If there is any part of the Old Testament less liked than the uncomfortable stories about God-ordained genocide and child sacrifice, it’s the law. It has all the theologically squirm-inducing components (stone your rebellious children; if your wife has a daughter, she is unclean for twice as long as if she has a son) minus the easy-to-read plot.
While I’m still kicking around the idea that perhaps the stories about God are simply not accurate representations – historiography, not history – the law is harder because these are supposed to be the words of God himself, not just words about God. And there’s some stuff in there that is difficult to understand, uncomfortable to read or, perhaps worse, been used to spread hatred and violence against women, gays and minorities in the name of God.
But perhaps the law is something else. Perhaps it’s a code of ethics calling us to social justice, morality and deeper relationship with God and others. After all, Jesus himself summed up the entirety of the law in just two commandments, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind and all your strength,” and, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
My professor opened his discussion of the law yesterday with the above clip from Episode 7 of Firefly, in which Shepherd Book tells River, “You don’t fix faith. Faith fixes you.”
The implication: We can’t fix the Bible; we can only let it fix us.