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  1. #171
    Lallygag Moderator Geoff's Avatar
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    Apr 2007


    Quote Originally Posted by Owl View Post
    Forgive me, Geoff, but you've hit a pet peeve of mine, and I can't remain silent.

    Those rules aren't pointless, and their primary purpose isn't to identify outsiders.

    Of the ten commandments, the fourth is always the first to be dropped--even by Christians--as if this law were arbitrary or could be abrogated. However, the law concerning the Sabbath originates in human nature and therefore is easily knowable: to bring into being and to sustain in being requires work, and to complete a work is to cease from that work, and to cease from work is to rest.

    But work is not the end in istelf: it is a means to the end, and, insofar as we wait for the end to be brought into being by our work, we work with the hope that the end will be attained. The end of the Christian life is to know God, and the knowledge of God is through the work of dominion, naming the creation by understanding the natures of things created. And as God completed and rested from the work of creation, so man will complete and rest from the work of dominion.

    The law itself is not about resting one day in seven. That is arbitrary. That one day is seven was mercifully given to man by God so man could rest and reflect on his origin and destiny in anticipation of the completed work and the rest to come. But to rest from work on the Sabbath assumes that you've been working. And this is the law itself: we are to work with true hope for the good. We are not to give up hope by thinking the good cannot be attained by work, and we are not to think that the good will be attained without work. When a Christian rests on the Sabbath, he visibly proclaims his hope that through his work, and the work of the church, the good will be attained, that the work of dominion will be completed, that the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of God as the waters cover the sea.

    As for the food law you mentioned, ancient Israelites were not to eat animals with a cloven hoof that "did not chew the cud" such as pigs. Unlcean animals were generally those that had been more greatly affected by the curse. Orginally, the green plants were given to the animals for food. There were no carnivores, scavengers, or bottom feeders. The laws that governed what was clean to eat were pedagogical--they were to draw the Israelite's attention to the curse and so remind him to stop and think about the curse, why it had come upon man, and how it was to be removed.

    So, yeah, not pointless. Sorry about my verbosity.
    Thanks for the response. Do you accept that Christianity (and the Bible) contains many ceremonies/ideas, the only point of which is to distinguish between those who partake and those who do not?

  2. #172
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Apr 2007
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    There's a multiplicity of reasons a particular requirement could exist, and much of the time theological understanding is read into things after the fact -- after the commandment itself was established. It's hard to discern what things were part of the reasoning that led to the establishment of a particular social (and legal -- it was a theocracy) rule, versus what was created to additionally justify it after its creation.

    Theology is helpful to explain why certain truths might exist but it doesn't mean the system was immaculately designed ahead of time; various aspects could have naturally evolved even as we see witness of them doing today.

    Usually rules are driven by immediate need.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  3. #173
    desert pelican Owl's Avatar
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    Feb 2008


    The only point of which?


    I 'spose only the sons of Aaron could be priests, and it doesn't seem there was anything about Aaron or his line that made this distinction necessary, so this distinction between the priests and non-priests was rather arbitrary, er, let's say contingent.

    ^this is the most explicit example I can think of. I don't want to say that there are no ideas/ceremonies that only distinguish between those who partake and those who don't, but I'd not say that Christianity contains many such distinctions. If they do exist, (as the above seems to be a case), they seem to be the exception, and even these distinctions connote the sovereignty of God.

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