Page:Guideforperplexed.djvu/286

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names" (ii. 20); here it is indicated that languages are conventional, and that they are not natural, as has been assumed by some. We must also consider the four different terms employed in expressing the relations of the heavens to God, bore (Creator), ‘oseh (Maker), koneh (Possessor), and el (God). Comp. "God created the heaven and the earth" (i. 1); "In the day that God made the earth and the heavens" (ii. 4); "Possessor of heaven and earth" (xiv. 19); "God of the Universe" (xxi, 31); "The God of heaven and the God of the earth" (xxiv. 3). As to the verbs, konen, "he established," tafaḥ, "he spanned, "and natah, "he stretched out," occurring in the following passages, "Which thou hast established" (Ps. viii. 4), "My right hand hath spanned the heavens" (Isa. xviii. 13), "Who stretchest out the heavens" (Ps. civ. 2), they are included in the term ‘asah ("he made"); the verb yaẓar, "he formed," does not occur in reference to the heavens. According to my opinion the verb yaẓar denotes to make a form, a shape, or any other accident (for form and shape are likewise accidents). It is therefore said, yoẓer or, "Who formeth the light" (Isa. xiv. 7), light being an accident; yoẓer harim, "That formeth the mountains" (Amos iv, 13), i.e., that gave them their shape. In the same sense the verb is used in the passage, "And the Lord God formed (va-yiẓer) all the beasts," etc. (Gen. ii, 7). But in reference to the Universe, viz., the heavens and the earth, which comprises the totality of the Creation, Scripture employs the verb bara, which we explain as denoting he produced something from nothing; also ‘asah ("he made") on account of the general forms or natural properties of the things which were given to them; kanah, "he possessed," because God rules over them like a master over his servants. For this reason He is also called, "The Lord of the whole earth" (Jos. iii. 11-13); ha-adon, "the Lord" (Exod. xx., iii. 17). But although none can be a master unless there exists something that is in his possession, this attribute cannot be considered to imply the belief in the eternal existence of a materia prima, since the verbs bara, "he created," and ‘asah, "he made," are also employed in reference to the heavens. The Creator is called the God of the heavens and the God of the Universe, on account of the relations between Him and the heavens; He governs, and they are governed; the word elohim does not signify "master" in the sense of "owner"; it expresses the relation between His position in the totality of existing beings, and the position of the heavens or the Universe; He is God, not they, i.e., not the heavens. Note this.

This, together with those explanations which we have given, and which we intend to give, in reference to this subject, may suffice, considering the object of this treatise and the capacity of the reader.

CHAPTER XXXI

IT is perhaps dear why the laws concerning Sabbath are so severe, that their transgression is visited with death by stoning, and that the greatest of the prophets put a person to death for breaking the Sabbath. The commandment of the Sabbath is the third from the commandment concerning the existence and the unity of God. For the commandment not to worship any other being is merely an explanation of the first. You know already from what I have said, that no opinions retain their vitality except those which are confirmed,