Moral and Levitical Laws

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. We’ve been looking at Presuppositionalism lately and pointing out how it is possible to have knowledge of truth without having direct awareness of the God of the Bible. Of course, I do not deny that that God exists, but I do deny that one has to have epistemological knowledge of Him to have knowledge, a.k.a. justified true beliefs. An atheist reader who I respect responded to what I said yesterday and was asking about laws like what we find in Leviticus.  The Ten Commandments are for us some, but how do we know what is and isn’t?

Good question.

Right off, I’m pleased that the question is being asked rather than the usual canard that’s thrown out of “Well the Bible says homosexual activity is an abomination, but it also says the same thing about eating shellfish.”

To begin with, both of the injunctions against homosexuality in Leviticus are to be found in chapters 18 and 20. I’m not going to go through the whole list, but I want to call attention to how each of those chapters ends.

First, Leviticus 18:24-28.

24 “‘Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled. 25 Even the land was defiled; so I punished it for its sin, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. 26 But you must keep my decrees and my laws. The native-born and the foreigners residing among you must not do any of these detestable things, 27 for all these things were done by the people who lived in the land before you, and the land became defiled. 28 And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you.

And now, we move on to Leviticus 20:22-24.

22 “‘Keep all my decrees and laws and follow them, so that the land where I am bringing you to live may not vomit you out. 23You must not live according to the customs of the nations I am going to drive out before you. Because they did all these things, I abhorred them. 24 But I said to you, “You will possess their land; I will give it to you as an inheritance, a land flowing with milk and honey.” I am the LORD your God, who has set you apart from the nations.

Notice something in each of these passages? In each one, God tells the people that the inhabitants of the land are being cast out because of committing these acts. In the Bible, you do not see God punishing other nations for failing to keep the ceremonial Law of Israel. Note also the distinctions that are made for Israel such as dietary are later shown to be no longer in effect in the New Testament, such as in Mark 7. Does that mean these were wasteful and pointless laws? Not at all. They were established to keep in the mind of the Israelites purity.

What about abominations?

The word can refer to an abomination in two ways. One is in a ritual sense and one is in an ethical sense. Consider how it would be wrong to throw dirt onto your neighbor’s carpet. It would also be wrong to murder his wife there and spill her blood on the carpet, but when we say both of those are wrong, we do not mean they are wrong in the same sense.

How is it known which is which? The context is the key. Moral laws are generally upheld throughout the Bible as a whole. Ceremonial and civil are not. For instance, with ceremonial laws, God Himself states that He does not desire sacrifice but rather pure hearts. Why have sacrifices then? To point to Christ and to show that there is a price for sin. See also judgments on other nations.

The Law of Israel was given for Israel and Gentiles were never to be under it. The Natural Law of morality however is for everyone and everyone is accountable to it. Of course, those with Scripture are more accountable as they should definitely know better with explicit commands from God, but sadly, we often do not.

I hope this clears up any difficulties.



2 Responses to “Moral and Levitical Laws”

  1. Rob El Says:

    Thanks for the kind words and the thoughtful response Nick!

  2. baby products Says:

    I appreciate, cause I found exactly what I was
    looking for. You’ve ended my 4 day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye

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