Defying Divine Command: How Our Illusion of Free Will Crowns Us as False Gods

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Are we defying the Divine by claiming our free will? Dive deep into the profound secrets hidden within the first chapters of Genesis and uncover the shocking truth about the illusion of free will, our self-appointed divinity, and the path back to Eden.

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There exists a profound truth within our grasp, yet it often goes unaddressed, leading to a sense of disenchantment. It’s somewhat disheartening to observe the manner in which we engage with the Torah of Moses, perceiving it as mundane, only to then turn with fervor to the texts dubbed ‘Kabbalah.’ In our quest for excitement, we delve into narratives filled with demons, dragons, and other fantastical beings. However, the most exquisite secrets of the Torah are plainly presented in the initial chapters of Genesis. Specifically, the creation narrative of Adam and Eve offers us invaluable insights. Within these passages, metaphorical and allegorical language abounds, necessitating a deeper understanding on our part. Our current interpretations often fall short, failing to grasp the essence of these teachings. Yet, the core lesson, the very purpose behind all commandments, is to guide us back to the Garden of Eden. But why? What revelation awaits us in the Garden of Eden? It is the illumination of the first day.

Every individual embodies their own adversary, as our sages have taught that we are our own judges. This truth is profound. In the Edenic narrative, we are told that humanity was created in the image of God. God placed before us a tree, instructing us not to consume its fruit. We were permitted to touch it, yet consumption was forbidden. Adam, in his caution, advised Eve against even touching the tree. However, the serpent persuaded Eve to do just that. Upon touching the tree and observing no immediate consequences, she proceeded to eat the fruit. This act signifies a crucial lesson: the serpent represents our Yetzer Hara, our inclination towards actions deemed ‘evil’—evil being anything that contravenes God’s directives.

After the fruit was consumed, God confronted the serpent, who then spoke ill of Hashem. As a result, the serpent was cursed to crawl on its belly, consuming dust for all its days. The warning was clear: eating the fruit would lead to death. Yet, upon eating, death did not come as expected. Or did it? The reality is, we succumbed to a different kind of demise, spending our existence laboring in a metaphorical death. Contemporary Tanakh studies often focus on Gog and Magog, but this too is a form of laboring in death. Prophecies, in truth, were intended to lead us back to the Torah, to the five books of Moses. The negative prophecies need not come to pass; they only hold potential if we ignore the prophets’ calls to return to the Torah. Instead, many dwell on these dire predictions, mistakenly teaching them as inevitable events preceding the arrival of the Mashiach.

Returning to the narrative of Eden, we realize that the serpent symbolizes our internal struggle. Contrary to what we might believe, we were never truly endowed with free will. Being created in God’s image, we were given a directive, which we chose to defy, thereby setting ourselves up as false deities. Every assertion of our free will, in contradiction to God’s will, is an affront, claiming our supremacy over Hashem. This is utterly reprehensible. Our will should align with Hashem’s will, as was intended from the beginning. The illusion of free will emerges from our entanglement in the knowledge of good and evil.

Prior to this pivotal moment, the concepts of good and evil did not exist as we know them. The tree, accessible yet forbidden, stood in the middle of the garden, representing a boundary we were not to cross. Our true path lies in returning to this middle ground, aligning our will with Hashem’s will. This alignment has the power to nullify the prophecy of Gog and Magog. What matters is not the actions of the world at large, but our own deeds. We hold the power because we are made in the image of Hashem.

Let us then embody the likeness of Hashem, acting in accordance with His will, so that His will may become our own. We must forsake the notion of ourselves as deities. These are not merely bold statements; they are essential truths that must be acknowledged. Among the deepest secrets of the Torah, these lessons do not originate from Kabbalah or the Zohar. The true essence of Kabbalah, the profound mysteries of the Torah, are found within the five books of Moses. Everything else is merely our struggle with the knowledge of good and evil. The Torah was bestowed upon us in its perfect form, yet we chose to diverge from Hashem’s explicit command from the outset.

In this exploration, we’ve ventured deep into the heart of Torah’s teachings, shedding light on a truth often overlooked in the pursuit of mysticism. The narratives and laws contained within the Torah, particularly within its opening chapters, are not mere stories or commandments. They are profound reflections on human nature, our relationship with the Divine, and the path to true spiritual fulfillment. Our discussion underscores the essential unity of all Torah teachings, revealing that the deepest insights into life’s mysteries are not hidden in obscure texts but are evident in the very foundation of our faith.

The Garden of Eden narrative, far from being a simple tale of temptation and fall, serves as a profound allegory for the human condition. It teaches us about the inherent challenges and responsibilities that come with our unique status as beings created in the image of God. The figure of the serpent, more than a mere antagonist, symbolizes the internal struggles that each of us faces. It represents the Yetzer Hara, the inclination towards actions that distance us from our Creator and our true selves.

The lesson of the tree, with its forbidden fruit, is a metaphor for the boundaries that exist within the moral and spiritual realms. These boundaries are not arbitrary limitations but are there to guide us towards a higher purpose and fulfillment. By choosing to ignore these divine boundaries, we find ourselves not liberated, but lost, estranged from the source of life and light.

The narrative drives home the critical importance of aligning our will with the Divine will. Such alignment is not the suppression of freedom but its truest expression. In realizing this, we recognize that the prophecy of Gog and Magog, like all prophecies of doom, is contingent upon our actions. They serve as warnings, not inevitabilities, reminding us of the power we hold to shape our destiny and the world’s.

Our sages and the Torah itself teach us that the journey back to Eden, back to a state of harmony with Hashem’s will, is not through the abandonment of the world but through engagement with it, guided by the light of Torah. This engagement is not a passive acceptance but an active, deliberate choice to live in accordance with divine principles.

As we reflect on these teachings, let us renew our commitment to live by the wisdom of the Torah, embracing its guidance in every aspect of our lives. Let us strive to be vessels of light, embodying the divine image in which we were created, and working tirelessly to bring forth the goodness inherent in the world. In doing so, we can aspire to transcend the limitations of our earthly existence, drawing ever closer to the ultimate redemption and the realization of a world filled with the knowledge and love of Hashem.

Thus, our exploration into the depths of Torah reveals not only the rich tapestry of our tradition but also the roadmap for a life of meaning, purpose, and connection with the Divine. It is a journey that calls us to look beyond the surface, to engage with the sacred texts and teachings with an open heart and a willing spirit, ever mindful of the profound wisdom that guides us towards the light.

Source References

Given the profound themes discussed in our exploration, let’s reference some foundational sources from the Torah, the Tanakh, and the Talmud that underpin the claims made. These sources offer insights into the nature of humanity, our relationship with the Divine, and the moral and spiritual lessons embedded within the narrative of the Garden of Eden, as well as the broader teachings of the Torah.

1. The Creation of Humanity in God’s Image: Genesis 1:27 discusses the creation of humans in God’s image, setting the foundation for understanding human dignity and the potential for spiritual elevation. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

2. The Commandment Not to Eat from the Tree of Knowledge: Genesis 2:16-17 provides the divine commandment about the Tree of Knowledge, establishing the theme of divine boundaries and the consequences of transgressing them. “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.’”

3. The Role of the Serpent: Genesis 3:1-6 details the encounter between Eve and the serpent, highlighting the concept of the Yetzer Hara, or the inclination to evil, and the complexities of human choice and temptation. “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, ‘Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?’”

4. The Consequences of Disobedience: Genesis 3:17-19 outlines the consequences faced by Adam and Eve following their disobedience, reflecting on themes of mortality, labor, and the human condition. “And unto Adam he said, ‘Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;’”

5. The Concept of Free Will and Divine Will: Deuteronomy 30:19-20 calls upon the Israelites to choose life by obeying God’s commandments, illustrating the intertwining of human free will with the pursuit of divine will. “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD swore unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”

6. Talmudic Reflections on Free Will and Morality: The Talmud, in tractates such as Pirkei Avot (Ethics of Our Fathers) 3:15, delves into the nature of free will, responsibility, and the importance of aligning one’s actions with divine will. “Everything is foreseen, yet free will is given; and the world is judged with goodness; and everything is in accordance with the amount of work.”

7. Humanity’s Inclination Toward Good and Evil: Genesis 8:21 acknowledges the inherent inclination of the human heart towards evil from youth, highlighting the perpetual struggle between our higher and lower selves. “And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.”

8. The Promise of Redemption and Return: Deuteronomy 30:1-3 discusses the return to God and the observance of His commandments, promising redemption and a return to the land, which can be seen as an allegorical return to Eden. “And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath driven thee, and shalt return unto the LORD thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul; That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee.”

9. The Power of Teshuvah (Repentance): In Talmudic literature, the concept of Teshuvah is a cornerstone of Jewish thought, reflecting the belief in the possibility of return to righteousness and divine favor. The Talmud, in tractate Yoma 86b, elaborates on the transformative power of Teshuvah, emphasizing its capacity to turn intentional sins into merits through genuine repentance and return to God’s ways.

10. The Role of the Torah as a Guide: Psalms 119:105 uses the metaphor of light to describe the Torah’s role in guiding the ethical and spiritual path of believers. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” This verse encapsulates the idea that the teachings of the Torah illuminate the way forward, helping believers navigate the moral complexities of life.

11. The Ultimate Redemption and World to Come: Isaiah 2:2-4 speaks to the eschatological hope of a world at peace, a vision that echoes the harmony of the Garden of Eden. “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.”

12. The Significance of Choice and Consequence: Leviticus 26:3-5 illustrates the blessings of following God’s commandments, including peace and prosperity, juxtaposing the rewards of obedience against the consequences of disobedience detailed later in the chapter. “If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely.”

13. The Importance of Community in Spiritual Life: In the Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin 27b discusses the significance of communal responsibility and the idea that individuals are not isolated in their spiritual journey but are interconnected within their community. This highlights the collective aspect of returning to a more Edenic state of harmony and mutual support.

14. Reflections on Free Will and Divine Providence: The philosophical debates in the Talmud, particularly in Tractate Berachot 33b, delve into the tension between divine providence and human free will, a central theme in Jewish thought. The text explores how God’s omnipotence and foreknowledge coexist with human agency, a concept that is crucial for understanding the moral and spiritual autonomy emphasized in the Torah.

15. The Vision of a Restored Paradise: Ezekiel 36:35 conveys the prophetic vision of the land of Israel being restored to its Edenic splendor, serving as a metaphor for spiritual renewal and the ultimate redemption of the world. “And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited.”

16. Moral Integrity and Divine Presence: Exodus 19:5-6 outlines the covenant between God and the Israelites, emphasizing the conditionality of their special status based on obedience to God’s commandments. This covenantal relationship underscores the idea that living in accordance with divine law is integral to maintaining a connection with the Divine, reminiscent of the direct relationship experienced in the Garden of Eden. “Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.”

17. The Role of Wisdom in Navigating Life: Proverbs 3:13-18 personifies wisdom as a tree of life to those who embrace her, drawing a direct parallel to the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden. This connection suggests that true wisdom, derived from living in harmony with divine precepts, offers a path back to the spiritual richness and vitality of Eden. “Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.”

18. The Call for Ethical Conduct: Micah 6:8 distills the essence of what God requires from humanity: justice, mercy, and humility before the Divine. This verse encapsulates the ethical core of Jewish teaching, emphasizing actions over mere ritual compliance. “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”

19. The Power of Prayer and Repentance: Jonah 3:10 demonstrates God’s responsiveness to genuine repentance, highlighting the transformative potential of turning away from wrongdoing. The story of Nineveh’s repentance and subsequent divine mercy underscores the belief in the possibility of redemption for all. “And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.”

20. The Role of the Heart in Spiritual Life: Deuteronomy 6:5 commands love for God with all one’s heart, soul, and might, laying the groundwork for a relationship with the Divine that is deeply personal and all-encompassing. This commandment, central to Jewish prayer, emphasizes the integration of love for God into every aspect of one’s life. “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”

21. The Importance of Wisdom and Understanding: Proverbs 4:7 prioritizes wisdom as the principal thing to be acquired, underscoring the value of wisdom and understanding in navigating life’s moral and spiritual challenges. “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.”

22. The Unity of God and Humanity’s Role: Deuteronomy 6:4, known as the Shema, affirms the unity of God and sets the foundation for Jewish monotheism. This declaration not only defines the theological stance of Judaism but also outlines the individual’s role in acknowledging and upholding this fundamental truth. “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.”

23. The Promise of Peace and Restoration: Isaiah 11:6-9 offers a vision of a harmonious world where natural enemies coexist peacefully, symbolizing the potential for universal peace and righteousness. This prophecy serves as an aspiration for humanity, directing us towards a future where harmony prevails, echoing the peace of the Garden of Eden. “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.”

24. The Importance of Community and Learning: Pirkei Avot (Ethics of Our Fathers) 1:14 emphasizes the value of communal responsibility and the pursuit of wisdom. “He (Hillel) used to say: If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And being for my own self, what am ‘I’? And if not now, when?” This teaching encourages self-reflection, communal engagement, and timely action in one’s spiritual and ethical life.

25. The Significance of Each Commandment: Maimonides, in his Mishneh Torah, stresses the importance of observing each commandment with equal diligence, suggesting that doing so can tip the scales of merit for oneself and the entire world. This perspective highlights the interconnectedness of individual actions and the collective destiny, resonating with the idea that adherence to divine commandments can restore a sense of Edenic harmony.

26. The Concept of Peace in Jewish Thought: Numbers 6:24-26 features the Priestly Blessing, which includes a plea for peace. “The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.” Peace, as a divine gift and an ideal state of existence, is a central theme in Jewish prayer and thought, reflecting the ultimate aspiration for individual and communal well-being.

27. Human Dignity and the Sanctity of Life: Genesis 9:6 underscores the sanctity of human life by associating the act of murder with a violation against the image of God. “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.” This verse highlights the fundamental respect for human dignity and life that is woven throughout Jewish law and ethics.

28. The Journey of Teshuvah (Repentance): Talmud, Tractate Yoma 86a-b, delves into the process of Teshuvah, illustrating its complexity and the profound transformation that can occur within the individual seeking to return to God. The discussion elucidates the stages of repentance and its power to renew one’s relationship with the Divine and the community.

29. The Role of Justice and Righteousness: Amos 5:24 calls for justice and righteousness to flow like a never-ending stream, highlighting the prophetic demand for ethical living as a reflection of divine will. “But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.” This call to action serves as a reminder of the ethical imperatives at the heart of Jewish spirituality and the pursuit of a society grounded in justice and compassion.

30. The Eternal Nature of the Torah: Psalm 119:89 affirms the eternal nature of God’s word, likening it to a fixed firmament in the heavens. “For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.” This verse expresses the enduring relevance of the Torah and its teachings as a constant guide for humanity’s spiritual and ethical journey.

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