The movie “Bruce Almighty” is about a man who is given the job of being G-d for a week. It raises some questions: If you could be G-d for one week, what would you do? Whom would you help? What punishments would you mete out?
I would like to hear your perspective on these questions.
You pose the question as a theoretical one: If you could be
G-d what would you do? But according to Jewish thought this is not hypothetical; it is reality!
G-d has endowed each of us with a divine spark, a bit of Himself, which we usually refer to as “the soul.” This divine spark is our true identity; our body and the personality that comes with it are merely the vehicles through which our soul expresses itself.
Our bodies are human. But our souls are divine.
G-d made us in His image. From a spiritual perspective, we also have the divine powers of free choice, creation, and the direction of the entire world.
Choice. Really, only G-d can have free choice, because to have completely free choice you have to be above any influence that may sway you to choose one path or another. If I choose something due to peer pressure, ignorance, habit, or for intellectual or aesthetic reasons, I am not making a free choice.
G-d alone is above any influence. A human being is influenced by, among other things, environment, education, genetics, and mood. That means we aren’t truly free in our choices. In a purely physiological sense, we appear to be nothing more than complicated machines that will make predictable choices based on external and internal influences. From a spiritual perspective, however, we aren’t so one-dimensional. Our bit of the divine, our soul, is the core of our being, and that is above any influence. Our soul allows us to rise above our susceptible nature and be free to choose.
So, like G-d, we have free choice.
Creation. In addition to our ability as human beings to invent, build, and reproduce, we are, in a sense, creators.
The Kabbalah teaches that our every action not only affects the world around us, but also creates new spiritual forces. When we perform a virtuous act, we create a “good angel,” meaning a positive energy force. On the other hand, when we act selfishly or destructively, we create a “bad angel”-negative energy. Throughout our lives, we accumulate legions of these creatures that are our own creations. We each have an entourage of angels hovering around our souls.
These angels do not just flutter around aimlessly. Our good angels remain with us to protect us and give us strength. The bad angels haunt us and drag us down. Ultimately, the fate of these angels is in our hands. We can destroy the negative energy and even transform it to goodness if we regret the evil we have done and right the wrongs.
Like G-d, we are creators, and our creations are in our hands.
Direction. The soul’s power is unlimited. An individual’s thoughts, words, and actions can move the entire world toward its ultimate purpose or delay the realization of that purpose. The Talmud teaches that one should imagine the world as precisely balanced between good and evil. My next move will determine which way the scales are tipped: Will I bring more corruption, pain, and sorrow into the world, or will I promote peace, happiness, and harmony?
So, just like G-d, we have free choice, we create and control our creations, and the destiny of the entire world is in our hands.
G-d could have created us otherwise. He didn’t have to give us such power. But He took a gamble, because He trusts us to do a good job.
So the question is not “What would you do if you were G-d?” but rather, “G-d has given you His power-what’s your next move?”