Friday, May 11, 2012
There always have been many skeptics of the Bible and the morality which is based upon it. But today there are very vocal atheists who love to "expose" the supposed absurdities of the moral strictures of the Bible. This is especially true regarding the commandment disallowing homosexual activity. One skeptic mocked an Orthodox Jew who pointed out that the book of Leviticus clearly and absolutely condemns homosexual relations. This skeptic noted that Leviticus also says what one may do with his slaves. He went on and on about how the OT tells us that we may have slaves. To him, this showed that the Bible was not the arbiter of right and wrong, but an old book with a flawed morality. The problem with this skeptic's analysis, if it even can be called such, is that he is comparing apples and oranges. The laws governing slavery in ancient Israel are governmental laws, not moral laws. God was not approving slavery when He made laws governing it. We have laws governing public intoxication. Does that mean that the government approves of public intoxication? No. It means that since there are people who are going to get intoxicated despite what anyone thinks about it, we must have laws that cover it. The same thing was true regarding slavery in ancient Israel. God never said that He approved slavery, but rather than forbidding it, He severely restricted it. But that brings up an important question: why did God not simply forbid it? We do not have the complete answer to that. We might have a hint, however, in what Jesus said about marriage and divorce. In his arguments with the Pharisees regarding divorce, Jesus said that God did not like divorce but that He allowed it because "of the hardness of your hearts". Divorce was never God's intention. God allowed divorce because it was better, practically speaking, than not allowing it. Perhaps the situation with slavery was similar. Maybe it was better to have strict laws covering slavery than forbidding it entirely at that time. Now this may not sit well with our modern sensibilities, but God is not bound by how we feel about things. When we read the Old Testament and try to understand it, we must be aware that God made moral laws, He made governmental laws, and He also made religious (ceremonial) laws as well. Please do not be fooled by what the skeptics of the Bible say. The Bible's moral laws are still the standard that we all must follow.