As Christians we need to radically purify our notion of the law of God.
In this particular context, we are not talking of the divine law in its broader sense, but as summarised in the commandment of love from its moral approach, which stems from God’s eternal plan as well as from the demands of the gospel. Cfr. Mark 7:1-8, 14-15.
The objective of the law of God is to give human beings life in its fullness, the fulfilment of their aspirations on earth and ultimately, the inalienable possession of eternal happiness. When understood in this way, we find that God’s law is always for us, for our benefit, and not against us in any sense.
The knowledge of this law obliges us to observe it always and in its integrity not only because it is for our own good, but also because it is superior to any human law.
Any human law is based on perfectable knowledge. God’s law on the other hand is based on certain, unchangeable knowledge.
That is why we believe that God knows absolutely what is good for man and that which makes the human person truly human. Man is very secure therefore every time he or she lives his or her life according to this law.
Unfortunately, all along human history man has not only failed to observe this divine law, he has been as well fond of twisting this law though claiming to serve in its interest.
And God warned his people time and again that their twisted human passions can taint the divine law at times with irremediable consequences.
The history of this human tendency goes way back to the Pharisees and beyond their time.
Such people had a depressing habit of reducing divine things to human dimensions. God for them was a kind of superior human being; not necessarily exempt from the occasional “human” flaw, such as self-interest!
This kind of approach to the divine law had a negative effect of looking at God’s wisdom as wiser and surer than human wisdom but not necessary the wisdom which offers the best course of action every single time.
Needless to say, such a human approach and its small-mindedness is not only devoid of the true understanding of divine law, but it ends up rendering it odious or as an object of ridicule.
Today, we may sneer at the Pharisees and the way they emptied God’s word of its beauty and power by effectively reducing it to the status of mere positive law; conventional and not applicable to some of our modern situations.
Because of this kind of tendency, man is still fond of interpreting the divine law in order to suit his or her unbecoming actions.
Such a practice has created lots of chaos and calamity in man’s dealing with fellow men. Here we do not need to go far for examples; as a nation, we serve well as that kind of a negative example.
How on earth (and in heaven?) shall we explain how a community like ours known to be God fearing could entertain the idea of genocide, and permit the madness it requires to carry it on systematically?
This shall always question our notion of God’s law in our daily life.
A closer observation of how we misinterpret the divine law to suit our human intentions does not spare the intellectuals who should otherwise enlighten the people.
Many intellectuals from all fields of knowledge; who describe themselves as progressives do fall in the above trap at times.
Eric Goldman in his book entitled Rendezvous With Destiny, defines progressivism as a political (religious and economic?) philosophy; held by a movement which springs directly from certain problems with the intention of solving them, but with only an infrequent glance beyond certain realities.
Since the core concern of progressivism is to seek social and economic justice, to ensure the progress of the human person and to safeguard the common good, it is not rare that the progressive intentionally forget in their proposed reforms, that the same man being served was created in the image of God and needs to grow in that aspect as well.
The progressive at times tend to avoid a glance into this reality.
Generally and without pointing an accusing finger at this or that group, as Christians we ought to find a way of purifying our notion of the divine law in our lives.
We must be convinced that God’s law aims first of all at making us fully human. Such a cordial and convinced embrace of God’s law provides us a deeper Christian self-confidence.
This in turn enables us to understand ourselves and those who are different from us. Some of those who do not share our Christian vision do so because they are clueless on what it really is.
It is our Christian mission to gradually clue them in. But we must first sweep our own house; we can not give what we do not have!