God's Law; Your duty of care

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posted on Feb, 14 2014 @ 05:02 PM
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The social laws of the Pentateuch were not designed for the modern world,
They were clearly designed for a different kind of world, a mainly agricultural society.
But since they were published in the name of the Biblical God, they can still throw light on his nature and intentions.
Which gives us a new reason for reading this collection even if the laws themselves have been superseded.

Most of these laws can be grouped into topical themes, and that’s how I’ve been treating them.
But before I move on to the more contentious themes, I’m gathering together a number of miscellaneous laws which don’t have any other connections.
The umbrella title “duty of care” is a catchphrase from English law.

There’s evidence, for example, of a general responsibility to act in ways which don’t injure the rest of the population;

You must not defraud them.
“You shall do no wrong in judgement, in measures of length or weight of quantity. You shall have just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin; I am the Lord”- Leviticus ch19 v35

You must not defame them
“You shall not go up and down as a slanderer among your people”- Leviticus ch19 v16

There are people in situations which need special consideration;

“When a man is newly married, he shall not go out with the army or be charged with any business; he shall be free at home one year, to be happy with his wife whom he has taken”- Deuteronomy ch24 v5

Other vulnerable members of society must be treated kindly;
“You shall not afflict any widow or orphan”-Exodus ch22 v23
“You shall not curse the deaf or put a stumbling-block before the blind”- Leviticus ch19 v14

That includes the people who work for you, and even the animals which are in your service.
“The wages of a hired servant shall not remain with you all night until the morning”- Leviticus ch19 v13
(Do not delay payment.)
“You shall not muzzle the ox when it treads out the corn”- Deuteronomy ch25 v4
(That is, you must not stop him from eating while he works, even if it’s your own crop that he’s munching.)
“On the seventh day you shall rest; that your ox and your ass may have rest, and the son of your bondmaid, and the alien, may be refreshed”- Exodus ch23 v12
(Do not overwork them.)

This care and consideration is not to be restricted to people of the same race;
“When a stranger sojourns with you in the land, you shall not do him wrong. The stranger who sojourns with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt; I am the Lord”- Leviticus ch19 v34

This also includes fugitive slaves, it seems.
Israel must be unique among slave-owning societies in having a law forbidding the return of a slave “who has escaped from his master to you”- Deuteronomy ch23 vv15-16

Some of these laws could have been inspired by modern agencies.

Here is a regulation imposed at the request of the Health and Safety Executive.
“When you build a new house, you shall make a parapet for your roof, that you may not bring the guilt of blood upon your house, if anyone fall from it”- Deuteronomy ch22 v8
(So negligence would count as indirect murder, which is what “blood-guilt” implies.)

There’s also a sanitary law, about keeping the camp free from excrement;
“You shall have a place outside the camp…and you shall have a stick…and dig a hole with it…and turn back and cover it up”- Deuteronomy ch23 v12

Other laws might have been lobbied for by the R.S.P.C.A, or other bodies concerned about “the environment”.
“If you chance to come upon a bird’s nest…with young ones or eggs, and the mother sitting upon the young or upon the eggs, you shall not take the mother with the young; you shall let the mother go, but the young you may take to yourself”- Deuteronomy ch22 vv6-7
“When you besiege a city for a long time…you shall not destroy its [fruit] trees by wielding an axe against them-“- Deuteronomy ch20 vv19-20
Both these laws are about maintaining the continuity of life; he allows his people to use the living things of the world, but not to exterminate them.

What do these laws tell us about the God who endorses them?
These too, in a practical way, are moving towards the teaching of love.
They speak of a God with a great care for the well-being of individuals, both human and animal.

It also shows us a God who looks after details, who concerns himself with the small things of the world.
The Epicureans thought their gods would exist, it at all, in a distant realm, taking no interest in human life.
But the God implied in these laws is neither so great nor so distant that he cannot be conscious of our smallest needs.
This is the kind of God who would be aware of “the death of a sparrow”, and would be able to count “every hair on a man’s head”.




posted on Feb, 14 2014 @ 05:19 PM
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I just did a double-take: Didn't Jesus exhort people to return a slave to his master? Or am I totally off the wall on this one? It's been a sensitive point for me for ages.



posted on Feb, 14 2014 @ 05:24 PM
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reply to post by aboutface
 

Are you thinking of the Epistle to Philemon?
Paul sends back Onesimus, but urges Philemon to give the man his freedom anyway.
Later in this series I'll be doing a thread specifically on slavery (someone in one of the other threads is getting annoyed because I refuse to jump the gun and deal with the subject earlier).



edit on 14-2-2014 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 14 2014 @ 07:34 PM
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I have semi followed your series of posts on gods laws and you highlight very well the good sense in gods society cooperation/laws. These laws are very difficult to argue against in their purity. To be a nice person these guidelines are great.

Do you think it productive though for everyone to be mr nice, to share, not to deviate from these laws or would they make a society stagnant for example?

I sometimes think the point on Jesus giving for our sins is to highlight that although there is an obvious moral compass we are expected to fall of that path. Not that we will fall of that path but we have to.

Jesus story highlights that with Gods assistance we could all live happily to the laws but because we don't have Gods assistance we have to try the best we can.

The laws seems to be favored for man of that time, killing animals for food accepted for example as that makes us stronger but killing fellow man to make us stronger not.

Possibly I don't understand all the laws such as education which might let us stay on the path and still achieve and why possibly we are allowed to do certain things to survive.

Just thoughts.



posted on Feb, 15 2014 @ 07:54 AM
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reply to post by guidetube
 

It seems to me that the alternative is as described in Genesis ch6, "the earth was filled with violence", which is effectively what we've got now.

As for the danger of society growing stagnant, think how much energy, money etc. is currently wasted by virtue of the fact that people cannot be trusted not to attack one another and steal from one another (police forces, locks...). This is what holds us back.
If people can genuinely co-operate and work together in a more productive way, doesn't society prosper by leaps and bounds?


edit on 15-2-2014 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 15 2014 @ 01:03 PM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 


So you are advocating turning society back to the bible?

I believe our Gods law is simple; We make our own choice so we make our own laws and judgments. God presumably gave us this choice and asks/wants/shows us to choose good. Or at least we have a choice between good and bad.
Our God will know if we choose him and/or good.
We have to make our own judgments on others choices and decide what to do when we note bad choices.

I think the bible has made some bad choices of teaching. I think governments choice to choose for us is bad. We should change both for better choices.

We should of course hold onto the knowledge passed to us regarding choices. The good ones such as societies laws (or the gods good laws you write about) are obvious to us when shown and mean we should not need to make the same mistakes many others did. This is what we should be looking to pass on. Teach people what we have learned about Gods and God, that they are not people like or vengeful, about how our freewill is our choice which can not be taken and all other freedoms are ruled by man which we should judge.



posted on Feb, 15 2014 @ 01:09 PM
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reply to post by guidetube
 

All through this series I've been distinguishing between the details of the laws and the basic principles which lie behind them.
I would not advocate going back to the details as outlined in the Old Testament, and a willingness to discard the details of the "written code" goes back as least as far as Paul.
I would certainly advocate the basic principles as an ideal we should be looking to when we make our choices- but as far as I can see, we're both in agreement on that?



edit on 15-2-2014 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 15 2014 @ 02:35 PM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 


I would like to see a list of them when you are done


Cant argue against the good of these laws.
I just wouldn't call them Gods.
Very relevant today when in context.

What is the feeling on breaking these laws in a modern context though? Gods wrath, men's judgment both or other?

I think since they are made of man, man alone will judge.
I feel God would judge if we made our decisions based on good or bad.

And Im not sure what you mean about the willingness to discard the details of the "written code".



posted on Feb, 15 2014 @ 03:07 PM
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guidetube
I would like to see a list of them when you are done

I will be doing an Index thread, as usual, at the end of the series, and making a summary list was already part of the plan.



I feel God would judge if we made our decisions based on good or bad.

The object of the exercise is looking for guidelines about what God would call good or bad,


And Im not sure what you mean about the willingness to discard the details of the "written code".

Well, for example,, "do not steal from others" is extracted as a basic principle, but "the man who steals an ox should pay five oxen in compensation" is one of the practical details, modelled for the needs of a particular society.
Christians are not expected, like Jews, to treat the laws of the Old Testament as a code of laws which need to be obeyed in full, and i'm not suggesting that they should be.
That's what I mean by discarding the detail and focussing on the basic principles.

edit on 15-2-2014 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 15 2014 @ 04:03 PM
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Nice and meaningful project.

I think our real choice is between good or bad paths. We choose this not by statement but by our other choices, actions and judgments. This choice can not be taking away from us.

For example I suppose the ends would justify the means so long as our intent was well considered and chosen to be for our understanding of the greater good.

This is why I don't have much of a problem with "elders" teaching us with some spin or sensationalism as the core morals were important to be accepted within society. I would even go one step further though and suggest the Bible / New Testament be treated in the same way as you are suggesting of the Old Testament. The possibility of a new way of teaching to help people realize the consequences to their choices and possibly even avoid the obvious we are now missing.

The God I choose to be possibly there is not the one taught in the New Testament, but one we understand more and more as we follow good paths. One that does not get involved more than the giving of the physical universe, our own choice and the insight of what good is.



posted on Feb, 15 2014 @ 04:12 PM
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reply to post by guidetube
 

Well, Jesus was willing to sum the whole thing up in two commandments, with "you shall love your neighbour as yourself" summing up the human-to-human side of things.

The special feature of the Biblical religion is that it involves a God who communicates, who makes himself known and says "Here I am".
That gets him involved in things, so from a Biblical viewpoint we can't say that he isn't involved.



edit on 15-2-2014 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 16 2014 @ 04:04 PM
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I've looked again in the Babylonian code and the Roman Twelve Tables, but the nearest parallel I found was this Roman law;


VIII. 1 "If any person has sung or composed against another person a SONG (carmen) such as was causing slander or insult.... he shall be clubbed to death."


Simple, but effective.



posted on Feb, 17 2014 @ 06:20 AM
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@DISRAELI...Well, Jesus was willing to sum the whole thing up in two commandments, with "you shall love your neighbour as yourself" summing up the human-to-human side of things.

Do you see that as meaning Jesus scrapped the laws... Or do you see it as Jesus summarizing the laws? I believe he meant ''if you love God, keep all the law that requires you to serve God'' and ''if you love man, keep all the laws that require you to serve man''. Anyway, its nice to see people still making strictly theological threads on ATS.



posted on Feb, 17 2014 @ 01:19 PM
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reply to post by sk0rpi0n
 

I think he was summarising the most important aspects of the law, the spirit of the law.
His attitude may have been closer than people realise to Paul's attitude, that the spirit of the law is more important than the letter of the law.
Anyway, we know from the gospels that he disagreed with at least one of the provisions of the written law (the permission to divorce) and was uncomfortable with another one (the stoning of adulterers), so we can't say that he would have endorsed every detail of the written law as it then stood.

Yes, I've been doing this for a couple of years now and this is the fourth full series.
Getting involved in attack threads, whether making them or responding, just plays into the hands of those who would like to exclude religion from ATS.
While positive theology presents the religious case much more effectively, in the long term.



edit on 17-2-2014 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 17 2014 @ 06:51 PM
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aboutface
I just did a double-take: Didn't Jesus exhort people to return a slave to his master? Or am I totally off the wall on this one? It's been a sensitive point for me for ages.


Jesus never said anything about slaves.
"But people who are not aware that they are doing wrong will be punished only lightly. Much is required from those to whom much is given, and much more is required from those to whom much more is given." (Luke 12:47-48)

This isn't about slavery. Servants, well, Christ served people and his apostles and washed their feet. He is actually saying, in the metaphor and he said openly all his sayings are metaphor so people wouldn't understand......!!! The more you are you're given the more responsibility you have. So those here with much talent energy resources and wealth, shouldn't be using their positions and resources to enslave others.
edit on 17-2-2014 by Unity_99 because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 17 2014 @ 06:57 PM
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Your not allowed slaves. PERIOD. And the bible is inner works, ie your inner Michael defeats your inner dragon, the red sea parting is your anger and retaliation/wars, and you need to meditate, "be still and know God" as moses said to do it. And enslaving anyone is a mortal sin against all souls.



posted on Feb, 18 2014 @ 02:07 AM
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DISRAELI
reply to post by sk0rpi0n
 

I think he was summarising the most important aspects of the law, the spirit of the law.
His attitude may have been closer than people realise to Paul's attitude, that the spirit of the law is more important than the letter of the law.
Anyway, we know from the gospels that he disagreed with at least one of the provisions of the written law (the permission to divorce) and was uncomfortable with another one (the stoning of adulterers), so we can't say that he would have endorsed every detail of the written law as it then stood.

Jesus tweaked the law. And Jesus was against some peoples OCD-ish keeping of the law, while neglecting spiritual aspects. However, he did tell people to ''do and obey, all the Pharisees tell''.



posted on Feb, 18 2014 @ 12:06 PM
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reply to post by Unity_99
 

I think that user may have been vaguely remembering the Epistle to Philemon, where Paul sends back the slave Onesimus, in obedience to the civil law of the time, but entreats Philemon to free him anyway.

You may like to know that slavery will be the specific topic of one of the later threads in this series.



posted on Feb, 18 2014 @ 12:11 PM
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reply to post by sk0rpi0n
 

But he wasn't entirely happy with everything the Pharisees taught either, since he had to criticise them for their applications of the teaching.
"Listen to the Pharisees" is not the real burden of that verse. The real burden is in what immediately follows; "but don't do what they do." The first half of the verse is only there as a lead-in to the second half.



posted on Feb, 18 2014 @ 06:31 PM
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reply to post by sk0rpi0n
 



sk0rpi0n
Do you see that as meaning Jesus scrapped the laws... Or do you see it as Jesus summarizing the laws? I believe he meant ''if you love God, keep all the law that requires you to serve God'' and ''if you love man, keep all the laws that require you to serve man''. Anyway, its nice to see people still making strictly theological threads on ATS.


The Law is not to be "scrapped" but "fulfilled".



"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. " - Matthew 5:17




"For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." - Galatians 5:14





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