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Christian Ethics

5.12.14
Studying human behavior. The first three are descriptive
and the last one is prescriptive.
1) Psychology
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Position paper is a research paper.


Psychologists study human behavior; just like Christian ethics but
psychology is not enough because it is only descriptive. It
describes human behavior. Christian ethics is prescriptive.
Psychologists cannot tell you what is right and wrong. They can
teach what is normal. Christian ethics evaluate and judges.
Christianity defies psychology. There is no difference between
the converted and unconverted mind in psychology.
Christian Ethics believe in the transformation of the mind. God
can transform our unconverted hearts, that is the big difference.
2) Sociology

They study people groups: Religion, crime, occupation etc.


3) Anthropology

Studying human kind as a whole


4) Human Ethics

this tries to determine right from wrong. Christians believe that


God is the ultimate source of the standard. The majority is not
necessarily right.
The big problem in ethics is from getting from what you ought to
do to what you have to do. Between these two there is a chasm.
Christian ethics is a normative science.
We can observe peoples behavior but we cannot observe guilt.
Some things Christian ethics can see but they cannot see.
Morality or Christian ethics is not just a matter of learning how to
do things right.

5.13.14

Scripture for the morning: Psalm 5.


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The story of Daniel reviewed. (Prophets and Kings chapter 39-44)


Ethical Systems compared to that of Christianity
Other religions have ethical systems an example of this is
Buddhism one: one way of achieving discipline and free yourself
from the world is through 1) works, 2) knowledge, 3) devotion.
Buddhism is all self achieved,pulling yourself with your boot
straps.
Another religion is hinduhism, they believe that westerners are
materialistic, and dont have a high devotion to their diety.
Christians believe that that their righteousness is as filthy rags
unlike hindu.
Hindu believe in reincarnation, self preservation.
Islam it takes ethical courage to do the things that they do.
Islam has a high ethical standard, they dont eat certain things,
no polygamy. They are willing to die for what they believe.
What is it about our SDA system that keeps us here and superior
to these other world views?
Christian way of Ethics

Any ethical system has a way of working, when comparing them,


to be fair, we must say what principles are right and what is good
compared to wrong and evil respectively and define what those
words mean.
Ethics is everywhere.
(Side note- Joseph smith believe that he was given by god to
correct the mistakes in the Bible. EG white believe that she was
the lesser light pointing to the greater light. )
How is that achieved? Only through Jesus (Christian Ethics) .
It is not based on an abstract list of rules. We have a living
Savior.
Christian Ethics is authoritative because its not a science. Its a
revealed ethic, a divine ethic. It is also holistic, controlling every
aspect of life.
It defines duty and has goals. Deontological (duty ethical
dealing).
Christian Ethic is dynamic.
The towering ethical document is the Ten Commandments.
If the Ten Commandments are authoritative, what did people do
before Sinai?

The law is not meant to restrictive but protective- Before Sinai,


the first commandment was in the garden before sin, thou shall
not eat
Other evidence that the Ten commandments was working before
Sinai? Standards came before Sinai,
Proverbs 6:16- Lying is one of the greatest sins that is warned
against, Genesis 4:19 Lamech had two wives.
Genesis 2:24 The ideal for marriage.
Narrative theology- stories in the bible.
Genesis 4:25-26 When men began to call upon the name of
the Lord.
5.14.14
- Gen 9: 1-12
- Capital punishment did not originate with the Hebrew people
not even at the flood.
- Murder is wrong, everyone is made in the image of God.
- Everytime we see a rainbow in the sky, it reminds us of Gods
covenant.
- Genesis 9:20-27 (The nakedness of Noah )
- habakuk (nakedness explained.) 2:15
- Gen 11:1-4
- Genesis 18: God speaking to Abraham about the destruction of
Sodom and Gomorrah . Vs 25: Abraham knew that there was a
standard of what was right and wrong.
- Genesis 19:entire chapter
- Lots alternative to protect his guests was to give his two virgin
daughters that is not the best morals
Lots perspective was altered in the environment that he then
lived in in Sodom.
Gen 19: 31: Custom of the earth notice the custom of God was
not regarded.
The story of Abimilec Abraham lies to the king about Sarah
being his sister. Isaac also does the same thing.
When God says thou shall not he is implying the positive value of

Chapter 34 of Genesis. Dinahs rape. There was a standard, and


that is how they knew that it was wrong.
Genesis 49 what Jacob says about Levi, vs. 5
Chapter 35 Jacob and Laban
Genesis has 50 chapters= 2500 years. The last 11 are on Joseph.
If everyday we commit our lives to God, in difficult moments he
will be there and we will know exactly what to do.
The story of Joseph: Gen 39: Joseph claimed that he could not
commit such a sin and sin against God (to a pagan)

Genesis 26: Gods covenant to Isaac , because Abraham obeyed


God. The law was always there, even Sinai.
Job 31: Job made a covenant, vs 6, 9, 14,
Exodus 5 When Moses goes back to Egypt, the first thing he
does is to reestablish the Sabbath.

5.15.14: God gave His people His law, we may not know
how before Sinai but He did.
- Exodus 16: The story of the Quail and manna
- Two times in all scripture that God speaks and things happen: at
creation and at Sinai: Exodus 19:16
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Gods law is eternal and the promises of the Bible reminds us


that it is true.
The Biblical narratives are for intelligent Adult readers not just for
children.
Through the 10 commandments alone what we would know
about the character of God: its relational, : Its the only thing
that God wrote down two times. Everything else he spoke but the
law he wrote.
God comes to us while we are still enslaved; through his law.
When you really know God, its not something that you have to
put on.
God is a liberator, its not to bring shakles etc.
God wants to free us, he gave his law to free us.
The law of God is ten promises.
God promises us that if we live with Him in a covenant we will
not .
When God created and when he gave the law, God spoke. These
are the two times. The commands recreates the world in the
image of God. Emparts power, it begets life.
When we leave Gods commands, society falls into chaos.
The first command says in essence that: there can be no other
Gods before Him.
Today we forget that it is easy to have idols,
dont try having other Gods because they will disappoint us.
Isaiah 6: If we are not worshiping the true God, we have the
wrong response.
The Church lost site of the blessings of the Gospel by loosing site
of the law.
Law # 2: Graven images. God never allowed a material
representation of Himself except through His people: His image.
Isaiah 40: 10

John Calvin: Its not lawful to use any figure to make a visible
image of God. It cannot be done without detracting from His
glory in some measure.
Deuteronomy 4: no lord should be made, God spoke to us from
the midst of the fire no form was seen but only the sound of
words were heard.
The second commandment you should be willing to die for
according to Jewish belief.
Commandment # 3 : Dont take the name of the Lord in vain.
Command 4: The Sabbath. There is more connection with the
Sabbath than any other day of the week in Genesis 2.

By

5.19.14
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What does the Sabbath Commandment have to do with Liberty


and ethics?
You have never really kept the Sabbath if all you think about is
what you can and cannot do on that day.
Isaiah 58: if you turn your foot from the Sabbath and turn away
from my holy day
The Hebrew translates the Sabbath and calls it a royal delight.
Sabbath didnt start with Jewish people, it started with creation.
It is a gift of Gods presence.
Ultra, orthodox, conservative and reformed Jews.
In creation God blessed: Sabbath,
Commandment # 5: Honor your father and mother
Two commandments start positively: The Sabbath and the family,
all the other commandments have thou shall nots.
Holiness is not achieved by withdrawing from society.
Commandment # 6: Thou shall not kill: God does not condone
murder because Justice is His.
God values life.
Commandment # 7 Thou shall not commit adultery: Marriage is
more than a piece of paper. One flesh is more than sexuality.
Divorce is a pulling apart of flesh.
Songs of Solomon 8:6: Love is a strong step, its flames are
flames of fire.
Flame of God, the feelings of God to His church compared to the
marriage relationship.

5.20.14
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Commandment # 8: Thou shall not steal


In Deuteronomy Moses includes not kidnapping with this
commandment.
Remember Ahab wanted Naboths land, he committed murder to
get that land. Ownership is something that we must respect.
Material things, land, peoples reputation.
Commandment # 9: Thou shall not bear false witness against thy
neighbor.
Rahab is not there (in the book of Hebrew 11 the hall of faith)
for her lying, she is there for her faith.
Profanity, deceptive compliments, exaggerations,
misrepresentations etc. (Thoughts from the mount of Blessing,
pg 68? God is calling us to exact truth)
Commandment # 10: The only commandment that wont be
found in human law. It is the only commandment that is repeated
twice. You cant tell whether someone is coveting or not.
Out of the heart proceeds the issues of life.
There should be no unhealthy want.
Coveting is beyond the desire to steal something.
Ethical training began before sin.
Basic presuppositions when studying Christian ethics: The Bible
is true.
Secular ethics have great faith in the human heart and mind
while Christian ethics know that it is a moral issue.
Christian ethics has an advanced position on motivation.
Secular ethics dont know how to bridge the gap between what
to do and how it should be done.
The bible and Christian ethics has an answer to these questions
we have the motive that God said that he will write it in our
hearts.
Ezekiel 36:24 God will cause us to walk in His statues.
God takes full responsibility, He knows we are weak but he wants
to give us a new heart. Every commandment is a promise.
Christian Ethics is an objective (based on something outside my
mind and heart) ethic and not subjective (ideas can change)
ethic. Secular ethics is based on human thinking and it can
change.
We have to choose the good and we can only do that with
reliance on God.
Our minds are deeply clouded and sin has us degenerated.
God sees implications and realities that we cannot even measure
that is why he tells us that we should not do things.
Sin makes God angry, religion is expressed through ethics.

Christian ethics is an objective system based on Gods will.


Secular ethics does it by majority and Christian ethics does it by
Gods will/
Micah 6:8 To do justly, love mercy and walk humbly before
God. Justice and mercy.

5.21.14
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Scripture is the primary text book of Christian Ethics.


A mosaic
Christian ethics evaluate core values: it must be from the core
system of objectivity. We can learn from subjectivity/secular
ethics but its not enough.
It is rejected because it is not in line with Gods will.
Ethics is taught in the theology dept because its the expression
of your theology.
BRI website on issues that are spoken of
Theology without ethics becomes merely abstract and
theoretical.
The main issues of ethics is the issue of values: The raw stuff of
ethical choice
Values may change with development
There are three types of values: Mental & rational, emotional and
physical values
Your system of values are fundamental in values.
The most important value is : seeking first the kingdom of God
and His righteousness
What we value affects what we choose, how we act, what we see
and even what we want.
Intrinsic values are values that God gave them= Moral values.
Supreme values
Extrinsic are values we put on things.
God puts both extrinsic and intrinsic values on human beings.
Pragmatic value is value that is put on something because it
works good for example. Because you like what it does, it is
the most shallow value.
Creation has intrinsic, extrinsic and pragmatic values.
Genesis 2:7-8
Job 12:7
Job 38
Ecclesiastes 3:19
Walked out at 59:36

Possible exam questions


1) Human behavior compared to ethics
2) Nature of values and 3) defn of Christian ethics.

After Mid term.


5/27/14
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ancient greeks were careful observers of people and they noticed


that they do what gives them the most pleasure.
Heathenism= the extreme of stoicism.
Heathenism
Some people get pleasure from different things. Pleasure is the
absence of displeasure. They said that pleasure cannot continue
indiffenitely because it will loose its value.
Pleasure is only accidently connected to certain actions.
Our senses become dimmed after over exposure.
Sometimes the pleasure in something comes much later than the
activity itself.
Not all pleasure is good.
Not all pain is bad.
Pleasure can change with time.
No one can predict the long term outcome of pleasure but God.
God can use Epicarious idea.
Makioveli: Epicurious notices that people make choices based on
Moral preference. Makioveli states that people make choices
based on success (dont seek to be loved, seek for authority, be
strong).
Makioveli said dont keep promises, be generous but with other
peoples money. Money and success drives most peoples moral
choices.
Makioveli and Epicarious theories are called egoist theories.
Jeremy Benthan said these ideas need to be improved: but the
ends justify the means. Happiness comes from pleasure and
avoidance of pain and unhappiness comes from the privation of
pleasure. Pleasure and pain are the two sovrign masters that
determine what we should do.
Utitalitarianism is the greatest part of democracy: it claims that
its impossible to please everyone but u have to make it to
please as many people as possible.
Makiovali: Pleasure depends on its degree of certainty to occur,
its extension to a greater or smaller number of people.

John Stewart Mill: at 3 started greek, 8 learned latin at 12 studies


politics, at 15 went to cambride. He wrote books on logics, etc. At
24 he had a life long friendship with harriet taylor.
He defines the principles of utitlilty (utalitarianism)- choose the
action that creates the greatest happiness for all concern, this is
the foundation of morality. All other principles of morals are
secondary.
Choose .
The will of the majority should rule and this requires sacrifice.
Some things are legal in society and this is wrong, this is the
basis of everything in the 21century (utliatarianism). How do you
uphold the purity of something before you deal with it?
John mills said that mature people can postpone immediate
pleasure in the interest of bettering people. These are
consequentialist theories theological theories (1) Epicurianism,
2)Machioavelism and 3) Utilatarianism).
In theological theories the end result is everything.
Utilatatianism assumes we can objectively weigh the results.
In 4) situationism, the supreme value is love.
Pope Gregory = if your confronted with 2 sins choose the lesser
one.
The ruling norm of any descision is love = Joseph Fletcher, even
Jesus summed up the Mosaic law in love, every one of the 10
commandments can be broken in some situations for love sake.
Love wills everyone elses Good, whether we like it or not. 1) we
love ourselves for our own sake, 2) love neighbor for neighbor
sake, 3) love neighbor for your sake and love self for own sake is
all how we mature according to Fletcher. But he never defined
love.
Loves decision is madein the situation = fletchers definition of
love.
We operate from any prefabricated moral rule. It functions
circumstantially/ situationally (that is why it is teleological).
Who determines when it is loving or not? He places love above
law and denys biblical instruction. Relationships take priority
over regulations.
In any situation we can compromise and set rules aside.
The situationist avoid words like never, always and always
absoluteness; the situation determines everything, we reject
spectualation and base on evidence.
Christian ethics or moral theology is not a scheme of living
according to a code but a continuous effort to relate love to a
world of relativeness. Its constant task is to work out the
strategy and tactics of love in Christian ethics.
Jesus was simply a Jewish peasant and I dont turn to Jesus for
physolophical teaching.

God was a god of creation myth. Man wants knowledge. He was


good at legalism and judgmentalism.

5.28.14
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Joseph fletcher was right to teach the intrinsic value of a person,


every person has needs to be love
He was also right to remind us of the uniqueness of every
situation.
Psalm 87.
Fletcher also reminded us of the importance of love but he never
defined love.
God never makes us choose between loving and keeping, its
always practical. The law is a way of showing love to other
people.
Fletch puts love and law of the 10 commandments against each
other.
Does the ends always justify the means? Is the majority always
right?
In situation ethics it tells that is each situation you must do the
most loving thing.
Epicurus= Pleasure
Machiavelli= success
Bentham X Mills = Happiness
Fletcher = Love

The top two


Deontological Theories
Kant

Moral Dilemmas Some situation that you are faced with that
may require compromise or breaking the law.
What do you do with moral dilemmas?
There are 3 categories of Moral dilemmas: 1) Situationism
(sometimes the law of God might require being broken)
2) Conflicting absolutism There is the tragedy of sin in this
world but idealy Gods law is the standard. When we realize it, we
have to ask for forgiveness.
3) Higherarchialism
4) Biblical/faith ethic there will never be a time that we will be
in a situation that we have to break Gods law.
E. G White testimonies volume 3. the small things that form
our characters to integrity. Nothing we have to do is really small.

Every action is a small account. Only by exercising principles in


the small aspects of life
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Deontology
Deontos is the greek word for duty (normative ethics).
Teology = whoat you did was right because it turned out good?
Deontolody =honesty is the best policy.
Here there are rules that someone has the authority to set.
This gap between what aught to be and what is ..
Moral development is sequential in children and its hierarchial
and = L. Kohlberg compared to Jean Piaget.
Moral training is possible and understanding duty is also
possible.
Kant
He lives in east Russia, and had major contribution to
deontological ethic, he argues that duty is based on reason, and
the moral choices is shaped by the duty you want.
He argues that a persons reason can do this for him.
He said that there are 2 kinds of duties we must do: 1)
Categorical imperative- duties that must be done, this is the
universal law. 2) The hypothetical imperative laws that you
must do but its not universal.
All duties are imperatives but some are categorical and others
are hypothetical
5.29.14

Hypothetical imperative is a conditional imperative

Kant lived in the time of the enlightenment and they glorified


reasoning and moving away from crusades, God etc.

The reformation was around the same time also. Kant naturally
got cought up in cold legalism.

Daniel 1: 8

Kant believed in the noumenol or the phenomenol world. Kant


believed that duty is compelling. (noumenol). Kant reasons by
practical necessity.

Having a sense of justice implies a standard of righteousness


somewhere.

If there Is no true justice somewhere, there is no ethical


obligation to do what is right.

There must be a good judge, Kant says that there might still be a
problem because they might not have all the evidence and may
make a mistake.

The judge may know everything but may not have the courage
to carry out justice he may be weak.

The big problem with Kants assessment is that we cannot


contact the noumenol world but he is wrong because God can
come down to the phenomenal.
Jean Paul Satre

A French existentialist (your existence is all you have).


in a universe where God doesnt exist, there must be someone
to invent values.
We are alone in the universe and our values we invented
ourselves, you are entirely autonomous.
You are independent, self governed and everyone is an island,
you are your source of duty.
Plato
He was not an atheist but a polytheist.
If you just show people the right way they will do it.
Why should people do the right, that is the big question opposing
plato.
He realizes that he will never put athiests in charge of society .
Society imposes rules to keep things in check/imposing law and
duty with penalties.
Plato notices that.
Intuition

this came out of Harvard university by professor WD Ross.


He said that normal reason come from people intuitively.
At first glance prima facia is what this is called. There are no
outside absolutes, everything is conditional.
Divine Command Theory

this comes from the absolute authority of the scripture, this is


the word of God.
We have a perfect guide book. We are to receive the word of God
or we will be choosing our own version of Duty.
Christian ethics says that God is good and right and we need him
to tell us his will.
Sociological law = only reflect the ideas of society for a particular
moment. Morality etc. can all change.

6.2.14
Use of Scripture in Ethics
1) What is revealed?
A) The Bible is the absolute authority.
- what is recorded in scripture is moral in nature.
- scripture revealed morality.
-Rules for action : Principles norms and rules.

2) Function of scripture in ethics


B) Function of Scripture: Why do we give the priority to the Bible.
- God is rational,
- God is relational
- Imago dei= we are created in the image of God.
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3) Authentication of scriptures authority


Authentication: How do we know that it is the authentic will of
God
a) Self authentication: 2 Tim 3:16 All scripture is inspired by
God and profitable
b) Inspiration, 1 Pet 1:24.--> There is a time connection.
c) Impact on present culture:There is no conflict between
scripture and culture, there is conflict between culture and
scripture. Culture reacts negatively toward scripture.
d)
4) Scripture facing culture.
A) Authority of a witness
- not equal to facts, = witness.

Karl Barth says: The school of neoorthodoxy.


The function of scripture as witness is to teach us lessons so that
we can know.
How do we know that the authority of the scripture is authentic?
encounter. But Barth believes that it is subjective and relative.
The bible becomes the word of God to me.
Its personal
Encounter theology has its own authentication problem: how do
we know its God speaking to you.
Answer: The way we know that God is speaking to us:

Luke 10:26.
How do we read?
What is revealed?
What do we find in scripture? God is love. The impressions,
images of God are a result of our personal experiences.
Where is God?
The basic message of scripture is that God is a loving God and
that moral life must be surrounded with loving objects.
Bonnhoiefer says:

With moral problems there is more than gut feeling.


Human reasoning without an objective context, we go to the
bible.
Norms:
In Christian ethics it is the commandments, what is my duty.

Values

God gave the 10 commandments and he created values.


What are biblical norms that are relevant, what will God say
about this?

6.3.14
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A: What is Revealed?
1) God is love
2) Intelligible propositions: God created u to be intelligent
beings,
3) Bible brings Gods presence in our life.
4) The bible presents ideal human being: It tells us how true
perfect human being behaves, how they relate etc.
5) It presents to us Gods will (sufficient will of God for us.- 5 T
264)
B: Function of scripture in definition of duty
1) Information leads to formation : real life experiences of people
that we can identify with. Holy Spirit.
2) Scripture becomes ultimate court of appeal.
3) It makes goodness and righteousness attractive.
C: Authentication of scripture as a moral authority.
1)
2)
3)
4)
5)

co agent of divine redemption


Scripture as the word of truth.
Evidence of Faith
Evidence of a changed life.