Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Ralbag's Preliminary Remark on Sefer B'reishit
Part II

(Continued from here)

Additionally, because the Torah covers the domains of the three divisions that we mentioned in our introduction and the division that covers the science of existing things continually perfects and gives form to the other divisions it is fitting to first establish that this is what the Torah is directed towards.

We should not be confused about the commandments in the Torah - such as belief in the Exalted God, serving Him, awe of Him - that are the ultimate purpose of the Torah, and think that they should precede the division that covers the science of existing things. This is because, it is not possible to posit that we should be in awe of the Exalted God and serve Him before we grasp that there is such a Being of this description. And when we have knowledge of the science of existing things we become enlightened to the fact that there is an existence that actualizes all of the existences, and we comprehend and know Him by way of his actions. And this comprehension brings us to serve Him and have awe of Him.

Additionally, since one of the cornerstones of the Torah is the belief in signs. And it is clear that if the world was eternal there would be no way for signs to exist – it is absolutely necessary to first establish the belief in the creation ex nihilo.

For this reason it begins with the creation of the world. In addition, it is an investigation of the utmost profundity to the point that it is rare for a wise-person to reach the truth in this area by way of analytical investigation if not for the guidance provided by the Torah. And, additionally, it makes known to us many of the deepest ideas concerning existing things, as we shall explain.

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