The British cosmologist and astrophysicist Martin Rees stated:
“The first and foremost mystery to everyone is why anything exists and is alive at all. What breathes life into equations and realizes them in the natural cosmos? But these questions are beyond the reach of science; they lie in the philosophical and theological realms.”
Richard Dawkins, a British evolutionary biologist, quoted Martin Ree’s thoughts in his book “The God Delusion.”, and rejected them by asking:
What expertise can theologians bring to deep theological questions scientists cannot reach?
And we must admit he is right!
Let us explain a bit.
Richard Dawkins is a natural & excellent Cientific who works with a Secular mindset. Secularism is expressed in man’s perception of himself as sovereign, Independent of an external entity, free to do or refrain from action, and aware of his responsibility for the results of his acts and omissions. Secularism avoids using religious doctrines in daily conduct in the public sphere and scientific and educational activities. A fundamental principle in defining secularism, and differentiating it from the spiritual (religious) way of life, is placing the person and his sovereignty at the center of the meaning of sovereignty - independence and responsibility, liberty and equality, reason and doubt. While religiosity is characterized by “see and sanctify it,” secularism is characterized by “see and investigate.”
When those are your basic assumptions of life - it’s right to challenge your colleagues to “what new expertise theological can bring, scientific can’t bring?” With time and research, Richard Dawkins states, we will understand it all without the need for ‘GOD.’
Can you define what he is lacking?
Once upon a time, three good friends of Judah (יהודה) saw him from afar carrying something heavy.
Simeon says, “We know that Judah is healthy and strong, so his sack must have hefty stones if he walks so bent over.”
Levi replies, “I agree with my friend Simeon. The sack must indeed have something weighty in it. But Judah would not be using such an ornate sack if it contained only stones. I assume that it is filled with diamonds.”
And then Reuben gives his opinion: “If the two of you are correct, then why does Judah need to be accompanied by so many armed guards, who are worth much more than such a sack of diamonds? Therefore, we must conclude that Judah carries something cumbersome and more valuable than diamonds.
What is there inside?”
From this narrative, we can understand the limitations of the Human intellect. Even though every one of the intellectual analysts gets closer and closer to the truth, there always remains a (large) gap between the conclusions of the intellectuals (the Scientists and even Philosophers) as opposed to the one who puts the load into the sack and knows what’s inside. (that is, Judah (יהודה) in the story above).
Let’s move from the allegory.
The story above shows us the difference between the human intellect apposed to prophecy when we wish to speak about the spiritual path toward God. With our intelligence analysts, we might get closer to the desired way (or not!), but we can only live with complete certainty once the world’s Creator, GOD, turns to us in his honor and by himself through his true prophets give us explanations and direct us.
Richard Dawkins is right for our era since we lost the Prophecy 26 centuries ago. All the studies that have taken place throughout human history since then – whether through the senses, the emotions, the imagination, or the intellect – cannot achieve a deep understanding of the “owner of the sack,” they can’t understand the spiritual way in which the world operates, or - What is life and how to achieve living in the world to come!. Only the Master of the Universe, who created it all, can reveal what components He put into the sack.
While philosophers ask questions, they answer them within a locked world – the philosopher both asks and gives their answers. It’s a closed world with a downbeat ending.
The only optimistic way out of such a situation and receiving accurate answers is if God, who created our world, will reveal himself and speak, explain our world, to Humankind.
According to Plato and the later philosopher Immanuel Kent, this concept appears in the sages of Israel; it is impossible to meet with the thing itself, but only with its phenomena.
The Bible defines Israel’s experience of ‘meeting’ God as something that has never happened before (see Deuteronomy 4:32-33). An entire nation stood on Mount Sinai and met God, who created the world, An intimate relation, without seeing GOD.
For this purpose, one must open one’s heart to the possibility beyond the known and understood.
We can find an implication in the story of the prophet Elisha (see II Kings Chapter 6:24 till the end of chapter 7) when he argued with the officer about whether the Samaria siege should be lifted. The prophet tells him that there is a famine among them now, but there will be plenty in the city the next day at the same time. While the officer mocked him, saying: “And the king’s officer... answered Elisha, “Behold, if God makes windows in the sky, will this thing come about?” And Elisha replied, “Behold, you will see with your own eyes, but you shall not eat from there.”
We are in a closed world that operates according to restrictive nature laws, and the question is whether there are ‘Chimneys’ in this world toward GOD. The answer is that there is, but the officer does not believe there is an opening or a passage between the worlds. He is so framed in his position that even his name is lacking, only referred to as an ‘officer’ - a person who is nothing more than a function he fulfills in the system.
The next day there was indeed a rescue, and all the people ran outside the city to the camp of Aram to take the wheat from there, and when the officer was standing at the door, they trampled him at the gate, and he died. An ‘officer’ is a person for whom everything is closed, whose personality naturally closes all the gates, the place where you pass, representing the openness to the hidden spiritual world. That is why he was trampled by: ‘the people at the gate.’
Some ideas are absorbed only by encountering them instead of distilling them rationally. Moses’s prophecy, the father of all prophets, opened the ‘Chimney gate.’ He brought us together with ideas from another dimension, the dimension of dialogue with GOD, our world’s Creator.
We need to acknowledge the enormous difference between Moses’s Prophecy and the rest of the Prophets:
“All the statements made above describe the path of the prophecy of all the early and later prophets, except for Moses, our teacher, the master of all prophets...” (see Maimonides Yesodei haTorah - Chapter Seven & Eight)
“If you ask too many questions, you are probably not a believer.”
How many times have we heard such a statement? Especially when logic and reason begin to ask questions. It makes sense when someone is only five or six years old; he perceives God in a small way. As he matures, he understands things more deeply, and at the same time, questions come.
In this article, we will not quote the sages of Israel throughout the ages about the depth of understanding, intelligence, and wisdom that the scholars of Israel demand from us. In this short discussion, let us quote a key sentence of R. Yehuda Halevi in his excellent book, HaKozari:
“Heaven forbid that there should be anything in the Bible to contradict that which is manifest or proven!” (A:67).
As a nation that believes in the UNITY OF GOD, we believe that the world’s Creator gave man the intellect for use. It is impossible that an essential thing - Faith, which gives meaning to our lives and gives us relation with the source of energy - GOD, will put aside the mind, which is the Human crown!
Man is also a single unit and desires to produce harmony between his thoughts, speech, and actions. When a person does an act without reason and disconnects from his thoughts, behaving as an automatic pilot, he is like an animal who do things without thinking.
The uniqueness of man is that the Creator of the world gave him a Brain (Reason) so that he would be clear with himself, understand his actions, and not be left with unclear doubts.
How can reason explain the whole spiritual world? It’s a long-standing question that requires a lot of studies. But it is important to emphasize there is an answer, and the use of reason is not random or retrospective. More than that, our logic helps us to be precise in our beliefs and not to get wrong after our imaginary thoughts. It is part of the lifestyle of the Hebrew believer, a scion of a people in which the prophecy dwelt for hundreds of years.
Let’s rephrase this question in other words:
What are the actions, and what mindset do we need to connect with the source of life (GOD) so we would live after our world here?
In 1896 George Jacob Holyoake, an English newspaper editor, coined ‘secularism’ as a principle of seeking to conduct human affairs based on secular, naturalistic considerations.
In this picture, you can see his exact words:
When the main effort is the material side of the world, only through science, a deep belief that everything that we can’t understand today we will in the future - when science, through the human mind, will answer all the questions, this is the goddess of the human mind!
Holding such a concept, is there an afterlife? It needs to be clarified. One thing is for sure, the intellect is particular in humans and may remain forever. The philosophers believed, Especially Aristotle, You must become a great sage to connect yourself with the ‘Active Intellect’ if you wish to stay forever.
The blindness of not ‘opening the gate’ to the world beyond our senses and the unwillingness to recognize that there is a God who communicates with humans - leaves those great scientists and those who follow them to accept moral behavior only because logic tells them to do so. Most people are not interested in murdering or stealing and prefer maintaining a healthy family life and other ‘Noahide’ commandments (mitzvot). This secular mindset won’t define it as a ‘Noahide’ behavior because everything is cut off from GOD. Will they stay forever?! A big question.
The one who opens his gate listens to God’s knocks on his door, and wants to be connected with the world’s Creator, even after his soul is separated from the body, does actions that bring him closer to the Creator of the world.
He chooses not to murder others; his reason is not only because it makes sense and is suitable for the world (paragraph 3 in George Jacob Holyoake above) - but mainly because it’s written on every man: “And God created man in His image; in the image of God...(Genesis 1:27), And who wants to hurt God’s image?
And when a person has a medical difficulty, or a lack of livelihood, or wishes to thank the Creator of the world for good (recommended every day!) and for those reasons, he turns to God & prays for his help - then it is clear that this person strengthening his connection to the Creator like a fruit attached to a tree and receives life from it! And things are even more straightforward when a person gives charity and behaves well with his mate; in that way, he becomes similar to the Creator, succeeds in adhering to Him, and earns to be connected and alive in the world to come. More explanation? Learn the Maharal of Prague (Tiferet Israel book Chapter 1-9). We visited his tombstone in the Old Jewish Cemetery at the conference we held in Prague in the winter of 2023.
Now we can realize Maimonides’s profound Halacha [It’s called a PSAK - ordering us how to behave practically] in his phenomenal book:
Melachim uMilchamot [chapter 8 part 11]
“Anyone who accepts upon himself the fulfillment of these seven mitzvot and is precise in their observance is considered one of ‘the pious among the gentiles’ [Noahide] and will merit a share in the world to come.
It applies only when He accepts and fulfills them because the Holy One, blessed be He, commanded them in the Torah and informed us through Moses, our teacher, that Noah’s descendants had commanded to fulfill them previously.
However, if he fulfills them because of intellectual conviction, he is neither a resident alien nor of ‘the pious among the gentiles.’ He is [considered] one of their wise people.”
Now it’s more clear why in our declaration, it’s crucial to say this sentence:
“...And I furthermore pledge to continue to uphold these laws in all their details, According to the Oral Law of Moshe under the guidance of the rabbis...”
By the way, a few sentences before that, Maimonides writes: “This acceptance must be made in the presence of three Torah scholars.”
Other sages are Paskin to accept in a personal statement.
Last but not least:
And if you ask, how did we come to the fact that so many people in the world are in a secular state, cut off from the Creator of the world? Since the direct relationship with the world’s Creator, what we call Prophesy, does not exist today. Don’t worry; the prophecy will return, for the people of Israel returned to their homeland after two thousand years of exile.
Meanwhile, by declaring as a Noahide, accepting God’s path, and getting connected with him through the Hebrew Rabbis from Israel, you fulfill Isaiah Prophecy:
“And the foreigners who join with the Lord to serve Him and to love the name of the Lord... I will bring them to My holy mount, and I will cause them to rejoice in My house of prayer, their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be acceptable upon My altar, for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” (See all Chapter 56)
Let’s conclude with Tony Rubins’s words:
“The only impossible journey is the one you never begin.”
We are more than happy to accompany you on your journey