A qualifier before beginning this article. No human understands the Essence of God. Therefore this article is solely one man’s opinion like every other human opinion of God in this world. To truly know God’s Essence, it is written in the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament that we must wait for the Messianic Age, when we shall know God as the waters of the sea at the End of Days. It is also written that at this future time, God will perform miracles incredible even to Him as He once again takes the public stage as He did back in biblical times. If you believe in an Omnipotent (all powerful), Omniscient (all knowing) and Omnipresent (He was, He is, and He will be) Supreme Being, then you realize that these biblical phrases are ways for us to comprehend God in human terms. We term this anthropomorphism in the English language. For a full accounting of the Messianic Age, see my ‘not so fictional’ novel, Messiah Interviews: Belonging to God. Our website is given at the end of the article.
Judaism is more concerned with the “Why?” rather than the “How?” Why would God use His finger to inscribe the Ten Commandments on Two StoneTablets? And where are these Tablets and how will we know the real ones when they show up? It is said that because God Himself penned the Ten Commandments, we shall be able to see the writing from both sides of the two stones. The stones will be transparent. The Ten Commandments were given by God thirty-three hundred years ago to 600,000 plus Israelites at Mount Sinai. These seemingly simple commandments, which in my mind are impossible to strictly follow, allow a further human glimpse into the Essence of our Creator. King David in his Book of Psalms said, “And He [God] realized that we are but flesh.” Humans are bound to stray because God created us as imperfect beings in a grossly imperfect world. King David’s son King Solomon, the wisest of men, said “There is not a righteous person on earth who has not sinned.”
To offset harsh Divine justice, God tempered our world with mercy and kindness and gave us the gifts of Repentance in Judaism and Jesus in Christianity to counter sin. He even gave us the gift of Free Will which ironically allows us to choose to disbelieve in Him. Moreover, man may choose to be immoral and not strive to follow these Ten Commandments, but man cannot abrogate what God has commanded him to do. If we so choose, then we do so at our own risk and in my not so humble belief, I feel that we shall be accountable at Judgment Day, Acharit Hayamim, in the End Times. The lesson of the Garden of Eden was not only the implications of the original sin. It was also about God teaching Adam and Eve about accountability. Because they disobeyed and consorted with an evil serpent and ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, Adam and Eve were forced to leave the bliss of the Garden of Eden. This was the beginning of human struggle.
The giving of the Ten Commandments quickly followed the Exodus by Moses and the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. While Moses was up on Mount Sinai receiving the Tablets, the Israelites below could not sustain their heightened spirituality and they strayed badly. They melted all of their gold and created a Golden Calf, a sin of indescribably greater magnitude than the Original Sin of Adam and Eve more than three thousand years before in the Garden of Eden. In Judaism, the Golden Calf symbolizes our eternal Yom Kippur. Each year those Jews, who are believers, pray for atonement of their sins while remembering the Golden Calf in the hope that God will write them in the Book of Life for another year.
God has simple needs. That we recognize Him as our One and only God and that we are grateful for the beautiful world He has given us. The one thing that He does not tolerate is idol worship of other gods in the three monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. God Himself says that He is a jealous God. At the End of Days, non-monotheistic religions such as Buddhism and Taoism will come to know God and will recognize Him over all other gods that they currently believe in and pray to. God purposely set the world up this way.
In the Bible, God tells the Israelites that He chose them among the nations to give His Commandments and that He will therefore hold us accountable for our sins. Few Jews realize that we are accountable for the sins of past, present, and future generations. The Jews were chosen to receive the Ten Commandments because God looked into the hearts of the ancient Egyptians and idol worshipping Canaanite nations and realized that they would never give up their wicked ways. These nations represented the worst of immorality at the time. There were no Christians or Muslims living when the Ten Commandments were given. The Jews were supposed to represent a first grandchild with Christians and Muslims being the second and third grandchildren. The word “Chosen” has been misconstrue d over the centuries and is the original cause of anti-Semitism. Chosen was meant that the Jews were supposed to be a nation of Priests bringing God’s spirituality to the rest of the world. The Ten Commandments are not only the basis of Civilization, they are Civilization. We cannot go back and run the double blind scientific experiment; however, I believe that we would long ago have reached our Armageddon if it had not been for the Ten Commandments.
Simply put, God penned the Ten Commandments to begin spiritual civilization. Adam and Eve represented geographical civilization. You can read about these original concepts in my spiritual memoir, Divinely Inspired: Spiritual Awakening of a Soul. Therefore, He did this because He was leveling the playing field so that “good” now had a fair chance to stand alongside “evil” in our world. All of human history according to Shneur Zalman, the Alter Rebbe, has in fact been about discerning good from evil, and trying to unsuccessfully separate the two. They are as intermingled as love and hate. Those who know me as the scientist that I am know that although I have an unshakable belief in God, I believe in both Evolution and Creation. Further, they know that I believe God to be the Master Scientist responsible for both the Universe 14 billion years ago and for Adam and Eve 5,769 years ago. You can find this written in greater depth in an article titled “Creation and Evolution Under God’s Domain” on my Blog, http://shechinahthirdtemple.org/messiahblogs and in Divinely Inspired.
At the time of Creation, ancient civilizations in Mesopotamia and Egypt were forming and with the storing of foods, towns and villages sprung up. Evolution had been ongoing, but there was a need for God and the concept of good and evil to debut because now men would be living in close proximity to each other. They could not get along when they were in marauding bands living on the savanna, so something had to be done so that humankind did not end up going down the tubes because of their violent nature. Remember that after the Flood, God tells Noah that the imagery of man’s heart is evil from his youth. God’s entrance onto the public stage was essential at Creation to establish the scenario that we now play out in life. We are constantly challenged with God’s moral tests in our modern world where we make decisions to choose between right and wrong. How we score if God is the scorekeeper may well determine our fate at the End of Days. That is, our choices for right or wrong are the basis for God’s Judgment for our entrance into the second Garden of Eden, the Messianic Age.
Christians and Messianic Jews believe that the Original Sin was of such enormity that only Jesus who died for their sins could bear the burden of Adam and Eve’s huge blunder. The path to God and to Heaven in the End Times focuses upon Jesus who will return as the Messiah. Many Jews believe in the original sin and in a Messiah other than Jesus, but also believe that sin can be defeated in our lifetime. Both of these concepts are predicated upon the fact that God is divorced from what Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden. I acknowledge and respect both beliefs, but feel that God purposely was the Creator of sin and used the serpent or snake, or Satan if you will, to fulfill His purpose. Satan is not a separate creation. He too must come before God on Yom Kippur. Metaphorically, all those who have lived on earth these past centuries or are living today to carry out evil are “descendants” of Satan. They will be resurrected at the End of Days to face the Judgment of God.
Why create sin? Because we need to know imperfection before we can move to a more perfect world of a second Garden of Eden in the Messianic Age. This is all part of God’s plan. Good and evil enter the world in the First Garden of Eden and evil predominates through Cain killing his brother Abel because of jealousy, Noah’s building of the Ark, and the Tower of Babel. Something special happens when the Patriarch, Abraham, comes on the scene and promotes monotheism but even in Abraham’s time, we have the evil of Sodom. All of this is a preparation for the Ten Commandments to even the playing field of good and evil. And isn’t that what we have with our situation today, a balance of good and evil?
If the Jews could not uphold righteousness when God was in their midst, how are we of all faiths and beliefs or disbeliefs supposed to do it when He is hither and there but no longer on the public stage of life? God is still here in our world watching but He is no longer the God of Heaven and Earth and has returned to be the God of Heaven. As His plan is for us to enter the Messianic Age, He has ensured throughout the centuries and today that we don’t completely destroy our world until He is ready to offer us the bliss of the Messianic Age. We can either enter peacefully or apocalyptically through the destruction laid out in both the New and Old Testaments. Every time we don’t treat each other righteously, then I think the Creator scores that in favor of an abominable ending to our world. Every time we treat each other with respect, then He scores it in favor of a peaceful entrance to the Messianic Age. He is doing this on an individual, group and global level. The Messianic Age is the Age of God and not the Age of the Messiah. The Messiah will lead God’s charge of bringing true spirituality to the world.
We can disagree with each other and we don’t have to like each other. However, we do need to try to improve our character in this life in order to be admitted into the next. That means giving each other the respect we deserve. Some of us will never get along and we need to defend ourselves against extremism. There are realities that we face in the dangerous world that we live in. Having faith isn’t enough to survive those who want to destroy us. As I said at the outset, everything is opinion until God sets the record straight. The Ten Commandments were one of the Creator’s most precious gifts to us. We don’t have to be perfect, but we can use these commandments as our moral guide. If you know that all the answers are coming down the road, you can even look with humor at yourself and others. As my wife Marcia says, “life is a gift.” There is also an old adage, “It’s not what you say but how you say it.” That’s true . However, with the penning of the Ten Commandments, it’s what God said that mattered and still matters today and forever.
By Jerry J. Pollock, Ph.D.
May I wish you the joy of life and may the Shechinah (Divine Presence) be with you.