Is G-d Beyond Us or Within Us? #Parsha Terumah
The Torah recounts that G-d instructed the Israelites to build a sanctuary, telling Moses, “Let them build a sanctuary and I will dwell in them.” Note that G-d did not say, “I will dwell in the sanctuary.” G-d said, “in them.” Is G-d beyond us or does God dwell within us?
Torah teaches that G-d is beyond descriptions that use neat and easy logical categories of either/or.
Most people think that G-d is infinite. But that is incorrect. The infinite is that which goes on and on in space. However, G-d created space and is therefore not bound to the laws and limitation of space. If we describe G-d as infinite, what we really mean is that G-d is spaceless. Infinite is the opposite of finite, while spaceless means “free from the limitations of space.” The One who is spaceless is free to be both beyond space and within space simultaneously. Therefore, G-d is beyond this finite world and yet G-d completely inheres every inch of the earth.
Most people think that G-d is eternal. But that is incorrect. Eternity would be that which goes on and on in time. But G-d created time and is therefore not confined to the limitations of time. If we describe G-d as eternal, what we really mean is that G-d is timeless. The eternal is the opposite of the temporal, while timeless means “free of the limitations of time.” The One who is timeless is free to be both beyond time and within time at the same time. Therefore, G-d is both beyond time and yet within every moment, completely filling it with His entire presence.
And when we say that G-d is One, we really mean that G-d is non-dual. One is limited; it is the opposite of many. But non-duality is free of the confines of one or many. Non-duality is free to be beyond the many and within the many. Therefore, G-d is beyond you, me, and everyone else in this world, and yet also within us.
How can the unlimited be expressed within the limited? How can the unlimited G-d be expressed within time, space, and finite beings?
If the unlimited could not be expressed within the limited, then that would be a limitation. Ultimate freedom must include the freedom to choose to be restricted. Otherwise freedom wouldn’t be free; it would imply a limitation of choices—you could not choose to be restricted and limited.
Therefore, G-d is free to be both beyond time and within each moment, beyond space and within every inch, beyond multiplicity and within billions of finite human beings. G-d is free to be manifest as one hundred percent transcendent and yet also one hundred percent immanent.
Of course, this is a contradiction and is not logical. However, we have to always be reminded that all this is from our limited point of view. From G-d’s perspective there are not two aspects to the Divine. It is only when we describe the divine truth with our limited language that we need to speak in this paradoxical way. Paradox is the path the paradise.
Is God within us or beyond us? The answer is Yes.
To experience ourselves as a living sanctuaries for the Divine we need to think, speak and act in ways that express that truth.
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