Thursday, June 25, 2009

Rambam- Knowing that G-D Exists- Yisodei Hatorah perek 4 halacha 7

The Rambam discusses how everything in the world is made of a combination of things. He says,

לעולם אין אתה רואה גולם בלא צורה או צורה בלא גולם. אלא לב האדם הוא שמחלק גוף הנמצא בדעתו ויודע שהוא מחובר מגולם וצורה. ויודע שיש שם גופים שגולמם מחובר מארבעת היסודות. וגופים שגולמם פשוט ואינו מחובר רק מגולם אחד. והצורות שאין להם גולם אינן נראין לעין אלא בעין הלב הן ידועין. כמו שידענו אדון הכל בלא ראיית עין: 

"A person will never see physical matter without a shape, or a shape without physical matter. A person will always know, in his or her heart, that everything that is visible is composed of physical material and posses a form. There are those bodies that are made of the four elements and there are bodies that are composed of only one of the four elements. Forms that do not posses physical material can not be seen with the eye, only through the eye of the heart can a person know that this type of being exists, like how we know that G-D exists without seeing with the eye."

Here the Rambam deals with a very fundamental idea, how can we know that G-D exists. First, he deals with all physical beings. All physical beings are visible. This visibility has some requirements. A visible object must be made of physical material and it has to have a form. This comes to exclude the material prima that Plato and the Ralbag talk about. They say that before creation there was this prime matter that existed without form or shape. It was physical material, but it had no shape. Therefore, we can understand from this Rambam, that this material was not visible to the eye, just like a being with a form but no physical material is invisible to the eye.

As a side point it is interesting to note that scientists believe that in outerspace there is something called dark matter. This matter is used to answer up several questions that they have about our universe. However, this dark matter is practically invisible to our eyes. Maybe it is the same type of material as the prime matter?

Anyway, the Rambam is telling us that since anything without physical matter is invisible this means there is only one way for us to "see" G-D. G-D is a completely non-physical being, therefore the only way we can "know" He exists is to believe in our hearts that he does exist. It is impossible to "see" Him in any other way.

1 comment:

The Leader, Garnel Ironheart said...

This is the difference between faith and reason. Rachaman liba ba'ey - God wants the heart because left to itself the mind will not conceive Him.
The other point to remember is that faith is a matter of free will, while reason is a matter of logic and examining empirical evidence.
Chazal say "all is in the hands of Heaven save the fear of Heaven". If that's the case, then fear of Heaven cannot be achieved through reason, only faith.