Definition of General Equity in light of the Mosaic Law.

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PuritanCovenanter

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For years I have truly appreciated Sherman Isbell's 'The Divine Law of Political Israel Expired: General Equity', and have stumbled onto something else recently that I haven't thought all the way through. How do we define General Equity?

Since "the law of God which we call the moral is nothing else than a testimony of natural law..." the common law of nations should be ruled by equity "(justice tempered by love)". Hence this equity alone must be the goal and rule and limit of all laws,... however they may differ from the Jewish law, or among themselves" (Institutes 4.20.16).
Justice tempered by love is an addition to the text and an implant by the author I believe.

In the portion below it is affirmed that the moral law has sprinkling elements through the civil and ceremonial laws. I recently read a small snippet that defined general equity. It is a quote taken from Calvin that I wonder about. Especially the part "justice tempered by love" in brackets. I believe the author added that based upon some contrived understanding. I just don't know where it comes from. Did Calvin really mean that? It doesn't look like it is a quote from Calvin but an implant to define equity according to the author's thinking.

The Confession affirms that the law given by God to Adam at creation is the moral law,(14) and that this is the law which was delivered in the ten commandments, and which forever binds all men and is not dissolved under the Gospel. Beside this law, the ceremonial and judicial laws were given by God to a particular group, namely the people of Israel, considered as a church under age and as a body politic. With the close of the preparatory period in redemptive history, the ceremonial laws were abrogated and the judicial laws expired. At four points in the passage, the Confession identifies the moral law as the mandate which permanently binds and obliges. The presence of moral elements in the ceremonial and judicial laws is acknowledged, though much in the ceremonial and judicial laws is other than moral; part of what the ceremonial laws held forth was instruction of moral duties, and there is an element of general equity in the judicial laws which continues to oblige.
My questions are..
(1). Is Calvin being made to say something he didn't say? Is equity Justice tempered by love?
(2). If we are to define all law by equity and that equity must be the goal and rule and limit of all laws, How do we define this equity and how do we base our understanding on it from the decalogue alone? Is equity defined in the Decalogue alone?

I admit that I am still wondering where the definition for equity being defined as justice tempered by love comes from. I am just wondering. I am not saying it doesn't mean that. I just didn't know that.
 
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earl40

Puritan Board Professor
Good questions. Richard should be of help here. In context of your question I would like to ask if the command to not murder, which is a creation and a decalogue oridance, should we punish with the temperment of love also? This of course is with the abortion in mind.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Randy, you need to fix the quotaiton marks to distinquish between Calvin's words and the author in question. As for the source, I believe it is from book 3 of the Harmony Exo-Deut, p. 126, 128.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
Good questions. Richard should be of help here.
Not necessarily.

By the very situation of the New Testament Church being at different stages in different lands, there may be a degree of flexibility or freedom in this area. Even Rushdoony said that an unevangelised country didn't call for "theonomy" but evangelism.

When the death penalty under Moses was linked to the altar and when it could be commuted to a ransom, it can be seen that even under the Mosaic law it was being used in a typological and exemplary way. The death penalties under the Mosaic law were "added" to the one given in Genesis 9.

Galatians 3:19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.
Books such as the one by Poythress show some of the kind of general lessons that can be garnered from the civil law.
 

earl40

Puritan Board Professor
By the very situation of the New Testament Church being at different stages in different lands, there may be a degree of flexibility or freedom in this area. Even Rushdoony said that an unevangelised country didn't call for "theonomy" but evangelism.

When the death penalty under Moses was linked to the altar and when it could be commuted to a ransom, it can be seen that even under the Mosaic law it was being used in a typological and exemplary way. The death penalties under the Mosaic law were "added" to the one given in Genesis 9.
Richard, Not to derail Randy and his thread, which Chris seemed to answer. :) I see where the death penalty was added to various offences committed. My question was should we continue the death penalty to mothers and the "DR." for the murder of unborn children in your opinion. I ask because in Gen 9 the penalty prescribed is death, which is before the establishment of Israel and the judicial law.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
Concerning the Galatians 3:19 quote I would like to add that the Law of Moses did something other than expose sin. It was put there to expose Christ also. The one thing that the Law also does that many people neglect to see is it revealed the expiation and propitiation for sin. For some reason a lot of people have relegated the law to only identify sin and condemnation. The Law that was given through Moses also starts identifying the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world and also renews the inner man for obedience and blessing. So many people would understand this more if they heard the Psalms more often. That is something that is left out a lot by theologians. In other words, the Law was added because of Transgression because man was sinful. Man is self justifying. The Law was added so that man could be reconciled and walk with God.

Gal 3:19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. Gal 3:20 Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.
Gal 3:21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.
Gal 3:22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
Gal 3:23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
Gal 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
Gal 3:25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
Gal 3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
Gal 3:19 Why then was the law? It was set because of transgressions, until the seed should come to whom he made the promise, being ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. Gal 3:20 Now a mediator is not of one: but God is one.
Gal 3:21 Was the law then against the promises of God: God forbid! For if there had been a law given which could give life, verily justice should have been by the law.
Gal 3:22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise, by the faith of Jesus Christ, might be given to them that believe.
Gal 3:23 But before the faith came, we were kept under the law shut up, unto that faith which was to be revealed.
Gal 3:24 Wherefore the law was our pedagogue in Christ: that we might be justified by faith.
Gal 3:25 But after the faith is come, we are no longer under a pedagogue.
Gal 3:26 For you are all the children of God, by faith in Christ Jesus.
Wow, I like the Douay-Rheims here. I like the word pedagogue in the translation.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
By the very situation of the New Testament Church being at different stages in different lands, there may be a degree of flexibility or freedom in this area. Even Rushdoony said that an unevangelised country didn't call for "theonomy" but evangelism.

When the death penalty under Moses was linked to the altar and when it could be commuted to a ransom, it can be seen that even under the Mosaic law it was being used in a typological and exemplary way. The death penalties under the Mosaic law were "added" to the one given in Genesis 9.
Richard, Not to derail Randy and his thread, which Chris seemed to answer. :) I see where the death penalty was added to various offences committed. My question was should we continue the death penalty to mothers and the "DR." for the murder of unborn children in your opinion. I ask because in Gen 9 the penalty prescribed is death, which is before the establishment of Israel and the judicial law.
I can't think why the death penalty wouldn't apply to abortion, which is a form of murder, in a well-ordered state.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
Concerning the Galatians 3:19 quote I would like to add that the Law of Moses did something other than expose sin. It was put there to expose Christ also. The one thing that the Law also does that many people neglect to see is it revealed the expiation and propitiation for sin. For some reason a lot of people have relegated the law to only identify sin and condemnation. The Law that was given through Moses also starts identifying the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world and also renews the inner man for obedience and blessing. So many people would understand this more if they heard the Psalms more often. That is something that is left out a lot by theologians. In other words, the Law was added because of Transgression because man was sinful. Man is self justifying. The Law was added so that man could be reconciled and walk with God.

Gal 3:19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. Gal 3:20 Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.
Gal 3:21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.
Gal 3:22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
Gal 3:23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
Gal 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
Gal 3:25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
Gal 3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
Gal 3:19 Why then was the law? It was set because of transgressions, until the seed should come to whom he made the promise, being ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. Gal 3:20 Now a mediator is not of one: but God is one.
Gal 3:21 Was the law then against the promises of God: God forbid! For if there had been a law given which could give life, verily justice should have been by the law.
Gal 3:22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise, by the faith of Jesus Christ, might be given to them that believe.
Gal 3:23 But before the faith came, we were kept under the law shut up, unto that faith which was to be revealed.
Gal 3:24 Wherefore the law was our pedagogue in Christ: that we might be justified by faith.
Gal 3:25 But after the faith is come, we are no longer under a pedagogue.
Gal 3:26 For you are all the children of God, by faith in Christ Jesus.
Wow, I like the Douay-Rheims here. I like the word pedagogue in the translation.
Yes. The Gospel of Christ is right through the ceremonial law, but it's also in the moral law and judicial law, just as in the NT the exposition of God's moral standards and the threatening of His wrath are part and parcel of the Gospel.
 
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earl40

Puritan Board Professor
I can't think why the death penalty wouldn't apply to abortion, which is a form of murder, in a well-ordered state.
In the "temperament of love" towards God for he has created man in His image. I thank you for all your replies for you are helping me read how general equity is applied to some circumstances and others not. Fascinating reading. Your example of how Paul extorted the church about the man having the relationship with his mother nailed it for me to not become a theonomist. Thanx again.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
I can't think why the death penalty wouldn't apply to abortion, which is a form of murder, in a well-ordered state.
In the "temperament of love" towards God for he has created man in His image. I thank you for all your replies for you are helping me read how general equity is applied to some circumstances and others not. Fascinating reading. Your example of how Paul extorted the church about the man having the relationship with his mother nailed it for me to not become a theonomist. Thanx again.
I forgot I mentioned that.

There's a fuller and better exposition here half-way down:
Theonomy
 
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