How Was God Born ?
The only honest answer is that no one really knows. Jewish tradition teaches that God always was, always is, and always will be. One of the basic Jewish beliefs about God is that God wasn’t ever born, having no mother and father.
God was and is the mother and father of all that is created. God is the only one that was here before there was a before. One of the prayers that best sums up the belief that God was always there is the well-known AdonOlam, which we often sing at the end of morning prayer services. We say God was, is, and will always be.
This means that God had no beginning or birth because God has always existed. To me, it’s very comforting that God has always existed and will continue to exist forever. That’s why the Adon Olam prayer ends with the comforting thought that when I go to sleep at night, knowing all I know about God, I have nothing to fear.
Is it possible to prove God’s existence?
No, I do not believe that the existence of God can ever be proven. For some people, belief in God is no problem at all. I cannot remember a time when I did not believe in God.
However, for some, having faith in God’s existence is easier said than done. People don’t generally become believers because of a convincing argument. Yet the quest for an argument to prove the existence of God is natural enough. Medieval philosophers in particular spent a considerable amount of time on the problems concerning the existence and nature of God.
A number of classical proofs for the existence of God have been presented by theologians and philosophers. I first learned of them in one of my undergraduate Jewish philosophy courses at the Jewish theological Seminary of America. Here are several:
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- Creation implies a Creator. Experience teaches us that everything in existence has a creator. It is reasonable to assume that the universe did not make itself either. Thus the mere existence of the universe implies a creator, and that creator is God.
- The primary cause. Just as every effect has a cause, every cause is itself the effect of some prior cause. If everything in nature is the effect of some cause, we must look for some initial cause out¬ side of nature. The first uncaused cause is the Ultimate Cause of the chain of events that proceed from it. This first supernatural cause is God.
- Prime mover. A physical body does not move until it is set into motion by some outside force. The universe consists of physical bodies in constant motion. What force is responsible for having started, and maintaining, them in motion? That force was the Prime Mover, God, who alone possesses the power to move and make move without a preceding natural cause.
- Ultimate designer. Probably the most popular of all arguments, and one that has always seemed most compelling to me, is the argument from design. The argument runs something like this. Suppose you have never seen a watch and that you find one lying on the sand. All you can see in it is a mechanical structure exhibiting an intricate adaptation of parts to one another. You are likely to infer from this that it was constructed by an intelligent being who designed this mutual adaptation in order to accomplish a certain end. This (so runs the argument) is just what we encounter in the universe: order and design. This ultimate designer is God.
- Moral argument. There is a good, and there is a better, but there is no such thing as perfect (that is, best) in earthly experience. Without the existence of a best, the concept of a good and better is imperfect. Therefore the Perfect must lie beyond the earthly experience. This Perfect is God.
For me, the beauty and design of this magnificent world is proof positive that there is a God. When I see the sun rise every morning or a beautiful sunset at night, when I see a rainbow in the sky, or shooting stars on an August summer’s night, I become ever more convinced that this Ultimate Designer is none other than God.
Why do people write G-d instead of God in some books?
Jewish tradition relates that one particular name of God, consisting of the four Hebrew letters yod, heh, vav, heh, was revealed to Moses at the burning bush. Its exact pronunciation was passed on to his brother Aaron and kept a secret among the kohanim, the Jewish priesthood, so that the Israelites would not use God’s name irreverently.
The only time the High Priest actually pronounced the real name of God was on the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, during the confession of sins. When the kohen uttered the holy name, his voice was lost in the singing of the other priests so that the Israelites would not hear the secret pronunciation. Outside of the ancient sanctuary the term Adonai (often translated as “Lord”) was used to connote God’s name.
Whenever the original four Hebrew letters (yod, heh, vav, heh) are found in the Bible, or when God’s name is invoked in prayer, it is pronounced Adonai. But even this name of God is confined to use during sacred events.
In conversation, the name HaShem, meaning “the Name” is often used to protect God’s name even further from improper use. Jewish law has always tried to protect the way in which people use the name of God, always fearing the possibility of God’s name falling into a bad mouth. I he rabbinic sages prescribed a variety of injunctions concerning the pronunciation and writing of God’s name. For example, if written, the name of God should not be erased and can only be discarded through ritual burial, similar to that of sacred texts and ritual items. It has become a custom to extend our reverence for the various names of God to include nontraditional names, for example, the word we use in English, God (G-d). But regulations in Jewish law concerning how to treat written and printed materials with God’s name on it apply, in most Orthodox communities, only to the names of God in Hebrew.
How do you know if you are chosen By God ?
Chosenness does not mean that the Jews have been singled out for special favors. Far from it. Chosenness means being selected to carry out the special duties of being God’s servant. Our task is to be a holy people, and our mission is to remind the world that God demands righteousness and justice. We are partners with God, and our mission as a member of the Chosen People is helping and working with God to bring about a more just and peaceful world. Being chosen means joining God and doing it together.
The idea that the Jewish people were selected by God to carry out some special purpose is prominent throughout the Bible and in other Jewish teachings. According to a story in the Bible, in the Book of Exodus, God chose Israel to be a special people when God led them out of Egypt and gave them the Torah on Mount Sinai. God said, “You will be My own treasure from all peoples” (Exodus 19:5). In a later passage in the Book of Deuteronomy (chapter 7), God tells the Israelites that He chose them because “they were the fewest in number and that God loved them.”
Some twenty-six hundred years ago, the Prophet Isaiah expanded upon die idea of the Jews as chosen ones by saying: “I have given you as a covenant to the people. For a light to the nations, to open the eyes of the blind” (Isaiah 42:6-7). This verse is quite significant. It means that the Jewish people, according to Isaiah, were assigned the special mission of improving the world and teaching other peoples to see the light. So Jews must understand that being chosen is not a privilege about which to boast, but rather a responsibility and a task to be undertaken. It requires contributing to die betterment of the world, which ultimately means increased responsibilities and hardship.
Why do we call God He when we also say that God has no gender?
All efforts to describe God are considered to be failures. God is imageless, without body or form. If we think of God as a male every time we use a word like He or Lord or King, we are making a mistake.
In fact, we are taught that God is beyond anything conceivable, d bus God is neither male nor female. As our society grows more egalitarian and inclusive, a new sensitivity/ has emerged to the God language we have always used, with its excessive dependence on masculine imagery.
As a result, many of the new prayer book translations have attempted to eliminate masculine-sounding names for God, replacing them with gender-neutral language.
For example, instead of translating the Hebrew words “Avinu Malkenu” as “Our Father our King,” prayer books often substitute “Our Parent our Sovereign One.” Other, more feminist prayer books have substituted “She” for God. One popular feminine metaphor for God in kabbalistic literature is the “Shechinah,” a feminine word always associated with God’s nearness either to the people of Israel or to the individual Jew. This mystical motherly” aspect of God is especially present with Israel in times of tragedy, and it even follows the people into exile.