What is God's Law?

RJM

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Don't be so hasty.
Can you prove without a shadow of doubt, that the accused is guilty?
..bearing in mind that if somebody commits false-witness to a sin punishable by death, they are doomed.

The story is possibly true [ that Jesus said "will you cast the first stone" ]
However, it is also possible that the story is misconstrued or exaggerated.
We only find the story in John? :)
How about adultery? 100 lashes on the evidence of four witnesses? Or do you prefer the OT penalty of death by stoning?
Murderers very often have mental disorders which are at the root of the violent behavior, but for various reasons don't accept or have access to treatment which would prevent the violence. In any case, mental disorder or not, society moves to protect its members and prevent murderers from killing more people. It's less about a penalty and more about managing a threat, from that perspective. No other justification is necessary, least of all recourse to ancient texts which are notoriously hard to interpret in a unified, consensus way.

There are other perspectives, such as the sense of justice for the bereaved.

Death penalty has the massive drawback of being irreversible in the case of misjudgement. It also tends to get applied more to the disenfranchised than the elites, as history and current events show.

All in all, whatever God's reported stance on the isssue, I believe it is a problem that belongs exclusively to the human sphere, not the divine one, and is best left to those of us who can actually be affected by murder, to find solutions and manage the threat. Civil justice systems, separation of power, all those goodies of modern secular liberal democracies are something I would not want to miss.
I'm in complete agreement with all you say here
 
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RJM

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Adultery was still punishable by death in most Southern African tribes until quite recently. It was a tribal necessity, to prevent spread of sexual diseases, etc. It wasn't scripture. Murder was only murder if it was a person of your own tribe.

Extended family members shared everything, but a person from another tribe would not be entitled to anything, because a person from another tribe was not really a person.

It is the parable of the good Samaritan.

Most of the scriptural law for society are really just tribal laws dressed up by divine authority?

To Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God?
 

muhammad_isa

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Civil justice systems, separation of power, all those goodies of modern secular liberal democracies are something I would not want to miss.

I'm not sure what you mean by that..
In 2019/20, the average cost of a prison place in England and Wales was £44,600 a year.
Have you ever been in prison?
In the UK, prisoners are kept in their cells for around 23 hours a day.
It's more humane to kill somebody, than to treat people in that manner until they die.

It's easy to say we should spend more on prisons, but £850 per week per person is already a lot of money.
 

Thomas

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All in all, whatever God's reported stance on the issue, I believe it is a problem that belongs exclusively to the human sphere, not the divine one, and is best left to those of us who can actually be affected by murder, to find solutions and manage the threat. Civil justice systems, separation of power, all those goodies of modern secular liberal democracies are something I would not want to miss.
In light of that, I happen to agree. Even within theistic cultures, the solution to the problem of the murderer is a test of our humanity – whether it's 'an eye for an eye' or forgiveness 'seventy times seven'. It would appear, looking at the world's sacra doctrina, that 'state-sanctioned murder', that is the execution of the guilty, for many crimes and not just murder, is something which evolves in the human sphere.

Most of the scriptural law for society are really just tribal laws dressed up by divine authority?
Yep. While the opening commands of the Decalogue, which refer to God, can be said to be from a Divine authority, the remaining injunctions – the honouring of father and mother (and by extension the tribe), against murder, adultery, theft, false witness, covetousness, were tribal codes in operation at the time, and indeed are universals for the good of societies.
 
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muhammad_isa

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..the honouring of father and mother (and by extension the tribe), against murder, adultery, theft, false witness, covetousness, were tribal codes in operation at the time, and indeed are universals for the good of societies.

What do you mean by "tribal codes"?
Are you saying that the OT includes text that has nothing to do with divinity?
 

Cino

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I'm not sure what you mean by that..
In 2019/20, the average cost of a prison place in England and Wales was £44,600 a year.
Have you ever been in prison?
In the UK, prisoners are kept in their cells for around 23 hours a day.
It's more humane to kill somebody, than to treat people in that manner until they die.

It's easy to say we should spend more on prisons, but £850 per week per person is already a lot of money.

No, I never had to serve any prison sentences. I know a couple of people who served sentences for offences other than murder, and I know a psychologist who works with inmates.

It used to be considered humane to lobotomize offenders. We came to revise this opinion, as society. If lobotomy had been introduced by appeal to divine authority, we might still be stuck with that particular punishment. Luckily, lobotomy does not feature in any of the ancient legal codes that got enshrined in sacred texts. Otherwise, I'm certain that it would pop up again and again, because "it is written".

I don't claim to have the perfect solution to the problem of how a society deals with murderers. I'm quite convinced that none of the ancient texts have it, either, as history has shown. I think it is good that we've been trying to improve, without such attempts, there would be no hope at all.
 

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What is God's Law, then? We discussed only criminal law so far.

How about the observable patterns of natural law? How about laws governing spiritual development?

Could Jesus have referred to these?
 
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wil

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a figment of your imagination
What is God's Law, then? We discussed only criminal law so far.

How about the observable patterns of natural law? How about laws governing spiritual development?

Could Jesus have referred to these?
In my version of G!d is principle...

Mans law... Running a traffic signal can get you a ticket and repeatedly may get you jail time.

G!d's law.... 2 objects can not occupy the same space at the same time....an object in motion...
 

RJM

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How about the observable patterns of natural law? How about laws governing spiritual development?

Could Jesus have referred to these?
To him that hath much, more shall be given -- is the law of gravity?

I think all of Jesus's parables concerned these laws of Spirit, as they often appear to differ from the observable laws of nature

He said so much, and so little about outward laws and regulations, imo
 
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Cino

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He said so much, and so little about outward laws and regulations, imo

The gospels report him engaging in debate especially about Shabbat observance, ritual handwashing before meals, laws about divorce, duties towards parents, and the concept of righteousness in the context of keeping the commandments received by Moses. I can imagine these being topics of hot debate among the various Jewish groups and schools active at the time.
 
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The gospels report him engaging in debate especially about Shabbat observance, ritual handwashing before meals, laws about divorce, duties towards parents, and the concept of righteousness in the context of keeping the commandments received by Moses. I can imagine these being topics of hot debate among the various Jewish groups and schools active at the time.
Ok. Shall we start trying to pull some of them up, in context?
Agreed he did comment on divorce.

Often otherwise his comments were mostly to balance the spirit against the letter of the law? IMO But my memory may be rusty in many cases ...
 
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RJM

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The gospels report him engaging in debate especially about Shabbat observance
Regarding the Shabbat observance, I have found this:

“By Jesus’ day, the rabbis and scribes had become so strict that they accused Jesus’ disciples of breaking the Sabbath because they picked some grain and ate it as they walked through a field on the Sabbath (Luke 6:1 – 2).

The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?” [Jesus] answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions. Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”
(Mark 2:24-28)

Jesus’ healings on the Sabbath upset the religious teachers who classified healing as “work” and therefore prohibited it (Mark 3:1-6)
Jesus said that God had given the Law to encourage the Israelites to love him and to love others. God had never prohibited doing good on the Sabbath ...
Jesus and the Sabbath
ritual handwashing before meals,
Regarding ritual handwashing, Jesus’s attitude is expressed in Mark 7:1-8
(Please: this is not intended as a criticism of Judaism; it is just what Jesus is supposed to have said about practices in his own time):

“The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus and saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed.

(The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders. When they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash. And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers and kettles.)

So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?”

He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:

These people honour me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
their teachings are merely human rules.
You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.”

Read full chapter
laws about divorce
In Matthew 19:8 Jesus condemns divorce except in case of sexual unfaithfulness:
I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery”
Read whole chapter

In Mark 10:11-12 which is supposed to have been written before Matthew, he condemns it outright:
“Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.”
Whole chapter
duties towards parents,
It appears Jesus said nothing directly, but in Ephesians 6:1 Paul writes:
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. "that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth." Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
the concept of righteousness in the context of keeping the commandments received by Moses.
Again I can’t find direct comments by Jesus, except as a negative reaction to the observance of the letter as opposed to the spirit of the law. But It is discussed by Paul in Romans 10
 
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muhammad_isa

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21 But concerning Israel he says,

“All day long I have held out my hands
to a disobedient and obstinate people.”

- Romans 10 -

I think that goes for the whole human race, and not just Israel.
Paul's influence on Christian thinking arguably has been more significant than any other New Testament author.
He is revered as an apostle, although he was not an original companion of Jesus. We also do not know what religious knowledge stemmed from his "vision" and that which he might have learnt after, during the tiime before his mission of converting the gentiles began.

Paul asserted that he received the Gospel not from man, but directly by "the revelation of Jesus Christ"

..so many Christians believe him to be "a seer" i.e. a prophet.
The concentration of
texts about Paul in the NT is no accident. [ the chosen canon ]
According to Luke, there were many apostles sent by Jesus to various places..
..not to the gentiles specifically, of course.

Paul was not a prophet, imo.
Jesus did not tell his companions that a man named Paul was coming after him etc. etc.
 

RJM

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Paul asserted that he received the Gospel not from man, but directly by "the revelation of Jesus Christ"
Muhammad (pbuh) asserted that he received the Quran directly by a revelation fr the Angel Gabriel
Paul was not a prophet, imo.
He is regarded as an apostle, not a prophet
Jesus did not tell his companions that a man named Paul was coming after him etc. etc.
Nor that a man named Muhammad (pbuh) was coming after him?

What are you after here @muhammad_isa?
 

muhammad_isa

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What are you after here @muhamnad_isa?

I'm not "after" anything.
I think we all know that Christians often quote Paul when discussing the OP [ topic ]

An important "new law" for Christians is mentioned in John.

53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
- John 6 -

Since the 19th century, scholars have almost unanimously accepted that the Johannine discourses are less likely to be historical than the synoptic parables, and were likely written for theological purposes.

During the late 20th century, "the Jesus Seminar" concluded that the Gospel of Thomas may have more authentic material than the fourth gospel.
 

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