Many religions such as Islam, sikhism, etc... believe in the divine decree i.e. everything we: do, say, think, feel and everything that happens around us like the weather, earth quakes, etc... is already predetermined. Is this also the case for judaism? I tried to seach the internet but got nothing.

  • @robev The other question isn't about whether everything is already predetermined
    – b a
    Mar 22 at 13:34

According to some, this appears to be the case. Nachmanides was convinced that G-d was constantly involved in the world, from a falling leaf to the winter snow. He wrote that there were no laws of nature. He felt that there was such a thing called "hidden miracles." He writes:

“From [belief in] large perceptible miracles one [comes to believe] in hidden miracles, which are the very foundation of the entire Torah. A person has no share in the Torah of Moses our teacher until he believes that all that occurs is the result of miracles, not the laws of nature. … Everything happens by divine decree.”[1]

Maimonides disagreed. He felt that the world works according to the laws of nature and that G-d is not involved in human affairs. He explains miracles as natural phenomena. Maimonides wrote:

”through the interference of divine providence that a certain leaf falls [from a tree], nor do I hold that when a certain spider catches a certain fly, that this is the direct result of a special decree and will of G-d in that moment… In all these cases the action is, according to my opinion, entirely due to chance, as taught by Aristotle… The prophets even express their surprise that G-d should take notice of man, who is too little and too unimportant to be worthy of the attention of the Creator…. Study this chapter as it ought to be studied; you will find in it all the fundamental principles of the law.”[2]

In summary, there are two views. Nachmanides, who was a mystic felt that there are no laws of nature, everything happens by divine decree, whereas, Maimonides, who was a rationalist felt that the world generally works according to the laws of nature that G-d created.

[1] Nachmanides’ Commentary to Exodus 15:26

[2] See Guide, 3:17 and 18

  • When you quote, can you provide the name of the book, and where it is in the book? Thanks
    – kouty
    Mar 20 at 21:16
  • I am almost sure that the two quotes are not contradictory
    – kouty
    Mar 20 at 21:17
  • @kouty I edited the answer and cited sources. Thank you for your comment. In my view, one is clearly mystical while the other is rational, a contradiction.
    – Turk Hill
    Mar 20 at 22:51
  • @kouty is correct. Maimonides is saying that while G-d creates and sustains everything, that does not mean that every single event is of equal significance; some things are just part of a more general plan for the world. Nachmanides is saying that since G-d creates and sustains everything, the mechanisms for miracles and nature are really one and the same.
    – N.T.
    Mar 21 at 7:21
  • @N.T. Yes, Nachmanides felt that there was no such thing as laws of nature. A leaf falls from a tree because it was G-'d decree. On the contrary, Maimonides felt that G-d created the world, but when we say G-d "runs" the world, this does not mean G-d wills all, rather, G-d set up laws of nature and they run the show. Rambam's Eight Chapters says this idea, that nature does the work, not G-d wills everything. In Genesis, when G-d "rested" it does not mean G-d tired. It is a figure of speech. It means he set these laws and allowed them to operate, without His involvement.
    – Turk Hill
    Mar 21 at 18:45

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