Forklift Theology

Faith musings from the seat of a forklift.

First Commandment?

I don’t particular care what you do for a living. It really isn’t my business. However, I suspect that much like my job, your job has various rules and regulations you are expected to abide by. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if some of those rules and regulations are identical to the ones I have to follow. We can thank OSHA for that.

Many have complained that the Bible has too many rules in it. True, there are a good many rules and regulations in the Bible. Some are for the sake of social order. Others are for the sake of religious life. Then there are those which are primarily for health reasons, but also serve a symbolic purpose. However, here is a thought to ponder. Do you know what the very first commandment God gave was?

Most people, when considering the first commandment of God might be inclined to refer to the Decalogue, also known as the Ten Commandments (actually it is thirteen, but different churches combine them differently to arrive at a nice neat ten). No surprise. I don’t know of a single church that doesn’t teach at least part of this. To this end, the first commandment is ” I am the LORD thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” That seems pretty simple. However, that is not the very first commandment that God gave humanity.

There are many memes on Facebook these days. It is probably safe to say that they are mostly agenda driven. One in particular compares homosexuality to divorce. In all honesty, both are sinful. However, only one of them violates God’s very first commandment. How is that possible? The laws regarding divorce and homosexuality are in Leviticus. Not exactly true. Bear in mind that both Pharaoh’s attempt to take Abraham’s wife (which would have been tantamount to Sarah divorcing her husband) and the fall of Sodom are in Genesis.

The first book of the Bible, Genesis, is a very surprising piece of literature. Truthfully, it is theoretically possible to derive from its content the entirety of the Judaic law. This can be done by observing what God commands and how God acts when his commands are broken. Note that God never reacts.

Many Christians are not aware that the first example of prayer in the Bible is in Genesis. However, the very first law given is also in Genesis. No, it is not about the tree in the middle of the garden, that is either the fourth of fifth commandment that God gave. God’s very first law, or commandment was in Genesis 1:28, where God said “Be fruitful, and multiply, fill the Earth”.

Hold the phone! “Be fruitful, and multiply, fill the Earth” was God’s first commandment to humanity? Yes. Some translations render it “replenish the Earth”. However, it was still the first commandment God gave our first ancestors. This is why God would later give his edicts regarding homosexuality, murder, and abortion (yes, the Bible does address that topic, just not by the same terms we use today). God values life. He values human life especially. As the crowning of creation, God would naturally want us, as a race, to fill the Earth. However, along with that, he wanted for us to worship him. You can blame Adam and Eve for messing that up, see that rule about that tree in the middle of the garden for details.

Divorce is not ideal. However, there are times where it is justified and is not held against one as a sin. Such cases include adultery and abuse. Abandonment may be another area in which divorce can be seen as a necessity rather than a sin. Regardless, some effort must first be made to reconcile the relationship before a divorce can be granted and the one who refused to reconcile is the one guilty of the greater sin.

Homosexuality, that is a sin no matter what. Not only was it the final straw for Sodom, but in Leviticus it was punishable by stoning to death. Furthermore, it is called an abomination in Romans and those who practice it were called to be cast out of the community (hey, its better than be stoned). Simple truth, homosexuality can not produce life. It is a biological impossibility. I have previously illustrated that point in another post here. The fact is, homosexuality is in direct violation of the very first commandment God gave humanity. There is no way around it. God does not change. God may choose to have people cast out of the community rather than stoned, that is his choice, but his law has not changed.

Comparing homosexualtiy to divorce is akin to comparing an apple to an orange. There are very few similarities. However, the differences are far greater than the similarities. One is a case of two in unrepentant sin. The other may be a case of either one or two hardened hearts that can be reconciled and could involve one who is an active adulterer. Divorce does not directly violate God’s first commandment, homosexualtiy does.

Yes, both are sinful. There are is no way around that. God is holy and just. He despises sin. There is no way around that either. However, God is also very forgiving. This is proven through God allowing Christ Jesus to die upon the cross for our sins. The only sin that is unforgiven is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, which theologians struggle with to understand. I would argue that the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is to die in a state of unrepentant sin.

From the very beginning, God had specific commands for humanity. Likewise, every job has specific rules and regulations for employees. Sometimes the rules that an employer gives are unfair and need correction. God’s rules were perfect from the beginning, its just that our first ancestors were tricked into doubting God. We can reject God’s rules, but it doesn’t change them. We can pick and choose which ones we want to follow, but it doesn’t change them. God can not be and does not need to be corrected. When we attempt to do so, we only second guess ourselves and fall into the same trap that Adam and Eve did. In this, we are all guilty.

Rules are for our benefit. Our employers promulgate rules to help us do our jobs and stay safe while working. God promulgated his rules to help us run our lives and honor him with thanks and praise. Both sets of rules will be helpful to us if we apply them properly. However, we can not afford to simply choose which rules we will obey simply because we do or do not like a specific rule.

If we are going to survive in this world until the Lord’s coming, we need to abide by the rules and stop trying to justify one sin by comparing it to another. Sin is sin. It doesn’t matter what the sin is. What matters is repentance. If anyone is repentant, they are forgiven. If they are unrepentant, they are not forgiven. Now is the time to repent, lest you find yourself dying in unrepentant sin. If that happens, you are without excuse, doesn’t matter your sin. God offers forgiveness, will you ask him to “have mercy on me, a sinner”? That is my daily prayer, what about you?

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