POINTS TO PONDER

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In chapter 53 of his Guide for the Perplexed, Jewish wise man Moses Maimonides uses this illustration to show how we often ascribe to God different characteristics and attributes, when in fact He is one essence. For instance, says Maimonides, fire can melt somethings while other things fire can make hard; fire can boil while at the same time it can burn; fire can bleach one object and make another black. Therefore if we describe fire as a bleaching, blackening, burning, boiling, hardening and melting element, we show our ignorance of the nature of fire. We would be ascribing to fire six competing elements or attributes. One by which it melts, a second by with it hardens, a third by which it boils, a fourth by which it burns, a fifth by which it bleaches and a sixth by with is blackens. These are actions that actually work against one another. However, one who comprehends the nature of fire therefore also knows it is by one attribute that fire can do all these things, and that is heat. At this point we might suggest, that the one element or attribute by which God performs all things is Love. That’s what the Scriptures say (1 John 4:8). But Maimonides offers a different take on this. He concludes that God can do all the things He does, not because of one or a variable number of attributes, but simply because God, is God. – Dr. Robert R Seyda

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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