Why did God allow Moses to give a bill of divorce?greenspun.com : LUSENET : Catholic : One Thread
I've always had trouble understanding Matthew 19:7-8 "7 They say to him: Why then did Moses command to give a bill of divorce, and to put away? 8 He saith to them: Because Moses by reason of the hardness of your heart permitted you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. " Truth cannot contradict Truth, so why did God let Moses give this bill to His people when they looked up to Him with authority? When Moses permitted this, was it God's will? Did God only "allow" this to happen as He would sometimes allow evil to happen? I guess this question can also apply with the "eye for an eye" verse. I ask this question cause it came up a couple of days ago, when I was talking to a couple of co-worker(non denominational Christians) about divorce. Understanding of this verse along with the "eye for an eye" one, always seemed to elude me.
-- D Joseph (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 22, 2004
-- D J (email@example.com), November 22, 2004.
It looks like Jesus answered your question...
"Because Moses by reason of the hardness of your heart permitted you to put away your wives.."
My guess is that the people under Moses were determined to let their own will be done instead of listening to authority (God's or Moses').
-- Dave (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 22, 2004.
"Because Moses by reason of the hardness of your heart permitted you to put away your wives.." Yeah, but it's this verse that bothers me. It is like a mother saying to her teen kid. "Since your going to do it anyways you may as well have a condom." Instead of the mother telling her kid, that premarital sex and condoms is not an option, PERIOD. Why didn't Moses just tell them it was against God to divorce and that is final. Instead He seemed to be giving them the appearance that divorce was ok even if He didn't flat out tell them it was.
-- DJ (email@example.com), November 22, 2004.
Moses was a great prophet inspired by God, but he wasn’t infallible. God gave His chosen people the truth, but they kept falling away from it. It wasn’t until Jesus founded the Church on Peter that God gave the world a source of truth which He guaranteed would never fall into error. Also note that it says only that "Moses" permitted them to divorce their wives. It doesn’t say he permitted a wife to divorce her husband, nor that he permitted a divorced person to marry someone else during the life of their spouse. What "Moses" (or actually the Jewish leaders who lived a long time after Moses and wrote down the first five books of the Bible as if Moses himself had written them) permitted, was probably a type of legal SEPARATION of spouses (permitting a husband to avoid the normal sanctions for not living with, supporting and protecting his wife, in cases where the wife had committed some grievous sin) rather than divorce as it is understood in the modern West.
And there’s no such thing as a “Non denominational Christian”. If these guys claim they don’t belong to any other denomination, they are simply using a weasel phrase to disguise the fact that they have invented their own denomination with beliefs to suit what they want to believe, apparently including that divorce and remarriage is OK.
-- Steve (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 22, 2004.
"What "Moses" (or actually the Jewish leaders who lived a long time after Moses and wrote down the first five books of the Bible as if Moses himself had written them) permitted, was probably a type of legal SEPARATION of spouses (permitting a husband to avoid the normal sanctions for not living with, supporting and protecting his wife, in cases where the wife had committed some grievous sin) rather than divorce as it is understood in the modern West."
This would make sense. However, where can one find out about how the Jewish people viewed divorce in that time?
"And there’s no such thing as a “Non denominational Christian”." Your right. I tell them that their sola scripture doctrine still originates from the basic protestant doctrine. But I know them enough to say they are not trying to be weasels about it. They are just ignorant of the fact.
-- DJ (email@example.com), November 22, 2004.
to any wishing to comment:
-generally speaking regarding 'man's laws' vs. the New Covenant and specifically in some cases the seemingly apparent contradictions between Old Testament vs. New Testament that some anti-Christians argue -what of Leviticus? For instance: My understanding is that no longer following a 'man's law' regarding 'punishment' does not negate the Truth originally inspiring the law...
Additionally, if my understanding is correct -where might I find authentic Church teaching on the subject?
-- Daniel Hawkenberry (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 22, 2004.
-- Daniel Hawkenberry (email@example.com), November 24, 2004.
I wonder if "hardness of your heart" had something to do with man's fallen nature at that time, without the opportunity for grace before the New Covenant.
Christ Himself said "but it was not always so" referring to Adam and Eve before the fall. It is at that point in the Gospel that He identifies the true nature of marriage, as God had intended it to be when he created men.
Christ's coming re-instated many things. The indissoluble nature of marriage after Christ raised it to its dignity as a sacrament, reflects the indissoluble nature of Christ's relationship with His Church.
In other words, the time of legitimate divorce at the time of Moses, merely reflected the temporary separation between God and man at that time. That basis for separation no longer applies. It has been removed forever, until the end of time. Instead, we have the recourse to graces that inevitably flow from following God's will in honoring the indissolubility of marriage through consistent marital fidelity by one spouse for the other, even if this is not reciprocated.
For the faithful spouse, even in difficult times, this marital fidelity produces what can only be characterized as the true good of the spouses. Marital grace comes with fidelity for the right reason. And the action of this marital grace it is outwardly noticable by the emotional maturing of the spouse. Marital grace acts inwardly as well in that the spouse is following the path to perfection in spiritual growth.
This is extremely counter-cultural. But it is not by following the easy path through fleeting and temporary relationships that are only comfortable that one grows closer to God. Instead, in a true marital relationship, it is the denial of self and the shouldering of adversity for the sake of the other that produces the true good of the spouses.
I believe this is called the personalistic aspect of marriage that John Paul II has so eloquently expounded since the beginning of his pontificate.
-- Pat Delaney (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 24, 2004.