LEO hr. `

is man?
That may be the 64,000 dollar question, but it is
the most important of all questions.
For unless we understand ourselves
and one another, we cannot make a right use of our lives, We cannot map
out our destiny, we cénnot live together satisfactorily, we cannot make
wine decisions.
Any religion, therefore} indeed any "13m" which purports
to tell man how he should live, must be judged. by the wa‘y it answers
this question, must be Judged by~1ts doctriyxe of man.
will neither underestimate man nor overestimate him.
A sound doctrine
It will not disguise
his shortcomings, but neither will it belittle his potentialities.
will be at once realistic and idealistic.
Judaism offers such a
doctrine, and in the two passages we.h&ve read from the Bible its whole
basis 13 to be round.]
Judaism recognises the dual nature - the paradoxical nature - of man.
On the one hand he is small, an mfinitesimally small part or the
physical un1Verse. “When I look at thy heavens, the work of thy fingers,
the moon and the stars which thou hast getablished, what is man that
thou art mindful of him, and the son of .man that thou dost care
He is a mere animal, a puny creature, subject to hunger and thirst,
to rear and pain, and to death.
In the varied imagery of the Bible,
he 13 a worm, a grésshoppei', a drop from a bucket, dust which must
return to dust, a blade of grass which withers 1n the sun, a flower
of the field which flourishes but briefly, when the wind passes ovér
at and it is gone, and its very piece knows it no more.
“orally too
manls behaviour is often despicable.
He is selfishflg’goéegy, dishonest.
LEO hr.
nr‘f“: C)»
He 1193, :vbs, plunders, kills.
He bombs citiqggtperpetratea
racial riots and lynchings, minds gailows and'gas-ohambers.
the Lord saw that the'W1ckedness of man was great in the earth, and
that every
of the thoughts of his heart was only evil
continuallyfi That is one side of the story, and Judaism does not
disguise it.
But thexfe is another side.
his smallpess, man possesses a power out of all
From the beginning, the Bible tells us,
he was given dominion over the fish of the sea, and the bims of
proportion to his size.
the air, and every living thing that moves upon the earth.
“Thou hast given his dominio'rg
$733319 works of thy hands; thou hast
put 511 things under his feet."L And the history of man 13 the history
his growmg mastery over nature.
He builds dams, scales mountains,
sells the oceans, flies faster than sound, and is about to embark
on the conquest of outer space.
He observes the most distant stars
and peers into the secrets of tfie tiniest molecule.
for his use the hidden forces of heaven and earth.
He harnesses
There seems to
be no limit to the control which hg can gain over his enviromént.
He is skilful and creative, prgducing miracles of technology and even
greater marvels in music, literature and art. He trangcenda even his
yemporal limitations, being able to study the past and to predict
.. less certainly - the future.
Despite thé brevity of his life, he
feels that life to be full of significgnce, and he has the vision
of its continuance beyond bodily degth. And though he is guilty
or moral perverseness and brutality, yet he is also capable of the
-3highest integrity, the purest justice; the tenderest kindness, and
the most self-sacrificing love,
This, the higher-aide of Imman nature, iatsummed upgin Jhdaism
own’ ma‘ge, that ‘he
m} the declaration that God made man in his
Ibestomad on him a portion of his own d1v1ne spirit. The whdle first
chgptez- of Genesis 15
wrnten rim that point
of view.
Man 15 the
crown of creation, the masterpiece oflthe Creatér. It is almost as
11‘ the o‘ther creative acts were merely intehded to set the scene for
Only then wga the world complete.
only then is
it said that "God saw everything that he had madé, and behold, it was
ver'y- gooafzflxrléyghe Psalmist takes up the theme. Man .13 infinitesimal
the creation of man.
1n the astronomicn universe, yes.
But nevertheless, and that 13 the
marvel of it, God is mindful of him, he does care for hm. "For thou
hast made him little less than 66d, and dost cream him with glory and
honourfiffilgcgfig there
possesses infinite value,
a divine spirit in men, therefore man
And value is independgnt of 3126,
A pound note is smaller than a newspaper, but it is worth more.
also the divine spirit in man raiées his valu.e ‘above that of,
thousands of rams and myriads of stars,
It redeems his life from
insignificance, despite its brevity, because of the magnitude of the
achievements which it makes possible even in so short a duration, and
because of the pmmise of immortality which it holds out.
But Judaism does not content itself with stating the phradox.
It also seeks to resolve it.
So does Christiantiy, but
Christianity resolves it by its doctrine of the Fall of Man and
its consequence of origingl sin. .According
this doctrine the
higher nature of man, though a faét at the time creation, was
destroyed by Adam's sin and can be regained only by the special way
of redemption which Qhristianity offers; Judaism does not countenance
this doctrine.
It has never drawn such drastic concluatllons from the
Biblical story of Adam and Eve. 'On the contrary, it has generally
interpreted the story as depicting, not the fall of man, but the rise
of man, not his descent, but his ascent.
It has taken
to represent
the advance of 'man from the lower stage 0: unreflecting innocence to the
higher stagé of conscious choice.
Adam's action, _on this View, did
notmaan the trump}: of evil over goodness, but the emergence of the
first possibility of either.
not condemn all subsequent
generations , but opened up for them the possibility of the moral
life, the battle of conscience against impulse, of right against wrong.
Judaism reéclgves the paradox, or rather makes sense of the
duality of human nature, by pointing out that the battle is not over,
it 15 not yet won.
We must View inani not statically, but
dynanically, not at any given moment
in process of
Then We are able to see that the divine image is a
constant reality, striving to assert itself, that the higher side
of human nature can be culfivated and the lower mastered.
We see that man can acquire in growing measure the moral understanding
and the moral strength to qurb hi: selfish instinctg and to realise
his noblest potentialities.
"God," says the Talmud, "created the
evil inclinatmn, but he also created the Torah as an antidote to it;
you occupy yourselves with the Torah you
into its power." (K1d.30b)
What emerges, then, is that man was
created for apiriturl gmwth.
Th ‘attainment of goodness was not
to be an accomplished fact, but an adventure.
adventure, but not in
11 not be delivered
God helps man in the
uch a way as to dash-6y its adventuroua nature.
He wants man to fulfil himself in freedom.
Does this mean that mgnyis able to save himself? Yes and no.
No, because man needs God's help.
He is the source of the revelation,
the inspiration, the guidance and the strength which man needs to
conquer sin.
He is the Saviour.
For the divine image
Yet in another sense man is his own
part of man; it 13_not outside him.
The View Which regards man as impotent leaves out the divine element
in him.
Itthéreforéguses‘thewwnrd human in a disparaging sense.
Everything Weak, everything selfish, everything perverse 15 described
man, theéerora, can be redeexged only by a power mdeyendezit
of hmnelt’. But Judaism teaches that God is within us, in the divine
as human.
spirit with which he has enaqwed' us.
wrote in a memorable article, if it is
also human to be strong.
Therefore, as
to be weak, gt
Indeed the more human We become, the more
fully we realise ogr human potentialities, the more closely do we
approximate to God. It is, therefore, in the last resort human to
be divine.
He is small, but he is also great, He 15
week, but he 15 also strong. He is evil, but he is alsogood;
Such, than, 13 man.
He 16 creaturely, but he is also creativs.
He is mortal, but h. 13
also immortal.
He is a citizen of the natural world, but he is
also a citizeh of the supernatural world.
He is beastlike, but he 1:
also god-like.
All this would remain paradoxical, all this would add up to
no more than a tray-comedy, if it were‘ not for the possibility of
progress, 1t 1t wezfe not for the vision of
obnsumnation, a
dénouemont, in Which the 1rlnperfeot will be made pérfect, in which the
divine image will finally emerge
tmmhapt. Judalsm makes sense of
what man is by pointing out what he may become: ‘a 96.9 but faithful
reflection of his Maker who' is P'erfect RighteOEEness.