In the beginning, God created Heaven and Earth. Immediately God was faced with a class action suit for failure to file an environmental impact statement. He was granted a temporary permit for the project, but had trouble complying with the Cease and Desist order. Appearing at the hearing, God was asked why He began the project in the first place. He replied that He “just liked to be creative.”
Then God said, “Let there be light.” Officials immediately demanded to know how the light would be made. Would there be strip mining? What about thermal pollution? God explained that the light would come from a huge ball of fire. He was granted provisional permission to make light, with the proviso that no smoke would result from the ball of fire, that He would obtain a building permit, and, to conserve energy, would have the light burning only half the time. God agreed and said He would call the light “Day” and the darkness “Night.” Officials replied that they were not interested in semantics.
God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, seed-yielding herbs and fruit trees producing fruit according to their kind….” The EPA agreed as long as native seed was used. Then God said, “Let the waters swarm a swarming of living creatures, and let fowl fly over the earth, across the expanse of the heavens.” Officials pointed out that this would require approval from the Department of Game.
Everything was OK until God said he wanted to complete the project in six days. Officials informed Him it would take at least 200 years to review the application and the environmental impact statement. After that there would be a public hearing. Then it would be 10-12 months before…
At this point God created Hell.
Kabbalah speaks of four worlds.
(1) Atzilut, (the World of Emanation), the “highest” world contains the revealed potential for further creation. It possesses no perceived existence independent of God.
(2) Beriah, (the World of Creation), the second “highest” world holds the beginnings of creative potential, born of Atzilut, which begin to take on the perception of “form” or independent existence. The higher order of angels dwells in Beriah as do created souls and the “upper” Garden of Eden, where certain privileged souls journey as a reward for their meritorious conduct during their lifetime on earth. The Divine Throne also resides in Beriah. It embodies the concept that the Divine begins to “lower” itself in order to “touch” the lower worlds.
(3) Yetzirah, (the World of Formation), is the next highest world, where the “blueprints” are drawn up for final creation and where specific steps are taken to bring them to fruition. The lower order of angels – those with a specific mission – reside in Yetzirah, and the “lower” Garden of Eden abides here as well.
(4) Asiyah, (the World of Action), is the fourth world: the world in which you and I live. In Asiyah, we witness the most convincing depiction of independence from God. Sadly, this is because in Asiyah we are the most removed from Him, and it is here where the dazzling radiance of God is the most concealed. This total concealment gives rise to “free choice,” such that a person is permitted to choose whether or not he will serve God according to His will. Asiyah embodies the ultimate purpose of creation, where God has provided us both the map and the guidebook so we can actualize that purpose: to make our world an abode in which He will desire to dwell.
From “free choice” springs the notion of Evil and the threat of Hell.
According to Kabbalah, Evil was created from the sitra achra, the “other side,” of God. In other words, it originates from God, so it must have hidden elements of Goodness, but not in the way you may think.
Evil is a way that God tests humanity’s actions. This is compared to a king who sends a temptress to seduce his son, the prince. The temptress must follow the king’s orders and do everything in her power to seduce the prince, all the while hoping that the prince will not succumb to her allure. So, too, Evil, in the form of our Evil Inclination, entices us with all sorts of worldly attractions, hoping that we will reject them.
Kabbalah teaches that God’s sole purpose in creating Evil was to transform it, one day, into Goodness.
God said to the Devil, “I’m considering having some repair work done on the pearly gates, and I think you should pay half.”
“Oh, really?” replied Satan. “And how do you figure I owe half?”
“Well, I do My best to keep folks from ending up in your place,” God answered, “and let’s face it, there is a certain amount of wear and tear from the clawing and scratching of your people.”
“That’s outrageous,” the devil objected. “I won’t pay.”
“Then I’ll sue,” God threatened.
“You’ll sue?” repeated the Devil, smiling. “Just where do You think YOU’LL ever find a lawyer?”
We’ve all read parodies of God arguing with Satan, but Satan has no independent will as it is entirely a creation of God’s meant to challenge us and give us the opportunity to exercise our free will and assert our inherent goodness.
Remember, God is all there is, and there is nothing besides Him.