What Isaac Newton Can Teach us About God...
Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
It was a nice spring day when Isaac Newton, probably not quite a Sir yet, was sitting underneath an apple tree observing nature. A ripe apple fell from the tree, the story goes, and thus was his inspiration for what he would go on to call "The Law of Gravity." The phrase the Law in this case does not refer to a man-made moral tenant. The Law here refers to something that is undeniably true about our world. If you fall, you will come down...fact. You cannot break the Law of Gravity although it can quite literally break you. Just like any law of science, it does not speak of something that can be broken, but about something true.
When we think of God's Laws, especially in the Old Testament, we think of them as we would our own societal laws---that they can be bent, broken, and manipulated to our benefit or demise. But when God speaks about His laws, He is not giving us something arbitrary to obey or test our will. He is telling us something that's true about our surroundings. The ten commandments weren't given to us as a burden to bare, but as a map to navigate how to live life here.
If we look at the ten commandments with this lens, we might interpret them this way:
1 “You shall have no other gods before me. I am the truth and the life. You can try to find life other places but nobody can give you what I can, and I want the very best for you. (John 14:6)
2 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. Pursue what is true, not what is fake. Those things may make you feel better short term, but that cannot give lasting fulfillment. (Matthew 8:22) 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.Sin is cyclical, it circles around and is passed down through the generations, each generation teaching the other. Life can be passed on to, each generation teaching the other to find it. You choose your own legacy.
3 “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. If you misues My Name, you don't really know Me. If you did, you would respect and love the name of the One who gives life. I want a relationship with you! (see Song of Solomon)
4 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. I care about your spiritual, physical, emotional, and mental health and I am telling you, if you deny your body, soul, and spirit the rest it needs, it will be detrimental.(Ps.62:1-2)
5 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. While your parents are far from perfect, they are my children also. Love them, and honor them. If you do not, you may find yourself alone and miserable. Whatever your parents have done, to withold forgiveness and honor is not just hurting them, its hurting you. I don't want that for you. (James 3:14-15)
6 “You shall not murder. Everyone, great or small, rich or poor, righteous or evil, I care about. You are all my children, and to kill one of them is to hurt Me and yourself. To be responsible for the death of another is a burden I never ever want you to carry.
7 “You shall not commit adultery. When you married you came into a covenant relationship. When you dishonor that relationship by sexually sinning, you are not only hurting your spouse, but yourself. Sex is like glue. You cannot keep taking it off and sticking it on somewhere else. If you do, there will come a time when there is nothing left. You will have given yourself away in pieces and find yourself broken. I don't want that for you. (1 Corinthians 6:18)
8 “You shall not steal. I have provided abundantly for you. I am Jehovah Jirah, the God who provides. Find your source in Me. If you do, there is no need to steal.(Matthew 6:25-34)
9 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. Lying is not only harmful to those around you, but to yourself. It can damage your character and your reputation, and one lie ends up feeding into others, and there may come a day where you lie so often you don't know what the truth is yourself. I don't want that for you.(Proverbs 12:19)
10 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” Everyone has their own journey to take with Me. Don't look at what your neighbor has. Look to Me for your provision, security, and identity. I know what is absolutely best for you. There will always be someone who has more than you do and focusing on it may have you pining the rest of your life for "things" that don't really provide true life. I don't want that for you, I know where that road leads. Learn to find satisfaction and happiness in the life I've provided you.
His Laws are not in an effort to keep us from fun or entertainment nor are they akin to our own laws. God is not a God who withholds good things from His children, nor is He sadistic or legalistic in His pursuit to get us to "obey" some arbitrary laws, it's simply that He knows what will happen if we violate the Laws He's set forth. Like the Law of Gravity, you cannot break His Laws, nor can they be bent or manipulated for our purposes without consequences.
And while the presence of the God-Man did not change God's Laws, it changed our ability to relate to them, to God and to the world around us. So when He says He came, not to abolish the law but to fulfill it, it makes sense. He did not come to abolish the law--no, far from it. He came to literally fulfill them, to re-established the connection we lost that fateful day in the Garden. To give us the ability to live.