The Ten Words

You may know of my interest in the Ten Words (popularly known as Commandments). I am unsatisfied with traditional explanations.Below are my ruminations, based on what I know of Scripture. Feel free to contribute.  

(By what means do the Ten Commandments lead to the covenantal way of life?)

Abraham was the first known person with whom God established a covenantal relationship, based on His role as the sole deity and supreme authority.

The Ten/the Law/Instruction are somewhat adaptive. Of the twelve lists of them in the Bible, only two are alike. Some have them in different order, describe them differently, only list six, and so on. There are actually lists of ten or so commands/instructions that contain some of the Ten plus a few others. While the Ten are not all of God’s givens, they appear to be the most important.

The Law/the Ten serve humans, relationships with God and each other. We do not serve the Law (Mrk 2:27).

The Covenant = loyal commitment, relationship with God.

There is the issue of what is/constitutes/characterizes the Covenant (it is this and not that; e.g. like what constitutes ‘human’?) = the Ten

The Ten seem to be I/0, Y/N, it is or it isn’t. Just like, one cannot be 95% human, miss one foot of the DNA helix; either one is human or not.

They seem to be similar to: “Let there be light and there was light.”

Then, there is the issue of will we agree or not, have a soft heart towards, or hard heart against, and be as they are declared.

Therefore, the Law/Instruction seem not to be merely “moral” in the sense of only a choice of right or wrong. It is also a pronouncement of the way things are.

At first glance the Covenant and worldview theory are comparable, and yet they are entirely different.

The Ten are Givens:* vs Worldview:
Source: God vs Myth, folk knowledge, observation, etc.
Source: From outside vs From within
Considered: Revelation vs Assumptions of reality
Role? Framework // Framework
Function? vs Mental?
Function? Kinds // Universals/categories
Critiques vs Relative

* Givens are a known fact, such as an historic event like the bond established between God and Abraham, an object such as a book or monument, something bestowed, conferred; archaic: an enactment into law.

Worldview theory appears to be a mostly visually-oriented mental map of reality that guides living. Living on the basis of worldview appears to be a matter of living, operating on the basis of mostly tacit assumptions, learned mostly informally through growing up, with roots in myths, folk wisdom, observations, beliefs/fears about reality that includes or is even ruled by powers, together with cultural religion/rituals and learning that is more formal, and so on, an amalgam of truths and distortions of truths garnered from within reality as we perceive and experience it.

On the other hand, the Covenant is a bond of mutual relationship and loyal commitment between God and humans. The covenantal way of life is a matter of living in harmonious and mutually beneficial relations with God and with others, and according to, in alignment with, bearing the fruit of, the givens established by and/or heard/learned from outside, from God.

In real life, we find no evidence of a pure covenantal way of life lived by any group of people. Instead, Covenant is mixed with worldviews and worldview learning and living. So, this amalgam is a mixture of parts from outside our world and from within. At what point is this amalgam covenant or no longer/not quite covenant? I believe the answer to that can be found in the Ten. To the extent they are God’s creative words/givens, the rootstock (seeds?) or framework of the Covenant, the covenantal way of life, they are also the criteria* of what is or is not Covenant, covenantal living.

* By criteria, I do not mean in the usual sense of a measuring stick or rating. Rather, it is used in the scientific sense of marker of kind. God created everything “after its kind,” that is, in categories. When scientists recover a body, they can test the DNA for human markers. It is always either a human or it is not, even if it has other contaminants, or however degraded. Scientists have still never found any amalgams (combinations of two or more kinds) in this sense in nature.

And, is covenantal way of life, and the new life in Christ co-terminous/co-eval?

How many of the Ten Commandments can you list?

How would you put them in other words?

Did you learn the Ten Commandments? If so, how and when?

To what extent were they a part of your upbringing?

What do you think the Ten Commandments are, exactly? Why do they exist? What role do they have in life?

What attitudes towards the Ten Commandments do you suppose people have today? Why?

What do you think of the following statement?
If a person is unwilling to allow the Holy Spirit through Scripture to examine one’s worldview and the behavior and values of the people around one, and to make choices to alter one’s beliefs and behavior accordingly, to what extent can one call oneself a follower of Christ according to Scripture?

How does one discern/judge these: agree?
1. Be exclusively loyal to God alone Y/N Why?
What can’t you live without?
2. Do all to the glory of God Y/N Why?

3. Trust all your ways with all your heart to God Y/N Why?

4. Set aside regular time for God, to rest in Him Y/N Why?

5. Honor and respect parents, authority Y/N Why?

6. Treat others as you want to be treated Y/N Why?

7. Keep loving, attending to, only your first love (wife) Y/NWhy?

8. No taking what is not yours; don’t defraud others Y/N Why?

9. No lying, favoritism Y/N Why?

10. Be content; no coveting Y/N Why?

About dbporter

Dan Porter, living in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Married to Bonnie, an artist. We have three grown sons, all married to wonderful women, and in turn have eight children.
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