Shaya Cohen -


What if there is no plan?!

What if there is no plan?!

I know a lot of people are convinced that G-d Has A Plan. For many people, this is a core part of their faith, and it is a comforting thought: no matter what we see, somehow it will all work out in the end.

But what if there is no plan? After all, the Torah tells us that G-d acts – and reacts – in response to what we do and say. The text is full of examples: Adam and Eve, by eating the fruit, force G-d to react. Cain is only branded after he chooses to kill Abel. The Flood only happens because people choose violence; if they had not done so, then the Flood surely would have been averted. Avraham argues with G-d and changes His mind. So does Moshe.

G-d acting and reacting to mankind is not consistent with some divine plan. Instead, the Torah is telling me that G-d created this world, He put himself in human beings (but not in nature), and then He limited Himself (in time and space) to allow mankind to have free will, to give us the opportunity to independently create and grow and love and – above all – choose.

The ability to choose means that we are free agents. G-d, admittedly, only gives us a few short years on this earth, so our potential is limited. But that hardly makes it any less potent: if anything, mortality makes us much more likely to take risks. And since our choices matter, He gave us the great power along with the great responsibility.

If G-d does not actually Have A Plan, then being religious is fraught with challenges and responsibilities. This kind of religious faith is no opiate; it drives us to action, not passivity. After all, if we can change G-d’s mind, then don’t we have an obligation to try to do so, on behalf of ourselves and our loved ones? Isn’t this an aspect of prayer, as well as good deeds of all kinds?

Am I wrong? If you think G-d has a plan, how do you know?

Comments are welcome!