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Jewish Thinking

How Can G_d Know The Future?

Published on Tuesday June 11th, 2019

G.d is referred to as the everlasting G.d.

By this, we understand that G.d is beyond time, that He is infinite.

This notion has always fascinated man. How can that be? Is not time an inescapable reality? Is not reality submitted to it? All these questions often concern the Creator Himself: how can He be Infinite? What is infinity?

Let us clarify matters.

The Eternity of Hashem can be defined by one of the 13 principles of faith enunciated by Maimonides, also known as the Rambam: “He (Blessed be He) does not have a body or shape.”

As stated in the Torah in Deuteronomy 4.12 “Hashem spoke to you from the midst of the fire; you were hearing the sound of words, but you were not seeing a likeness, only a sound.”

At a philosophical level, this concept is necessary because G.d is the Creator of matter, He has therefore shaped it and delimited it to what it represents, He is, therefore, by definition, antimatter, not subject to its rules. If He Himself were matter, He would be delimited and we would want to know who – which unlimited Being – limited Him and we would return to the starting point (See Chovot Halevavot – Gate of Unity of G.d)

But at a scientific level as well, the expansion of the Universe, which is illustrated by the fact that galaxies flee each other and that their distances increase in relation to each other, demonstrates that originally the whole Universe was compact and densified at one point in which everything was contained in potential, and that is the undeniable proof that there was a beginning.

Which implies that before this beginning, there was nothing. And that the Creator created the whole without being Himself submitted to the norms of His creation, namely matter.

Thus, the Ramban wrote in his commentary on Genesis that Hashem created the whole Universe from a point in which everything was contained and expanded steadily – moving from the micro to the macro.

Conclusion 1: Hashem is not subject to matter.

As we have known since Albert Einstein’s discovery on the theory of relativity, time is relative to motion and motion is defined by the mass and weight of matter (which gives a relative time depending on the speed of movement).

Which means that, without the movement of matter, time itself has no reality because it is time that plots the curve from point A to point B, but if there is no movement between the points, no time can be defined either.

It is interesting to note that our Sages defined time in the same way as Einstein did, and so hundreds of years before (800 years before): relative to motion.

Here are the words of the Rambam in The Guide for the Perplexed, Part II, chap. 13: “Even time itself is among the things created; for time depends on motion, i.e., on an accident in things which move, and the things upon whose motion time depends are themselves created beings...”

The Ramban, known as Nachmanides, expressed the same views in his commentary on Genesis, Chapter 1.4.

 

Conclusion 2: Hashem is not subject to time.

 

Which explains why and how Hashem knows the future. Indeed, He is out of time. What is the future for us is present for Him, given that He is timeless.

As the verse says in Isaiah 46.10: “[I] tell the end from the beginning, and from before, what was not done, [I] say, ‘My counsel shall stand, and all My desire I will do.’”

These principles are part of the foundations of Judaism, and our Sages mastered them perfectly. Today science is slowly approaching the understanding that our sages had on the principles defining the world around us.

This way, the song Adon Olam takes on its full meaning:

“Lord of the universe, who reigned before everything as created,

At the time when by His will all things were made,

Then was His name proclaimed King,

And after all, things shall cease to be,

the Awesome One Will reign alone.

He was, he is

and He shall be in glory…”

Chalom GUENOUN - © Torah-Box

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