Recently, I had lunch with a friend who I haven’t seen for a while. After the usual catching up our conversation turned to world politics. I won’t go into the details, rather I want to share the surprise I felt at my friend’s sincere belief that the world is coming to an end
Yes, you read that correctly. My friend is convinced that because of the politics on the world stage at this point in time, the world will end within five years.
I wasn’t just surprised—I was stunned. Usually, when someone is openly negative about situations that are beyond my ability to solve, I listen and empathize. I could not empathize this time. Instead, I said that throughout history there have been leaders who disrupt the way that things are being done—for good and bad—and that we are now living in one of those times. Leaders come and go. The world remains intact.
For me the world is a magical place filled with wonder and miracles. Do bad things happen? Absolutely. Do they happen to me? Yes, sometimes they do, but even if I get angry or sad, I believe that there is a Creator who has a plan for this world and all that is in it. I do not believe that we are capable of destroying this world—we could mess it up (and we do), but we could not destroy it—only the Creator (G-d) can do that.
My friend not only disagreed with my position but was openly angry about it. To stem the flow of negativity, I said, “How about if the world is still here in five years and we are both still in it that we meet back here for lunch to talk about who was right?” That got a laugh, because if we are not here, it won’t matter. We hugged and agreed we’d probably see each other much sooner than in five years.
There are many beliefs concerning G-d and the G-d’s role in the world. Some believe there is no G-d. I am not sure how those people reconcile the miracles that I see all around us, but in my world G-d made everyone and every person is entitled to their opinions and beliefs.
Some people believe that G-d made the world and then stepped back to let it run all on its own; others believe, as I do, that G-d is actively creating the world every moment of existence. I am not sure exactly when I came to believe this. It was most likely during one of my many classes with Rabbi Kaplan in Victoria or one of the Jewish conferences I have attended over the past decade. But this is not just a Jewish belief--search for “continuous creation theology” and you will find many articles on this concept from the Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Bahai and other religions perspectives.
In addition to believing in continuous creation, I also believe that every day G-d creates the world for each one of us and that there is something we are supposed to do that no one else can do. We move around in our own worlds, overlapping with others, but never occupying the same world as another. For me, this explains how two people can sit together on a beautiful patio surrounded by sun-drenched trees and flowers with one person seeing the world ending and the other seeing it continuously being renewed through Divine Will.
Which world do you wake up to and live in every day?
Fiona Prince, MA is a coach, facilitator and teacher who provides fundamental communication and writing skills to help people succeed in their professional and academic lives. She worships at the Chabad Family Shul where she volunteers teaching children and adults how to read Hebrew. Sign-up for weekly communication tips at www.princeheron.com. To learn to read Hebrew, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. (Morah means teacher and Faiga is her Hebrew name).
You can read more articles on our interfaith blog, Spiritually Speaking, HERE
* This article was published in the print edition of the Times Colonist on Saturday, July 21 2018