Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Nature and Miracles


           Aristotle maintained that the world is eternal, with no beginning and no end. Some of the Sages of Israel were of the opinion that the world had a beginning and will have an end. Maimonides thinks that that it had a beginning, but that it has no end. So too he believes that the world's natural order is permanent, in accordance with the principle that the world follows its natural course. Within that order, however, miracles that deviate from the natural order are possible for a limited period of time. Thus, it has been established that the world is founded on Divine wisdom, but despite the natural order the revelation of Divine will is possible. On a deeper level, this deviation does not contradict the natural order, but rather is in accord with it, for the world thereby becomes "the best possible world," as befits the work of God.

1 comment :

  1. It's a long complex argument , but one interesting piece is Raavad's disagreement with Rambam based on the verse

    וְנָתַתִּ֤י שָׁלוֹם֙ בָּאָ֔רֶץ וּשְׁכַבְתֶּ֖ם וְאֵ֣ין מַחֲרִ֑יד וְהִשְׁבַּתִּ֞י חַיָּ֤ה רָעָה֙ מִן־הָאָ֔רֶץ וְחֶ֖רֶב לֹא־תַעֲבֹ֥ר בְּאַרְצְכֶֽם׃

    At the time there were lions and leopards in Israel. And wolves. Today they are virtually extinct - the Judean leopard is gone, perhaps a handful remain and not enough to reproduce. This has occurred through natural and human means, they have been hunted and encroached upon.

    There are wild boars and jackals, but they are a nuisance not really a threat, and being kept alive by the animal rights orientation of the government.

    Before modernisation and industrialisation, it was perhaps unthinkable that we could get rid pf sp many big animals or that they would be endangered species. It was more they were a danger to us.


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