped between Scylla and Charybdis! “You fall into Scylla in seeking to avoid Charybdis” (Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations.) The above said provides the guidelines to the answers to questions “13) Why does God forbid Adam and Eve from eating from the Tree of Knowledge”?

THE THIRD PIVOTAL SET OF IDEAS

This set of ideas is directly related to my understanding of the concept of indeterminism which is, as a mat, as a matt of fact, the integrator of this book The basis of this concept is the nature of the program that leads the input to the output.  A deterministic program is unavoidable independent of its completeness and consistency and the degree of certainty of the output. An indeterministic program can be avoidable. As usual it assumes incompleteness and inconsistence and eventually the uncertainty of the outputs. I assume that the value of the outputs can be based on the spectrum of conditionality, from fully unconditional values to fully conditional, and in particular, on the semi-conditional values that are typical for beauty. The methods of action under indeterminism can be very different. Instead of prediction and setting a goal and a plan ("program" being synonymous with "rigid plan") the answer to the question “2) Did God have a final goal that guided God as the creator of the universe”? could be a process. This process is based on a direction for development and stages. The answers to the questions 3) Why didn't God create the universe instantly? Why does it take Him six days”?, “4) Why didn't God state in detail his plan or program for the creation of the universe if it is a prolonged process and “5) Why did God act by stages, each time announcing the purpose of each stage”? are related to the concept of a predisposition for future development that is formed during each stage. The idea that, as soon as it is formed and recognized, a predisposition corresponds to God's initial vision of it, and the idea that evolving God measures its value through beauty bring some hints to the answers to the questions “8) Why was it necessary for God to evaluate the results of own work during the first six days”? “9) Is 'good', as the 'local' criterion for the evaluation of intermediary results of the process of Creation, equivalent to 'beauty'“? and “15) Can a Creator with the power to foresee everything destroy own creations”?

The statement that uncertainty in influencing the future development of the output of a stage results in a need for strategic constraints for each stage and that these constraints, in the form of a manifold of options, preserve different species that then can be converted to a singular variety from which current decisions for the selection of good beings can be chosen provides some answers to the questions: “16) What prompted God to impose unconditional demands upon the conduct of the Jews including the Ten Commandments, while at the same time making these demands conditional (situation‑specific) with respective rewards and punishments”?  “17) Why does God, seeing the wickedness of the serpent and distinguishing between clean and unclean flesh in general, chose to tell Noah to take all the animals along and save them from the flood so that they may multiply afterwards”? and ”18) Could the preservation of the Jewish nation be carried out, outside the idea of the Promised Land that is mentioned in the Torah“?

 

 


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