Waiting to Exhale: Are All the Dark Days Interchangeable?Posted: August 31, 2012
If Nature herself plays only by the rules of Chess, then we can’t survive thinking we can play Her at Checkers. To be insensible to something very worth knowing is not to know that it doesn’t exist, but merely to assume that it doesn’t exist.
Jon Kvanvig mentioned in a recent blog post (Chick-Fil-A and the Epistemology of Morality, http://certaindoubts.com/?p=3649) that he has been told by some that the Torah contains exactly three kinds of laws: mishpatim, chukim, and mitzvoth (or rational, mysterious, and post hoc)
Some people think that the Sabbath law is ultimately chukim, even though in most ways they admit that the practice of the Sabbath is mishpatim. One reason they think the Sabbath law is ultimately chukim is because they perceive no mishpatim in the fact that the Sabbath is commanded to be practiced on one day instead of another. Why should we rest on the seventh day, and not instead on the sixth day? Who’s counting?
Of course, resting on the same day on which that everyone else rests is a mishpatim. But, if Robinson Crusoe, stranded on his island by himself, rested on Wednesday instead of on Saturday, what difference would it make?
People tend to perceive no sensible difference between one day and another. So, they feel that what we call ‘the first day of the week’, or ‘Sunday’, can as well be considered to be the second day of the week, thus replacing the current Sabbath practice of ‘Saturday’ to ‘Sunday’. Who cares what day we take rest?
So, some people say that the Sabbath law is ultimately chukim: it cannot be comprehended as a special day apart from any other day, and that the only reason why God decided to bless that day above any other is that God had finished his work of creation by the end of the sixth day.
So, people think, ‘There is nothing inherently special about the particular day on which a people choose to take rest, and God simply engaged in a bit of arbitrary trivia in commanding one day over all the others as the day devoted to rest.’
But, it is possible to think of a rational, mishpatim, reason for why the day of rest is on a particular day instead of any other day. That reason is the principle of unity of Earth’s ecological cycle: each day builds upon the day previous, until, on the seventh day, the whole physical planet exhales. To reject out of hand the idea of such a unity is the epitome of an arrogant ignorance.
If such a unity exists, then it is possible to think that it may be like the seventh-fold, and largest, wave that allows a canoe to get over the reef into the safe shore of an island home. I hear that waves on the ocean shore come is sets of seven. It may seem insensible that the day on which God devotes to rest is a special day in itself. But, it may be that only by a certain kind of perfect resting on every day is that one day directly sensed to be inherently special.
And, if exactly that one of every seven days is inherently the best day to devote to rest, then for a man to toil, or even to work, on that day is to damage both himself and anything upon which he works. On that day he must simply live, and enjoy the fruits of his labors, and, if required by other’s misfortune, to help others simply live.
India is full of oppression and general unrighteousness. This is why there is disease and disability in India. What about America?
When God established a nation of His own, He saw fit that it should have a ‘national’ system of support for the poor and disabled, and for the upkeep of those who administered the sacred truths. What God did NOT institute was a private, commercial, and otherwise exclusivist insurance/health care/retirement system for the rich.
To the extent that those who claim to abide God’s righteousness do not abide it, the secular governments use their own lights to try to ensure the welfare of their people.
I’m physically and mentally disabled, and with several kinds of PTSD, on account of the arrogant and ignorant ways of those who falsely claim to abide God’s righteousness for the fact that they abide the ‘divine right of rat-race capitalism’. Christ preached neither capitalism nor socialism, but the whole righteousness of God.
They believed themselves to be pro-life, pro-family, and pro-Bible. But they were oppressors and murderers, arrogantly judging every ‘book’ by its cover, especially those ‘books’ that were so intimidated by that arrogance that these most feeble-minded ‘books’ could not read their own pages, even too terrified to dare try lest those arrogant ‘preachers’ surely bring the ultimate condemnation upon them. Such ‘rebellion’ it was, in the minds of these preachers, that any book which was so ‘clearly’ intimidated by the verbatim of truth should dare try to read their own pages and oppose those preachers’ per-verbatim righteous arrogance. Preachers who were like the most violent rapists, and who proudly held themselves to be the conveyors of the truth of love by way of such a faithfully aggressive service to its form. And their victims are made to accept this violent form as the very substance of love. Some of the most abominable of men are very pro-family. Which means that God’s righteousness is deeper than any mere form of family. How may vipers form a family of mutual admiration, like the most vicious organized crime. So, what is the glory of God?
But, according to Harvey Bluedorn and virtually all other Gentile Christians:
Summary & Conclusion (to THE SABBATH SYLLOGISM, by Harvey Bluedorn)
The problem with the Sabbatarian position is that it is built upon a theological induction from Scripture. Because the Ten Commandments are largely moral law, some have falsely induced that the Ten Commandments are only moral law. Once this theological induction has been made, the induction is used as a premise for many valid deductive arguments. Those who hold to the Sabbatarian position often feel their argument is impregnable because of its solid deductive structure. Often their attachment to their deductive system is so strong that they are incapable of examining their presuppositions. They often become so captivated by their speculative induction that no counter-example can move them to re-examine the inductive foundation upon which they are building their deductive system.
Jesus demonstrated with impeccable logic that the Sabbath was ceremonial law and not moral law. Yet the Pharisees refused to accept His deductive reasoning. Their refusal was moral in nature. If they could not destroy the argument, they would destroy the one making the argument.
The moral element in the Sabbath day commandment was the necessity to apportion one’s time so as best to worship and serve God. The ceremonial element in the Sabbath day commandment was the requirement of a twenty-four hour period of rest on the seventh day of every week from sunset to sunset. If we turn back to the childish form of the commandment and impose this childish form upon ourselves and others as moral law, then we will be denying the liberty which we have as mature sons in Christ, and we will be making ourselves slaves under a yoke. Since we are commanded to move forward to maturity (1 Corinthians 14:20; Ephesians 4:13; Colossians 1:28; Hebrews 6:1) it is disobedience to move backward (Galatians 2:18; 4:10-11; 5:1-13). All disobedience to a command is sin.
My reply: By all means, be of your own mind, whether in ignorance or arrogance. I no more grant that your mind owes allegiance to me than that my mind owes allegiance to you. And, no one can command another to consider what the other does not understand.
But, obviously, the purpose, the spirit, of a wise father’s command to his little son not to go out into a busy street is not to inure the son to the father’s commands, much less to encourage the son to inure others to the commands which the son contrives for keeping his siblings from disobeying the letter of the father’s commands. Obviously, rather, the spirit of a wise father’s command to his little son not to go out into a busy street is to preserve the son’s well-being against the son’s ignorant haste to play, and only otherwise against the son’s habit of attempting to run out into the (busy) street despite the father’s all prior gentle efforts to prevent the son from succeeding in the attempt.
In my own mind, I believe that God allows fallen men, even such as you and I, to be ignorant of some of His truths for the purpose of soon enough showing to us our own arrogance in regard to others of His truths. Shall we esteem ourselves so free of error that we shall never be ashamed of being ignorant of some truth-for-life? Is there no godly wisdom against which we, even now, by too-long a habit, have the least foolishness, or of which we are otherwise ignorant?
My fear is that you may be of a habit to make logic to serve a philosophical uptight-ness in regard to another’s uptightness-in-defense-of-the-Sabbath: that you are running more-or-less headlong into one error by running so determinedly away from another error, and that you thereby fail to note the truth-for-life which ever has resided between the two foolish extremes.
To make some good sense of things by which to avoid one error does not mean that that sense avoids the opposite error. Because, some good sense of a matter is not the same as the best, or complete, sense of that matter. Notice that God is not recorded as having commanded Sabbath observance until long after the original world had been destroyed in the Flood, and all nations had failed God’s righteousness. Notice that God had not made a nation for Himself until all the nations had formed and had proved to be unworthy in their leadership and laws. Notice that why Joshua refused to be king over the children of Israel. Notice, if your logic permits it, that God is not recorded as having specifically forbidden homosexual intercourse until God had begun His own nation.
God does not command truths into being which He already created. Rather, His commands regarding how to live right are in accord with what He already created. Conscience is prior to command, by way of what kind of creature a given creature himself is; otherwise, we may as well have been made senseless from the beginning, and by which we surely shall have remained senseless no matter what acts in regard to which God commands.
God never commanded a single human being to hunger for food, or to thirst for water, yet we do hunger and thirst when our flesh undergoes a lack of these things. We all are one man’s son’s, Adam’s, and that man was not created as a senseless being.
Are you going to tell me that there is only the one kind of genuine guilt, namely that which is gotten by acting knowingly formally contrary to God’s known explicit commands? Then what is this thing called nature, and thus the natural consequences for foolishness? Does God magically bring cars against us each time we run out in a busy street, just so He can remind us that He is Boss? Is God an uptight, arrogant fool-of-a-Creator, who has some kind of obsession about just making things up for us to obey???
Notice that God blessed the day on which He stopped his work of creation, and called that day special. By what manner did God so call it? By an arbitrary nomology? Or, rather, by the same manner in which Adam named the animals? Does God’s perfection prevent Him from naming things which He has already made? If not, then what, if anything, prevents Him from naming evils which we already commit? Did Jesus change the Law by rebuking the Pharisees concerning the Law? Or, rather, did Jesus rebuke them for changing the Law by their arrogant obsessions over its letter and over those who, for whatever reason, failed to keep that letter as they did?
I fear that you may be using an expertise in ‘logic’ to become convinced that your hatred of one error equates to a certainty that those who disagree with your conclusions are merely or ultimately committing the arrogance of a ‘willful ignorance’ in regard to the Sabbath and to the commands regarding it. I fear that you may have convinced yourself of an infallibly-arrived-at conclusion, so that you believe that anyone’s disagreement with that conclusion is itself either sheer ignorance or an arrogance against ‘the truth of Biblical logic’. I fear that you feel that you have the true-and-complete understanding of the use of the language which Jesus used in regard to the subject of the Sabbath and of the commandments regarding it.
I fear this because I am convinced in my own mind that your conclusion is deeply ignorant and unbalanced. It certainly is a kind of liberty to not obsess over germs such that you do not wash everything you touch before you touch it. But, such a liberty does not equate to righteousness regarding the realm of ‘germs’. As I can hope that even you know, the world of ‘germs’ is anything but an ever-changing, haphazard world. It is very ordered, such that any community that fails to abide its order, whether by ignorance, arrogance, or inability, have its well-being reduced. God made no unnatural promise that one shall pursue and overtake ten. But, be in mind of this: that for one to overtake even a hundred does not mean that that one is living according to God’s commands; the one may be wicked, and the hundred oppressed by him. So, be in mind of also of this: to cure a hundred does not mean that the one who is not cured is wicked, for even the letter of the Law confers worldly upon blessings on those who nevertheless are vipers. Any doctrine, or an manner of teaching, that destroys one innocent life, though that teaching give life to a thousand, is evil. In short, the world is full of well-meaning injustice, and by which some of the least guilty are the most condemned-to-ruin by some of the most prosperous. Is not this what a caste system is?
Properly understood in themselves and as a set, I tend to think that the entire ten commandments are the ‘simple basics’: Their substance and number is not added to by anything that’s 1)merely symbolic; 2)‘detailed’; or 3)‘far afield’ in terms of aberrant behavior. In other words, I accept the Ten as a simple list of the complete minimum basic things that all reasonable and halfway-decent people must abide in order to be counted even halfway-decent. This implies that for a person or group to habitually violate all ten is for him or it to be counted purely on the negative scale.
So, in my mind, the Ten does not include 1)any of the ‘Thou shalt not’’s which are necessary to give to a much more morally chaotic and naively careless people; 2)does not include any of the complex and more-complex details; and 3)does not include any mere symbols (such as instructions concerning sacrificing animals as reminder-ing symbols of substitutionary forgiveness).
The complete bivalent list (i.e. ‘love God, and love others’) is really very un-instructive, in that every society of fallen humans, no matter how otherwise holy, tend to need reminding of what that essentially irreducible bivalent list implies for even the first-tier of detail. Hence, the Ten.
The almost useless, secularized monovalent list of ‘Always do the right thing’, or ‘Be good’, while being plenty easy to understand in regard to many things, is basically un-instructive, leaving open almost every way of naivety, greed, arrogance, and other errors. The Ten Commandments exhausts the first-tier of detail (though I guess you think the Sabbath was tacked in there for some reason), which means it is the first-tier instructive complete list. The bivalent list, according to Jesus, is just the summary of the most detailed complete list.
But, not even a legalistic interpretation of the Ten can preserve, much less produce, a halfway-decent people. Thou shalt blindly obey thy parents in all that they command thee, no matter which god (or godlessness) they worship? The balance, the mutual complimentarity, of the Ten is what gives any of them meaning. To claim to keep the First while habitually violating half the others is just naïvely selfish, and self-deceptive, trash. And, ‘Thou shalt not steal’ in commercial terms does not mean that one is keeping the others, nor even that one is not a thief: every unrighteousness is theft of something, and dishonest weights is theft for which even Christ drove moneychangers out of the Temple.
Even to treat the sacred as common is theft of the sacred, from human trafficking to ‘grace’-ifying the most naïve of ‘Christian’ acts (such as becoming romantically bound up with someone prior to a complete, authoritative, avowed promise to marry them). The fact is that, relative to the congruent naivety, some corners seem far more justifiably cut than others, especially those corners that seem, to those who are naïve to them, not to be there at all.
What is the ‘childishness’ of the ceremonial element of the Law? Who is to say that one of the Ten is merely ceremonial? If the truth of the Sabbath is nothing more than ‘the necessity to apportion one’s time so as best to worship and serve God‘, then is there no natural global order according to which this worship and service is best done? Is it strictly individualistic, or, maybe, just communitarianistic? Or, does its order go all the way down to the world of ‘germs’? What, indeed, was the point of making any of the Laws so particular regarding sundown? What does sunlight have to do with the relation between human health and the balance of the microscopic ecology? According to the interpretation made of the Biblical Law by the typical Christian of the Age of the Gentiles, mainly nothing. As if we haven’t really learned anything since the Dark Ages.