Insights on the Service of a Righteous Gentile

The following personal essay was submitted to the website by a Noahide who wishes to share his scholarly insights with our visitors.

By way of introduction, let me share with you that it was in my hometown college, a small religiously-affiliated institution, that I first began studying Biblical Hebrew. After graduating I decided that my studious nature was best suited for a career in academia, and I applied to Harvard Divinity School and was accepted there. I could not resist the opportunity to be a student at the storied Harvard, which I had never before thought I would even lay eyes on. It was exhilarating to be there, but at the same time it was very hard because of the totalitarian rule of political correctness and the exaltation of many kinds of abominations. I found no support or comfort in the face of the blasphemous deconstruction of the Bible in my classes (and my classes were relatively mild compared to most students there, since my concentration was in “old testament”). After much searching, I was eventually drawn to Torah because it is TRUE, which means it is ancient, unchanging, and timeless. It’s too bad that most people have never heard, and perhaps will never hear, the THEOLOGICAL reasons for the unsuperceded Torah.

I would like to address an important question that many people have when they first hear about Noahism and the Seven Commandments of Noah. It is commonly thought that there is a tension between G-d’s Mercy and His Justice, but in Noahism these are not really meant to be resolved. Each is an eternal truth. Similarly, each individual has a “good inclination” and an “evil inclination,” and usually has a heavenly ledger of both good deeds and sins. In Noahism, instead of one single sin by itself rendering all the rest of a person’s good deeds (or his other sins) completely moot, each is taken into account. It is true that each sin must be repented of and atoned for. However, the way G-d judges, i.e. the way He takes into account (as only He can) the totality of a person’s good and bad deeds, all the motives, all the circumstances, etc., is something beyond our understanding. The crudest way to put it is that, while each and every sin does indeed count against a person (and requires repentance and atonement), nevertheless all a person’s individual good deeds, prayers for forgiveness, etc., also count in a person’s favor. Some people coming from other faiths may incorrectly assume that Noahism, as part of Torah, demands absolute perfection from beginning to end, and that if one sins, he might as well give up completely because the whole attempt would be rendered a failure. That is not the case.

No one is perfect, as Solomon, the wisest of men, knew. The idea is not that one must be perfect, but to acknowledge that Torah Noahism is G-d’s true yoke of Kingship over the Gentiles. One should spend one’s life striving to do the best one can to follow these commandments, and repenting and atoning when one fails, all the while praying to G-d for assistance and mercy. One must recognize that our human failures and imperfections do not authorize us in the least to subtract from or alter G-d’s Laws to make them “easier,” since G-d our Creator knew our human weaknesses (better than we do) when He commanded those laws to us. Our weak natures do not excuse our sins, but neither those weak natures or those failures absolve us of the responsibility to accept and attempt to live by the Seven Commandments, which are the true G-d given path for all Gentiles, however many times we fall. Since a person is going to make mistakes and failures in any religious path he follows, then it is our duty to make those mistakes and failures within the true path G-d has commanded us to take.

Most Noahides in modern times have come to Noahism from a background which teaches a dualistic religious system, which tries to explain the existence evil by appealing to a war between a “good G-d” and an “evil god” (“the devil”). Since those religions assume that the “good G-d” can only create “good” (i.e., what they perceive as good), they assume that the presence of evil in the world G-d created is the result of the interference of an evil “god.” (In order to be brief, am actually putting this in a very crude way.) In some of these dualistic doctrines, individual evil deeds are not identified as the problem at all. Rather, they say that by eating the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Chava (Eve) contracted and passed on a “disease,” of which individual sins are merely symptoms. Regardless of how many or how few symptoms each individual may manifest, it is imagined that everyone has the same disease, and unless it is addressed all are doomed to “eternal damnation.” Their solution is that to be saved, each individual must at some point in his life be “born again.” Because the people who follow this belief are not knowledgeable or understanding of Noahism, they think that only Orthodox Judaism, out of all ritual/liturgical religions, is ordained by G-d (in the Torah of Moses).

What most people have not yet learned is that, from the day that humanity was created, there was already this set of Divine commandments which offers to every person the truth that he must do good and avoid evil, and that G-d judges all his thoughts, words, deeds, and omissions until the day he dies. The Noahide acknowledges G-d as the only G-d, and strives to live according to His statutes. The point of this is that one should reject all post-Torah innovative religions, and then imbibe the G-d given Torah purely. There is no excuse to declare the Torah “fulfilled” and then replace it with something else that has the same stated objective. The only required leap from common understanding is to realize that the Torah explicitly communicates two parallel paths to fulfill G-d’s will: Torah Noahism for Gentiles and Torah Judaism for Jews.

The point to be stressed in disseminating Noahism is that this is the True and objectively moral duty assigned to mankind by G-d, regardless of one’s background, ethnicity, weaknesses, or what one has always been taught. On the more subjective level, the way to appeal to people in a positive way is to stress the factual, non-mythological nature of the Torah. This ancient history of the human race is very important, as it is the only ancient history of this scope and detail that we have. Noahism upholds the factuality of the personages and events of the Hebrew Bible. It provides the Gentile with a place that is his to turn to while at the same time staying within the context of the teachings of the Torah. It is universally acknowledged by believers in the G-d of Moses to have come from G-d. Beyond this, one only needs to understand that is an eternal covenant.