Adultery and homosexuality in the moral law

Discussion in 'The Law of God' started by Von, Oct 16, 2019.

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  1. Von

    Von Puritan Board Freshman

    Since adultery is transgression of the moral law, would the stoning of the adulterer also be considered part of the moral law?
    Does this also apply to homosexuality?
     
  2. RPEphesian

    RPEphesian Puritan Board Junior

    These are in separate categories of law. Adultery and sodomy are always morally wrong, yet how the state deals with them is judicial law, and then it's a matter of how to right the wrongs between man and man in this life.
     
  3. Von

    Von Puritan Board Freshman

    So the way in which any of the 10 commandments is dealt with (in terms of punishment) is not prescriptive for today's society?
     
  4. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    Welcome to the Theonomy debate.
     
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  5. Von

    Von Puritan Board Freshman

    Aaaaaaaaaargh! Another vast field with cannons roaring on both sides!
     
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  6. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    I am not sure this will help you but I quote of portion of Calvin's Institutes concerning Civil Government, general equity, and moral law.

     
  7. Von

    Von Puritan Board Freshman

    "...Meanwhile, let no one be moved by the thought that the judicial and ceremonial laws relate to morals. For the ancients who adopted this division, though they were not unaware that the two latter classes had to do with morals, did not give them the name of moral, because they might be changed and abrogated without affecting morals..."

    So that would be Calvins answer to this thread.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2019
  8. Von

    Von Puritan Board Freshman

    Book 4 is the part of the Institutes where I usually fall asleep.
     
  9. alexandermsmith

    alexandermsmith Puritan Board Sophomore

    The example of the woman taken in adultery would suggest that such crimes are not to be dealt with in the same manner as they were in Israel of old. That said I don't see that it is wrong, per se, for a society to have the death penalty as a punishment for adultery or sodomy. But I think we are given liberty to show mercy in our penal code that wasn't there under the old dispensation. Christ doesn't say the woman isn't deserving of death, but that we are all guilty of sins deserving death. If we would desire mercy we should be merciful to others. Similar to when he applies the ten commandments to our inner life as well as our outer actions.
     
  10. Von

    Von Puritan Board Freshman

    As Paul also affirmed in Romans 1:32
    "Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die,..."
    (Just for those of us who have a problem with the authenticity of John 8.;))
     
  11. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Junior

    Should people be stoned for picking up sticks on the Lord's Day?
     
  12. RPEphesian

    RPEphesian Puritan Board Junior

    I think there is a question to be asked first: Can/should the law of God be the basis of a society's laws? Theonomy, or even a discussion of which laws apply, are subsets of that discussion if you affirm in the positive. You might start asking that question first, and you'll get your framework for addressing applications.

    So you can get past the cannon fire this time and go study that question. But if you post on PuritanBoard, there will be more action.
     
  13. Von

    Von Puritan Board Freshman

    Probably not, but my (or the state's) feelings towards the severity of the transgression should not determine the punishment.

    Same argument for the above-mentioned verse (Rom 1:32):
    I don't 'feel' that someone who gossips (verse 29) deserves death, but yet Paul says that they do.
     
  14. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    NO,as now under the NC, and not the OC of ancient Israel.
     
  15. jfschultz

    jfschultz Puritan Board Junior

    Recall at the end where were not the 2 or 3 eyewitnesses required for conviction. So Jesus could still be maintaining the Mosaic law.
     
  16. alexandermsmith

    alexandermsmith Puritan Board Sophomore

    The passage would suggest it was the sinfulness of those planning to stone the woman, rather than the lack of verification, which Christ was focusing on.
     
  17. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Junior

    Yes, I understand. The OP specifically is exploring if there is a link between the moral law and the punishments enjoined to its infraction. If the punishment is part of the moral code, then it would logically also apply to the Sabbath. That's my only point.
     
  18. alexandermsmith

    alexandermsmith Puritan Board Sophomore

    Surely the question should be "Should people be stoned for breaking the Lord's Day"?

    Certainly they deserve death. Whether by stoning or some other way, perhaps. But in what way does Christ's crucifixion and resurrection alter how we apply the Law? That is the question, as well. It doesn't remove the deserved penalty though.
     
  19. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Junior

    I'm not sure if you agreeing/disagreeing...

    I mentioned picking up sticks since we have an example of this (Num. 15:32-36).

    Of course, every sin is deserving God's eternal wrath. However, this thread is asking if there is a civil moral obligation to enjoin the same (moral) penalty to an infraction of any of the 10C.

    Concerning the woman caught in the act of adultery, Christ acquitted her prior to His death and under the nation state of Israel. We have other OT examples of such mercy as well, David bring a prime example.
     
  20. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    @Von, if you're interesting in pursuing this further, I would suggest picking up a copy of Greg Bahnsen's By This Standard. It can be found for free here. You may not agree with his conclusions, but, in my estimation, you can't do better than him for a clear representation of the theonomic understanding of the applicability of the Law today.
     
  21. alexandermsmith

    alexandermsmith Puritan Board Sophomore

    I wasn't sure if you were using the sticks example as a reductio ad absurdam argument, which is why I rephrased it. Indeed there was mercy in the OT too. I think my thinking on the matter is that in the new dispensation the civil magistrate has greater liberty in how the penal code is organised. I see no reason why the moral law shouldn't serve as the basis of our penal code, but the penalties mandated by it wouldn't be mandated today. That doesn't mean the same penalty couldn't be used but mercy is a far more prominent feature in this dispensation than it was before (though obviously present).
     
  22. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    God no longer has the same judgements under the NC though that was under the OC setup for Israel.
     
  23. RWD

    RWD Puritan Board Freshman

    Regarding the woman taken in adultery, the sole intent of the mob was the entrapment of Jesus and whether a life was callously taken in the process, without regard for godly motive, was of no consequence to these wicked men. Accordingly, had Jesus acquiesced to their plea by condoning the woman’s death on their terms, he would have partaken in their scheming and wickedness according to Exodus 23:1-4.

    Moreover, had Jesus allowed for the penalty under Moses to be enacted in this particular case, he would have implied that men need not submit to God’s ordained (Roman) government.

    Jesus was in a predicament. He did not want to condone the woman’s execution given the motivation of the witnesses and accusers, lest he himself could be guilty of paving the way for their sin and become an accomplice with them according to Exodus 23:1-4. Nor did Jesus want to suggest that the woman did not deserve immediate punishment for her sin as prescribed by Leviticus 20:10 and Deuteronomy 22:22.

    Her action was indeed worthy of death, (lest the law which he authored had been abolished; yet he had already stated most unambiguously that he had not come to abolish the law. Matthew 5:17) Let there be no mistake about it, Jesus was for the death penalty when his law required the death penalty. He also required that such penalties be carried out not by perfect men but rather by those who had removed the plank from their own eye. Execution was to be carried out in a spirit of godly humility. Anything less than that was to do God’s bidding with a murderous heart, which would reduce to self-serving vengeance as opposed to righteous justice. We are God’s servants, and we not our own. Indeed, Jesus was concerned not only with the letter of the law but also the spirit in which it was to be followed. This must be appreciated by all Christians, especially theonomists.

    The dilemma solved:

    Given the circumstances of no witness-accuser who possessed a heart for righteous judgment - the only one who could have put the woman to death and satisfied the full intention of the law both in letter and spirit would have been God himself. Accordingly, Jesus, unwilling to exercise his divine prerogative, invited anyone without sin to throw the first stone. By handling the difficult providence as he did, Jesus upheld Moses’ intention pertaining to a godly accuser's spirit, yet without compromising the deserved, temporal penalty for the woman. We might say that the case was thrown out of court due to the greater sin of the witness-accusers (and the priority of Roman rule, which I believe was secondary). Yet by couching the invitation as Jesus did, the Lord acknowledged both the rightful penalty and the unworthiness of anyone within that mob that day to carry out God’s law as in the manner God would have it - as God’s servant.

    God is concerned with the spirit of the law but not at the cost of abrogation. Now if anyone wants to make more of the passage as it pertains to theonomy and suggest that Moses has been abrogated because nobody is without sin, then in turn they prove too much by relegating all temporal justice to the Final Day, a most absurd and unworkable principle. The only question I have at this juncture is whether the anti-theonomists will go out one by one in shame for butchering the logical implications of the text. Or will the angry mob of Jesus' day prove themselves more worthy than these?
     
  24. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    God practiced with her the spirit of the Law, as David deserved death, but received grace.
     
  25. RWD

    RWD Puritan Board Freshman

    The spirit of the law never demands punishment?
     
  26. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    Yes, but with intent to save and restore whenever possible.
     
  27. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    Punishments for civil crimes are aimed at justice, not restoration. That’s one of the problems with our American “justice” system; we throw murderers in prison in hopes of reforming them, most of the time only making them harder criminals.
     
  28. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    I agree that justice needs to be served, but mercy and Grace are also part of that process.
     
  29. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    Of course, but it is the victim’s prerogative to show grace or mercy, not the state’s. Mercy shown by the state is not virtuous, but a grievous miscarriage of justice. The Lord Jesus Christ can show mercy in any situation, though, because...well, does that really need explaining?
     
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  30. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    How do you "restore" a murderer to society?
     
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