Morally-Binding Commitments

“The Bible does not deny that there are ultimate meanings in the universe. There are. That human life is sacred is one of them. But it does not help, so God found. We will always be blind to the truths we do not like, that cramp our style, circumscribe our power or stand in the way of the fulfilment of our desires. So the Bible turns to covenants – the agreements God makes with Noah, then Abraham, then the Israelites at Sinai. These are meanings that have ceased to be mere facts and become instead morally-binding commitments. Do not murder, do not rob, do not commit adultery, do not bear false witness. These are part of a total system of meanings, that include the historical memory of liberation from slavery in Egypt, by which a people agreed to bind itself and its descendants, taking on themselves the collective vocation of aspiring to be ‘a kingdom of priests and a holy nation’.”

The Great Partnership, Chapter 10, p. 171