Pastor Todd of Crossroads Community Church deals with a very tough theological thorn of free-will and God’s sovereignty. Yes. I have believed this for years and consider it somewhat of a mystery, just like the Trinity. I added some graphics (Scripture verses read) for the casual viewer so they can follow along with Todd. As an unimportant aside, the first time Scripture explicitly mentions Pharaoh hardening his heart is in Exodus 8:15.
Here are two quotes that came to mind during the sermon:
4:21 The Bible teaches that human beings are free to make choices (Gn 2:19; 4:7; Ezk 18:2–32). God is good (Ps 25:8; 34:8; 100:5) and always acts consistently with His nature. Yet people can choose to rebel against God’s goodness, and consistent rebellion can lead to their hearts being “hardened.” As the saying goes, “The same sun that melts butter also hardens clay.” Egyptian pharaohs believed they were divine, and Pharaoh would never have been inclined to submit to the Israelites’ God. Each time God placed a demand on him, he became more determined to resist. Thus it was both God’s demands and Pharaoh’s own pride-motivated stubbornness (Ex 8:15, 32; 9:34) that led to his hardened heart. God would use Pharaoh’s stubbornness for a good end, to demonstrate His power and extend His reputation (9:16).
The Apologetics Study Bible: Real Questions, Straight Answers, Stronger Faith (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2007), 91–92.
partII. GOD THE REDEEMER OF SINNERS
While reiterating the teaching of nature as to the existence and character of the personal Creator and Lord of all, the Scriptures lay their stress upon the grace or the undeserved love of God, as exhibited in his dealings with his sinful and wrath-deserving creatures. So little, however, is the consummate divine attribute of love advanced, in the scriptural revelation, at the expense of the other moral attributes of God, that it is thrown into prominence only upon a background of the strongest assertion and fullest manifestation of its companion attributes, especially of the divine righteousness and holiness, and is exhibited as acting only along with and in entire harmony with them. God is not represented in the Scriptures as forgiving sin because he really cares very little about sin; nor yet because he is so exclusively or predominatingly the God of love, that all other attributes shrink into desuetude in the presence of his illimitable benevolence. He is rather represented as moved to deliver sinful man from his guilt and pollution because he pities the creatures of his hand, immeshed in sin, with an intensity which is born of the vehemence of his holy abhorrence of sin and his righteous determination to visit it with intolerable retribution; and by a mode which brings as complete satisfaction to his infinite justice and holiness as to his unbounded love itself. The biblical presentation of the God of grace includes thus the richest development of all his moral attributes, and the God of the Bible is consequently set forth, in the completeness of that idea, as above everything else the ethical God. And that is as much as to say that there is ascribed to him a moral sense so sensitive and true that it estimates with unfailing accuracy the exact moral character of every person or deed presented for its contemplation, and responds to it with the precisely appropriate degree of satisfaction or reprobation. The infinitude of his love is exhibited to us precisely in that while we were yet sinners he loved us, though with all the force of his infinite nature he reacted against our sin with illimitable abhorrence and indignation. The mystery of grace resides just in the impulse of a sin-hating God to show mercy to such guilty wretches; and the supreme revelation of God as the God of holy love is made in the disclosure of the mode of his procedure in redemption, by which alone he might remain just while justifying the ungodly. For in this procedure there was involved the mighty paradox of the infinitely just Judge himself becoming the sinner’s substitute before his own law and the infinitely blessed God receiving in his own person the penalty of sin.
B.B. Warfield, Selected Short Writings of Benjamin B. Warfield (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 1970), 71-72.
I was listening to Steven Crowder and “Sargon of Akkad” talk about various subjects… and then it got onto the Bible.
Typical things like presuppositions about miracles being impossible stated BEFORE saying the miraculous life of Jesus is impossible… but before getting into more of the miraculous and Mithra’ism, I want to deal with an issue of Sargon’s name and his affinity to Zeitgeist. Sargon of Akkad is said to be a story that many years later the Story of Moses in Exodus 2:1-10, which reads:
And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi. And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months. And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river’s brink. And his sister stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him. And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river; and her maidens walked along by the river’s side; and when she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it. And when she had opened it, she saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on him, and said, This is one of the Hebrews’ children. Then said his sister to Pharaoh’s daughter, Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee? And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, Go. And the maid went and called the child’s mother. And Pharaoh’s daughter said unto her, Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages. And the woman took the child, and nursed it. And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water.
This story is referenced in many atheist rejections of Scripture. Here is one post at Debunking Atheism that deal with the topic:
…it [the movie Zeitgeist — see my rebuttle to it here] goes on to make similar claims about the story of Moses,
There is the plagiarized story of Moses. Upon Moses’ birth, it is said that he was placed in a reed basket and set adrift in a river in order to avoid infanticide. He was later rescued by a daughter of royalty and raised by her as a Prince. This baby in a basket story was lifted directly from the myth of Sargon of Akkad of around 2250 b.c. Sargon was born, placed in a reed basket in order to avoid infanticide, and set adrift in a river. He was in turn rescued and raised by Akki, a royal mid-wife.
Zeitgeist makes the claim that the ancient king Sargon was placed in a basket to “avoid infanticide” and is later found by a royal mid-wife. The claim then becomes that since Sargon lived before Moses then therefore Moses must have plagiarized the story.
There is indeed a famous story of Sargon being left in a basket on the Euphrates river preserved in cuneiform tablets of Ancient Assyria. The cuneiform tablet says,
Sargon, mighty king, king of Agade, am I. My mother was a high priestess, my father I knew not; My father’s brothers live in the mountains; My city is Azupiranu, situated on the banks of the Euphrates My mother, the high priestess, conceived me, in secret she bore me; She placed me in a basket of rushes, she sealed the lid with bitumen; She cast me into the river which did not rise over me; The river bore me up and carried me to Aqqi, the water-drawer. Aqqi, the water-drawer, lifted me out as he dipped his bucket; Aqqi, the water-drawer, adopted me, brought me up; Aqqi, the water-drawer, set me up as his gardener. As a gardener, Ishtar, loved me; For 55 years I ruled as king.
The similarity to Moses is obvious to anyone who has read both the story of Moses and the legend of Sargon. But a carefull reading shows that the film, Zeitgeist, in its description of the similarities between the two stories is actually exaggerated.
The claim that Sargon’s mother placed him in the basket and set him adrift to save him from infanticide is actually unsubstantiated. Nowhere in the inscription does it say that she did it to save him from anything or anyone. It just simply says she set him adrift. And the way that the tablet says “she [his mother] cast me into the river” kind of gives the impression that this is a case of child abandonment rather than to save his life.
James Holding in his essay gives background information of the importance of Sargon’s mother being a high priestess. He points out that in order to maintain her position she had to avoid pregnancy. This therefore would account for her giving birth in secrecy and would indicate that she was just disposing of her unwanted newborn child.
The fact that the story says she set him adrift also indicates she didn’t care whether or not he survived. This is a major difference between the two stories. — Contrary to what Cecil B. DeMille’sThe Ten Commandments shows, even though Moses was placed in a basket on the Nile river, he was not set adrift. Exodus 2: 3, 4 says that he was placed at the edge of the river among the reeds and his sister “stood” at a distance to watch him. The reeds would have kept the basket from drifting away. He was meant to survive which is not seemingly the case with Sargon….
Take note as well that Exodus is written well before the first accounts of this story that is supposedly plagiarized:
The date of the Biblical exodus-conquest is clear. 1 Kgs 6:1 and 1 Chr 6:33–37 converge on a date of 1446 BC for the exodus and the Jubilees data and Judg 11:26 independently converge on a date of 1406 BC for the beginning of the conquest. The 1406 BC date is further confirmed by archaeological data from Jericho, Ai (Kh. el-Maqatir) and Hazor. In the end, Hoffmeier’s response has served to reinforce my earlier conclusion that “there is no valid evidence, Biblical or extra-Biblical, to sustain it.” The theory is a scholarly construct popularized by William F. Albright in the mid-20th century. It is not supported by Biblical or extra-Biblical texts and has lost its presumed archaeological underpinnings, thus has no place in contemporary Biblical scholarship.
Here is another fine article about the dating of Exodus. Whereas the first known reference to Akkad’s story is found in fragments in the Library of Ashurbanipal from the 7th century BC. So much like you will see below with Mithra’ism… the legend POST-DATES the Biblical record and thus it is VERY possible that the plagiarism is the other way around.
Onto Miracles and other positions taken explicetly or implicetly by Sargon.
Miracles and Bias
Professor: “Miracles are impossible Sean, don’t you know science has disproven them, how could you believe in them [i.e., answered prayer, a man being raised from the dead, etc.].”
Student: “for clarity purposes I wish to get some definitions straight. Would it be fair to say that science is generally defined as ‘the human activity of seeking natural explanations for what we observe in the world around us’?”
Professor: “Beautifully put, that is the basic definition of science in every text-book I read through my Doctoral journey.”
Student: “Wouldn’t you also say that a good definition of a miracle would be ‘and event in nature caused by something outside of nature’?”
Professor: “Yes, that would be an acceptable definition of ‘miracle.’”
Student: “But since you do not believe that anything outside of nature exists [materialism, dialectical materialism, empiricism, existentialism, naturalism, and humanism – whatever you wish to call it], you are ‘forced’ to conclude that miracles are impossible”
Norman L. Geisler & Peter Bocchino, Unshakable Foundations: Contemporary Answers to Crucial Questions about the Christian Faith (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 2001), 63-64.
This commitment to materialism is referenced in one of the best books about the Jesus Seminar:
Philosophical Naturalism and the Modern Worldview
The second modern factor that has contributed to the widespread understanding that religious belief is private, practical, and relative, and need not be related to truth and reason is the widespread acceptance of philosophical naturalism as an expression of scientism. Philosophical naturalism is the idea that reality is exhausted by the spatio-temporal world of physical entities that we can investigate in the natural sciences. The natural causal Fabric of physical reality within the boundaries of space and time is all there is, was, or ever will be. The supernatural doesn’t exist except, perhaps, as a belief in people’s minds. On this view, religious beliefs are simply ways of looking at things in our search for meaning and purpose; they are not ideas that correspond to a mind-independent reality.
Philosophical naturalism is an expression of an epistemology (i.e., a theory of knowledge and justified or warranted belief) known as scientism. Scientism is the view that the natural sciencesare the very paradigm of truth and rationality. If something does not square with currently well-established beliefs, if it is not within the domain of entities appropriate for scientific investigation, or if it is not amenable to scientific methodology then it is not true or rational. Everything outside of science is a matter of mere belief and subjective opinion, of which rational assessment is impossible. Applied to the question of the historical origins of Christianity, scientism implies that since we live in the modern scientific world where the sun is the center of the solar system, the wireless is available for our use, and the atoms power has been harnessed, we can no longer believe in a biblical worldview with its miracles, demons, and supernatural realities.
Obviously, it is impossible in the brief space of an introduction to critique adequately scientism and naturalism. Still, a few cursory remarks need to be expressed.
(1) Scientism is simply false for three reasons. (a) It is self-refining, i.e., it falsifies itself. Why? Scientism is itself a statement of philosophy about knowledge and science; it is not a statement ofscience itself. Moreover, it is a statement of philosophy that amounts to the claim that no statements outside scientific ones, including scientism itself (because it is a statement of philosophy), can be true or supported by rational considerations. (b) Science itself rests on a number of assumptions: the existence of a theory-independent external world, the orderly nature of the external world, the existence of truth and the reliability of our senses and rational faculties to gather truth about the world in a trustworthy manner, the laws of logic and the truths of mathematics, the adequacy of language (including mathematical language) to describe the external world, the uniformity of nature, and soon. Now, each one of these assumptions is philosophical in nature. The task of stating, criticizing, and defending the assumptions of science rests in the field of philosophy. Scientism fails to leave room for these philosophical tasks and, thus, shows itself to be a foe and not a friend of science. (c) There are many things we know in religion, ethics, logic, mathematics, history, art, literature, and so on that are simply not matters of science. For example, we all know that two is an even number, that Napoleon lived, that torturing babies for fun is wrong, that if A is larger than B and B is larger than C, then A is larger than C, and so on. None of these items of knowledge are scientific in nature, and scientism is falsified by their reality.
(2) Philosophical naturalism is false as well. For one thing, philosophical naturalism rules out the existence of a number of things that do, in fact, exist. And while we cannot defend their existence here, suffice it to say that, currently, a number of intellectuals have offered convincing arguments for the reality of universals and other abstract objects such as numbers, the laws of logic, values, the soul and its various mental states (including the first person point of view), other minds, libertarian or full-blown freedom of the will, and so on. None of these items can be classified as mere physical objects totally within the causal fabric of the natural spatio-temporal universe. In fact, it is not an exaggeration to say that there is not a single issue of importance to human beings that is solely a matter of scientific investigation or that can be satisfactorily treated by philosophical naturalists.
(3) Philosophical naturalism fails to explain adequately the fact that there are a number of arguments and pieces of evidence that make belief in God more reasonable than disbelief. Some of this evidence actually comes from science: the fact that the universe had a beginning based on the Big Bang theory and the second law of thermodynamics, the existence of biological information in DNA that is closely analogous to intelligent language and that cannot arise from the accidental collisions of physical entities according to laws of nature, the reality of the mental and of free will according to a number of emerging psychological theories of the self, the delicate fine-tuning of the universe, and so on.”
Like it or not, a significant and growing number of scientists, historians of science, and philosophers of science see more scientific evidence now for a personal creator and designer than was available fifty years ago. In light of this evidence, it is false and naive to claim that modern science has made belief in the supernatural unreasonable. Such a view can be called ostrich naturalism—a position that requires its advocate to keep his or her head in the sand and not to acknowledge real advances in science. The plain truth is that science itself makes no statements about all of reality anyway, nor does science itself offer any support for philosophical naturalism. What does support philosophical naturalism are the ideological claims of naturalists themselves regarding what science ought to say if we assume philosophical naturalism to begin with.
In sum, it matters much that our religious beliefs are both true and reasonable. Moreover, there simply are no sufficient reasons for not believing in the supernatural, and there are in fact a number of good reasons (including but going beyond scientific ones) for believing in the supernatural. As we have said, space considerations do not permit us to defend this last claim here. But we will list some sources in the bibliography that adequately justify this claim. If you are an honest inquirer about the truth of religion, moral and intellectual integrity unite in placing a duty on you to read these works as a sincere seeker of the truth. It is well past time to rest content with the politically correct, unjustified assertions of scientism and philosophical naturalism. University libraries are filled with books that show the weaknesses of these views, and the fellows of the Jesus Seminar show virtually no indication that they have so much as interacted with the arguments they contain, much less have they refuted their claims.
Regarding Jesus of Nazareth, all of this means the following: Prior to investigating the historical evidence about his life, deeds, sayings, and significance, there is no good reason to bring to the evidence a prior commitment to naturalism. As later chapters will show, such a commitment is Procrustean in that it often forces the evidence of history to fit an unjustified anti-supernatural bias. But when the evidence is evaluated on its own terms, and when such an evaluation is combined with the rigorous case for supernatural theism already available in the literature, then the claims of historic, orthodox Christianity can be reasonably judged to be true.
Michael J. Wilkins, ed., Jesus Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents the Historical Jesus (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996), 8-10.
Another small point made (Mithraism is stated specifically later in convo) was about mythical religions being the source of much of Christianity. This is the “Zeitgeist” Effect, and is easily disproved… which I have posted a rebuttal of here. But to correct Sargon’s use of Mitrhaic religion… it post dates Christianity. Here is a good short refutation showing that there is no historical evidence to prove Mithraism as Sargon postulates PRE-DATES Christianity:
The most popular hypothesis holds that Roman soldiers encountered this religion during military excursions to areas known today as Iran and Iraq. For many years scholars believed that the Roman mystery cult was based on the ancient Persian god, thus predating Christianity. This assumption begins with early twentieth-century Belgian archaeologist and historian Franz Cumont (cf. Cumont’s book The Mysteries of Mithra).
While Cumont’s work is regarded as pioneering in the field, many recent scholars have challenged his assumption. According to John Hinnells at the First International Congress of Mithraic Studies held in 1971, “We must now conclude that [Cumont’s] reconstruction simply will not stand. It receives no support from the Iranian material and is in fact in conflict with the ideas of that tradition as they are represented in the extant texts. Above all, it is a theoretical reconstruction which does not accord with the actual Roman iconography” (John R. Hinnells, Mithraic Studies, vol. 2, “Reflections on the bull-slaying scene”).
Manfred Claus, a professor of ancient history at the Free University of Berlin, also supports this position: “The mysteries cannot be shown to have developed from Persian religious ideas, nor does it make sense to interpret them as a forerunner of Christianity” (The Roman Cult of Mithras, p. 7).
In the link leading to my post on this stuff I have pages from a book showing the dates of the VERY popular reliefs used by skeptics to show that Christianity stole from Mithraism… the only proble? The POST-DATE Christianity:
If one reads that scholarly chapter they will come away with a changed position via historical evidences and not the slush found on skeptical websites. However, I just wanted to note Sargon’s reference to Second Kings 18:13 by having professor Archer lay out the issue referenced:
Second Kings 18:13 in the Masoretic text states: “Now in the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and seized them.” Since Sennacherib’s own record in the Taylor Prism establishes 701 B.C. as the date of that invasion, the four¬teenth year of Hezekiah would mean that he did not ascend the throne until 715 B.C. Yet 2 Kings 18:1 (the very same chapter, be it noted) states that Hezekiah became king in the third year of Hoshea king of Israel—which comes out to 729 or 728. This would have been the year in which he was crowned as subordinate king, under his father Ahaz (who did not die until 725). The Masoretic text of 2 Kings 18:13 therefore stands in clear con¬tradiction to 18:1,9, and 10, which confirm that Hezekiah’s fourth year was Hoshea’s seventh and that Hezekiah’s sixth was Hoshea’s ninth (i.e., 722 B.c.).
Gleason L. Archer, Encyclopedia of Biblical Difficulties (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1982), cf. 2 Kings 18:13, 211.
BEFORE I go any further… I want to point out how minor this mistake (and subsequent correction) is. It does not do anything to the integrity of the Bible, its message, or it’s historical soundness. Even someone who is seen as dealing the biggest blow to textual studies as of late, Bart Ehrman, even he acknowledges nothing he has written deterioates the main theisis and message of Christianity or the Bible:
In the appendix to Misquoting Jesus, added to the paperback version, there is a Q&A section. I do not know who the questioner is, but it is obviously someone affiliated with the editors of the book. Consider this question asked of Ehrman:
Bruce Metzger, your mentor in textual criticism to whom this book dedicated, has said that there is nothing in these variants of Scripture that challenges any essential Christian beliefs (e.g., the bodily resurrection of Jesus or the Trinity). Why do you believe these core tenets Of Christian orthodoxy to be in jeopardy based on the scribal errors you discovered in the biblical manuscripts?
Note that the wording of the question is not “Do you believe…” but “Why do you believe these core tenets of Christian orthodoxy to be in jeopardy…?” This is a question that presumably came from someone who read the book very carefully. How does Ehrman respond?
The position I argue for in Misquoting Jesus does not actually stand at odds with Prof. Metzger’s position that the essential Christian beliefs are not affected by textual variants in the manuscript tradition of the New Testament.
Suffice it to say that viable textual variants that disturb cardinal doctrines found in the NT have not yet been produced.
Daniel B. Wallace, Revisiting the Corruption of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregal Publications, 2011), 54-55.
PROBLEM: 2 Kings 18:13 claims that “in the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them.” Since archaeological evidence has established Sennacherib’s invasion at 701 B.C., this would mean that Hezekiah became co-regent with his father Ahaz in 719 B.C., and sole ruler of Judah in 715 B.C. However, according to 2 Kings 18:1, Hezekiah became co-regent in 729 B.C., and he became sole ruler of Judah when his father died in 725 B.C. This is a discrepancy of ten years. Which account is correct?
SOLUTION: The claim that Sennacherib invaded Judah in the fourteenth year of Hezekiah is clearly a copyist error. Sennacherib actually invaded Judah in the twenty-fourth year of the reign of Hezekiah of Judah. The error is easy to explain since the difference between the two numbers is a single Hebrew letter. The Hebrew consonants for “fourteen” are rb srh, while the Hebrew consonants for “twenty-four” are rb srm (the ancient manuscripts did not write the vowels, see Appendix 2). The final letters are the only difference in the written text. In fact, the words are the same, only the word “twenty” is simply the plural form of the word “ten.” We might express the way the Hebrew is written as “four ten,” or “four twenty.” It is simply a case where a copyist miscopied the form from “four twenty” to “four ten.”
Norman L. Geisler and Thomas A. Howe, When Critics Ask : A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992), 197.
If a skeptic thinks this interferes with inerrancy… they are sadly mistaken. And of course Crowder is correct to point to the discoveries from archaeology that support the Bible… this set of verses are not excluded from this either. Much like my other examples of challenges… they fall woefully short of the simple beginning bias/presuppositions of those like Sargon’s — a presupposition not unlike Dr. Lewontin’s:
Naturalism and materialism are not scientific conclusions; rather, they are scientific premises. They are not discovered in nature but imposed upon nature. In short, they are articles of faith. Here is Harvard biologist Richard Lewontin: “We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a priori commitment, a commitment — a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”
Dinesh D’Souza, What’s So Great about Christianity (Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing, 2007), 161.
Nancy Pelosi keeps appealing to the Bible in support of her lunatic policies. Her fellow liberals don’t seem to mind. Whatever happened to opposing “mixing religion and politics”? Only liberals can mix religion and politics. We know this because of the way liberal black churches endorse candidates seemingly in violation of IRS regulations and no one seems to protest.
On Tuesday, Pelosi appealed to how Mary and Joseph escaped the impending slaughter of the children under Herod (Matt. 2:13, 16-18):
“I reference the conference of bishops’ statement in which they say baby Jesus was a refugee from violence. Let us not turn away these children and send them back into a burning building. That’s the bishops, so we have to do this in a way that honors our values but also protects our border and does so in a way that the American people understand more clearly.”
Are we to assume that all the unaccompanied children coming across our border will be murdered by their political leaders if they stay in their home countries?
Isn’t it rather odd that many of these minor children were abandoned by their parents? If a mother leaves her unaccompanied child to play in a park for a few others, she is cited for child endangerment. But if parents send their children a thousand miles away on a trek to an unknown future, that’s praise worthy.
Let’s keep in mind that the infant Jesus was accompanied by his parents. The family remained in Egypt “until the death of Herod” (2:15, 19-21; Hosea 11:1). They then returned as an intact family back to their home country even though danger still existed (Matt. 2:22-23).
Pelosi’s most recent biblical analogy about immigration is the story of Moses:
“These are children coming over the border. They are children,” adding “what would we do if Moses had not been accepted by the Pharaoh’s family. We would not have the Ten Commandments for starters. You understand my point, historically we have a challenge and we have examples of humanitarian assistance that should guide us.”
In the case of Moses, there was a willing family to take in the baby. The mother of Moses actually nursed her own child (Ex. 2:7-10). This is hardly analogous to what’s happening today.
I’m glad Nancy Pelosi has some regard for the Ten Commandments, and by extension, the other laws that were given through Moses (John 1:17; 7:19), including those condemning abortion (Ex. 21:22-25) and homosexuality (Lev. 18:22; 20:13). These laws were also given through Moses. But that’s a topic for another day.
I am glad to see Pelosi endorses Moses, maybe she will follow his example and clear Biblical teaching on abortion now:
“When men get in a fight, and hit a pregnant woman so that her children are born [prematurely], but there is no injury, the one who hit her must be fined as the woman’s husband demands from him, and he must pay according to judicial assessment. If there is an injury, then you must give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,….”
What does this verse mean for the Judeo-Christian person in the real world — if we rightly shape our worldview according to God’s Revelation? Wayne Grudem explains with an excerpt from from his book, Politics According to the Bible:
For the question of abortion, perhaps the most significant passage of all is found in the specific laws God gave Moses for the people of Israel during the time of the Mosaic covenant. One particular law spoke of the penalties to be imposed in case the life or health of a pregnant woman or her preborn child was endangered or harmed:
When men strive together and hit a pregnant woman, so that her children come out, but there is no harm, the one who hit her shall surely be fined, as the woman’s husband shall impose on him, and he shall pay as the judges determine. But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe (Exod. 21:22-25).[footnote A]
This law concerns a situation when men are fighting and one of them accidentally hits a pregnant woman. Neither one of them intended to do this, but as they fought they were not careful enough to avoid hitting her. If that happens, there are two possibilities:
1. If this causes a premature birth but there is no harm to the pregnant woman or her preborn child, there is still a penalty: “The one who hit her shall surely be fined” (v. 22). The penalty was for carelessly endangering the life or health of the pregnant woman and her child. We have similar laws in modern society, such as when a person is fined for drunken driving, even though he has hit no one with his car. He recklessly endangered human life and health, and he deserved a fine or other penalty.
2. But “if there is harm” to either the pregnant woman or her child, then the penalties are quite severe: “Life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth …” (vv. 23-24). This means that both the mother and the preborn child are given equal legal protection. The penalty for harming the preborn child is just as great as for harming the mother. Both are treated as persons, and both deserve the full protection of the law.[footnote B]
This law is even more significant when we put it in the context of other laws in the Mosaic covenant. In other cases in the Mosaic law where someone accidentally caused the death of another person, there was no requirement to give “life for life,” no capital punishment. Rather, the person who accidentally caused someone else’s death was required to flee to one of the “cities of refuge” until the death of the high priest (see Num. 35:9-15, 22-29). This was a kind of “house arrest,” although the person had to stay within a city rather than within a house for a limited period of time. It was a far lesser punishment than “life for life.”
This means that God established for Israel a law code that placed a higher value on protecting the life of a pregnant woman and her preborn child than the life of anyone else in Israelite society. Far from treating the death of a preborn child as less significant than the death of others in society, this law treats the death of a preborn child or its mother as more significant and worthy of more severe punishment. And the law does not place
any restriction on the number of months the woman was pregnant. Presumably it would apply from a very early stage in pregnancy, whenever it could be known that a miscarriage had occurred and her child or children had died as a result.
Moreover, this law applies to a case of accidental killing of a preborn child. But if accidental killing of a preborn child is so serious in God’s eyes, then surely intentional killing of a preborn child must be an even worse crime.
The conclusion from all of these verses [many are discussed in Grudem’s book] is that the Bible teaches that we should think of the preborn child as a person from the moment of conception, and we should give to the preborn child legal protection at least equal to that of others in the society.
A. The phrase “so that her children come out” is a literal translation of the Hebrew text, which uses the plural of the common Hebrew word yeled, “child,” and another very common word, yātsā’, which means “go out, come out.” The plural “children” is probably the plural of indefiniteness, allowing for the possibility of more than one child. Other translations render this as “so that she gives birth prematurely,” which is very similar in meaning (so NASB, from 1999 editions onward; similarly: NN, TNIV, NET, HCSV, NLT, NKJV).
B. Some translations have adopted an alternative sense of this passage. The NRSV translates it, “When people who are fighting injure a pregnant woman so that there is a miscarriage, and yet no further harm follows …” (RSV is similar, as was NASB before 1999). In this case, causing a miscarriage and the death of a preborn child results only in a fine. Therefore, some have argued, this passage treats the preborn child as less worthy of protection than others in society, for the penalty is less. But the arguments for this translation are not persuasive. The primary argument is that this would make the law similar to a provision in the law code of Hammurabi (about 1760 BC in ancient Babylon). But such a supposed parallel should not override the meanings of the actual words in the Hebrew text of Exodus. The moral and civil laws in the Bible often differed from those of the ancient cultures around Israel. In addition, there is a Hebrew word for a miscarriage (shakal, Gen. 31:38; see also Exod. 23:26; Job 21:20; Hosea 9:14), but that word is not used here, nor is nēphel, another term for “miscarriage” (see Job 3:16; Ps. 58:8; Eccl. 6:3). However, the word that is used, yātsā’, is ordinarily used to refer to the live birth of a child (see Gen. 25:26; 38:29; Jer. 1:5). Finally, even on this (incorrect) translation, a fine is imposed on the person who accidentally caused the death of the preborn child. This implies that accidentally causing such a death is still considered morally wrong. Therefore, intentionally causing the death of a prebom child would be much more wrong, even on this translation.