It is vital that we keep in mind that it is impossible for us to completely apprehend the wisdom and grace expressed in the nature of the Torah’s existence. In reality we know but a pittance and are ignorant of much, as is the case with our knowledge of the nature of all existing things with regard to their wisdom and grace. In reality we masig but very little, as is well known to all those who do real research in the natural sciences- and come to appreciate the gap between our models of the of the laws of the Universe and their reality... It therefore follows from the fact that the Torah is divine, [that it’s nature will also only be incompletely understood]. Biur d'varim #2
The end the means and the instrument
The first part of Ralbag's hakdamah formulates the end of the Torah project- attaining knowledge and appreciation of God's Chochma and Tov. Ralbag corrected the erroneous belief that appreciation of D'varim Gedolim is the only means to this end. He focused the reader instead upon the phenomenon of Tuvo, the hashgacha that enables the soul to appreciate Gods ordering of our environment for the excellent man who is seeking God's Chochma. Once the reality that our thought is dependent upon a natural process of illumination is established, the potential for a Torah as a natural instrument becomes clear.
The next step would seem to be showing us how to use the Torah instrument to satisfy our soul's natural yearning for Emes. Yet this is not the case. The Ralbag first goes into the issue of the gap between our models of knowledge and knowledge itself.
It is vital that we keep in mind that it is impossible for us to completely apprehend (l'hasig) the wisdom and grace expressed in the nature of the Torah’s existence. In reality we know but a pittance and are ignorant of much, as is the case with our knowledge of the nature of all existing things with regard to their wisdom and grace. In reality we masig but very little, as is well known to all those who do real research in the natural sciences- and come to appreciate the gap between our models of the of the laws of the Universe and their reality... It therefore follows from the fact that the Torah is divine, [that it’s nature will also only be incompletely understood].How is awareness of this gap between our models of laws and their reality relevant to Ralbag's purpose of enabling use of the Torah instrument ?
This very notion of "models" is itself very strange. If our Soul isn't capturing the Emes of the laws of science then what is it actually doing?
The solution: His Chochma vs Our chochma
To answer these questions we must pay close attention to the framework of human apprehension in which Ralbag is operating.
The first step of Ralbag was to show that in external reality the distinction between Chochmaso and Tuvo expressed ie the order of Creation. It is precisely the reality of Tuvo that is the cause of rationality - an order that is apprehensible to man (musag). What it is vital to realize is that the mere fact that there is a cause of apprehension Ralbag's next step is to show the resulting effects of tuvo- the manner in which tuvo enables the soul to apprehend this order in the manner that it can..The mere fact that the Creations are made a cause of apprehension in man does not mean that they will apprehend completely. On the contrary this is not the case at all. A fire may be the cause of heat in a metal, but not the same heat as it itself has.
This point is evident in the Rambam we quoted as well.
When a person gains insight into these d’varim (first principles), recognizing (the entire hierarchy) of the creations, from angel and galaxy all the way to man (and his environment) , and therefore sees the chochmas hashem in all the creations, he adds to his love of the makom, and his soul thirsts and his flesh yearns to love the makom baruch hu. Simultaneously, this person feels a great awe and fear resulting from his smallness and inconsequenciality ...We must constantly be aware of the fact that our soul is moving toward Emes via the powers of apprehension (hasaga) that it has. These powers of hasaga approach the nature of the musag his Chochma in the manner that they do. It is for this reason that Rambam uses the term d'varim roted in Davar which is speech. Dibra Torah kilshon bnei adam- the torah speaks in the langage of man. The fact that we are materially unable to apprehend the musag intrinsic to the Creation is key to the methodology of Torah. We do not directly approach Emes, we approach the emes via the instruments of soul -the dvarim- available to us. It is precisely this recognition that we are approaching His Chochma via our d'varim that this person feels a great awe and fear resulting from his smallness and inconsequenciality. This distinction between his Chochma and our chochma explains the need for d'varim ketanim as well.
Now I say that it is inappropriate to tour the pardes except for he who has filled his belly with bread and meat . “Bread and meat” refers to knowing the assur and mutar (ie the applied principles) in that which is not first principles. Even though these principles are called davar katan... they come first educationally, since they cultivate (meyashvin) the mind and additionally are the great good by which we develop this world (yishuv Aretz) and attain the world to come.Man's soul emerges through learning to utilize animal powers to a new end- hasaga of Emes. This demands initiation of the material character of the animal powers into the world of His Chochma. Our soul is, as it were, imprisoned by the attraction to dominance and appetites of the animal psyche it must learn to use. If it is to choose the path of using these powers, rather than being used by them, ie learn how to eat bread and meat as a man rather than a beast, the soul must be become aware of and redeemed from the animal path it is used to. This path is by no means easy as it says it Mishlei 1:4 "Yiras hashem reeshees daas chochma umusar Eveelim bazu". Fear of God is the first step of education,[even though] Chochma and mussar are despised by the sophist. The animal powers desperately resist initiation into the reality of a Chochma external and superior to ourselves. They prefer the fantasy of Human divinity in which we are Creators of Chochma tools by which to attain an impossible eternal dominion on Earth.
This explains why the rest of Ralbag's Hakdamah deals with the inyanim of Torah and the m'komos the methodology by which a person finds the dvarim ketanim of redemption in Chumash.