Sunday, February 15, 2009

Rambam- G-D's Infinite Power- Yisodei Hatorah fifth halacha

In the fifth halacha of Rambam's book Hamada he says,
המצוי הזה הוא אלהי העולם אדון כל הארץ. והוא המנהיג הגלגל בכח שאין לו קץ ותכלית. בכח שאין לו הפסק. שהגלגל סובב תמיד ואי אפשר שיסוב בלא מסבב. והוא ברוך הוא המסבב אותו בלא יד ובלא גוף: 
"This being [that causes all other beings to exist] is the G-D of the world, master of the entire land. Also, He guides the sphere with a force that has no limits and is continuous. [It is] a force that has no end. [These three aspects cause] that the sphere is always rotating and it is impossible that it will rotate with out some cause of rotation and He, blessed is He, is the one that rotates [the sphere] without a hand or body." (Sphere most likely means the earth or sun) 

Why does Rambam describe G-D's power with three different words: no limits, continuous and no end? Also, what is the significance that G-D rotates the world with no hand or body?

The idea that G-D's power has no limits is that G-D has the ability to perform any deed. G-D can cause the laws of physics to change every day if He willed it. This means that He is the one who is all powerful. This works with the idea that there is no other G-D since there can not be two all powerful beings that control all other beings since they could not, in fact, be all powerful since they would be limited by each other. Therefore, a G-D with infinite power is a sole creator and has ultimate control over all.

The second language that is used, continuous, reveals another aspect that is crucial to the understanding of G-D's true nature. No limits describe that reality and, in fact, every creation can be altered by G-D, however, maybe that is only at certain points in time. Continuous power means that G-D's power is constantly in use. The ability to continuously perpetuate the rotation of the sphere is a demonstration of G-D's limitless power and His continuous power since it requires a force to create a reality and always be active.

The last idea of G-D's power having no end is a little different. Having limitless power and continuous power can exist without having no end. For example, the king of Spain had continuous power and limitless power in Spain, but had no power in England. This is why the Rambam explains that G-D rotates the sphere without a hand or a body. This is because if G-D were to have a hand or body, physical aspects, then his power would have an end. Meaning, anything with physical characteristics has a limit to its influence. Two physical objects can not occupy the same space and therefore, by definition, anything physical is unable to be everywhere and influence everything. However, by G-D, the Rambam tells us that His power has influence that is unending. He is saying that G-D's influence is everywhere and He achieves this supreme influence because He is not physical in any way nor are any of His powers physical. This is why the Rambam says G-D rotates the world without a hand or body, in order for us to realize that His influence is everywhere and therefore unending.

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