Tuesday, June 23, 2009

God’s Perfectly Imperfect Plan

For those of us who believe in God, we must face a serious question, one that philosophers have been wresting with since the beginning of theological debate.

If God is perfect, why are we, God’s creations, so imperfect?

We expect a God who is omnipotent, omniscient, and infinite to create beings that reflect some aspect of those qualities. Yet no one can claim even one of them. The divide between us and God appears too vast. Could such a God create something so imperfect? One could wonder if this Creator exists after all.

Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato, the eighteenth century Italian Kabbalist, teaches that God desires to bestow the best possible good. One might think that creating perfect human beings would satisfy that criteria.

But not so; the greatest good was creating humanity with imperfections, and then empowering us through Torah and mitzvot to fix them. This allows us to feel a sense of accomplishment for the work that we have done, as opposed to feelings of shame like a beggar who receives sustenance with no toil.

This can also allow us to accept our flaws, and the flaws of others. Those imperfect cracks are the places where God is most revealed. Those blemishes empower us to work on our character traits and our service to God, and it is through this work that we actualize our true potential.

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