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If the point of all of creation is for the Jewish people to accept and carry out the torah [I realize this is not axiomatic and may be a point of contention - see Shabbat 88a] what is the need for the trillions of galaxies, dark matter, dark energy etc. and all they contain that exists beyond our solar system?

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Perhaps a few thousand years ago people were perplexed why G-d made such a big Earth for so few people. –  YDK Jun 7 '12 at 16:13
    
the gemara in avoda zara (3b) says that hashem travels to 18,000 other worlds every night. there must be something independently going on there that makes it all worth checking in on. –  Danno Jun 7 '12 at 16:27
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I do not feel these answers are appropriately addressing the question and will try to answer it myself, though I am not a theologian and don't feel properly equipped to do so. –  user1552 Jun 7 '12 at 18:10
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i.stack.imgur.com/NjUts.gif –  alltheinterwebs Jun 28 '12 at 16:35
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Interestingly, Brachos 32a gives a calculation of 106,434,000,000,000 myriads of stars, all of which Hashem created specifically for us. –  zaq Aug 22 '12 at 19:16
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6 Answers

  • In the Guide of the Perplexed, Chapter XIV, the Rambam comments on "behold the height of the stars, how high they are!" (Job xxii. 12)

    that is to say, learn from the height of the heavens how far we are from comprehending God, for there is an enormous distance between ourselves and these corporeal objects, and the latter are greatly distinguished from us by their position, and hidden from us as regards their essence and most of their actions. How much more incompreliensible therefore is their Maker, who is incorporeal!

  • We also see in Brachos 58b-59a that Hashem can use the Heavens to directly affect the Earth and ultimately Humans. It says there that Hashem destroyed two stars from a cluster called Kima (Job IX. 9) to bring Noah's flood upon the earth, and took two more stars from Ayish (either Aires' tail, or Ursa Major & Minor) to stop the flood. It seems from here, and the rest of daf 58b, that Earth's characteristics and Human existence relies on the precision of the Heavens, and would be wiped out if certain things were placed differently.

  • In Chapter X in the Guide of the Perplexed, the Rambam agrees with a well-known philosophy of his era, that everything on earth is is influenced by forces which emanate from the spheres/stars.

    To show how this philosophy doesn't contridict our beliefs he quotes Chazal and Job:

    In like manner our Sages say "There is no single herb below without its corresponding star above, that beats upon it and commands it to grow." Comp." Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? Canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth?" (Job xxxviii. 33)

    He also explains here that the word mazzal* can literally mean either constellation or star. Which would mean that every being and species has their own personal star or constellation, which directly corresponds to their mazzal. He compares this connection to the natural force of the moon over the tides.


*The chaotic nature of our world, which can be influenced by Hashem in our every day lives, aka "luck".

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The grandeur of creation increases the importance of keeping Torah - it is the point of a much greater world.

It also gives us a better understanding of the greatness of Hashem. The entirety of creation is nothing compared to Hashem. So the greater the world, the more we realize how much greater Hashem is, that all of it is as nothing compared to Him.

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The Mishnah (Uktzin 3:12 - the concluding mishnah of Shas) states that "in the future Hashem will cause each tzaddik to inherit 310 worlds." These are understood to be spiritual realms (R. Shmuel of Lubavitch, Maamar Shabchi Yerushalayim 5627); but since the physical is an outgrowth of the spiritual, it may well be that there is actual physical "real estate" involved, from which they can derive benefit. (Even nowadays the idea is sometimes floated to extract natural resources from the moon, asteroids, etc.)

So those trillions of galaxies, etc., may simply be waiting for their rightful claimants.

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Alex, if all the people that have lived since Adam till now were considered "tzaddikim" and were all given those 310 worlds it wouldn't come close to the amount of 'real estate' that is out there. –  user1552 Jun 7 '12 at 18:26
    
@bcholbeisineeman: what about if you consider all of the potential tzaddikim? For example, suppose that all of the Jewish people had wanted to leave Egypt, instead of 4/5ths of them deciding to stay behind (and end up dying during the plague of darkness)... –  Alex Jun 7 '12 at 19:38
    
double check my comment, i didn't say all the tzaddikim, i said all the PEOPLE. this is besides the fact that your answer would only account for worlds, or physical space but would not count for things like dark energy that make up most of the universe. –  user1552 Jun 7 '12 at 19:47
    
@bcholbeisineeman: my point was that if those Jews had lived, they would have had descendants who might have been tzaddikim. Anyway, though, ultimately צדיק ורשע לא קאמר - Hashem doesn't decide in advance who will be a tzaddik and who a rasha; so He may well have had to create 310 worlds for each potential Jew (or perhaps even every potential human being). –  Alex Jun 7 '12 at 20:17
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The question assumes that each and every aspect of creation is painstakingly ordered and controlled by God. In a certain sense this is true as God created and sustains all, but in another sense it is not. Chazal tell us that one name of God is Shad-dai because at the time of creation everything expanded like two chutes until he said "enough" (shad-dai, mi sh'amar l'olam "dai"). Furthermore Rashi brings the midrash in bereshis that the trees rebelled and did not formulate themselves according to the instruction of their creator.

The picture this paints is that Hashem allows the briah to self-organize. This means that if it takes a trillion galaxies to give rise to the statistical impossibility that is life... well then a trillion galaxies you shall have. We find this idea in a microcosmic way in the difficulty Bilaam had in the amount of wasted sperm it takes to produce a tzaddik. Bilaam said "God who is holy and pure, what possible dealings can he have in the messy and wasteful business of reproduction". But that is exactly the point. God creates the system and part of the rules of the system may necessitate tremendous amounts of waste or useless material. But that is part of the nature of the system and without it the one precious unique thing that is the goal of that process could never exist.

So to answer in short all of this stuff exists because it is a to'tzeah of the natural rules of creation, without which man and Am Yisroel could never have existed.

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In "the challenge of creation" r.n.slifkin often quotes this as a possible answer. This answer might work for a human creator, but God is creating the laws also, so He doesn't need any amount of time and space to do so naturally. –  Ariel K Jun 7 '12 at 20:56
    
@ArielK true he doesn't need to but he abides by self imposed rules. –  user1552 Jun 7 '12 at 21:02
    
but if ur discussing creation, then He could have created different rules. –  Ariel K Jun 10 '12 at 4:08
    
@ArielK I don't think you're grasping the point, it is impossible to say why God did anything at all. However we can assign reasons for what has occurred to make them more understandable. The reason being assigned here is that God made certain rules of nature (for whatever reason) and abides by them, let's them play out etc. –  alltheinterwebs Jun 26 '12 at 16:17
    
@alltheinterwebs, the answer can work for explaining why things happen naturally after creation, but not for creation itself. At that point the universe could have been created smaller and with different rules, so saying it was created to be big to fit with these rules at best just shifts the question. –  Ariel K Jun 26 '12 at 17:29
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Even though God created all the trillions of galaxies, dark matter, dark energy etc. and all they contain that exists beyond our solar system, there are still many that deny Gods existence. Imagine if all this was not created how many more people would deny it.

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-1 I don't understand this answer and it seems like a tautology. why is the amount of stuff God created in any way related to belief in him or not? –  user1552 Jun 7 '12 at 16:21
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To encourage us in our observance and give us a sense of responsibility as to the greatness of our mission in this world as the Mesilat Yesharim brings down:

Our Sages of blessed memory drew our attention to this principle in Midrash Koheleth, where they said (Koheleth Rabbah 7:28) - 'See the work of God...' (Ecclesiastes 7:13). When the Holy One Blessed be He created Adam, He took him and caused him to pass before all the trees of the Garden of Eden. He said to him, `See how beautiful and praiseworthy are my works; and all that I have created, I have created for your sake. Take heed that you do not damage and destroy my world.' "

and earlier there:

In truth, man is the center of a great balance. For if he is pulled after the world and is drawn further from his Creator, he is damaged, and he damages the world with him.

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