Why is it that when God speaks to us it is at best common sense, at its least unproven, and at worst harmful drivel? If one needed proof that the Bible is written by man for man then one need look no further than the next 2 sections of Matthew – Adultery and Divorce. While in real life they often go hand in hand, I’ll keep with the tradition I’ve adopted so far and give them separate posts. And so, to adultery:
27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’[e] 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
Here we see an example of the harmful drivel variety. Yes, for committing adultery in your heart your whole body is going to hell. Most of us can just smile and have a bit of a laugh at the sheer hyperbole of this, but because there’s no guidance on what actually constitutes ‘looking at a woman lustfully’, for someone truly devout these admonishments must feel like a trap waiting to be sprung. I suppose one could judge by the adage “If there’s any doubt, there’s no doubt”, but as the remedies are extreme in the worst possible way before I do any eye gouging I’d like to be sure.
It’s in verses like these that one can see the human hand that has gone into creating the creaking Christian mythos. The whole body/sin/soul/heaven/hell dynamic doesn’t make any sense, but that’s because it was made by man.