A Couple of Goats… (2 of 4)

So today I want to talk about CONTEXT
This is something that non-believers and Christians are both guilty of abusing all the time. Christians use it of course to defend their position. In effect they try to make God say what they want Him to say. A great example of this is found in Exodus 21:24 “an eye for an eye…” We’ve all heard this. It’s justification for us to get even with whoever offended us, right? Wrong! First of all this was written in a historical context. This is meant to be read descriptively not prescriptively. Second, this is legislative or judicial. This is not a free pass for revenge. Taken in context this had to do with the fair treatment of an offence that was properly judged by the Hebrew’s governing body. Today in the United States, we still use this to deal with capitol crimes in 32 of our 50 states.

However, historical context aside, Jesus raised the bar for believers. Consider His words in these verses:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” – Matthew 4:38-42

Christians, this is a command. You don’t get a pass on this one. So taken in context what does “an eye of an eye” mean? Well, if you obey the Word of God it means be gracious, merciful, and loving to everyone, even your enemies.

Taken out of context you can make any piece of literature say what ever you like. Take this example from Charles Darwin’s book “The Origin of Species,” Chapter 6:

“To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree.”

Whoa! Wait. Did Darwin just say that even an eye could not be formed by the processes of natural selection!?! Mr. Evolution himself? Well that is what it says because this isn’t the whole context. He goes on to defend his theories in the following passages and in fact the whole book is about how eyes and everything else are formed by natural processes.

So this brings me to my next topic; Biblical ignorance.  Look for A Couple of Goats part 3 where we will dive deep into that vast pool of the uninformed.

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