The Concepts of God, Good and Evil in Light of the Holocaust (Term Paper Sample)
the final term paper has the same format as the midterm paper. ask yourself what topic, question, or book you would want to investigate in greater depth and detail. The theme of your paper is at your discretion, falling within the scope of this class. Your paper should be built around an argument or interpretation. What is the thesis of your paper? How will you go about making good on your claims and insights?source..
The Concepts of God, Good and Evil in Light of the Holocaust
The Concepts of God, Good and Evil in Light of the Holocaust
Holocaust marks the darkest moment in the history of the Jews, one whose memory elicits feelings of pain, suffering, and betrayal. During this time, many lives were lost, humanity destroyed in the most degrading manner, children gassed and burnt despite their innocence, and Jews detained in dehumanizing camps by Hitler. This historical incident left a sad mark on humanity and raised questions about the existence of God. The incident led to untold suffering that dented the faith in the covenant between God and the Jews and questioned the power of God over good and evil. They questioned why God did not answer their cries and come to help them during their suffering (Jonas). Was it part of God's wrath? Was it the failure on God's part to honor the covenant he made with the children of Israel? The different concepts about God, good, evil, and justice emerging in the aftermath of the Holocaust differ from one scholar to another. However, despite the arguments based on the anguish, suffering, and disappointment arising from the Holocaust, God remains the anchor of the existence of humanity (What Can Jews Affirm about God after the Holocaust?). God created the earth and is the divine inspiration for man, but man has the responsibility of choosing what is good and evil. It is man's responsibility to ensure that good wins over evil and that justice abounds.
The Concepts of God
The differences in belief about God am0ng the Jews led to the different hypotheses of who God is, His power over evil, and the understanding of what constitutes justice. Hans coins different versions that explain the existence of God and what could be the reason he left the Jews to perish. The first concept of a suffering God clashes with the Biblical Concept of divine, omnipotent majesty (Pollefeyt). By suffering God, Han's version differs from the Christian connotation of a deity (Jesus) who suffered for the redemption of humankind. The relationship of God to the world from the time of creation, especially after creating man, involves suffering. Both man and God suffer the consequences of creation at the time when man disobeys God. Man's continuous disobedience and rejection make God grieve over him. This truism signifies the first encounter between God and man in an absolute sense. Hans adds that God regretting why He created man is a sign of regrets that cause suffering to the Deity. Other Biblical experiences that narrate the not-so-good experience between God and man and utter disobedience causes suffering to God and, in most circumstances, are met with the brute force of God's wrath. God's lamentation over Israel through prophet Hosea signifies the destructive relationship between the Deity and His creation.
The second Concept about God is that of a becoming God. This concept avers that God keeps on emerging in different ways and circumstances and does not maintain a consistent form that remains constant throughout eternity. Thus, the concept differs from the Greek, Platonic-Aristotelian philosophical theology, which, after being incorporated into Christianity and Jewish theological tradition, created an authority that is neither linked to Christianity nor Jewish doctrines. God's character, according to Hans, continues to be transtemporal, immutable, and impassable. This Hellenic Concept describes God as 'becoming' and not 'being.' This definition implies that God was either absent during the Holocaust or was there but emerged in a different form than that known by the Israelites. Basing on the concept of 'a becoming God' implies that God is affected by the happenings in the world. Despite creation and its results changing God's state and bringing in other creatures into existence and his continued relationship with the creation, God shares in the experiences of the world (What Can Jews Affirm about God after the Holocaust?). The happenings in the world affect God's being. Therefore, if God is related to the world, He has temporized Himself and changes progressively through the actualizations of what happens in the world.
However, the significant consequence of the 'becoming' concept of God is that it makes the idea of eternal recurrence obsolete. Application of Nietzsche's alternative to the Jewish metaphysics explains the Changing of God to unconditional temporality and negates the transcendence of forms of memories of the occurrences in time. The alternative states that the exhaustion of possible combinations of elements must pass the initial configuration recurrently in continuous successful cycles( Pollefeyt). This recurrence implies that God's eternity continues with time as things unfold, but these happenings do not affect eternity. However, the assumption that eternity is not affected by the occurrences in time implies that Goodwill never is the same after going through an experience on the earth. The new form of God that takes over carries on the heritage and memory of the predeceasing form. Therefore, as per this concept, there is an eternity that grows and changes with time.
The combination of becoming and a suffering God leads to a God that is not detached, self-contained and remote, but one who is involved and cares for His creation. God ceased to be self-contained after changing His form to create the world. The most familiar tenet of God's nature is His care for the creation. Hans, however, forms a different myth based on what transpired during the Holocaust. He avers that He is not compelled to fulfill every concern of His creation despite a caring God. This fact makes Him an endangered God who runs the risk of extinction. This argument implies that God does not exist or that He has delegated His authority and power to other agencies created by Him (Jonas). This agency holds the right to codetermine God's concern. According to this Concept, God has forgone the power to guarantee his self-satisfaction after forgoing his all-powerful form during the creation process.
The third concept, which appears most speculative, is the one that denies God's omnipotence. Hans argues that it is impossible to uphold God's absolute, unlimited divine power characteristics( Pollefeyt). The idea of absolute and unlimited power is a paradox, given the occurrences that happened to the Jews. Omnipotence is self-destructive, self-contradictory, and meaningless from the concept of power. It is similar to the concept of freedom, which in the absence of necessity, it ceases to be meaningful, just like there is a force without resistance. Absolute freedom, therefore, becomes meaningless and cancels itself. Absolute power is not limited by anything, including the existence of anything other than the owner of that power. The existence of similar power will limit the absoluteness of that power. The fact that absolute power has nothing to act upon cancels itself to empty power (What Can Jews Affirm about God after the Holocaust?). It requires something else to activate the power. However, as soon as another more powerful thing comes into existence, the previously absolute power ceases or becomes an agent of the most potent force. Absolute power is a relational concept, and its explanation complicates the description of God.
The existence of evil of such magnitude in the world distorts the two attributes of omnipotence and all-powerful God. According to Han's argument, it is only an unintelligible God who is good and powerful to allow evil like the Holocaust to happen on earth. A God with absolute power and who is good will not keep quiet and watch as thousands of innocent people are maimed, tortured, and burnt due to egocentric political differences (Jonas). This puts the three attributes of God (absolute power intelligible, and absolute goodness) at stake. When these three attributes are put together, the combination of any two excludes the third. This leads to the question of which attributes are integral to the genuine Concept of God and which one, being the least, should be excluded. It is not possible to alienate goodness from the Concept of God. In contrast, intelligibility is a virtue that cannot be eliminated, despite being conditional depending on the nature of God and man's capacity. This explanation leaves out the 'all-powerful' attribute.
According to Professor Henry Slonimsky, Israel is responsible for bearing the Torah from God to the rest of the world. The Torah represents the goodness of God, His vision, ideals, and values( Pollefeyt). Despite God being the true light, He is the real power in the universe and is the source of victory and goodness. Israel suffers most because it is responsible for ensuring the power increases and the ideal is translated into real. Man is responsible for doing what is good despite being destined for tragic heroism. Slonimsky states that it is paradoxical that Israel, being the righteous one, must suffer and carry the burdens and sorrows of the world. He adds that the whole meaning of God is seen at the end and not the beginning. On the last day, God shall be the one, and His name shall be one. Therefore, Man is the agent responsible for making or destroying the supreme integration on the last day.
The argument of Slonimsky state that God is not a creator but good, and holly must defeat the wicked. His version of God is a progressing one, and the belief that man's responsibility to make God one shows the victory of all that is Godly over evil. According to his teachings, noblemen are those who bear God's witness and stand for Him in a Godless world. They should promote justice in the unjust world and defend truth where it is despised. Despite Slonmisky's attem...
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