God Made Earth for Whom?

Rabbi Moshe Ben-Chaim

“The heavens declare the glory of God, the sky proclaims His handiwork.  Day to day makes utterance, night to night speaks out.  There is no utterance, there are no words, whose sound goes unheard. Their voice carries throughout Earth, their words to the end of the inhabited world.” (Psalms 19)

Creation “speaking” is a metaphor. Creation “speaking of God’s greatness” means that the intent of all creation is to communicate God’s wisdom to intelligent beings. This supports Rashi (Avos 2:8) who says Earth will endure only if we study Torah, and Earth would be destroyed if man fails to study. Earth exists only for humans; animals, plants and minerals have no purpose of themselves, as Avos 6:11 states: 

Whatever the Holy Blessed One created in His world, He created only for His glory, as it is said: “All who are linked to My name, whom I have created, formed and made for My glory” (Isaiah 43:7), And it says: “The Lord shall reign for ever and ever” (Exod. 15:18).

Thus, inanimate creations do not exist for themselves as this does not honor God. “God’s honor” refers to a recognition of God's greatness, capable only by man or angels. Why then did God create inanimate existences? It is so man and angels see God's brilliance in their designs and purposes. All on Earth exists for man to perceive God's wisdom. Thus far, King David refers to “entities” God created. But there is one other creation…

“Day to day makes utterance, night to night speaks out”

King David's new point is that not only did God create physical entities, but He also created “laws and systems.” The cycle of the day—the repetition of day after day and night after night—as well as others repeating patterns, are systems. Repeating phenomena are “laws.” King David impresses upon us to appreciate God’s two primary creations: 1) physical entities and 2) the laws that govern them. As we cited in last weeks Jewishtimes issue, the special blessing when Sabbath coincides with the new moon reads, “God, You created Your world from long ago.” On Sabbath alone we cannot say this because a single Sabbath day cannot embody the 29-day moon cycle. Only after a duration of time, does man witness the existence of laws, in addition to the existence of entities like the luminaries. Therefore, on the Sabbath/New Moon, we can speak of the entire world God created long ago. And the entirety of the world includes systems that take time to real themselves.

“There is no utterance, there are no words, whose sound goes unheard. Their voice carries throughout the earth, their words to the end of the inhabited world”

King David says the brilliant design of the universe, including all entities and laws, intends to impress intelligent beings. Therefore King David says, “this communication reaches the Earth and inhabited lands” …inhabited by man. Man is the objective of Earth’s creation. No other creature has a mind. All of God's brilliance is wasted if man does not pursue God's wisdom.

Pirkei Avos also discusses this:

“Rabbi Meir said: Whoever occupies himself with the Torah for its own sake, merits many things; not only that but he is worth the whole world. He is called beloved friend; one that loves God; one that loves humankind; one that gladdens God; one that gladdens humankind” (Avos 6:1).

The man who studies for the sake of wisdom alone—no ulterior motive—gives worth to Earth, as this is God’s wish. “Gladdening God” means that he's living exactly as God wishes. Gladdening others indicates the obliteration of one’s ego, for this is what allows other people (who are egoistical) to be happy with him: his humility caters to their egos, making them happy. He also views others as equal to himself, as equal expressions of God's will. So he treats them as good as he treats himself, again making them happy. It also indicates the person’s focus is God, not people, explaining why he does not cater to his own ego. This further explains his absorption in God's wisdom.