2.2. Why Are We Here?

Sources refer to the Ramchal's Derech Hashem.


Since God is perfect and His existence requires nothing else, why did He create the universe? This was so that He could bestow His goodness on others. God is the ultimate good. His wisdom decreed that this be expressed by allowing created beings to get close to Him, as best they are able. So, while created beings cannot themselves become perfect, they can emulate perfection by attaching themselves to God. [I, 2.1]

However, God doesn't just hand His creations that connection. His wisdom decreed that this connection would be most meaningful if the creations earned it. God made it that His creations included both aspects of perfection and imperfection. The world therefore contains both things that draw us closer to God and things that lead us away, and people have the opportunity to pursue whichever they wish. If we pursue the right things, we are rewarded through the resulting proximity to God. [I, 2.2]

Since God is true perfection, we must understand that every negative thing is the result of a lack of God's influence. Since proximity to God is the source of all goodness, it follows that a distance from God leads to the opposite - the farther from God, the more intense or extreme the imperfection!

Man is unique in that he stands at the crossroads between the aspects of perfection and those of imperfection. The more we pursue the aspects of perfection, the closer we get to God. By doing this, we derive pleasure and perfection from God - a reward we have earned! (Unfortunately, if we pursue the opposite path, we get farther away from God, with the opposite result.) [I, 2.3]

In order for God's purpose in creating the universe to be met, it was necessary that the world contain both aspects of perfection and imperfection, as well as a being with the ability to choose between them. The world therefore contains many things of each type, in widely varying degrees. Man, being the creature with the capacity to choose his path, is the ultimate goal of creation; everything else is a means to towards man's goal of actualizing his potential. [I, 2.4] Man's job in this world is to perfect his mind and his character traits. This is what will draw him closer to God. The things that will distance a person from God are a preoccupation with mundane things and bad character traits. [I, 2.5]

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