Rabeinu Bachye in Shaar HaYichud demonstrates that the Kadmon (that which existed eternally) must have certain properties. For example, the Kadmon cannot have any limitations or borders of any sort for that would necessitate a previous cause which set the borders/limitations to be what they are.

Is there some kind of logical reason why the Kadmon must also be aware and intelligent? Can it be some kind of non-aware/intelligent existence? I'm looking for a source explaining the logic behind why God, i.e. the Eternal, the true Unity, etc. must be intelligent other than contingent fact.

In other words, does being Kadmon also logically imply being intelligent?

(for example, some sort of demonstration that the only thing which is devoid of all plurality is consciousness in its perfect form)

closed as off-topic by sabbahillel, kouty, Gershon Gold, mevaqesh, Isaac Kotlicky Sep 12 '16 at 10:40

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    "if that were the case, you're right it would not communicate. nor would there be inteligent beings to communicate with." Then the fact that you have intelligence forces you to believe that your creator is intelligent. Am i missing something here? – user6591 Sep 7 '16 at 22:14
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    Sounds like Spinoza... – mevaqesh Sep 7 '16 at 22:15
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    @user6591, intelligence could be an emergent property. Not that I believe that, but it is reasonable to seek an answer to that question if one is philosophically inclined. – Yishai Sep 7 '16 at 22:23
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    @ray If your question is directed at particular arguments by, e.g., Rabbeinu Bachya, then it would be useful to cite those arguments as such, including particular citation/quotation of one exemplar (e.g. R"B). – Isaac Moses Sep 8 '16 at 13:28
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it does not ask what Judaism thinks about something. Nor does it even seek a proof for a belief of Judaism. Rather, it merely asks whether a particular medieval proof for one thing, applies to something else as well. This seems much more appropriate for philosophy.stackexchange.com – mevaqesh Sep 11 '16 at 13:12

The Rambam in his Guide to the Perplexed, section I is ambiguous about whether or not G-d is actually has Knowledge. (Not sure how to translate "intelligence" into his terms, but the ability to gather knowledge, and to reach conclusions -- new knowledge from old -- must be part of it.)

In ch. 58, he writes:

Know that the negative attributes of God are the true attributes: they do not include any incorrect notions or any deficiency whatever in reference to God, while positive attributes imply polytheism, and are inadequate, as we have already shown.

This is a theme throughout much of section I, where the Rambam goes on to explain the terms in Tanakh that appear to ascribe attributes to Hashem. The Rambam believes all we can know about G-d is what He isn't -- "Eternal" means He is unaffacted by Time, "Omnipotent" means that He does not require power and therefore can caused anything, without limit. Etc..

And so, one can't speak of G-d's Knowledge or Intelligence, except in the sense of describing how His Actions (or whatever we wish to call the consequences of His Will) appear to us. Also from ch. 58:

It has thus been shown that every attribute predicated of God either denotes the quality of an action, or--when the attribute is intended to convey some idea of the Divine Being itself, and not of His actions--the negation of the opposite.

However, the Rambam also writes in ch. 68 about the unity of the Knower, the Knowledge and the Known:

You are acquainted with the well-known principle of the philosophers that God is the intellectus, the ens intelligens, and the ens intelligibile. These three things are in God one and the same, and do not in any way constitute a plurality. We have also mentioned it in our larger work, "Mishneh Torah," and we have explained there..."

Well, looking there, Laws of Foundations of the Torah (Yesodei haTorah) 2:10:

The Holy One, blessed be He, recognizes His truth and knows it as it is. He does not know with a knowledge which is external to Him in the way that we know, for ourselves and our knowledge are not one. Rather, the Creator, may He be blessed, He, His knowledge, and His life are one from all sides and corners, in all manners of unity. Were He to live as life is [usually conceived], or know with a knowledge that is external from Him, there would be many gods, Him, His life, and His knowledge. The matter is not so. Rather, He is one from all sides and corners, in all manners of unity. Thus, you could say, "He is the Knower, He is the Subject of Knowledge, and He is the Knowledge itself." All is one. This matter is beyond the ability of our mouths to relate, [or our] ears to hear, nor is there [the capacity] within the heart of man to grasp it in its entirety.....

In this chapter he appears to be promoting a Neoplatonic panentheism -- a notion that the universe is of G-d, but that the Creator is not limited to the universe. Thus, Hashem's Knowledge is the same as that which He Knows -- both of which are the same as Him.

So, looking at the Rambam, we are left with a mystery as to what we mean when refer to G-d as Intelligent. Chapter 58 would imply that:

1- We are saying that G-d doesn't need Intelligence, and therefore is unlimited by ignorance (a negative attribute). And/or 2- G-d's Actions appear to use to reflect Intelligence.

Ch. 69 would imply that 3- G-d's Intelligence is what we call us "existing". As one friend once put it, "we are all pixels in Hashem's Imagination."

And each has a different answer to your question:

1- The Creator is not Intelligent in any literal sense, all we are saying is that the universe and all that G-d does within it are not limited by a finite intellect.

2- G-d Acts like He has Intelligence because He wants to serve as a meaningful Role Model for humans and our intelligences. Intelligence is a description of How He Acts so that we can have a relationship with Him.

3- Creation and Intelligence are the same thing. G-d "Thought" us into being. And so, a "non-intelligent Creator" would be a self-contraditory phrase.

Of the three, I can only really get some handle on the first two.


While kadmon as a property (one of the concepts that R' Bachye's work explores) is principally the property of that which has always existed, the idea of "HaKadmon" - God as prime mover, is also addressed. It is important to distinguish the two, since the work moves between addressing the constructs of cause/effect, existence/nonexistence, and prime mover/creation rather freely.

Fundamentally, three (or possibly four) options exist:

  1. An eternal existence to the universe. (Aristotle)
  2. Creation of a universe ex nihilo without a creator.
  3. Creation of a universe with a(n unintelligible) creator.
    • Creation of a universe with an intelligent/aware creator. (basically all religions)

All philosophies are constructed upon a set of axioms (see the incompleteness theorem and the parallel postulate for related discussions on mathematics, which is technically a branch of logic and hence philosophy), but often those axioms remain unspoken. Frequently, this is due an assumed familiarity of the basics of the school to which the philosopher belong(s/ed). Prominent among older philosophical works is the understanding that a creation is a subset of the creator, or that the capacity of the creation is limited by the creator.

The discussion of kadmon in Shaar HaYichud starts with a refutation of Aristotelian philsophy by invoking the principle that self-creation is impossible (something created by nothing), and therefore an infinite regress (which essentially invokes self creation) is similarly impossible. Additionally, the temporal cannot give rise to the eternal. By those two axioms, there must exist some eternal thing prior to the creation of temporal things which gave rise to creation, which knocks out possibility two.

This axiom would also imply that non-intelligence cannot give rise to intelligence, and randomness/chaos cannot give rise to long term order (option 3). Thus the large scale order we perceive can only be produce by a prior intelligence and there must be a Prime Mover that is both eternal and intelligent.

While one could challenge some of the assumptions used in the argument (just as ignoring the parallel postulate led to new mathematics), the axiom used by R' Bachye as giving rise to a philosophical Prime Mover also necessitates its intelligence.


This answer to the question is based upon a translation of the Shaar Hayichud as provided here. Therefore, my ability to semantically discuss the translation itself is limited. If you do have critiques, please address them in the comments and I will endeavor to update the answer to address them.


The question only makes sense from a materialist or dualist perspective. If all inanimate existence is only a state of mind to begin with, then mind itself is causally the first existence.

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    what is a materialist or dualist perspective? thanks – ray Sep 8 '16 at 17:12
  • Materialism postulates that only inanimate matter exists, and that mind, i.e. self, is an illusion and/or is an "emergent property" of inanimate matter, etc. Dualism believes in the existence of mind, but also (untestably) postulates that inanimate matter exists independent of any concept of mind. Both of these ideologies assume an idea that can never conceivably be demonstrated, i.e. that of purely mindless matter. The alternate model is labeled monism and never isolates matter from mind. Matter instead remains a function of and vehicle for communication between minds. – Loewian Sep 9 '16 at 0:28

Being the Cause of all causes (i.e. the First Cause or "Prime Mover") and the backdrop upon which all stands necessitates that all effects stem from Him and are entirely dependent on Him to exist.

So, as @Kouty aptly commented, nothing can exist in actuality which does not find its potential to exist in Him. This can be applied to all traits (and, in fact, all of existence) and not just to Intelligence.

  • sounds to me like like you are saying it is a contingent fact. since we see intelligent beings, then it must originate from Him. – ray Sep 8 '16 at 18:55
  • I'm not saying anything new. The Torah clearly states "אין עוד מלבדו". We understand this literally: there is nothing besides Him. He is all that exists. – Lee Sep 8 '16 at 19:00
  • true but why should He be aware and intelligent? is this a logical consequence of being Kadmon? – ray Sep 8 '16 at 19:12
  • Yes it is. If this answer and the others suggested do not satisfy your original inquiry, I suggest clarifying the question or risk having it closed for lack of clarity. – Lee Sep 8 '16 at 20:30
  • thanks but why is this a consequence of being Kadmon? your answer just states that since we observe intelligence in humans then it must originate from Him. this is not a logical argument. it is just a contingent fact – ray Sep 8 '16 at 20:33

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