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If You Could Be G‑d for One Week, What Would You Do?

If You Could Be G‑d for One Week, What Would You Do?

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Question:

The movie "Bruce Almighty" raises some important questions. It is about a man who is given the job of being G‑d for a week. Answers to the questions he faces have aided me in my search for the truth.

If you could be G‑d for one week, what would you do? Who would you help? What punishments would you mete out? How would you handle this awesome responsibility?

Answer:

I have not seen the movie, but the storyline is familiar. A small book was written by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan in 1983 called "If You Were G‑d" posing the exact same scenario. You may be interested in reading that to see his perspective. I'm sure there are many similar works from many different perspectives. Here's mine.

You pose the question as a theoretical one: if you could be G‑d what would you do? But according to Jewish thought this is not a hypothetical; it is the reality!

G‑d has endowed each of us with a Divine spark, a piece of Himself, which we usually refer to as "the soul." This Divine spark is our true identity; our body and the "personality" that comes with it are merely the vehicles through which our soul expresses itself.

Our bodies are human. But our souls are Divine. From a soul perspective, we have the same attributes as G‑d Himself. We are made in His image.

1) We have free choice.

In truth, only G‑d can have free choice. Because to have truly free choice you have to be above any influence that may sway you to choose one path or the other. If I choose something out of peer pressure, ignorance or habit, I am not making a free choice.

G‑d alone is above any influence. From a body perspective, a human being is influenced by environment, education, genetics and mood swings. That means we aren't truly free in our choices. Scientifically, we are essentially machines that will make predictable choices based on external or internal influences. But that's only according to nature. From a spiritual perspective, we aren't so one-dimensional. G‑d has given us a piece of Himself, a soul, and that is the core of our being that is above any influence. Our soul allows us to rise above even our own nature and be free to choose.

So, like G‑d, we have free choice. Our destiny is in our own hands.

2) We are creators.

Apart from the fact that we can invent, build and even reproduce (which animals can also do), we humans are, in our very essence, creators.

The Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism) teaches that every action we do not only affects the world around us, but also creates new spiritual forces. When we perform an act of goodness we create a "good angel," a positive energy force. On the other hand, when we act selfishly or destructively we create a "bad angel" — negative energy. Throughout our lifetimes we accumulate legions of these creatures that are our own creations, and they hover around our souls. The negative energy can be destroyed and even transformed to goodness if we regret the evil we have done and right the wrongs. These angels are ours, and we decide their fate.

Like G‑d, we are creators, and our creations are in our hands.

3) We can influence the direction of the entire world.

The soul's power is unlimited. My thoughts, words and actions can push the entire world towards its ultimate purpose, or delay the realization of that purpose. The Talmud says that one should see the world as exactly balanced between good and evil. My next move will determine which way the scales are tipped — will I bring more corruption, pain and sorrow into the world, or will I promote peace, happiness and harmony?

So just like G‑d we have free choice, we create and control our creations, and the destiny of the entire world is in our hands.

G‑d could have created us otherwise. He didn't have to give us such power. But He took a gamble. He placed the world in our hearts; in us He invested His very self. Because He trusts us to do a good job.

So the question is not "What would you do if you were G‑d?", but rather "G‑d has given you His power; what's your next move?"

Aron Moss is rabbi of the Nefesh Community in Sydney, Australia, and is a frequent contributor to Chabad.org.
Artwork by Sarah Kranz.
© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with Chabad.org's copyright policy.
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Markia September 21, 2014

Lol. Why don't you spell God all the way out? Just curious. Reply

Marek Zielinski London, UK October 8, 2010

If You Could Be G‑d for One Week ... God created the whole universe, Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array, in 6 days. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.

On the seventh day he had ceased from all his work leaving everything in the hands of humans and look what kind of chaos they have managed to create and make.

If I could be God for one week I would continue his creation, on the seventh day, restoring everything to its prime value making all things good and forever. Reply

Cheryl Q OC, CA April 23, 2009

What Would You Do if You Were God? I am grateful for the spark given me called "the soul". I feel best when I act from there. It is an honor to give love and support to others.
On the other hand, I have often said to others, "I am so glad I am not in charge because I would make a mess of things." Only G_d knows all. Reply

Rochel Los Angeles, CA via chabadofmarinadelrey.com April 23, 2009

If I were G-d... I would bring the complete redemption RIGHT NOW!!!! Reply

shara dillon winfield, mo. usa May 21, 2008

If you were G-d what would you do? I loved your inspirational answer to this question, and I believe that you are exactly right. I thank you so much for your insight into the soul and relating this illusive truth to all of us. Freedom of choice and will is accessible but so often unattainable for those who have undergone abuse from childhood. That was me but the me now believes that I can be new and successful and useful, but I had to learn this from Rabbis, I was unable to think of this on my own. Reply

Dharma Adelaide, South Australia May 19, 2008

If I was G-d Everything I have read to answer this one question has been so fascinating, it shows everyone is different in their thinking and shows a good argument to WHY there is only one G-d.
Beverly I am just like you, I so hate killing bees, I have loved them since a small child, I used to put my hand out for them to walk on and then I would put them back on the flowers, one thing missing today is bees, the only reason I would kill one is if I saw it being attacked by ants, the thought of it dying a slow death by bites is horrible. Once I moved to a new area with only a few houses but it was being built up quick. The poor field mice had no where to go but people's houses, I put poison down not knowing what it really was and one night I heard a horrible squeaking noise only to find this tiny tiny field mouse bleeding internally. I cried out to my daughter who came running in and together we took it out to the field where we just had to put an end to its life.
Too sad to live with. Reply

Duby May 18, 2008

If I Was G-d Wow , what an amazing article!!!!! Even after my 20 years learning lubavitch yeshivas, i dont think i would have EVER come up with such a brilliant answer.

thank you for writing it Reply

Rachel Garber Phila, PA USA May 16, 2008

Therefore, stop "blaming" G-d for the Holocaust I have heard people say, "I don't believe in G-d, where was G-d while the Holocaust was happening?" I've heard of people, who's relative, or they themselves, were struck with cancer, or had a debilitating heart attack, or had a child born with severe mental or physical disabilities blame G-d. . During WWII, people made choices, they made choices to help the Jews, or to be bystanders. They made choices to help or not.. At the risk of sounding sacrilegious, the G-d I believe in is the G-d George Burns portrayed in "Oh, G-d." when John Denver's character asked him, why do you allow disease, starvation, etc. George said, I don't allow it, YOU don't stop it.He gave us the ability to cure disease, to put an end to starvation, the help each other. . Reply

Neil Skinner York, England May 16, 2008

If you could be G-d.. Brilliant! Reply

Inge Reisinger May 16, 2008

I would explain the world that wars are useless, it shows only that people haven't understood the holy words given from G-d. The next step is to explain how to fight the inner war in everybody's body. If everyone understands that than we start creating paradise all over the world. Easy, isn't it? Reply

Dharma Adelaide, South Australia May 15, 2008

If You Were G-d I have always been thankful to G-d that I'm not Him. If I was G-d there are a lot of people I would have wiped out of existence. I don't know how G-d tolerates some people.
As I get older I realise that G-d is wise and knows what He is doing, and after all, if I zap people out then I would have to zap myself out too.
I have gone through the whole, my G-d why do you let people get away with the things they do and they prosper along happily. But that isn't the question or answer, I've learnt in my later years that G-d is a just G-d and He judges us all equally. No one has taught me more about G-d’s love than the Jewish people. Reply

Anonymous Woodland HIlls, California May 15, 2008

What would you do..... Wonderful article and answer!!! Reply

Reina Lerner Silver Spring, USA May 15, 2008

If you could be G-d for........ Dear Rabbi Moss,
Thank you for this wise, inspirational commentary. If we would only realize the power we have for goodness to prevail, the path to Tikkun Olam would be so much more complete by now.
This is one email that is going to be extensively forwarded. Reply

Steve K May 13, 2008

G-d is all action I see G-d as the action of the creating universal one and whole being and producing all and therefore G-d is not separate from all as all is the same action. So as to what would I do if I was G-d for a day? I am G-d, now, being myself. Reply

seena elbaum bala cynwyd, pa May 12, 2008

What a fabulous wake up call! I feel God's sparks, sometimes they are brighter, sometimes more dimly lit, but they are always there. Regardless, my challenge is always to remember that it is because God has willed me just the way I am, with choices and opportunitites every moment, every breath, to live, and learn from my living with vibrancy, grow with vibrancy and always say, Thank God. Reply

M May 9, 2008

What I would do... 1. Raise all humans who died.
2. Reveal myself to all nations.
3. Heal the mind, spirit and body of all.
4. Institute the Messianic age and give people the ability to live to be at least
1,000 yrs. old.
5. Heal the Earth and raise favorite pets that died.
6. Reveal the purpose /expectation of Human life and all creation here and beyond.
7. Rest and celebrate on Shabbat with everyone. Reply

Beverly Kurtin Hurst, Texas May 8, 2008

Do the impossible You know, as interesting a concept as that is, I've not the foggiest idea of what I would do. I'd like to do what seems to be impossible and get the entire world to live by the spirit of Lev. 19:18.

Today, I had to kill a honey bee. I did not want to do it because they are so valuable and important to everything we eat. But it had been injured and gave all appearances of being in agony. It broke my heart to kill one of His creatures, but it had to be done.

A few years ago I saw a rat on a shopping center sidewalk. People were just standing around staring. It had been poisoned with Coumadin, a blood thinner they give to human beings! It was designed to kill rodents.

I went to my vehicle, grabbed a bag and a piece of cardboard to push the poor thing into it and dispatched it by crushing its head. The others thought I was crazy, after all, it was nothing but a dirty filthy rat! I saw it as one of G-d's creatures that was in very obvious pain...it was bleeding to death internally.

I think we are not only to love each other but all of the Creator's critters. I think I'll leave G-d to being G-d.

I did see Bruce Almighty and it was one of the funniest movies I've ever seen. If you need a really good yuk, rent it; you'll be glad you did. I send my love to all who read this. Reply

Rosina Panama May 7, 2008

What IF The more I meditated on the question you posed the more upset I became, How can you use this very great and valuable tool to suggest to people that they could even think of doing things better than G-D. It was not for this purpose that you were given this Tool by HIM!!! No If you want to look at the real answer to this evil question just look at what you are doing with the power of communication HE have permitted you!! The only redeeming value of the movie Bruce All no might is that he discovered that he was not HIM abd was happy to be who G D made him! Reply

Craig Dunstable, MA May 7, 2008

Our Prayers I think Gd is above influence - however, our prayers to Gd indicate a division in thinking, namely that there are two things in creation, that all is not Gd and all within Gd (panentheism). Echad is broken in such divisions of the mind.

To pray TO Gd, as such, denies I think the very spark of Gd within us, the soul which we posses. I do not believe we can pray TO anything, but instead shift within ourselves and realize the divinity that Gd endowed in His creaction. Until such a shift occurs, our prayers to an external Gd are an affirmation of separation from Gd as opposed to a recognition of the true oneness and all ecompassing being of Gd. Reply

Anonymous boston, MA May 7, 2008

If You Could be G-d for a day If G-d is above influence, this implies that our prayers might not matter at all. This also goes a long way in explaining why, even when 1,000's, even millions of people are praying, G-d is NOT influenced by their prayers. Reply