Ad Gloriam Dei

"Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." - 1 Corintians 10:31

"Let us pursue the things which make for peace and those by which one may edify another"- Romans 14:19

"As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend." - Proverbs 27:17

Sunday, August 03, 2008

The Second Commandment not Part of the First

The Reformed and Anglican Churches believe that the commandment against images is the 2nd Commandment, and that the commandment regarding coveting is completely encompassed by the 10th Commandment. The Roman 'Catholic Church', Anglo-Catholics and the Lutherans disagree, and believe that the 2nd is part of the 1st, and that the 10th is divided into two.

I think that it is telling that the Greek Church, the Early Greek authors (e.g. Origen, Athanasius, etc.) and the Early Latin authors (e.g. Jerome, Ambrose, Severus and Augustine) agree with the Reformed/ Anglican division, against the Later Latin Church and the Lutheran semi-Reformation. It is even more telling that the Jews also make the same division, e.g. Josephus and Philo!

It is absurd for the last commandment on coveting to be divided unnaturally. The only rationale for such a division is to avoid the clear intent of the 2nd, i.e. that images are not allowed in worship.

As Ursinus, in his Commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism states: (Q.113):

That this commandment, which has respect to lust, or concupiscence, is one, and not two, is evident

1. From the fact that Moses repeats it in a different order in Ex. 20 : 17, and Deut. 5 : 21, as we have already shown.

2. From the fact that Moses comprehends it in one verse in both of the places to which we have just referred.

3. From the interpretation of Paul, who comprises in one commandment all that Moses says in relation to this subject, when he says, ” I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” (Rom. 7 : 7.)

4. From the fact that the Papists and others are accustomed, in their expositions of this part of the Decalogue, to join together the coveting of our neighbour’s house and wife ; because they, without doubt, perceived that the coveting of our neighbour’s wife, house, and all other things which long to our neighbour, are here forbidden, for one and the same reason. It follows, therefore, either that there is but one precept touching concupiscence, or that there must be as many commandments enumerated, as there are things belonging to our neighbour which we are forbidden to covet.

5. From the authority of the best ancient writers, both among the Jews and Christians, to whom we have referred in our remarks upon the division of the Decalogue.

Moreover, as Christ showed in His Sermon on the Mount, each of the Commandments are archetypal and comprehend all other types of sin (and obedience). If these are archetypal sins, then why divide coveting into two parts? Why have two archetypes of coveting?

Also, it should be noted that the 2nd Commandment forbids all additions to and subtractions from the ordinances of God, as clearly stated elsewhere in Scripture. Idolatry and images are but an archetype of all the corruption of God’s worship by the inventions of men, who think themselves wiser than God, and His Prophets and Apostles!


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