Tuesday, August 26, 2008

God's Word as creative power: the 10 commandments

I appreciate the patience of those who waited through various analytical posts. My next few are in a more edifying vein. The next several posts consider different aspects of God's Law. Each post in this series contains a partial picture and therefore an incomplete picture. It still seems best to me to consider these aspects separately. If you read this post and think, "That's only part of the story" -- you're right.

In the beginning God's creative power worked through his word, and ten times in the first chapter of Genesis we see "God said" followed by a decree that created reality and blessed the world. In the next book, Exodus, once again we see ten decrees coming from the mouth God. While much has been said about the ten commandments, I want to look first at how they are words of creation and blessing.

Often the ten commandments are heard as good ideas -- and as threats. "Thou shalt" has a certain coerciveness about it. But consider the reality that could be created by the commandments if people lived them. In this sense, the commandments are not so different from God creating a people of his own by saying:

Let there be love of God.
Let there be true knowledge of God.
Let there be freedom from the slavery of false religion.
Let there be respect and honor for the Lord.
Let there be good measures of work, rest and peace.
Let there be peace among brothers and love of life.
Let there be homes blessed with faithful, kind companionship.
Let there be respect and honor for our neighbors.
Let there be honesty, and let there be justice.
Let there be hearts that are glad to see a neighbor's prosperity.

The commandments of God are creative: they call and create a people of his own, binding him to them and them to him. They call us to be co-creators with God of the reality around us, a reality that could, as in the beginning, be called good. The commandments carry the blessing of God in that keeping them makes us channels of God's blessing in the world, blessings such as peace and rest and homes where we are welcome. A people that takes these to heart would be blessed intrinsically by the very fact of having these commandments in their hearts and the actions that would necessarily follow.

I think something like that inspired two of my favorite psalms, Psalm 19 and Psalm 119, both praising the law of God for its beauty, its goodness, and its ability to bless.


Tony-Allen said...

God gave us the commandments not to order us but to care for us.

Weekend Fisher said...

I'm sure you're right. Still, this particular way of caring for us only works when we let our lives be ordered by it -- which a lot of people still resent. ;)

Take care & God bless
Anne / WF