Torah Knowledge For Non-Jews Vol. 2
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11. Emotion vs. Intellect
by Jack Saunders - OBM
From the very beginning man has been locked in a struggle. He has either been ruled by his passions or his intellect. It began with Adam as he was placed in the terrestrial Paradise "to work it and to guard it," and not to satisfy his physical appetites with the delights which could be attained there. Adam was placed in the Garden by God in order for him to serve Him and His world. Because of Adam's service he is allowed by God to partake of the fruits of the Paradise in which he lives. Hence Adam, mankind, exists for God and His world and must gladly sacrifice his own individuality for the sake of his higher calling, i.e., serving God and His world. But, because man not only bears within him the quality of godliness but also the urges of his physical appetites, the struggle begins.
God in His wisdom has ordained that which is good and right should often come into conflict and even seem distasteful to man's physical senses, while on the other hand evil would often appear attractive to him. This was all done in order for man to achieve the lofty Divine calling, to be able to use his God given free will to choose good and to refuse evil. His choosing of the good is all done not because of the urging of his appetites, but in spite of them.
It is because of this constant struggle from within man the voice of God does not speak from within man but from outside himself (The conscience of man only serves as our sense of shame. It serves in a general way to warn man to do good and shun evil, but it cannot define precisely the acts which are determined to be good or evil. This determination can only be learned from the mouth of God speaking to man from the outside). The Word of God informs man of what is good and evil, "See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil," (Deuteronomy 30:15).
God informs Adam he may eat of every tree in the Garden with the exception of one, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. This tree was apparently decorated with all kinds of physical enticements. These physical enticements must have called out to everything in the personal nature of Adam and told him, "This is good." But the Word of God which was addressed to him had forbidden him to partake of the fruits of this tree. God had informed him, to partake of this tree would be "evil." Thus, the Word of God was to be the rule by which man could determine what is good or evil. Therefore, the doing of good will always be in conflict with man's physical appetites. It is when men allow their appetites to be unguided by the godly quality inherent in man that he eventually does evil.
This same scenario can be seen in the lives of two of Adam's sons, Cain and Seth. Cain, even though as are all human beings, i.e., "being made in the image and likeness of God," being ruled by his appetites, passions, or emotions eventually leads to the destruction of life and continues to lead men to this very day. The third son of Adam also, "being made in the image and likeness of Adam who was made in the image and likeness of God," Seth, being governed by his intellect which leads him in his quest for God and also transforms his life into it's highest form, a respecter of life and not a destroyer.
Sethites and Cainites
From these two men's lives, Cain and Seth, we see the two types of men which would continue throughout the ages. The Cainite type which aspires to build their existence on earth on the basis of industry and invention but does not like to take into account the fact of God, "Because that when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God. And changed the glory of the incorruptible God, into an image made like corruptible man," (Romans 1:21-23). Man ultimately achieves the status of and replaces the One True God under the Cainite system. Man is then able to decide for himself what is good or evil. His appetites and passions become his rule for good. "If it feels good do it," becomes the acceptable standard. The Sethite line, which stands in stark contrast to the Cainite line, whose genealogy opens with repeated allusions to the Divine imprint, i.e., the power and the benediction of the pure calling God had originally intended and conferred upon man.
Adam being made in "the likeness of God,” "the Divine blessing of God,” and "the image of God" (Genesis 5:1-3). We should also note that the genealogy of the Sethite line is introduced by a reference of the equality and the significance of the female sex in relation to the male, "Male and female did he create them". While on the other hand this significance is completely lost in the Cainite line. They are now simply referred to as, "the daughters of men," which would seem to indicate that all godliness had been wiped out. While the Sethites are those who have inherited the Divine stamp are the "sons of the godly line." These two types of men are classified either as the Daughters of Men or the Sons of God (Genesis 6:1-2). In the Qumran material, The Dead Sea Scrolls, these two groups are referred to as the Sons of Light and the Sons of Darkness. These are depicted as being locked in battle until finally the Sons of Light triumph. This same scenario is also depicted in the writings of Saul of Tarsus. In his letter to the Ephesians he expounds the same philosophy. (See Ephesians 4:17-19, the Sons of Man which are governed by their passions. See Ephesians 4:24-32; 5:1-6; 5:7-14; 5:15-20, these sections are in relation to those who are no longer governed by their passions but by their intellect and are referred to as The New Man, Imitators of God and Sons of God, Sons of Light, and Wise.)
Sons of God
Israel is addressed in the book of Exodus as the First Born Son of God (Exodus 4:22-23). The Sons of Israel become the Sons of God and as such are told not to allow their passions to govern their lives. God informs them in Deuteronomy 4:10-20, of the reason they were given and taught the statutes and judgments (verses 14-19). They were to govern the passions of man and to guard them from falling back into idolatry. They were also commanded not to allow their children to intermarry with the other nations, since it would eventually lead them back into idolatry (Deuteronomy 7:1-4). As the Sons of God they were to govern their lives by the laws of God through their intellect and not their passions, and by doing so they would be a witness to the rest of humanity of the greatness a people may attain to when the intellect rules instead of the emotions; the rest of humanity being governed by their passions at this time.
Most of the practices of idolatry always in some way involved the passions or emotions. An example of this is the worship of Peor, where those who worshiped whipped themselves into such a frenzy they lost control of their bodily functions. Another example is the worship of Diana. Diana is depicted by the image of a woman covered with rows of breasts, since she is depicted as the mother of all living. Her temple priests were nothing more or less than prostitutes. The worship of Diana involved all sort of illicit sexual acts—once again men being governed by their passions rather than their intellect.
The Sons of Israel as the Sons of God are warned about intermarrying with such people for they would ultimately be their downfall. It continues to this very day to be a thorn in the side of Israel. It was the downfall of those called The Sons of God in Genesis 6, when they intermarried with those referred to as The Daughters of Men. However, we must also point out those referred to as the Sons of Man could join the congregation of Israel through the Brit Milah, take upon themselves the yoke (yoke in the sense of giving direction, or bringing under control) of the commandments, which controlled the animal passions, and then marry with those who are the Sons of God. It was only when one became a part of and made their destiny with Israel that intermarriage was allowed.
Assimilation continues to be the most deadly enemy of Israel until this very day. Although there is no ruling, as far as I have been able to determine, which prevents the B'nai Noah from marrying a Jew or Jewess; there is such a ruling for the Jew and Jewess. As observant B'nai Noah, who professes to love God, Torah, and Israel, we should accept this ruling upon ourselves in order to aid the people of Israel to comply with their Torah and halachah. This is just my opinion and does not reflect the position of B'nai Noah in general. Forgive me for digression from the subject at hand, but I felt something should be said about this subject also.
The Buckle of the Bible Belt
This struggle of the intellect and the passions or emotions continues today. Since I live in the area many refer to as, The Buckle of the Bible Belt, I continue to see those, in many forms of Christianity, relying on their emotions being governed by their passions until today. When someone in this area invites someone to their church it is usually not to hear but to feel. Most boast of their services not because of what was said but what they felt. They tell of people being slain in the spirit, of people shouting and jumping around, of people weeping, and of people speaking in some type of ecstatic utterance. The preachers the people are for the most part the ones which either tells good stories which play upon people's emotions, or those who expel so much energy it becomes contagious. The doctrines they adhere to are not supported by the intellect but by the emotions. When confronted with the facts concerning the Virgin Birth and Deity of Jesus, cardinal doctrines of Christianity, they continue to believe rather than accept the facts.
On the other hand, those of us who have accepted the facts are told we are too intellectual. We have in some way gone over the deep end in our studies. I often refer to it as the, "much study has made you mad syndrome." We should just return to the simple gospel and leave all this other stuff alone, after all it just confuses the people. We are told we have been deceived by the devil and are probably demon possessed ourselves. People are warned not to talk to us for if they do they will believe the way we do. We somehow are able to cast some mysterious spell and alter the way people believe. I realize we live in the twentieth century, but from some of the things people have been reported to have said I think we have slipped back into the dark ages. Or at least to the times of the Salem Witch hunts in which numerous innocent people were tortured and killed.
What I have come to realize over the past several years is, basically people continue to fall into these two categories, The Sons of Men, who are governed by their passion or emotions and The Sons of God, who are struggling to govern their passions through their intellect. The Sons of God are people who believe because of the facts, not fiction, when they are presented. While The Sons of Men continue to accept the appeal to the passions and emotions.
Remember SAD STORIES ALWAYS MAKE US CRY and one of the saddest stories anyone can hear is of someone being punished when he is innocent by wicked people. It incites within most of us the deepest of emotions. The sad story is people are sitting in churches today being deceived by their emotions. If they would study their Bible they would see the fallacy of their actions, but alas they continue on unhindered in their quest to feel good rather than doing good. If only they would turn to the Torah and allow it to restore their soul (Psalms 19:7).
As we come to the end of our article, we would like to say the passions or emotions of men when directed toward the worship of the One True God can be quite exhilarating. I have wept openly and unashamed at times in my study of God's Word. There, for those who have been around me over the years, have been times when I have shouted and rejoiced because of the truths God has allowed me to understand. One of those being, "Then he (Abraham) believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness" (Genesis 15:6).
God allowed me, many years ago, to understand that Abraham just believed in God's Word. He trusted the Word, the Promise of God, not his emotions. Not how he felt, but what he heard. Yes, I am a dichotomy. I am an emotional being as well as an intellectual being. But what I have discovered in my search and quest for God is when both of those parts of which you are made up of turns toward God to worship Him, it can be quite an experience. Someone once said, "we must worship God in spirit and in truth", and that, "we (Jews) know what we worship." Thus, alluding to the fact of the rest of the world being steeped in idolatry, which was fueled by their passions and or emotions.
It takes the combination of both intellect and emotion to achieve the highest form of worship. It takes form, i.e., the commandments of God, and the intellectual and emotional embracing of those before we achieve true worship of HaShem. I have seen where love, emotion, is taught without form, it can only produce emotionalism. I have also seen where form was taught without love, emotion, it can only produce legalism. May we together in the coming days, months, and years discover the secret of combining our passions, i.e., our emotions and intellect together in order to not only embrace the commandments of God, but have a sense of enjoyment because we have done so. In the Shema, Israel is instructed to, of course, remember there is but one HaShem, love God with all their heart (intellect), with all their soul (emotion), and with all their might (wealth). This is the complete embracing of God. Embracing HaShem with all we are and all we have.
Remember, it is our task given to us by God to control or redirect our passion by adherence to His Law through our intellect. May HaShem, blessed be His name, grant us through His providence, the strength to accomplish the task He has set before each of us. We must ask ourselves which of these two categories of men do each of us happen to fall in, The Sons of Men or The Sons of God? Keep in mind if we happen to fall in the first category mentioned we can alter our destiny. Do not allow your life to be governed by emotions or passions. Redirect those passions, those emotions to the adherence of God's Holy Law, the Torah.
This article represents reflections of mine and mine alone. They have come about from my studies and observations over the years. Therefore, I will either accept the accolades or the criticisms from the above observations.