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Question - - 02/28/2013
Man's world comprises both spiritual and material aspects. Is there any way to connect the two into one, harmonious whole?
Answer by Arachim
As a first step, we will set forth a few points that will make it easier to clarify the issue.
The physical world as we know it is not an entity unto itself. Behind it, there is a Creator who brought it into being. He is completely spiritual, and, as such, is not subject to the limitations of time or place. It is He who established what we call the laws of Nature, and, as their Creator, He continues to control them. Consequently, He Himself is not subject to them.
1. G-d created the universe as a synthesis of both the spiritual and the physical. These two factors are both integral parts of the world as we know it, and they act and interact in harmony and synchrony.
2. For example, we find in the book of Genesis: "And G-d, the L-rd, formed man of dust from the earth, and He breathed into his nostrils the spirit of life." Man's body and his spirit co-exist in this world.
3. What is more, according to Judaism, no physical object can possible exist as a material entity alone. It must have some degree of intrinsic, spiritual nucleus from which it draws its physical existence. Our Sages express this concept with the axiom that even a blade of grass has a spiritual being appointed over it, which beats against it and commands it to grow.
From here we conclude that there is a divine, spiritual force which maintains the world of Nature as we know it. Without this spiritual force, the material world could not continue to exist.
4. The bond between the physical and spiritual aspects of an entity does not exist within the bounds of what we term "Nature." This bond, no less than its physical aspect, is the work of the Creator. It exists for a well-defined, pre-calculated purpose.
However, the natural sciences are not concerned with this aspect of the world, namely, the original purpose for which the universe and each of its components came into being.
The task of science is different. It deals with phenomena which can be measured and quantified, and it answers questions such as "How?" and "How much?"
In contrast, the basic question of "Why does the universe exist at all?" does not lie in the realm of science. Likewise, science does not deal with the initial moment of the creation of the raw material of the Universe, but rather, with what happened to that material from the instant after creation, and henceforth.
Similarly, the fundamental, intrinsic reason that energy and/or material act, re-act, and interact the way they do, does not in the realm of science.
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