The antiquity of the law

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The antiquity of the law

Postby Bare_Truth » Thu Sep 18, 2014 12:18 pm

Clearly "The Law" pre-dates Christianity in a very literal sense. and it can be argue that it also pre-dates the codification by Moses when it might be classified even into Commandments, Statutes and Judgements. As a the first statement of a commandment, (if we allow that "be fruitful and multiply" may be seen as merely a pronouncement of a blessing), we see in in Genesis 2:17
But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: ....
And there is at the time of Abraham, a specific statement found in Genesis 18:19
For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgement;
which justice and judgment require that there is a standard, law, from God. And even going back to the time of Adam and Eve after expulsion, we see Cain and Able making offerings in Genesis. from which many infer that commanded offerings may have been in place even then.

So then How far back should we believe that there was instruction in place that, not "could", but should be called "Law" given to mankind?
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Re: The antiquity of the law

Postby jochanaan » Thu Sep 18, 2014 4:09 pm

For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
(Romans 5:13-14)

From this, it would appear that even though there was no written Law, there was still the law that brought death. Probably it was the oral tradition, which should not be discounted since in the past, those with trained memories could remember the very words spoken by their parents, received from their parents, possibly including verbatim quotes from Adam or Eve themselves...
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Re: The antiquity of the law

Postby bn2bnude » Thu Sep 18, 2014 10:06 pm

One of the teachers I listen to, Bruxy Cavey, would say that even prior to the fall, the first thing the Serpent brought was religion.

He then states that Cain's offering was more than thankfulness. He speculates (with backup) that the offering was an attempt to return to the garden. The reason he was so upset was it was rejected as such.

He also suggests that the tower of Babel was actually an alter. You can listen or watch here, here and here.

I would argue that yes, there is a basic law written in mens hearts. I would also argue, however, the purpose of the law written in Exodus, Leviticus & Deuteronomy are a different purpose.
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Re: The antiquity of the law

Postby Petros » Thu Sep 18, 2014 11:26 pm

As the Bible as a whole, and the OT and NT separately, are not one document but many [with complex networks of relationship] so the law of the Torah, even stripped of layers of complex and often conflicting interpretation and expansion, is not one code but several - yet still so constructed that we can have Jesus' remarks on sections 1 and 2 of the Decalogue.
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Re: The antiquity of the law

Postby jochanaan » Fri Sep 19, 2014 9:43 am

bn2bnude wrote:...I would argue that yes, there is a basic law written in mens hearts. I would also argue, however, the purpose of the law written in Exodus, Leviticus & Deuteronomy are a different purpose.
I would actually argue against that. There is indeed a law in our hearts; but our hearts are mostly so darkened by living in a sinful world that it was necessary for God, through Moses and Jesus and many others throughout history, to set down principles and detailed instructions so that we may have something definite to which to refer in doubtful cases, or when we are afraid or angry or saddened by the world's sins. The law in our hearts and the written laws (not just the Torah, but arguably most written codes throughout the world and time) are both expressions of God's character.
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Re: The antiquity of the law

Postby Bare_Truth » Fri Sep 19, 2014 11:33 am

jochanaan wrote:......I would actually argue against that. There is indeed a law in our hearts; but our hearts are mostly so darkened by living in a sinful world that it was necessary for God, through Moses and Jesus and many others throughout history, to set down principles and detailed instructions so that we may have something definite to which to refer in doubtful cases, or when we are afraid or angry or saddened by the world's sins. ......
I am in agreement on this point :like: :like:
In the 17 chapter Jeremiah wrote: 9 ¶The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
We do however have a most hopeful promise:
quoting God's description of restoration of mankind in Chapter 36 Ezekiel wrote:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
But I understand this to be a process from the time or our calling to the time of our glorification and change to purely spirit existence. Metaphorically, our stony hearts must be replaced in this life that they should be soft like flesh, before being ready for full glorification. It is a process carried out by the Holy Spirit which we can receive to indwell us during this life, and provide what we lack to make us over in the likeness of our savior..
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Re: The antiquity of the law

Postby jochanaan » Fri Sep 19, 2014 12:13 pm

Bare_Truth wrote:...We do however have a most hopeful promise:
quoting God's description of restoration of mankind in Chapter 36 Ezekiel wrote:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
But I understand this to be a process from the time or our calling to the time of our glorification and change to purely spirit existence. Metaphorically, our stony hearts must be replaced in this life that they should be soft like flesh, before being ready for full glorification. It is a process carried out by the Holy Spirit which we can receive to indwell us during this life, and provide what we lack to make us over in the likeness of our savior..
In my experience, our hearts are softened in much the same way as a cut of meat: by being pounded. :shock: :lol: I've asked God why this is; He just tells me to hang in there. But I believe He only allows it to help us grow in grace and knowledge and compassion. 8) :)
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Re: The antiquity of the law

Postby Bare_Truth » Fri Sep 19, 2014 5:16 pm

jochanaan wrote:..... In my experience, our hearts are softened in much the same way as a cut of meat: by being pounded. :shock: :lol: I've asked God why this is; He just tells me to hang in there. But I believe He only allows it to help us grow in grace and knowledge and compassion. 8) :)
I think you may be just a little bit pessimistic there, Having raised 4 children of my own, I am aware that there are innate differences. Our first child naturally sought guidance from the time he was a toddler. He would toddle toward some interesting thing and then pause, and look over his shoulder to see if we approved of his intended investigations. At the same age our second boy would toddle headlong toward situations where fools would fear to tread let alone angels.

I think it is much the same with God's children,
-- some seek guidance, learn easily, and readily accept correction.
-- others have a forehead of flint and a self will like iron that yields only to the heat of the forge and the pounding on an anvil.

My perception is that Isaac was more like the former. and Jacob like the latter. and in the end it appears that God was pleased with both of them. Albeit that self absorbed knuckle head Jacob's story of transition is the more entertaining, and perhaps instructive for us today.
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Re: The antiquity of the law

Postby Bare_Truth » Fri Sep 19, 2014 8:29 pm

bn2bnude wrote:.....
------- He then states that Cain's offering was more than thankfulness.
------- He speculates (with backup) that the offering was an attempt to return to the garden.
------- The reason he was so upset was it was rejected as such.
Parsing of points added

Ok, I waded though the entirety of the mp4 at the second link:
[url=http://whchurch.org/sermons-media/sermon/the-end-of-religion-part-2[/url]
and found his Cain and Abel comments. And I must say that it falls into the realm of eisegesis beyond reason. Allow me to explain.

His Part 1 eisegesis I had heard before, and to summarize, it goes as follows:
-- Eve remembered the promise that her seed would bruise the serpent's head, and assumed that meant not only defeat it, but also thereby set things right.
-- Eve gave birth to her first born Cain and presumed that he was the prophesied "seed of the woman" that was going to fix things between God and mankind..
-- Eve then becomes the doting mother and inculcates in Cain the idea that he has a special mission and is a special prophesied person, giving him a case of overblown ego, i.e. his upbringing has spoiled him.

Knowing human nature and its weaknesses and having experienced a few spoiled brats, I can grant that there is some probability of this and I think I am being generous if I say I could give this scenario a probability of 50 % After all there is not a single thing in the Bible that says this happened. It is all speculation.

His Part 2 eisegesis is that somehow Cain cooked up the idea that God was upset because his parents "stole" the fruit from God's "Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil" and that by bringing an offering of fruit of the earth, that he could balance the account with God about the earlier theft, and thereby get things patched up so they could go back to living in the garden.

That is pure wild unsubstantiated speculation without a shred of Biblical evidence to support it. But let me bend over backward with generosity and I will concede a probability of 40%. (but that is my final offer).

His Part 3 eisegesis is that when his offering was not regarded with favor, that Cain simply could not accept correction because his plan was not what God had in mind.

And this is again is unsuppported speculation and my generosity is getting a bit thin so I won't give this reasoning about the mental machinations of Cain more than 30%.

So then 50% x 40% x 30% = 0.5 x 0.4 x 0.3 = 0.06 = 6% chance of being what the Bible is telling us.

So why would I give any credence to this bit of eisegesis. Well I would not based on those numbers alone, but it is worse than that.

This bit of reasoning is very self serving to the speaker's theory of God's whole message to mankind. Building on this (at least) 3 fold eisegesis, he argues that God is just telling Cain, "All I ever wanted from you is a relationship with you.".

I will not dispute that God wants a relationship with us. but I think God really wants specifically more than the speaker is including.. A couple of examples jump to mind.
Micah in the 6th chapter wrote wrote: 8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
Isaiah in the 10th chapter wrote: 12 And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul,
13 To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?

Yes this is describing a relationship but there are also characteristics of the relationship that must be included.
In the first passage he specifically mentions that he wants us:
-- to do justice
-- to love mercy
-- to walk humbly with him. (After all he is our creator and we his creation.)

In the second passage he specifically mentions
-- To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, (speaking generally accept his values of behavior)

So what the speaker failed to emphasize which needs be an inherent part of our relationship with God is our need to conform ourselves to be like our father and creator. To that end he has provided us with his commandments (law) which define his nature and what ours ought to be. He has provided it to us in written form. Moreover given our weak natures he gives us his holy spirit to help us understand his instruction manual and and strengthen us to follow it if only we will not be rebellious and insist on leaning to our own ways and understanding.
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Re: The antiquity of the law

Postby Petros » Sat Sep 20, 2014 12:50 am

With regard to the do's and don'ts of the law beyond the Decalogue, cf Galatians 3:25

Yes, it is in style very different from the Decalogue, and different in purpose, yet not, as was said, separate.

Consider the one learning to ride a bike or drive a car, or the budding musician doing interminaly screeking scales and exercises, or the novice monk repeating payers 500 times a day. The paidagogos provides the training to help the learner move from wobbling cosnciopus control to effortless unbroken being in prayer. We can't do the Decalogue without practice on Leviticus or an equivalent
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Re: The antiquity of the law

Postby bn2bnude » Sat Sep 20, 2014 8:04 am

Bare_Truth wrote:
bn2bnude wrote:.....
------- He then states that Cain's offering was more than thankfulness.
------- He speculates (with backup) that the offering was an attempt to return to the garden.
------- The reason he was so upset was it was rejected as such.
Parsing of points added

Ok, I waded though the entirety of the mp4 at the second link:
http://whchurch.org/sermons-media/sermon/the-end-of-religion-part-2
and found his Cain and Abel comments. And I must say that it falls into the realm of eisegesis beyond reason. Allow me to explain.

While I don't disagree with you that his claims are not expressly in scripture, I think "beyond reason" is heavy handed. A good Bible scholar will often use other sources such as tradition both from Christian and Jewish side. What is "beyond reason" for your reading filters are quite different for someone with different filters.
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Re: The antiquity of the law

Postby Petros » Sat Sep 20, 2014 9:43 am

Still, to the scholarly Didymist [which should be and hrre is tautologous], any Gap-filling extrapolations are on shaky ground and to be undertaken only with fear and trembling and with overwhelming circumstantial evidence.

A lot of it is "crazy lady" material. "Look at this picture and tell me the story" Young Petros marvels, what story, all there is is a girl looking sad, it's not Little Red Riding Hood or anything.

She may have just wanted to discover that I could recognize a sad expression; maybe she could have gone on to ask, what sort of things might make a person look sad. I could have answered that.

But even at that age the scholarly Didymist to be could not have said, "This girl wanted a pony for her birthday but all she got was a chemistry set, and her big brother played with it and used up all the chemicals." That story might FIT the data in the picture [one girl, looking sad], but no way could I say that story IS in ther picture.
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Re: The antiquity of the law

Postby Bare_Truth » Sat Sep 20, 2014 3:29 pm

bn2bnude wrote:...
While I don't disagree with you that his claims are not expressly in scripture, I think "beyond reason" is heavy handed.
It is not his claims I fault, it is the level of eisegesis he went to to make them.



bn2bnude wrote:A good Bible scholar will often use other sources such as tradition both from Christian and Jewish side.

-- Use tradition to try to understand the context in which something is said. .... I have not problem with that.
-- Use traditions that are nothing but unsupported speculation or outright fables, I hardly consider that to be GOOD BIBLE SCHOLARSHIP.
-- The use of cultural traditions to modify what the Bible says or supposedly "really means" is the sort of thing most common to academic social scientists who are often atheists or other unbelievers such as practitioners of other religions.
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Re: The antiquity of the law

Postby ezduzit » Sat Sep 20, 2014 4:09 pm

Bare_Truth wrote:
bn2bnude wrote:...
While I don't disagree with you that his claims are not expressly in scripture, I think "beyond reason" is heavy handed.
It is not his claims I fault, it is the level of eisegesis he went to to make them.



bn2bnude wrote:A good Bible scholar will often use other sources such as tradition both from Christian and Jewish side.

-- Use tradition to try to understand the context in which something is said. .... I have not problem with that.
-- Use traditions that are nothing but unsupported speculation or outright fables, I hardly consider that to be GOOD BIBLE SCHOLARSHIP.
-- The use of cultural traditions to modify what the Bible says or supposedly "really means" is the sort of thing most common to academic social scientists who are often atheists or other unbelievers such as practitioners of other religions.


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Re: The antiquity of the law

Postby bn2bnude » Sun Sep 21, 2014 11:33 am

jochanaan wrote:
bn2bnude wrote:...I would argue that yes, there is a basic law written in mens hearts. I would also argue, however, the purpose of the law written in Exodus, Leviticus & Deuteronomy are a different purpose.
I would actually argue against that. There is indeed a law in our hearts; but our hearts are mostly so darkened by living in a sinful world that it was necessary for God, through Moses and Jesus and many others throughout history, to set down principles and detailed instructions so that we may have something definite to which to refer in doubtful cases, or when we are afraid or angry or saddened by the world's sins. The law in our hearts and the written laws (not just the Torah, but arguably most written codes throughout the world and time) are both expressions of God's character.

Although there are laws that do address the "darkness of the heart", there are a lot of the laws that deal with health, lending, etc.
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If I speak with the tongues of men and angels but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. (1 Cor 13:1)
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