I try to keep my mouth shut on a lot of issues. I often am afraid to bite off more than I can chew… that I’m not smart enough to defend what I believe. But you know… sometimes I just get fed up with the Christian bashing and ignorant statements that are made against Christianity and the Bible. I am not calling people stupid… but some statements I hear… some arguments I see used are just uninformed and ignorant. Now… I am still not confident in my abilities as I write this post, but I am confident in the Lord. I am not worried that the arguments and hateful comments of men will negate who God is.
I have seen this letter and variations of it pop up here and there. People like to use the laws of Leviticus to make Christians look foolish. I say the people who use this as an argument against the Bible are misinformed. I’d like to take a minute to set the record straight and address some of these claims.
First of all… I am not about to get into a debate over homosexuality. If you ask me… I’m not so much against gay marriage as I am passionately FOR God’s design for marriage… which happens to be marriage between one man and one woman. I am not so much against adultery as FOR fidelity in marriage. I am not so much against bigamy as I am FOR monogamy. Do you see what I am saying? I am not going to rant on about what I am against. I would rather know what I stand for… and why. I am for God’s design… period. It may not always make sense to me. I might often wonder why He chose to do certain things the way He did and does… but I trust Him… fully.
Now… on to address some of these arguments that people use to try to make the Bible look out dated and foolish.
Exodus 21:7 discusses the selling of a man’s daughter into slavery. First of all… it does not say that men are required to sell their daughters into slavery… it says “WHEN a man sells his daughter as a slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do.” I think that we need to take a look at slavery in the Bible before making claims that the Bible… or more importantly God condones slavery. When we think about the word slavery, we immediately think of the atrocities of the African slave trade… men and women and children ripped violently from their homes and sold… Exodus 21:16 states “Whoever steals a man and sells him, and anyone found in possession of him, shall be put to death.” It seems to me that God does not condone the slave trade or selling of men. From what I understand, slavery in the Bible was intended to be more of an indentured servanthood. People committed themselves to labor in exchange for food and shelter. The laws concerning slavery in the Bible were actually intended to PROTECT those who were slaves so that they would not be exploited. If you continue reading into in Exodus 21:7, a female slave was to be “redeemed” if she did not please her master and was not to be sold.. nor was she to be given in marriage without the consent of her father.
Many of the laws of Leviticus have to do with dietary issues, crops, etc. God, in is infinite wisdom, happens to know a bit more than we do. Try as we might, we are flawed and aren’t going to always know best. To acknowledge that God always knows best goes against our very nature. At the time the Levitical laws were written, the sanitation of food prep and storage was not as advanced as today. Many of the laws put in place were to protect people from illness caused by bad food. As far as the planting of two different crops in one field or the making of clothes from two different fibers as addressed in Leviticus 19, here are my thoughts: When you begin mixing something that is pure with something else, the content changes. I am not a farmer, but I would imagine that different crops have different needs and place different demands on the soil. When you begin planting different crops together, neither is able to develop to it’s full potential. As far as clothing fibers are concerned, when synthetic materials are manufactured, the product is not as pure or as valuable as the original product. I don’t think that this law is indicating that it is a sin to mix fibers, but rather you would not be getting the best possible result. The eight commandment states that we should not steal. If I present a product in my etsy shop and claim that it is made with organic cotton when I know that I used a mix of fabrics and only a portion is organic… I am cheating my customers and essentially stealing from them.
Are you with me so far?
Leviticus 21:20 talks about not coming to alter of God if you have a defect. People sarcastically ask if that means that God will have nothing to do with me if I don’t have 20/20 vision. Let’s be honest here. God is perfect and cannot be in the presence of sin. How does that line up with the Christian claims of grace and a loving God? I’m glad you asked. In Isaiah, we see that God is holy and cannot be in the presence of sin. We are also told in Isaiah 64:6 that our righteous acts are like filthy rags in God’s sight (incidentally the literal translation for filthy rags is soiled menstral cloths… let that sink in for a moment… ew!)… so trying to earn your way into heaven with “good” deeds is not going to happen. From the moment… well, even before the moment Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the garden and separated themselves from him, God had a plan for redemption. Jesus, who is God incarnate, lived and breathed on this earth as a sinless man. He took the punishment for our sins when he died on the cross and because of his death, we can be in the presence of God the Father… because when you “confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead,” God no longer sees your sinful heart, but Christ’s righteousness. So yeah… you can’t enter God’s presence if you have a defect… and we all have a defect… physical, emotional, spiritual… all a result from sin… BUT because of Jesus, God no longer sees the “defect”… he sees perfection.
Along those lines, some of the laws of Leviticus seem harsh (to say the least)… like stoning someone who works on the Sabbath (Exodus 35:2)… but when God’s standard is no less than perfection, the laws have to be harsh.. the standard has to be high.God, in his infinite grace and wisdom, could not let us go and provided an ultimate atonement for our sins in Jesus. In the old testament, specific laws were set forth in how to sacrifice an unblemished lamb for the atonement of sins. That sacrifice had to be repeated over and over and over… because sinning never stopped. But… Jesus, the ultimate spotless lamb… was the once for all sacrifice. The old way was no longer needed because of what Jesus accomplished on the cross.
Praise the Lord the Bible doesn’t end with Leviticus. You can’t take one part of the Bible and use it against another. It is one story, from beginning to end. It is the story of God’s relentless love and pursuit of us. That pursuit makes some of us uncomfortable… so we rebel and push back. Our arguments…. our foolish statements… our misquoting of the Bible does not negate or lessen the character of God.
When it comes down to it, we have all strayed from God’s design. We are flawed creatures… not one of us is perfect and not one of us is without sin. The Bible is not out dated and does not need to be re-written to catch up with the times. The Word of God and the Souls of Men are eternal. That’s it… nothing else.