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11.11.2018
Dennis D. Frey, Th.D.
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We often speak of the "age of accountability."  Or, to be more precise, the age of comprehension.  Usually such conversations revolve around the age at which a child can be held responsible for understanding the moral difference between right and wrong. Universally, children who commit crimes are held to a different standard, but what is not universally agreed upon is at what age a child becomes morally responsible for  his or her actions.  This is understandable because children mature at different ages, and understanding is not totally tied to the calendar. Furthermore, we recognize that some human beings are by reason of birth mentally incapable of ever understanding moral truth, and can never reach an age of comprehension (accountability).   Biblically, this does not diminish their worth in the sight of God, but actually makes them a precious gift to their families and to humankind as a whole. Jesus himself speaks to this in the context of little children: "See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 18:10). Yet, an age of accountability remains somewhat of an elusive thing to define.  Timothy Boyd in addressing this subject for the Holman Bible Dictionary say it (I think) quite well. The age of accountability is a concept not directly mentioned in the Bible. What the Bible teaches about personal responsibility for sin and the nature of salvation compels us to define this concept. Basically, the age of accountability is that time in the development of a person when he or she can and invariably does sin against God and thus stands in the need of personal redemption through Jesus Christ. Even under the Old Testament, the Jews recognized that children could not be held personally accountable to the law of Moses. They set the arbitrary age of twelve as the year when a child assumed adult status in religious matters.1 What is so compelling here is not that we can with complete accuracy state when a child (or a person of limited mental faculties) can be held responsible for his or her choices by reason of having made a knowing moral choice, but that it is universally recognized that a person "can" reach that age, and that most in fact do so. The conversation then must move on to address moral choice and freewill within the context of human existence.  What are the sources of moral truth? Next, we will answer the question of how, "How Natural Law, The Noahide, And Torah Are Like Tutors." For a deeper study, you are encouraged to consider enrolling in our 3 credit-hour academic course "THE LAW OF UNIVERSAL RIGHTEOUSNESS: Natural Law, the Noahide, and the Torah." You can check out all of our regular academic programs by clicking this link: PROGRAMS. Thank you for sharing time with me. I hope this brief post will encourage you to want to learn more about the laws of universal righteousness, and the manner in which God has implanted the awareness of right and wrong within your own heart and mind.  Dennis D. Frey, Th.D., 1.  http://odl.studylight.org/dictionaries/hbd/a/accountability-age-of.html?hilite=Accountability,%20Age%20of
29.10.2018
Dennis D. Frey, Th.D.
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HOW DO HUMAN BEINGS KNOW THE MORAL DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RIGHT AND WRONG? An Excerpt from a course on Natural Law, the Noahide, and the Torah As stated previously, it is universally accepted among Christians and Jews that human beings are uniquely created in the "image of God."  As it relates to human life this is the most fundamental premise of the Bible as established in the first chapter of the first Book.   "Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.'  God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them" (Genesis 1:26). It is also universally understood by Christians and Jews that the image of God in mankind is not physical, but spiritual.  As Jesus (the Incarnation) Himself affirmed, "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:24). God is a spirit, and a Person.  We speak of the "Persons" of the Godhead, and accept that as Persons the Father, Son and Holy Spirit have a personality.  The word personality  is a noun meaning  "The complex of characteristics that distinguishes an individual; especially:  the totality of an individual's behavioral and emotional characteristics;  a set of distinctive traits and characteristics." 1 "Behavioral and emotional characteristics" can only be known by action, and action that is by choice.  Action promoted other than by choice carries no real personality - true personality is only possible for a person.  What makes us most like the image of God is not that we have a spirit, but that we have a moral spirit.  That is, a spirit capable of moral choice.  Not just choice as in which color of socks to wear or to wear no socks, but moral choices or immoral choices. The word "choose" is found in 71 verses in the Bible, the best known of which is probably Joshua's final appeal to Israel "choose for yourselves today whom you will serve" (Joshua 24:15).   The word "chose" is found in another 58 verses.  In both a positive and negative way the word is employed to express man's freedom of will, even when man makes a choice to act against the very Creator who gave him freedom of will.  For example, God speaking to Judah through the prophet Isaiah said "Instead they did what was evil in my sight and chose what did not please Me" (Isaiah 66:4). The mechanism of the comprehension of morality while innate is also willful.  Genesis chapter three demonstrates this in the account of the fall.  In that account the man and woman are capable of knowing right from wrong, and also capable of making a freewill choice based upon that knowledge. The innate capacity to know moral truth, and then to willfully act upon it is the most defining characteristic of our person.  One might also argue that it is the thing about us which is most like God.  While we are physical creatures to be sure, and the body is sacred - so much so that it will be resurrected either for eternal life or eternal death (the second death, Revelation 21:8) it is not the body that make moral choices - it is the spirit or as it is so often define - the heart. The mechanism of moral comprehension is the spiritual image of God within us - an image that is infinitely inferior, but sufficiently endowed so that we are in fact incapable of not knowing moral truth (however we may choose to act upon it).  That is, of course, unless we are by some cause in the sight of God incapable.  Next, we will answer the question, "What is the Age of Comprehension?" For a deeper study, you are encouraged to consider enrolling in our 3 credit-hour academic course "THE LAW OF UNIVERSAL RIGHTEOUSNESS: Natural Law, the Noahide, and the Torah." You can check out all of our regular academic programs by clicking this link: PROGRAMS. Thank you for sharing time with me. I hope this brief post will encourage you to want to learn more about the laws of universal righteousness, and the manner in which God has implanted the awareness of right and wrong within your own heart and mind.  Dennis D. Frey, Th.D., 1.  https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/personality
22.10.2018
Dennis D. Frey, Th.D.
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HOW DO HUMAN BEINGS KNOW THE MORAL DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RIGHT AND WRONG? An Excerpt from a course on Natural Law, the Noahide, and the Torah There has been a long-standing opinion among Jewish scholars that Gentiles who follow the seven laws of the Noahide can be considered "righteous Gentiles" who qualify for a share in the coming Kingdom of God.  The exception (among most but not all) being those Gentiles who worship Jesus and the Holy Spirit (Trinitarians) as part of the Godhead which is viewed as idolatry.  This is a perversion, and not relevant to this study. There is also an increasing interest among some so-called Christian groups to exchange Biblical Christianity for a works-based Christianized version of the Noahide.  This too is a perversion, and not relevant to this study. That there are universally known moral requisites demands an answer to the question of what they are.  To answer that question we present another question namely, "What is the Noahide?". To answer this question with a question I turn to Dr. Rabbi Shimon Cowen's words in his seminal document on the Noahide Laws. "There are seven laws, which are biblically binding on all humanity.  They are prohibitions on idolatry, blasphemy, forbidden sexual relationships, theft, murder, lawlessness (the failure to establish courts and processes of justice) and the improper treatment of nature (framed as a prohibition of the consumption of the limb of a living animal). They are known as the Noahide laws, after Noah, the biblical survivor of the Flood, and ancestor of all humanity. These laws are an intrinsic "possession" of humanity.  For, to use the biblical phrase, the human being is "created in the image of G-d," that is to say, fitted to "imitate G-d," and this imitation takes place through the performance of the Divinely given Noahide commandments." 1 Thus, the Noahide laws are seven.  It is of more than passing interest that the number seven is the number of perfection, and that there are seven colors in the rainbow.  The seven laws (sometimes stated using only slightly different wording and the order of six and seven reversed) are these: Do not deny God. Do not blaspheme God. Do not murder. Do not engage in illicit sexual relations. Do not steal. Do not eat from a live animal. Establish a system to fairly adjudicate the other six laws. Do these seven laws cover all aspects of universal morality?  Yes, and no.  The answer is no if only the stated law is considered.  On the other hand, the answer is yes if the implications of each are considered. For example, commandment five (Do not steal), covers all forms of a misappropriation of what rightly belongs to another (a person) or to others whether a small group or a nation.  So when one nation by an act of aggression claims territory belonging to a weaker nation, that is a violation of the fifth Noahide commandment. The same would hold true when a corporation by subterfuge acquires a customer list from a competitor.  And so forth for all of the other Noahide commandments. One might argue that the first command (Do not deny God) is merely a religious preference, and not a universal law of righteousness, but that would be to underestimate it's universal application.  Because the first commandment of the Noahide can be understood as a prohibition against denying religious freedoms in general. Concerning all seven, it is clear that in nations of all times, these seven have been at the heart of just and equitable law.  Human beings universally recognize some things as being right, and others wrong.  For example, lying, cheating, stealing, murder, sexual deviance, hurtful aggression, and a host of other such things are recognized as punishable by law.  Human beings are inescapably possessed with the blessings and curses associated with issues of morality. Next, we will answer the question, "What is the Mechanism of Comprehension?" For a deeper study, you are encouraged to consider enrolling in our 3 credit-hour academic course "THE LAW OF UNIVERSAL RIGHTEOUSNESS: Natural Law, the Noahide, and the Torah." You can check out all of our regular academic programs by clicking this link: PROGRAMS. Thank you for sharing time with me. I hope this brief post will encourage you to want to learn more about the laws of universal righteousness, and the manner in which God has implanted the awareness of right and wrong within your own heart and mind. Dennis D. Frey, Th.D., 1.  The Theory and Practice of Universal Ethics - The Noahide Laws, by Dr. Rabbi Shimon Dovid Cowen, ISBN-13: 978-0826608437, Kehot Publication Society, 2015, Introduction, pages 1 & 2.
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