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What is the nature of G-d and life’s purpose?

Questions: I was hoping for your help. I have so many questions, a spiritual crisis. I am overwhelmed by competing media/input and don’t know what way to turn. I need answers to why we are here? What is the purpose of life and the nature of G-d? I need insight. Any assistance you could offer would be much appreciated.

Response: The first thing is, don’t worry, and don’t be overwhelmed! The answers you are seeking are known and available, so you can rest assured about that.

1. What is the nature of G-d?

Since you asked this question, you’ve demonstrated that you already are holding the answer in your hands and in your heart. You are not doubting the fact that there is G-d. All the answers flow from that fact, and opening the right channels – the ones that lead directly to Him.

The most direct channel that leads directly to Him is His own Word. What does He have to say to us about Himself? Since He is eternal, so too, His own Word is eternal, since He enclothes Himself within His Word. His Word is the 24 Books of the Hebrew Bible, which is available for everyone to learn from. One needs an uncorrupted translation, and the correct explanations to begin understanding, at a simple level, the depth of its meanings. However, it’s required for a person to approach it with the correct mindset. So that is something that you’ll need to establish first.

Also, I want to share with you the good news that the basic answers to almost all of your questions, and possibly even all of them, have been made available in a book that we published for this very purpose. I highly recommend that you read/study this book, and make notes as you go on all the questions that you still have left. Here is the book Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner, which is available in print or as an e-book (click here):

Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge

Here is the Table of Contents:

INTRODUCTION: The Image of G-d Within Every Person
Perfection and Elevation of Mankind (Tikkun Ha’Adam);
Perfection and Elevation of the World (Tikkun Ha’Olam)

THE FIRST GATE: The Gate of Knowledge of G-d

1. Recognition of G-d’s Existence and His Essential Unity

2. The Unity of G-d and His Powers; The Mistaken Belief in Independent Deities
3. Divine Providence and Trust in G-d
4. Bringing Recognition of G-d into One’s Heart and Actions

THE SECOND GATE: The Gate of Prophecy from G-d

1. Centrality of Prophecy in the Foundations of Faith; The Concept of Free Choice
2. Various Levels of Prophecy
3. The Prophecy and Torah of Moses
4. The Eternity of the Torah of Moses

THE THIRD GATE: The Gate of Serving G-d

1. The Essence of the Service of G-d
2. Contemplation of the Seven Noahide Commandments and Lessons from the Hebrew Bible
3. The Value of Action, Intention and Happiness in Serving G-d

THE FOURTH GATE: The Gate of Prayer to G-d

1. The Service of Prayer
2. Prayer with Speech and Intention

THE FIFTH GATE: The Gate of Personal Traits Desired by G-d

1. The Definitions of Behaving as a “Wise Person” or a “Pious Person”
2. Healing the Soul from Unhealthy Traits
3. Guarding Oneself from Sin; Going Beyond the Measure of the Law
4. The Trait of Modesty
5. Influence of One’s Environment; Rebuking Another Person
6. Loving Other People and Respecting Other People
7. The Care that a Wise and Righteous Person Must Take in Speaking
8. Respecting People who Suffer Misfortunes; Honoring Parents; Honoring One’s Spouse; Educating Children
9. Charity and Acts of Kindness

THE SIXTH GATE: The Gate of Being Tested by G-d

1. Why G-d Tests People
2. A Trouble or Tribulation that Comes Upon Society or an Individual
3. Relating to Suffering that Others Cause to Oneself and to the Suffering that Others Experience
4. The Test of Depression

THE SEVENTH GATE: The Gate of Repentance to G-d and the Principle of Reward and Punishment from G-d

1. Contemplating Repentance to G-d
2. Achieving a Complete Repentance
3. How G-d Judges for Rewards and Punishments
4. The Future World to Come and Who Will Merit that Reward
5. Free Will
6. The Obstruction of Free Choice as a Punishment from G-d
7. The Heavenly Reward for a Departed Soul; A Person’s Reward in the Future World to Come
8. The Messianic Era and the Resurrection of the Dead

One of the reasons that I’m giving you that recommendation is because you’ll be much better prepared for further conversation if you’ve already been exposed to the basics of this information.

Here are few initial notes about this question you sent me:

2. Why are we here?

Really, the question to begin with, is “How are we here?” The way we are here is that G-d, our Creator, is constantly creating us to be here, i.e., He is constantly creating the existence of you, me, and everything else. In the Six Days of Creation, each thing that G-d “spoke” came into being only as a result of His “speaking,” and His “speaking” was the only basis of each thing’s existence.

In truth, G-d has no body and no form of any kind, so “speech” is only written as an analogous term for the spiritual creative forces that He emanates from His Essence, to bring into revelation and existence the entities that He desires to have in existence at every moment in time. The Six Days of Creation were only the beginning of this Divine creative process. From then on it continues constantly, as long as it is G-d’s desire to do so.

G-d is a Complete Perfection, so He Himself has no intrinsic need for anything. He brought about and brings about the creation of the spiritual (“Heavenly”) and physical realms only for the purpose of fulfilling a desire that He has. The Sages of the Esoteric Wisdom within the Torah, which is known as the (true) “Kabbalah,” taught that G-d’s desire was / is to have a dwelling place for His Essence here in this physical world, i.e., for His Essence to be eternally openly revealed here in this world with the human beings that He creates in His image. The time when this will take place is called the Messianic Era, and the future eternal World to Come.

3. What is the purpose of life?

However, the world as G-d originally created it – to APPEAR to be (but isn’t actually) an independent existence, separate from His Essence – wasn’t capable of receiving the revelation of His Essence. An intermediate stage was needed, for people to become capable and prepared – through their own cumulative efforts – to receive the revealed dwelling of G-d’s Essence in the physical creation.

To accomplish this as He desired, G-d revealed Himself a little to Adam and Hava (Eve), giving them Seven Commandments. (Initially, 6 were explicit; the 7th was implicit until it was given through Noah.) G-d then created an Evil Inclination within them, to challenge their obedience to those commandments and the moral principles that follow from them. He also endowed them with a Good Inclination, and the spiritual strength and capability to overcome their Evil Inclination.

G-d also endowed them with intellect and freedom of choice (the image of G-d in mankind), to choose at any time to follow their Good Inclination or Evil Inclination. Choosing to weaken and overcome your Evil Inclination, to observe your commandments, and to do acts of kindness for others, are not only ways to earn spiritual reward from G-d. They also make you and the whole creation, little by little, more capable of receiving G-d’s open revelation. That will happen in the Messianic Era, speedily in our days.

A person sometimes fails in this challenge, so G-d created Repentance. One who errs or strays can return to G-d and be forgiven. With a clean slate, he can continue with accomplishing his mission in the world. (Even if a person temporarily has not repented, he should still continue on with his mission that G-d gives him.) From that time, G-d has led the world through a series of spiritual ups and downs, but with more ups than downs.

From Adam to the revelation at Mount Sinai:
From the revelation at Mount Sinai to the present time

4. What is G-d’s plan?

Now keep in mind that everything described above was exactly what was prophesied would happen, as recorded in the prophesies from G-d to His true prophets in the Hebrew Bible. That is because all of this is according to G-d’s plan, according to the steps He is leading the world through on its way to being prepared for the coming of the Messianic king and the establishment of the Messianic Era.

As prophesied, that will begin with the Messiah building the eternal Third Holy Temple (on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem) and gathering all the Jews back to their Holy Land, and the open revelation of G-d’s Divine Presence. Through all of this, the entire world will be brought to everlasting peace, prosperity, spiritual enlightenment, and full acceptance and ever-increasing knowledge of the One True G-d. And that will be just the Beginning.

Now, the reason that everything in our specific time in history is in such a spiritual crisis, and a state of confusion and rampant falsehood, and serious spiritual decline, combined with an explosion of technological advancement and instantaneous world-wide connectivity and communications, is because we have reached the prophesied time of the “Footsteps of the Messiah”. This is also known as the “Birthpangs of the Messiah,” and “the End of Days”.

The end of the days before the true Messiah comes

In other words, these are the days of the final spiritual testing, before everything will be answered and everything will be revealed. At the same time, G-d is now making the knowledge and the ability openly available in the world for people to get the answers they need in order to see the Truth of Torah and the One True G-d, and start living their lives in a righteous way – which for Gentiles means in accordance with the Seven Noahide Commandments. Again, it was prophesied in the Hebrew Bible that all of this would happen.

All of this initial information is just to give you the historical context for the spiritual crises and competing inputs that the world is experiencing now, to show you that all of this is happening according to G-d’s plan, so you can relax and be assured that you and the world are in His Good Hands. And that by His Divine Providence, you came to the right address to get the correct answers to your questions.

– By Dr. Michael Schulman, Director of Ask Noah International