Thursday, July 9, 2009

Maharal Explains How Miracles Can Occur

In this previous post, the Maharal discusses why it is that miracles can happen in the physical world. Here, he continues.

"Just like there is an order and laws for the natural world so too there is an order to miracles. This is because miracles are in the world through the connection that exists between the physical world and the spiritual world. This connection has an order that it follows and this is why miracles only last for a short time and are not eternal. This is why when we talk about G-D giving the maan to the Jewish people it does not violate the order of existence. Just like it is proper that the world follows nature and its physics, so too it is proper that, for the Jewish people that are connected to the spiritual world, there occurs miracles with an order.

There is an order for miracles that comes from G-D and there is never anything contained within miracles that change G-D's creation. This is because everything has an order that was given to it from G-D. This is the mistake that the philosophers made since they do not know about this idea. If they knew about this idea then they would be able to answer up all their questions even according to their own beliefs that the world follows the order that G-D created for it. Just like this idea, that the world was created with an order that was created by G-D, so too miracles have an order that was created by G-D and this does not lead to a change in the order of the world. This is because just like there is an intelligent order to nature, so too there is an intelligent order to things that are not found within nature.

The miracles, that are not found within nature, do not cause a change at all. Just like it is proper that things should exist in the world through natural forces, so too it is proper that things should exist in the world trough spiritual forces. If this is true, then that means that things that are natural and things that are unnatural are one subject. However, since things that are not natural are not understood they are said to be outside of the order of the world. This is not true at all, rather just like nature has a natural force guiding it so too unnatural things have a supernatural (spiritual) force guided them."

The Maharal seems to be explaining a very rational approach to mysticism. Just like science has shown that there are forces that can be explained through physics so too there are forces that can be explained through spirituality. The principle that is being worked with here is that just like the forces that are natural have an order that is always true like gravity and the like, so too the spiritual powers have an order that is always true. This allows for miracles to occur, but prevents change in the world.

The Maharal believes that the reason the rationalists do not believe in miracles is because a miracles dictates that there must be a change in the world. If a supernatural event happens, like water changing into blood, then that means the natural order of the world is changed. Therefore, according to the rationalists that the Maharal is speaking about, it is impossible for miracles to occur because it is impossible that the natural order of the world be changed.

The idea that a change in the natural order of the world is impossible is very logical. Even the Maharal agrees that this is an impossibility. Otherwise, there would be no such thing as nature and we would never be able to rely on the consistency of the world. However, if spiritual forces exist with their own nature, then miracles could occur without changing the natural order of the world. The way I understand the Maharal is in the following manner: a man cannot fly through natural forces, however, if a spiritual force came along then the man could fly. There is still gravity pulling the man down, however, there is a spiritual force that lifts him up. This would not destroy the nature of the world because the spiritual force is only temporary and fleeting and it only occurs when the spiritual order dictates that at this moment this man should fly. Also, miracles can only occur for the Jewish people because they are the connection, according to the Maharal, between the spiritual world and the physical world.

The Maharal is pointing out a misunderstanding. The philosophers believed that in order for miracles to occur nature must be changed. They also believed that nature never changes and therefore that means that miracles are impossible. However, the Maharal tells us that miracles can occur without changing nature. The misunderstanding here is that the philosophers don't realize that there are two types of forces; spiritual and physical. The actions of the spiritual forces do not negate the physical forces, but rather they work in harmony with each other. In light of this, miracles can be understood. Miracles do not change nature, they work through different forces other than nature. Also, the only way they can work is through the Jewish people since they are the people that connect the spiritual world to the physical world.

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