The Development of Ethics in History Influenced by Biblical Material.

What is the view of the biblical materials on the role of ethics in the development of history?

There are many views conveyed in biblical material that present the role of ethics in the development of history.  These views were presented in Genesis, the first book of the bible, and they are consistent throughout the rest of the scriptures.  There are basic ideas that have prevailed through history and have been adopted by many societies today.  This system of ethics and sanctions is not exclusive to Christians, the ideas of this system conveyed in the bible, formed many aspects of western civilization.

A significant amount of the biblical passages possess one theme, sanctions will be inflicted according to ethics.  These sanctions are inescapable and it is the responsibility of the individual to follow the law of God and have good ethics, otherwise, he will ultimately receive negative sanctions.  In order to have good ethics and receive positive sanctions, the individual must obey the law of God.  The righteous who seek out wisdom and understanding, and submit themselves to the law of God, will receive eternal reward.  Evil-doers may receive a temporary earthly reward, but ultimately they will receive sanctions according to their ethics.

The system of obedience towards God’s law, and the sanctions afflicted accordingly is similar to the system of most civilizations of their state state laws.  This system of cause and effect in relation to law is basic to human reason.

It is demonstrated in biblical text that man has free will, men are agents of God, but they are not robotic instruments.  Individuals have the ability to think rationally and choose their own ethical path.  They cannot, however, determine the punishment or reward, except through the correspondence of their obedience towards the law of God, and their ethics.  Good ethics will result in positive sanctions, while bad ethics will result in negative sanctions.

Individuals can choose for themselves how they live out their lives, they can choose the sanctions they will receive, by choosing a lifestyle of wisdom and righteousness, or a lifestyle of wickedness.  This has remained consistent through the development of history.

If a life of righteousness leads to ultimate positive sanctions, why do men choose to participate in evil acts?  There are pleasures in evil, this is why man engages in it.  However, those pleasures are temporary, they wear off, this can result in an addiction to evil activity.  These are materialistic pleasures, but men are weak, they fall to the addictions of materialistic pleasures.  They lose mindfulness of the idea of ultimate sanctions, and forget about the debts they will have to pay back for their loans of temporary material pleasures.  Again, this idea has been consistent throughout the development of history.

The views of ethics as expressed in biblical text, have shaped western civilization.

Ethics and Sanctions in Proverbs 1-7.

There is a strong relationship between ethics and sanctions throughout the book of Proverbs.  Chapters 1-7 of the Proverbs present significant representation of this relationship.  The Proverbs are written mainly by Solomon, the son of David.  David wrote a majority of the Psalms; the previous book of the bible.  In the first 9 chapters of the Proverbs, the author provides an introduction.  This is unique, this is not seen in any other book of the bible.

In reading this introduction, it is understood that he is offering guidance to his son.  He provides instruction through imagery.  Wisdom is imaged as the form of a woman, wickedness is also imaged as a woman.  The individual man must not let himself be tempted by the strange woman; the woman of evil.  This is an effective use of rhetoric, the message is conveyed in a way that makes sense.  Women are used as an example of what men desire, and this is represents it in a way that the reader can understand the power of the the decision; good or evil.

If man allows himself to be tempted by the “strange woman,” he will go in the path  of  wickedness.  Bad ethics may give a temporary reward, but that reward will eventually die, and negative sanctions will be inflicted.  However, if a man keeps his heart on the woman of wisdom, and devotes himself to the pure path of righteousness, he will be granted positive sanctions.  Good ethics, may present temporary disposition, but this is only temporary, and in the end, positive sanctions will be given to the righteous man.  While there are several examples, this is the basic theme, and the idea of the feminine forms of wisdom and wickedness effectively conveys this theme.

We see in Proverbs 2:18 “For her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead.”  This verse is referring to the strange woman, who represents wickedness.  There may be earthly pleasures for a period of time, but these will fade and the man who follows the path of this wickedness will be lead to death; negative sanctions.  In Dr. Gary North’s conclusion of this verse, he says “If you go with the unrighteous individual, you’re headed for destruction.”  This message is based on the relationship between ethics and sanctions.

There is instruction provided for the man who chooses the path of wisdom.  The individual must be close to law of God.  The laws of God are standards to which all individuals must live by in order to attain eternal reward.  If one follows the law of God, they exercise good ethics, and this provides them with deliverance from God.  Wisdom is ethical (wisdom in terms of understanding right from wrong).  The individual who seeks wisdom and understanding, rather than wicked action, will attain everlasting positive sanctions.

The relationship between ethics and sanctions in proverbs 1-7 is of great significance.  Ethics influence the end sanction.  While God is the supreme being, man has the free will to choose for himself what path he wants to take.  If the individual lets himself be deceived from the path of righteousness, that is a moral decision of the individual and sanctions will be inflicted according to that moral decision.

 

Reasons Offered in the Psalms for Long-term Optimism.

The book of Psalms is the longest book in the bible, and perhaps one of the most influential on modern society.  This collection of literary praises, demonstrates faithful men who remained faithful in both good times, and times of deep despair.  It is clear through this text that these faithful people looked to the future, and had reasons for long-term optimism.

It is indicated that God is sovereign, and this is consistent throughout the Psalms.  To start, it is important to understand the meaning of sovereignty: “Sovereignty is the full right and power of a governing body over itself, without any interference from outside sources or bodies.”  With that in mind, the Psalms convey that God is the ultimate, there is nothing higher than God.  God is therefore the ultimate good.  Personally, I believe that God created man, and gave man a sense of morality.  In making decisions, man knows what is right and what is wrong.  However, he also gave man free will.  Thus man has the ability to make his own choices.  While the ideal would be to obey God, this is a choice for the individual to make.  What is it that inspires the individual to choose obedience towards God; good over evil?  What were the reasons for the long-term optimism of the faithful?

There is a connection between the law of God and the sanctions of God.  It is a simple idea, obedience towards God, will result in positive sanctions from God.  If God is the sovereign being, then these positive sanctions from God are the ultimate reward that man can attain.  This hope that faith and obedience of man towards God, is a significant reason for long-term optimism.  If you obey God, He will deliver you.

This long-term optimism was only rejoiced in by the individuals who remained faithful and obedient to God.  In the Psalms, there is military language that implies the faithful were delivered by God from the evildoers who refused to dwell in the house of the Lord.  Not all men possessed this long term optimism, there were those who disobeyed the laws of God.  These evildoers did not receive the historical deliverance that the faithful received.  Those who refuse to bow before God, who rebel against His name, were inflicted by God with negative sanctions.

Regarding sanctions, there is sufficient motivation for man to look to God in times of despair and remain faithful and pure in the eyes of God.  Every man has an idea of morals; what they believe is good and what they believe is not moral.  This may or may not coordinate with the law of God, because man has free will, however, if man’s morals do not coordinate with the laws of God, he will be inflicted with negative sanctions.  God intervenes, if man cannot be stronger than the temptations of evil, God will intervene.

The idea of faith and obedience towards God, and in return eternal reward, is, in my opinion, the fundamental reason offered in the book of Psalms for long-term optimism.

How important is the concept of historical sanctions in the Psalms?

The book of Psalms is the longest book in the bible.  This collection of praises, is an important account that has established foundations in modern day Christian beliefs.  The concept of historical sanctions is a re-occurring theme throughout the Psalms.

When reading the text, there is a noticeable poetic aspect.  It is easy to think of this as a book of poetic praises, and not challenge the thought of the meaning and representation of these Psalms. However, this book delivers an important literary concept between God and man.

An obvious theme, is that God is above history, and those that obey the law of God are protected and delivered in history.  The righteous found favor in God’s judgment, while the acts of the wicked were despised by God.  God inflicted historical sanctions based on the obedience of man towards God.

As for the righteous, their faith in God was their shield in times of despair.  The righteous received protection and deliverance, while the wicked, received negative reward from the hand of God.  With the idea of God as the ultimate being, sovereign over all things, this is a very logical concept, basic to most ideas of religeon.

From simply reading the Psalms, it is not obvious what historical events are taking place, it was not really intended to be a historical account.  The historical importance taken from the book of Psalms, is the foundational relationship between God and man; how men were delivered in history because of their faith.  A portion of these Psalms were written by David, who was a significant historical figure.  His accounts were in relation to his faith and praises in God, and how God supported him in times of despair, and how God rewarded the obedience of David.

The theme of God being ultimate justice, was basic to this collection of writings.  The God of Israel is all merciful, but He is also all just.  The righteous who obey the law of God, will desire his judgement, as they are inflicted positive sanctions.  The wicked, who see themselves as beyond the requirement to obey God’s laws, will be inflicted with negative sanctions.   God is predictable and reliable in history if man will turn to him and pray to him and humble themselves before him.

The interpretation of this form of biblical language can be dangerous, as several different meanings could be derived from it.  The author could mean something, completely different from what scholars, or any individual who later reads it, interprets from the text.  In the Psalms, there is a lot of imagery used, and it is often odd to modern language.  In this scenario, it is easy to derive a meaning, and take it to heart, but it is important to be cautious in doing this, that we do not interpret a different meaning.

In conclusion, historical sanctions were majorly significant in the Psalms.  The concept of God’s judgement is based on sanctions.  Men with bad ethics, received negative sanctions, and were deprived from protection and deliverance in history.

Ethics and Sanctions regarding Noah and the Flood.

The story of Noah and the flood was an issue of ethics and sanctions. Man lost good ethics and God imposed sanctions according to the infractions of men.

God was angered by the attachment of man to sin.  God is all good, and sin, being an act of evil, drives man away from God.  As a christian, I believe that God is the Creator and is sovereign over all things.

It is fairly simple in context, men had bad ethics, and therefore were inflicted with appropriate sanctions.  Men have free will, and at the time of Noah, man chose to stray away from what is purely good (disobedience towards God).  They received sanctions according to their ethical decisions.  The negative sanction was a flood that would demolish man and beast from the earth.

Noah, however, found favor with God, therefore God chose not to inflict these negative sanctions on Noah.  The favor God found with Noah, extended to Noah’s family.  This gives an example of the foundational culture of a household.  Noah’s obedience to God was possibly shared by Noah’s wife and sons, however, there is no account on this.  It is possible that because God found favor in Noah’s obedience, that the descendants of Noah, would also be pure, and would re-populate the earth.  It is also possible that if Noah was a good man, that God chose to not take Noah’s family.  There is not direct account on this, and interpretation is not accurate when the proper details are not included in the original account.

God gave grace to Noah, and instructed him to build an ark.  He also instructed Noah in bringing animals onto the ark.  When the time for the event of the flood had come, it rained for 40 days and 40 nights, and the flood swept man and beast from the face of the earth leaving alive only the menn and beasts that dwelt in the ark.

God signaled to Noah through a dove that the waters had withdrawn from the land, and again, God told man to be fruitful and multiply.

After the flood, God made a covenant with man.  A covenant is an agreement that brings about a relationship between God and his people.  In this covenant, God promised that never again would he repeat the event of the flood.  It is the common belief, that God symbolized this covenant with the rainbow.  Men continued to sin, but this would be settled in a different kind of judgment.  There are different beliefs of the judgment between God and man, but God made a covenant with man that this judgment would never again be the destruction of all mankind.

There were many covenants to follow this one, but this one is considered foundational.  Even among atheists who do not believe in the sovereign God behind this series of events, most of them are familiar with the idea of this covenant.  The story of Noah and the flood, and the covenant is basic to western literature.

 

 

Element of Hierarchy in Genesis 1-3

In the very beginning of time, in the book of Genesis, which is he piece of literature that many believe, is where the origins of man began, there are various elements of hierarchy.  These elements of hierarchy really are the foundations on which the modern world was built.

The book of Genesis is believed by a majority to be the earliest account on man.  Adam was said to be the first man, and his wife, Eve, given to him by God, was said to be the first woman.  God created Adam, he gave Adam a beautiful place to live, he gave him superiority over all the animals, and he was given the task of naming all the creatures of the earth.  When God saw that Adam was lonely, he created the first woman as a fit companion for man.  This woman was given the name of Eve, and she became the companion of Adam.

God laid down a law, and told Adam the positive and negative sanctions of breaking this law.  He told Adam that he and the woman could eat from any tree in the Garden of Eden, except one.  They were forbidden to eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil.  For if they ate of this fruit, they would die.  If they left this tree alone, they would have eternal life.  It was clear what they must do to please God, and for a period of time, Adam and Eve pleased God in their actions, and stayed strong in their faith.  However, this did not last, temptation and greed took over.

Eve was tempted by the serpent one day while she was in the garden.  The serpent told her that the reason God did not want her to eat the fruit, was because it would open her eyes and make her like a god, and that she would become more powerful than God.  Eve was confused as to what the truth was, she forfeited her faith in God, and believed the lies of the serpent.  After eating the fruit, she gave some to her husband, Adam.  They were immediately ashamed, they realized that they were naked, and so they hid themselves from God.

When God discovered what happened, he confronted Adam and Eve.  Adam blamed the sin on the creation of the woman, he said that he ate the fruit because she gave it to him.  Eve blamed the sin on the serpent.  They found fault in the creation.

Mankind is greedy, this has been true since the very creation of man, and it will probably be true until the end of time.  Mankind has a drive to grow and develop, and that is good in a sense, but when this drive turns into a greedy desire for more power, it is no longer good.  Greed drives faith away, and therefore brings negative sanctions.

God cursed them, but he was merciful and still gave them grace.  God cursed woman with the pain of childbirth, the grace in this is that woman could have children.  God cursed man with scarcity, the grace in this is that man would gain the value productivity and development.  They were cursed with death, but not immediate death.

Whether one believes the book of Genesis or not, it is the foundation of the modern world.