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Does G-d still have a hand in nature?

by Rabbi Levi Jacobson

scy: OK, so once upon a time, G-d created the world and knew all—but does that mean that until today he controls all? Can’t we say there’s some sort of pattern, i.e. the laws of nature?

Rabbi Jacobson: There is a difference between making a table from wood, or creating something from nothing. In the former you haven't created anything, and you can walk away. In the latter without you there is nothing again. The world wasn't formed from existing materials. It was created ex nilho. So G-d constantly keeps creating it all.

scy: Granted that G-d’s creation of everything means that everything is entirely dependent upon him, including nature, but I still see room to differentiate. Doesn’t the word “nature” itself imply that there is a certain pattern and rules to the game which are standard, and that not every move comes directly from G-d? In other words, when I plow a field, do I believe it will grow because G-d created the laws of nature, or is there a direct command from G-d: “Grow!”

Rabbi Jacobson: Nature, like everything else (as you yourself write) is entirely dependant on G-d. Nature is not an independant entity; it is only one form of a G-dly manifestation.

Rabbi Jacobson: Who tells “nature” to keep kicking? As I said earlier, G-d is dealing with "something from nothing." As such, if He pulls away, it just goes “Poof!”

scy: Agreed, but is there any difference between nature and a miracle, i.e. a direct involvement from G-d? Isn’t a miracle precisely when G-d decides to butt in and not let things run according to the program?

Rabbi Jacobson: Someone once said that nature is just a miracle that happens often.

scy: Then a miracle would not at all be breaking the laws of nature, just like a boss who decides to break his own rules.

Rabbi Jacobson: You got it!

scy: OK, and thanks.


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