Simon Duffy

Thoughts, Bemusements & Arguments

Simon Duffy

Thoughts, Bemusements & Arguments

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Why God Does Not Reveal Himself

Hadrian Caesar asked Rabbi Joshua ben Hananiah, “Does the world have a master?”Rabbi  Joshua: “Can you possibly suppose that the world is ownerless?” Hadrian: “And who created heaven and earth?” Rabbi…

Hadrian Caesar asked Rabbi Joshua ben Hananiah, “Does the world have a master?”Rabbi
 Joshua: “Can you possibly suppose that the world is ownerless?”
 Hadrian: “And who created heaven and earth?”
 Rabbi Joshua: “The Holy One as stated: ‘In the beginning God created heaven and earth’” (Genesis 1:1)
 Hadrian: “Then why does He not reveal Himself twice a year, so that mortals may see Him and the awe of Him be upon them?”
Rabbi Joshua: “Because the world cannot endure His radiance, as is said, “No man shall see Me and live’” (Exodus 33:20) 
 Hadrian: “If you do not show Him to me, I will not believe you.”
 At midday Rabbi Joshua had Hadrian stand facing the sun and said, “Look directly at the sun and you will see Him.”
 Hadrian: “Who can possibly look directly at the sun, which is but one of the thousand thousands and myriad myriads of servitors who minister before Him, all the less can a creature look at Him, at the Holy One, whose radiance fills the world.”
 Hadrian: "When will He reveal His glory?”
 Rabbi Joshua: “When idols shall have perished from the world.”
 From the Jewish Book of Legend
Hadrian thinks he wants to see God. But he cannot conceive of God as anything but the greatest of idols - something else in the world with power over us. God does not endanger our freedom like this. We are free to follow our idols. But we are also free to follow the path of faith.