FREE WILL AS A THOUGHT IN THE MIND OF GOD
The essential issue upon which all is balanced for creation to be creation-ing is that of free will. Throughout the ages, theologians have debated whether or not human beings have the ability to choose freely. It has been a key issue because free will imputes that God does not control the universe. If God is in control then we are not really free to choose; God always "knows" what we are going to do. If we really have choice and God does not "know," then God is missing essential information.
The Torah is built upon the foundation of free choice for humankind. The story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden is a description of free choice. From that point forward every biblical story involves free choice.
We have human consciousness. We are informed that acts of loving kindness over the long run will bring a higher level of consciousness to everyone in the world. We have the choice to do them or not. We are informed that an unkind word can set things in motion that may cause great harm and pain in the world. We have the choice of how we will speak. Even more, when the mystic suggests that our prayers can sway the outcome of events, our behavior can influence the degree to which there is peace in the world, or that our observance of ancient ritual can bring a healing to souls in other worlds, imagine how this weighs on us as responsible, conscious beings.
Nothing is inconsequential. Each grain of sand holds amazing secrets. Each event contains mysterious messages. Every encounter with another being is a point of contact upon which the universe pivots. When we enter into this frame of mind, reality as we see it becomes a vast opportunity to experience the interconnectedness of all creation. From this perspective, we come to the realization that every piece is integral in the unfolding of creation, including us.
Free will and process go hand in hand. If we are caught in the illusion of separation, trapped in the sense of our "selves," we do not experience the interactive process. We cannot realize this because "self" and "other" are distinctly different. If, however, we are able to mediate this "self-consciousness," we can enter the realm of Now in which everything is connected and in process with everything else.
When we pull all of these ideas together, the paradigm of relationship between creator and creation dramatically shifts. God is God-ing, creation is creation-ing, every aspect of creation is in process and continuously unfolding like an infinite flower opening its petals. In this reality, "knowing" is a moment-to-moment phenomenon, past and future are only in our minds, we are co-partners with God-ing in the cosmic process and each person has the full freedom of choice to change the universe. Nothing we do, say, or think is inconsequential; every action affects not only this reality but other realities, and all of creation is interconnected. We should never assign attributes to our partner in process (God-ing), but we can "know" this partner through the direct experience of all that we encounter and every thought that arises in our minds.
The intrinsic definition of Limitlessness is that It lacks nothing and can receive nothing, for It is everything. As It is everything, theoretically It is the potential to be an infinite source of giving.
The question arises, however, that there is nothing for It to give to because It is everything. It would have to give to itself. This has been a major conundrum in philosophy and theology for thousands of years.
Kabbalah suggests one way of dealing with this. It says that as long as the infinite source of giving has no "will" to give, nothing happens. However, the instant it has the will to give, this will initiates a "thought." Kabbalah says, "Will, which is [primordial] thought, is the beginning of all things and the expression [of this thought] is the completion."
One way to say this would be that the entire creation is nothing more than a thought in the "mind" of Ein Sof, so to speak. Another way to express it is that the will to give instantly creates a will to receive. The idea that an infinite giver can create receptivity in itself is what Kabbalists call tzimtzum (contraction). It has to make a opening within Itself for receiving.
That which is given is called: light. That which receives is called: vessel. Light and vessel are always in balance. This is because light comes from an infinite source and thus will fill a vessel to its capacity. If we put a bucket under Niagara Falls, it instantly fills. If we put a freight train there, it also instantly fills. Imagine the entire universe rests under a Niagara Falls of light, continuously being filled.
According to Kabbalah, the interaction between vessel and light is what makes the world go around. Everything in the universe is a vessel that "wills" to receive the light of the Infinite Bestower. Each molecule, plant, animal, rock, and human are vessels; each has the "will" to be exactly what it is.
Human consciousness is unique in that it has the quality of being "in the image of God." This quality is expressed by what we call free will, and free will at its core is nothing more than the ability to bestow light. That is to say, human consciousness has an inherent will to give. This human capability of acting like God in being a bestower is the fulcrum upon which the entire universe is balanced.
The reason that this is so important is that if there were only a will to receive, as described above, the universe would be completely predictable. Everything would be predetermined, all receptivity would find shape in its implicit design, and every aspect of the unfolding of creation could be anticipated. The wild card introduced here is the premise that human consciousness is informed by a soul-force that gives it the capacity to emulate the infinite Bestower.
Thus human beings have extraordinary capacity to influence the direction of creation. Each time we make use of our free will by giving, we are in co-partnership with the infinite Bestower. When this is accomplished, with clear awareness of what we are doing, we raise the consciousness of creation.