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Explain the relevance of the Decalogue for issues in Christian morality

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Introduction

Transfer-Encoding: chunked Explain the relevance of the Decalogue for issues in Christian morality (35) The Decalogue is the basis for pure Christian ethics and is maintained to this day. The term Decalogue refers to the Ten Commandments that are found in Exodus, when they were presented to Moses as a sign of God?s covenant with the people of Israel. Many of our modern state laws are influenced by the moral code of the Old Testament. In the words of Dane, they ?in some respects form a charter of fundamental human rights.? In examining their relevance, a good place to start would be their Old Testament origin. For the Old Testament the idea of ethics is tied up with the idea of a covenant. A covenant is not in the Old Testament a bargain, an agreement, a treaty between two people, but between God and Israel. The whole point of the covenant is that in it the whole initiative is with God. ...read more.

Middle

The Decalogue provides a way of understanding what is right and wrong as well as being an eternal guide to decision making. Some laws in the Pentateuch are casuistic in nature ? state the rule and the equivalent punishment. (?If you?then??) Contrastingly, the Ten Commandments are apodictic ? ?You shall not?? It was not even considered that they would be broken. They are regarded as moral absolutes and are therefore still considered by Christians to be universal laws. Moving on to some of the specific commandments, the first four commandments are directly related to God. The very first is to have no other gods asides from Yaweh. It is assumed that if someone sincerely follows the first commandment the rest will fall into place naturally, motivated by a love for God. TD Alexander wrote, ?Sole allegiance to the Lord lies at the heart of the covenant relationship.? The second is, ?You shall not make for yourself an idol?You shall not bow down to them or worship them.? This was also to set them apart from other nations. ...read more.

Conclusion

It is worth noting that the Hebrew word for kill is, ?ratsach,? which only applies to killing of innocents ? not killing in war or other legitimate circumstances. The command against adultery is also particularly relevant to a modern Christian living in a sexually promiscuous culture. The Decalogue promotes the importance of marriage and the seriousness of this commandment is stated in Leviticus 20:10: ?If a man commits adultery with another man's wife--with the wife of his neighbour--both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death.? The final commands, such as, ?You shall not covet,? are concerned with the inner feelings or thoughts which could lead to actions which are already forbidden by the previous commandments, like adultery or theft. In terms of morality this suggests that our internal thoughts or desires are as important as our actions. Finally, although the Decalogue is still relevant for Christian morality, the New Testament takes precedence. Jesus reinforced most of the Decalogue, but he added that to love God and to love others were the crux of morality. Perhaps the Decalogue would be more relevant to a Jewish believer than a Christian. ...read more.

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