vain, since man would have not choice in what he does”(84). How could the human race progress if God controlled every action? What would be the point of life if people had no choice on how to live? Law and commandments would be futile aside from free will because
consequently chooses not control the actions of every human being. God yearns for humans to act according to His plan, but He ultimately allows them to design their own path in life. The Law orients people toward virtue, while also providing guidance. God never severs one from instruction and direction of virtue, despite the circumstance. Maimonides states, “This perfect Law which perfects us makes no mention of such things. As [the Psalmist] who knew it testified about it: The Law of the Lord is perfect, making wise the simple, restoring the soul ”(70). The Law equips humans with the necessary instruments to build character. Without the Law, guidelines on how to live a virtuous life would cease to exist and man would completely control his own destiny. What would the world be like with no Law or order? Would chaos rule? Additionally, Maimonides argues, “The Law forbids what it forbids and commands what it commands only for this reason, i.e., that we move away from one side as a means of discipline”(71). The Law permits every individual to contemplate their actions before unquestionably acting on them. It acts as a template on how to live a virtuous life. If people follow the Law, they can possess goodness. Free will emboldens humanity to act however the heart desires, but the Law offers instructions on how to achieve virtue. The world would possess nothing good without the standards provided by the Law, and man must acquire free will to discern the Law. One does not exist without the other.
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- Spring '12
- Philosophy, Sin, Maimonides