sianism, Torah, and commandments, they help pave the road on which the Messiah must travel. How so? Among the tasks of the Messiah will be "to prepare the world to worship God with one accord." This will be accomplished through natural means: "Let no one think that in the days of the Messiah any of the laws of nature will be set aside, or any innovation be introduced into creation. The world will follow its normal course." 8 But to convert the world to pure monotheism overnight (to say nothing of acceptance of the Torah and its commandments) would be an "innovation into creation," a miracle of unprecedented proportions, extending over the face of the entire world and persisting forever. Maimonides believes that the role of Christianity and Islam is to wean idolaters away from idolatry. It is their job to prepare the larger world to accept faith in God and in his Torah in order "to call upon the name of the Lord to serve Him with one consent" ( Zeph. 3:9) when the true Messiah comes.
R. Simlai and Maimonides, for all their differences, illustrate that a Jewish view of redemption must emphasize a number of issues: this- worldliness, good works, and truth. Paul's view of redemption as expressed in Romans seems to be wholly other-worldly, divorced from good works, and focused entirely on truth. Paul seems to be answering the following question: What doctrine must a person accept as true in order to be saved? Maimonides is the first Jew to ask even a similar question (but for Aristotelian, not Pauline, reasons); still, he is drawn by the Jewish tradition to focus on good works in this world as well.
How are we to understand Paul's position, which seems so divergent from the faith of his fathers and mothers? The answer relates to the question of original sin. Since for Paul "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," they can now only be "justified by his grace as a gift" (3:21-23). Grace cannot be earned; it can only be bestowed by God as a gift and accepted as such by those who are happy enough to recognize it and receive it. On this question the Jewish view seems well expressed by the Mishnah (Sanh. 10:1): "All Israelites have a share in the world to come"--since humans by their nature do not fall short of the glory of God, they are by nature worthy of a share in the world to come. 9 Thus, by nature, humans are redeemed. The Jew's problem is not his or her individual salvation, but how to bring redemption to the world.