This FAQ is currently under development.
It is a popular myth that "science" has somehow ruled out the existence of God or disproved the validity of the Bible. This idea has been perpetuated by the ignorant and accepted by the gullible. Skeptics scoff at the primitive idea of a Divine Being, while they promote themselves as the sophisticated defenders of the "evidence." The evidence actually points in the opposite direction, toward that of a Designer. Theoretical physicist Freeman Dyson notes,
"As we look out into the Universe and identify the many accidents of physics and astronomy that have worked together to our benefit, it almost seems as if the Universe must in some sense have known that we were coming."
Cited in the The Anthropic Cosmological Principle (1986) by John D. Barrow and Frank J. Tipler, pg. 318
In discussing this issue, there are essentially only three options:
- A Designer
- Random Chance
- Infinite Parallel Universes
First, let's examine 'Random Chance.' Popular science media outlets often declare evidence for design as the result of "pure coincidence," or "accident." These are key words to look for when reading popular science magazines or articles. For example, the popular science publication Discover Magazine highlights something unusual about a solar eclipse,
“The beautiful symmetry of a total solar eclipse happens because—by pure chance—the sun is 400 times larger than the moon but is also 400 times farther from Earth, making the two bodies appear the exact same size in the sky.”
Discover Magazine, 20 Things You Didn’t Know About… Eclipses, LeeAundra Temescu, July-Aug Issue
Note the word "pure chance." It is important and critical to note that there is no evidence whatsoever that these "coincidences" are the result of random chance. That is a philosophical statement imposed upon the data itself. Science is supposed to be based on evidence, not religion or philosophy. Therefore, how could someone prove whether or not something happened by accident? This wouldn't be a big issue if the "accidents" were few and far between. However, the problem is exponentially compounded because the number of "coincidences" are astronomical. In this particular case of an eclipse, what are the statistical probabilities that the sun and the moon would fit like a hand in glove in the sky? To accomplish this, all of the the variables would have to align perfectly, such as the size of the the sun and the moon, their position and distance, the clarity of earth's atmosphere and position, which appears to be positioned in the optimal place in the solar system and galaxy to view the Universe. Not to mention the fact that a species would need to randomly evolve to develop not only the eyesight to view the eclipse, but the mental capacity and comprehension to understand it. To achieve the latter, an incredible DNA sequence of 3 billion base pairs would have to essentially write itself into coding the human body. While the eclipse is a good example, this evidence is actually minor when one examines, as a whole, the totality of these 'accidents.' It goes far deeper than the size of the moon, or something simple like earth being too close or too far away from the sun. British Cosmologist and Astrophyscist Sir Martin Rees detailed this in his book, Just Six Numbers, which identified six major parameters that are so fine tuned that one must rule out the concept of "random chance." These numbers are as follows,
1. ε - Epsilon = 0.007
Relative amount of hydrogen that converts to helium via fusion in the Big Bang
2. N = 1036
Strength of the electric force divided by the strength of gravity
3. Ω - Omega
Relative Density of the Universe
4. Λ - Lambda
Amplitude of Irregularities in the CMB (Cosmic Microwave Background)
Number of Spatial Dimensions
If you were to tweak just one of these six dials ever so slightly, the entire composition of the universe would quickly devolve resulting in life ceasing to exist. He writes,
“There are various ways of reacting to the apparent fine tuning of our six numbers. One hard-headed response is that we couldn’t exist if these numbers weren’t adjusted in the appropriate ‘special’ way: we manifestly are here, so there is nothing to be surprised about. Many scientists take this line, but it certainly leaves me unsatisfied. I’m impressed by a metaphor given by the Canadian philosopher John Leslie. Suppose you are facing a firing squad. Fifty marksmen take aim, but they all miss. If they hadn’t missed, you wouldn’t have survive to ponder the matter. But you wouldn’t just leave it at that – you’d be baffled, and would seek some further reason for your good fortune.”
Sir Martin Rees, Just Six Numbers, pg. 166
Ruling out random chance, this leaves us with two options: Design or an Infinite Parallel Universe. Rees takes the latter. In this model, our universe is one bubble in a infinite bulk of other bubble universes, each with their own set of parameters. Thus, if the chances of our universe existing are absolutely impossible, with the probabilities being 1 in 99 quadrillion, to believe in random chance would be less logical than believing in a Designer. However, in the Infinite Parallel Universe theory, with all possibilities realized, then the chances of us existing are 100%. Thus, it removes the 'blind faith' necessary to hold to random chance. Problem solved.
But, as Columbo would say, "Just one more thing." Despite its lack of evidence, still, the concept of Infinite Parallel Universes creates zero problems for the believer, and only pushes the teleological question one step backward. Where did the Multiverse originate? And there is another issue that must be addressed. With Infinite Parallel Universes, with all possibilities realized, including every choice or possibility, or physics parameter realized, those who hold to Infinite Parallel Universes are asking us to accept the existence of mythological creatures, such as transdimensional leprachauns, fairies, gnomes, hobbits, elves, and real Darth Vaders. As cool as that sounds, we must realize the tables are now completely turned. Those who reject the Infinite God are the ones who are believing in fairy tales. Secondly, if all possibilities are realized, and the concept of an Infinite Designer is a possibility, then those holding to this theory must admit the existence of God.
The 'logical problem of evil' has provided the foundation of the rejection of God for many people. They reason that when one sees all of the evil and suffering in the world, one must draw the following conclusion:
"If God were all-powerful and all-good, then he would stop the innocent suffering in the world. Thus, if He is all-powerful, He is not all good. And if He is all-good, then He is not all-powerful."
For many, this philosophical argument seems convincing when taken at face value. The suffering and pain is the world is evident, and religion teaches that God is Infinite, Omnipresent (Everywhere), (Omnipotent (All-Powerful), Omniscient (All-Knowing) and all good. Theologians have undertaken to write volumes on the problem of evil, grappling with the implications. The paradox above, however, leaves out some critical information: The problem of choice. Pirkei Avot says,
“Everything is foreseen, and choice is given. . .”
Pirkei Avot 3:19
How may we explain this? Consider the following parable of a Doctor and a Patient:
A certain man ate junk food all of his life and became severely overweight. One day, he became very ill and was rushed to the emergency room, and it was discovered that his blood sugar was over 400. He was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes. The doctor stabilized him, returned his blood-sugar to a normal range and prescribed him daily insulin. In this prescription, he also gave detailed instructions on a new diet, when, how and why to take the medicine, and the consequences of not following through. Despite these instructions, the patient decided to follow his own path and returned to his habit of eating junk food. When he was rushed into the emergency room again with high blood sugar, the doctor again emphasized the importance of managing diabetes. Despite this second event, the patient continued this cycle of not following the plan and ended up in the hospital several times. Eventually, he was diagnosed with many complications including problems in his eyes, kidneys and even required one of his legs amputated. The patient then blamed the doctor for his tremendous suffering, claiming that the doctor was either ignorant of how to heal him or wanted him to suffer.
The Doctor is God, through the Messiah, and the Patient is Humanity.
“The true doctor is thus the Tzaddik, who is the doctor of the soul and who intervenes with his prayers on behalf of the sick.”
R’ Avraham Greenbaum, Wings of the Sun, Chapter 9
Reb Noson, the disciple of Rebbe Nachman writes,
“The meaning is obvious. It is precisely because we are so crushed by our sickness – the sickness of the soul – that the Tzaddik, the faithful doctor, is forced to pour such priceless remedies over us, even though it would seem that virtually all of them will go to waste. Nevertheless, the sweet scent is absorbed, and in the fullness of time it may be that we will be able to let a drop penetrate our mouths and our inner being. Then there will be some hope for us to be healed, spiritually and physically… the more a person understands his own lowliness and his great distance from G-d, the more he should search for the greatest, most outstanding doctor for his soul and aim to draw close to the greatest possible Rabbi. For the lowlier the person, the greater the teacher he needs”
Likutey Moharan 1, 30:2 cited in Wings of the Sun, Chapter 9
This is precisely why Yeshua says,
“Those who are healthy have no need for a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
The ultimate problem is not really evil, in and of itself, the problem is choice.
"Rabbi Ḥanina said: Everything is in the hands of Heaven, except for fear of Heaven."
Thus, we may answer the paradox. HaShem is All-Good, and All-Powerful, but has imposed one self-limitation. He will not override our own choice. He is not a dictator. He has provided us detailed instructions, the Torah, to manage the illness of evil. He has even provided the cure, the Messiah, his Son, who will destroy evil and death. Now, everything is dependent upon teshuvah (repentance) - this is the choice. He implores us,
"I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse: therefore choose life, that you may live, you and your seed; to love HaShem your God, to obey his voice, and to cling to him - for he is your life, and the length of your days."
While the above answer addresses the question of existence of most evil in the world, it doesn't cover the issue of the suffering of the innocent. What about children or righteous people who suffer evil which is not the direct or indirect result of choice - such as accidents or genetic diseases (G-d forbid)? In our attempt to answer this question, first let us say that may everyone who is suffering, especially children, receive a complete and speedy healing from healing, healing of body and healing of soul, and be rescued from evil, in the merit of the Tzaddik Yeshua. Pirkei Avot states,
"Rabbi Yannai says: We do not have [the ability to explain] the tranquility of the wicked or even the suffering of the righteous."
Pirkei Avot 4:15
First, are the Sages saying that we do not have answers for these questions? No. The problem is that every situation is different, each with a unique blend of an overwhelming number of factors. It is beyond our ability to accurately ascertain all of the correct information in every case in order to properly answer the cause of the suffering. It is far beyond the scope of the human capacity for investigation. Because every situation is different, no 'cookie cutter' answer will suffice to accurately answer this question. This may be akin to Gödel's Incompleteness Theorems, which demonstrate the limitations of human mathematics and the impossibility of finding a complete and consistent set of axioms. Because humanity is "within the system" we have a limited vantage point and cannot see the bigger picture, nor consider all of the factors therein.
The first point that requires clarification is that not everyone who is suffering is doing so because of a result of their own sin, nor the sin of their parents. An incident happens in the Gospels, highlighting this erroneous belief,
"As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? Yeshua answered, Neither did this man sin, nor his parents; but, that the works of God might be revealed in him."
This should be emphasized, because sometimes those who are in the midst of suffering are given guilt trips by their friends, not unlike the person of Job. As we said above, the issue, both in the physical and spiritual realms, is inherently complex. Here, Yeshua points to a greater spiritual reality - this person's suffering will be healed, and be used for a great purpose, one that will stun the immediate audience and go down in history, inspiring millions for millennia to come. He received a touch from the Messiah himself, directly, personally. He was blind, and now he sees. The suffering that he went through was minuscule compared to the reward, and the effort was worth it. He wouldn't trade this experience for the world and its momentary comforts. While indeed, all human suffering, pain and death that humanity has experienced is the result of the choice of the First Man, Adam HaRishon, G-d uses this for a greater purpose. On the aspect of Adam's sin, we are taught,
“R. Ammi said: There is no death without sin, and there is no suffering without iniquity.”
Shabbat 55a, Soncino Press Edition
Suffering can be caused by result of this first sin, which caused humanity to exchange their bodies of light for bodies of flesh, which are subject to genetic coding errors, sickness, pain and death. With 7 billion people on the planet today, statistically the probabilities of such coding errors has predictably risen, combined with a polluted environment - both on the physical and spiritual levels. While it is indeed possible to answer our query purely from the world of the physical, this would only tell half of the story.
The answer requires a view that extends beyond this world and takes into consideration the higher dimensional reality of existence. Before one dismisses this as quackery, we must realize that science, via String Theory (and M-theory), has proposed a solution to the contradiction between Relativity and Quantum mechanics. The underlying mathematics behind these theories lead one to the conclusion that space-time is comprised of 10 to 11 dimensions, beyond the standard 3+1 dimensional framework. In other words, without going into details that are beyond the scope of this answer, we must realize that the universe, consciousness and existence extends beyond what we see.
Returning to this existence, we are taught that the purity of the righteous and children, allows the world to exist,
"The world only exists because of the breath of schoolchildren."
Without them, the world would require HaShem's destruction, as it was in the days of Noah, or perhaps in the case of Sodom and Gomorrah. Judgments like these come when children are no longer afforded the opportunity to make good choices, growing up in a world of complete wickedness, where they are taught good is evil and evil is good. Thus their opportunity to repent is removed, and HaShem is forced to act. When adults in society are sinful, the children suffer. This creates an environment for death. We are taught in the Talmud,
מיתתן של צדיקים מכפרת
"The death of the righteous atones."
Moed Katan 28a
צדיק יסוד עולם
"The Righteous One is the foundation of the world."
The righteous - when they suffer or die - effect atonement in their respective generations. Oftentimes, the immediate effects of seeing suffering inspire action, good deeds and prayers from people who are not even religious. This brings us back to the problem of choice. Despite the complex nature of the suffering of the innocent, if Israel and all humanity would repent, Messiah would come today, to end the pain. Thus, the prolonged exile is the choice of collective humanity. All of this could end today, if we simply listen to His Voice.
In the spiritual worlds above, the souls of the righteous are offered up on the higher dimensional altar, in the Heavenly Temple, as sacrifices by the Angel Michael. From an earthly perspective, this may not seem desirable, but in the heavenly reality, what this means is that the souls ascend and fuse with the Source - the Creator, to dwell under the Throne of God. The sacrifice on the altar entails ascending from one level to the next, to a higher dimensional reality. In this higher world, they will see everything as it is, the full picture, with all questions being answered and the reasoning for their suffering revealed. And like the blind man - every tear, every day of suffering will be worth it. This will continue the next level during the resurrection, in which they will receive a perfect body of light like the angels, which will ultimately enter the Olam Haba, the World to Come, to be with G-d forever.
"I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from G-d, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband. I heard a loud voice out of heaven saying, Behold, G-d's dwelling is with people, and he will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and G-d himself will be with them as their G-d. He will wipe away from them every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more, neither will there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more. The first things have passed away."
"A Psalm by David. HaShem says to my Lord, 'Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool for your feet."
This passage has sparked ancient debate in days of the Second Temple,
"Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Yeshua asked them a question, saying, ;What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son is he?; They said to him, 'Of David. He said to them, How then does David in the Spirit call him 'Lord', saying, 'HaShem said to my Lord, sit on my right hand, until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet? If then David calls him 'Lord', how is he his son? No one was able to answer him a word, neither did any man dare ask him any more questions from that day forth."
Today, it is no different. Anti-missionary rabbi Tovia Singer makes the following comment,
"No Jew who had even a superficial knowledge of the Jewish scriptures would have ever found Jesus’ argument compelling, let alone a conversation stopper. The depth of knowledge that the Pharisees possessed of Tanach was astounding."
Rabbi Tovia Singer, Outreach Judaism, The Lord said to my Lord
Is this true? Singer's reasoning is that Psalm 110 was written by David, for the Levites to sing about him. Hence David is not calling Messiah "his lord" (adoni), but rather the Levites are calling David "my lord." This interpretation raises interesting questions: When did David sit at the right hand of HaShem? Some interpret this passage as referring to Abraham,
"Hana b. Liwai said: Shem, [Noah's] eldest son, said to Eliezer [Abraham's servant], 'When the kings of the east and west attacked you, what did you do?' - He replied, 'The Holy One, blessed be He, took Abraham and placed him at His right hand, and they [God and Abraham] threw dust which turned to swords and chaff which turned to arrows, as it is written, A Psalm of David. The Lord said unto my master, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool."
Sanhedrin 108b, Soncino Press Edition
The Midrash Rabbah says,
"Ishmael and R. Akiba [reasoned as follows]. R. Ishmael said: Abraham was a High Priest, as it says, The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent: Thou art a priest for ever after the manner of Melchizedek (Ps. CX, 4)."
Genesis Rabbah 46:5, Soncino Press Editon, Cf. Gen. Rabbah 55:6, 55:7, Lev. Rabbah 25:6, Deut. Rabbah 2:7
One thing we know for sure, is that whoever the speaker is in this psalm, the second "Lord" is greater than the speaker. While the above passages speak of Abraham as the one at God's Right hand, the Midrash on Psalms places the Messiah there,
"Yudan said in the name of R. Hama: In the time-to-come, when the Holy One, blessed be He, seats the lord Messiah at His right hand, as is said The Lord saith unto my lord: "Sit thou at My right hand" (Ps. 110:1), and seats Abraham at His left, Abraham's face will pale, and he will say to the Lord: "My son's son sits at the right, and I at the left!" Thereupon the Holy One, blessed be He, will comfort Abraham, saying: "Thy son's son is at My right, but I, in a manner of speaking, am at thy right": The Lord [is] at your right hand (Ps. 110:5)."
Midrash Tehillim 18.29, translated by William G. Braude, Yale University Press Edition, pg. 261
"[God says:] "Ephraim, My firstborn, you sit on My right until I subdue the army of the hosts of God and Magog, your enemies, under your footstool . . ."
Mid. Alpha Betot, 2:438-42
Rashbi, R' Shimon bar Yochai, is attributed as saying
" . . .the Holy One, blessed be He, will fight for Israel and will say to the Messiah : "Sit at my right." And the Messiah will say to Israel:"Gather together and stand and see the salvation of the Lord." And instantly the Holy One, blessed be He, will go forth and fight against them . . .May that time and that period be near!"
T'fillat R' Shimon ben Yochai, BhM 4:124-26
The incredibly fascinating book by R' Hillel Shklover, the disciple of the Vilna Gaon, entitled Kol HaTor (The Voice of the Turtledove), makes this amazing statement,
יָדִין בַּ֭גֹּויִם מָלֵא גְוִיֹּות
"He will judge the nations filled with corpses (Psalm 110:6) - The entire Psalm, beginning with "Sit on my right" was said about Mashiach ben Yosef, whose name is hinted at in the initial letters יָדִ֣ין בַּ֭גֹּויִם מָלֵ֣א גְוִיֹּ֑ות going from left to right. . ."
Kol HaTor 2.61, translated by Rabbi Yechiel Bar Lev and K. Skaist, YedidNefesh.com
Indeed, the Pharisees did have a great depth of knowledge about the Tanakh:
"These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth (Zech. 4:14). This is a reference to Aaron and the Messiah, but I cannot tell which is the more beloved. However, from the verse, The Lord hath sworn and will not repent: Thou art a priest for ever after the manner of Mechizedek (Psalm 110:4), one can tell that the Messianic King is more beloved that the righteous priest."
The Fathers According to Rabbi Nathan, Translated by Judah Goldin, Chapter 34, Yale University Press, pg. 137-138
Footnote:This psalm has been taken to refer to the Messiah. Cf. Epistle to the Hebrews, Chs 5-7
This still doesn't answer Yeshua's original question: This is a Psalm of David about the Messiah, and David calls "Messiah" his lord. It is a Biblical principle that the father is always greater than the son, so how is this possible? How can David's son be greater than David himself? Jeremiah answers the question. The Messiah is not only the Branch of David, but also His Root,
אֲנִי יֵשׁוּעַ שָׁלַחְתִּי אֶת־מַלְאָכִי לְהָעִיד לָכֶם אֶת־אֵלֶּה בִּפְנֵי הַקְּהִלּוֹת אָנֹכִי שֹׁרֶשׁ דָּוִד וְתוֹלַדְתּוֹ כּוֹכַב נֹגַהּ הַשָּׁחַר
"I, Yeshua, have sent my angel to testify these things to you for the assemblies. I am the root and the offspring of David; the Bright and Morning Star."
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