On the 6th day of the Creation, G-d consults angels (see my other question) and presents them with what looks like His vision of Man's goal on Earth:

וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹקים נַעֲשֶׂה אָדָם בְּצַלְמֵנוּ כִּדְמוּתֵנוּ
וְיִרְדּוּ בִדְגַת הַיָּם וּבְעוֹף הַשָּׁמַיִם וּבַבְּהֵמָה וּבְכָל־הָאָרֶץ וּבְכָל־הָרֶמֶשׂ הָרֹמֵשׂ עַל־הָאָרֶץ׃

And God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. They shall rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the cattle, the whole earth, and all the creeping things that creep on earth.”

I would expect it to be something far nobler, like "and he will bring this world to perfection" or "and he will serve Me devotedly and make a dwelling for me on Earth".

Why was the presentation so "dull"?

  • The נעשה אדם בצלמנו would imply a higher purpose. I think it's wrong to focus on "and they'll (incidentally) be ruling over the animals" etc. – bondonk Oct 26 '19 at 20:50
  • @bondonk That answers on "what Man will we create" but not "what for", after all we don't share the same purpose with angels. – Al Berko Oct 26 '19 at 20:57
  • @AlBerko point taken. But it doesn't say 'purpose', it says צלמנו ודמותנו. That's not the same. – bondonk Oct 26 '19 at 21:04

It may seem dull because man is not the sole purpose of creation. This is the view of Maimonides, and Maimonides takes a strong stance against anthropocentrism. He writes, "Every ignoramus imagines that all that exists exists with a view to his individual sake." [1]

"'It is thought [by the ignorant] that the finality of all that exists is solely the existence of the human species so that it should worship G-d."[2]

"It should not be believed that all things exist for the sake of the existence of man. On the contrary, all other beings too have been intended for their own sakes and not for the sake of something else."[3]

Thus, G-d did not create the world only for humans, but for plants, vegetative life, animals, birds, fish, and inanimate objects.

[1] Guide, III, 12, p. 442.

[2] Ibid., III, 13, p. 451.

[3] Ibid., p. 452.

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  • Keep reading and you'll see that this is at best misleading and at worst wrong. "G-d did not create the world only for humans" – true – "but for plants, vegetative life, animals, birds, fish, and inanimate objects" – false. G-d did not create the world for anything. G-d created the world because it was His Will to create the world. That's Maimonides' conclusion of chapter 13. – DonielF May 27 at 19:32
  • @DonielF Actually, it is impossible to know why G-d created the world. At best, it can be ascertained that it was not only for humans but for all life. Thus, do we conclude that it was His will, but G-d's will is not [and cannot], according to Maimonides, be analogous to human free will. G-d's Will is perfect and spontaneous and is not subjected to natural law, as is human will. In essence, we agree. – Turk Hill May 27 at 19:44
  • What I think Maimonides means to say is that G-d did not only create the world for humans, since it can be shown that other forms of life exist. G-d created the world because He wills it. – Turk Hill May 27 at 19:50
  • That much I agree with. But I disagree with your phrasing his opinion as “He created the world for everything else, too.” He didn’t create the world for any of us. – DonielF May 28 at 0:16
  • @DonielF I agree with you and Maimonides that G-d did not create the world for humans. Rambam's point was that if people tried to say He did, then one could point to animals. I think this was what he meant. – Turk Hill May 28 at 0:18

I think Maimonides answered this well. The Rambam says that the world probably wasn't created for people so people should take care of the earth and be careful not to pollute it. This interpretation suggests that animals are also important to G-d. We should show respect for animals because animals also have feelings. This is the meaning of the 7th law of Noahides.

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  • 3
    Where does he say that? – Al Berko Oct 26 '19 at 19:03
  • I cannot remember the source as it has been years since last I check, but the idea is certainly there. In the intern, I will try to look for it. – Turk Hill Oct 26 '19 at 21:48

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