In response to the corona virus outbreak.
In the Bible, which is a very wise book, there’s a strange story about God (in the form of a man) picking a fight with Jacob. Clearly God wants to kill him and Jacob is fighting for his life. This is very strange, especially taking into account that a few chapters earlier God promised that Abraham’s descendants (Isaac and Jacob and their offspring) will inherit the Land of Israel (the promised land).
This is an important event in the life of Jacob and the history of the People of Israel, because as a result of this struggle Jacob receives a new name, Israel, which means, “he struggled with God”. This then becomes the name, which the Jewish People bear to this day, The Children of Israel.
Although this is not the first time that man has had to struggle with God, for survival. Adam is really the first one to struggle with God and survive. But this is the first time, in fact the only time, that the Bible states explicitly that man is destined to struggle. Not only to struggle, but to struggle with God.
This story, therefore, can be seen as God’s explanation for man’s struggles against the forces of nature. There can be no other explanation for man’s life of struggle, struggle is a feature of man, man must struggle, he has no choice.
Since the time of creation, man has been struggling; against plagues, earthquakes, volcanoes and what not.
But we are told over and over again, that God controls nature. So it seems that we’re fighting against God.
The Bible is replete with stories of man’s struggle for survival. Just to mention a few; the flood, the binding of Isaac, Joseph in the pit, the children of Israel and the Golden calf.
I’m sure that I don’t have to remind anyone of the number of times that the Jews have been on the brink of extinction and have survived. Survival in the face of extinction is the hallmark of a Jew.
Had Jacob not overcome God, that would have been the end of religion and the end of the Bible story.
Jacob, however, not only overcomes God, but he lets Him go free. God gets another chance at trying to kill man and man has to keep struggling to overcome God.
We struggle in many ways, religion, is one. Religion is man’s way of trying to appease God, in the belief that, one day, God won’t struggle against man anymore. That will be the day of the messiah, when there won’t be death anymore.
Religious people believe that, eventually, God will have mercy on man, through man’s efforts at appeasing Him.
Non religious people believe that the struggle will continue forever and man will develop new ways of surviving, the trials of nature. This constant struggle is what makes man evolve into a better creature.
The religious man’s efforts to appease God, are no less impressive than efforts through science. Religion has given us amazing music and art and science has given us ingeneous ways of adapting to changes in nature.
We can truly say that we struggle with God and we are overcoming Him. This is what God wants of us, this is why we exist.
We have become scientists, artists, warriors, everything admirable in the world, all thanks to our need to overcome God, in order to survive.
And if after all we succeed, we will compose beautiful odes and paint beautiful paintings to honor God for saving us.