THE NAME OF GOD AS REVEALED IN EXODUS 3:14

An explanation of its meaning

K J Cronin

An Explanation of the Purpose of Creation

1

There is a God.
There is only one God.
God is the only creator.
The Creator must be before His creation can be.
Therefore,

God was before He created.

All that is not God is His Creation.[1]
All-That-Is is God and His Creation.
God Was before He created.
Therefore there was a condition of All-That-Is where there was only God.

Before He created, All-That-Is was God.

God is perfect.
Disunity is imperfect.
Therefore in God there is no disunity.
In God there is perfect unity.

God in Himself is perfect in unity.

Perfect unity is the condition of existence in which there are no differences by which to be distinguished.
It is the condition of perfect oneness in all aspects of existence.
In perfect unity there is no distinction of one from another.

In perfect unity there is only one.[2]

2

Perfect unity is the condition of existence in which there are no differences by which to be distinguished.
Therefore in the condition of existence where All-That-Is was God, and He was perfect in unity, the only conceivable object of perception would have been identical to the mind that would perceive it.[3]
In such a condition of existence there was neither subject to perceive nor object to be perceived.
If there was neither subject to perceive nor object to be perceived, then there can have been no activity of mind.

Therefore in the condition of existence where All-That-Is was God, there can have been no activity of mind.

Mind is the capability to experience existing.
Therefore the experience of existing requires the activity of mind.

Therefore when All-That-Is was God, there was in Him no experience of existing.

All experience of existing is had by mind.
The mind of God is active only in His relation to other.
All that is other than God is His creation.

Therefore in God all experience of existing is had in His relation to His creation.

3

Before He created, All-That-Is was God.
Therefore before He created, His was the condition of perfect solitary existence.
If perfect solitary existence had been for God the perfect condition of existence then He would not have created, but He did create.
That God did create informs us that the condition of existence in which He is in relation to His own creation is preferable to the condition of perfect solitary existence.
That the condition of existence in which He is in relation to His own creation is preferable to the condition of perfect solitary existence informs us that He will not return to a condition of perfect solitary existence.
To do so would be to render all of His works purposeless or it would imply that God had made a mistake.
God does not act purposelessly and He does not make mistakes.

Therefore the condition of existence that is preferable to God is that in which He is in eternal relation to His creation.

God is perfect.
Therefore the condition of existence that He prefers must also be perfect for the purpose that He has ordained for it.[4]

Therefore the perfect condition of existence for God is that in which He is in eternal relation to His creation.

The perfect experience of existing can only be had in the perfect condition of existence.

Therefore in God the perfect experience of existing will be had in His eternal relation to His creation.

4

In the beginning Creation was without form.
Therefore in the beginning God’s experience of existing was entirely that of Him in relation to His formless creation.
If His experience of existing in relation to His formless creation had been His perfect experience of existing then He would not have given His creation form, but He did give it form.

Therefore in God the perfect experience of existing will be had in His eternal relation to His formed creation.

God could have formed His creation without causing it to be inhabited by living creatures.
If His experience of existing in relation to a cosmos without living creatures had been His perfect experience of existing then He would not have created living creatures, but He did create living creatures.

Living creatures suffer.
God is perfect in love and is the owner of all power.
He did not needlessly create suffering.
The presence of suffering in His creation tells us that His living creatures are absolutely necessary for God to have His perfect experience of existing.[5]

Therefore in God the perfect experience of existing will be had in His eternal relation to His living creatures.

5

The perfect experience of existing is the experience of perfect love.
In God the perfect experience of existing will be had in His eternal relation to His living creatures.

Therefore in God the perfect experience of existing will be the experience of perfect love in His eternal relation to His living creatures.

That the experience of perfect and eternal love in relation to His living creatures will be God’s perfect experience of existing means that to have this experience must be His ultimate purpose in creating.

Therefore God’s ultimate purpose in creating is that He shall have the experience of perfect and eternal love in relation to His living creatures.

The experience of love cannot be perfect unless it is reciprocated.
Therefore God’s experience of love will be perfect only when the love that He has for His creatures is reciprocated by them.
Within Creation it is only those creatures endowed with the capacity to love who can love God.

Therefore God’s ultimate purpose in creating is that He shall have the experience of perfect and eternal love in relation to those of His creatures who are endowed with the capacity to love Him.

6

God’s ultimate purpose in creating will not be fully realised until those of His creatures endowed with the capacity to love Him reciprocate the love that He has for them.
Therefore the purpose that God has ordained for all creatures who are endowed with the capacity to love Him is to love Him as fully as they are able.

Therefore the individual purpose of each and every creature endowed with the capacity to love God is to love Him as fully as they are able.

We are such creatures.

Therefore the individual purpose of each and every one of us is to love God as fully as we are able.

7

Our purpose in Creation is articulated as follows in the first two verses of the most important prayer in Judaism; the Shema.

“Hear, O Israel! Yahweh is our God, Yahweh alone.
You shall love Yahweh your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5)

 

August 6th 2021

Footnotes

[1] That is to say, God created all that is not Him and before He created there was only Him. I have made this point in two different ways and in successive lines because I particularly want to impress it upon all who are contemplating God to any extent. There is no more fundamental and crucial an understanding of God than that before He created He was All-That-Is, the totality of existence, The Perfect One besides Whom there was no other.

[2] For an authoritative statement of the Jewish understanding of the perfect unity of God see Maimonides’ Guide, Ch.51 (LI) where he puts it as follows: “Belief in unity cannot mean essentially anything but the belief in one single homogenous uncompounded essence; not in a plurality of ideas but in a single idea. Whichever way you look at it, and however you examine it, you must find it to be one, not dividing itself in any manner or for any reason into two ideas. No plurality must be discoverable in it either in fact or in thought” (Quoted from: Maimonides, The Guide of the Perplexed, An Abridged Edition with Introduction and Commentary by Julius Guttmann, Translated from the Arabic by Chaim Rabin, Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995, p.67-68).

Pines translates the same passage as follows: “For there is no oneness at all except in believing that there is one simple essence in which there is no complexity or multiplication of notions, but one notion only; so that from whatever angle you regard it and from whatever point of view you consider it, you will find that it is one, not divided in any way and by any cause into two notions; and you will not find therein any multiplicity either in the thing as it is outside of the mind or as it is in the mind” (Pines S., Vol. I, University of Chicago press, 1963, p.113).

Alternatively, Friedlander’s translation of this passage is available online at: http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/gfp/gfp061.htm, p.69.

[3] For an authoritative Jewish statement of this understanding, see: Maimonides M. Guide, Ch.53 (LIII), where he put it thus: “if by wisdom we understand the consciousness of self… the subject and the object of that consciousness are undoubtedly identical [as regards God]: for according to our opinion He is not composed of an element that apprehends and another that does not apprehend”.  Available online at: http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/gfp/gfp063.htm, p.74.

Pines translates the same extract as follows: “For we wished to signify by “knowledge” the apprehension of one’s own essence. Now the essence that apprehends is undoubtedly the same as the essence that is apprehended. For in our opinion He is not composed of two things, the thing that apprehends and another thing that does not apprehend.” (Pines, Vol. I, p.122).

[4]In connection with this please see the Diagram in Part II of this site. The features of the Diagram I would draw your attention to are first that in God purpose and will are ontologically anterior to the activity of mind, and second that the beginning of God’s creating was effected by His will under the direction of His purpose and in all power. God’s formless creation is what His mind became active in relation to and His active mind, by His word, gave form to His formless creation.

[5]Living creatures must be necessary to God because there is otherwise no way to make sense of their suffering in the creation of One who is perfect in love and to whom all power belongs. If they were not necessary to God then their suffering in His creation would contradict His perfection.

It is not difficult to understand why living creatures suffer providing it is understood and kept always in mind that before God created He was All-That-Is, the totality of existence, The Perfect One besides Whom there was no other. Given this understanding the question that must be asked is how does God come to be in true relationships with the persons who are His creatures when they are from His own essence and are bearers of His own life (In God life is identical to essence)? I will tell you what I believe.

I believe that our God-given souls are identical to our persons and that they are given to us by God in our first instant of individual existence. Those God-given persons are rudimentary and must grow if they are to become truly individual persons. I believe that creation has a divinely ordained purpose and that there must be a true relationship between God and His creatures for that purpose to be brought to pass. That true relationship requires that the Person of God and the persons of His creatures are truly distinct and that requires the growth of the rudimentary persons and that can involve the suffering of His creatures. I believe that suffering commonly causes the personal growth of the sufferer independent of their faith and that it not uncommonly brings the sufferer with faith into closer relation to God and can even be responsible for the sufferer’s first experience of faith. Suffering also evokes the love that is compassion both in the one who suffers and in others who may themselves have had no experience of suffering and in this way can cause the personal growth of both. I believe that it is the personal growth of the one who suffers and the one who feels compassion that is necessary for true relationships with God.

That is how suffering makes sense to me. That living creatures suffer tells us two things. First that His creatures are necessary to God and second that the suffering of His creatures is necessary to Him because it would otherwise have no place in His creation. The presence of suffering in His creation perhaps tells us just how important a part it plays in the personal growth of His creatures. Having said that I believe that it is a very important part of our job in Creation to do all that we can to relieve the burden of suffering within it, which we can do by showing compassion to all of God’s sentient creatures. Such compassion is not only associated with personal growth; it is a way of loving God in practice, which brings me back to the explanation.