MATTHEAN ANTITHESIS: Offshoot to Moral and Legal Qualities
MATTHEAN ANTITHESIS: Offshoot to Moral and Legal QualitiesPatrick Gerard A. Paulino, MA TheoObjectivesTo present and be familiar with the Six Antithesis introduced in the Gospel of Matthew.To appraise the significant relation and difference of moral with legal character in the context of the Matthean Antithesis. To draw the meaning and message of the Gospel account in relation to Law and the Law Profession.Terms to ponder onLegal (Legalism, Legality)Crime (Criminal)Temporal JudgmentEarthly JudgeLetter of the LawEnforce/ImplementStrict observer of the LawMeasure/ValueAct-oriented/Object-orientedMoral (Moralism, Morality)Sin (Sinner)Final JudgmentHeavenly JudgeSpirit of the LawFulfillment/Satisfaction Understands the LawVirtuePerson-oriented/Subject-oriented
(Matthean) AntithesisIs a counter-proposition and denotes a direct contrast to the original proposition.Elements of Dialectics (any formal system of reasoning that arrives at the truth by the exchange of logical arguments)Thesis Antithesis SynthesisMatthean Antithesis (Mt. 5:21 -48)(In the Bible) The Antithesis of the Law is a section of the Sermon on the Mount (follows the Beatitudes and the metaphors of salt and light) in which Jesus is reported as taking six well known prescriptions of the Mosaic Law, and calling on his followers to do more than the law requires.
ANGERADULTERYDIVORCEOATHSRETALIATIONLOVING ONES ENEMYSermon on the Mount the normative foundation of Christian moralityYou have heard it saidBut I say to youThe Fulfillment of the Law Matthew 5:17-20Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
Murder Matthew 5:21-22
You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder,[Ex 20:13] and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell.
PreceptSanctionLawThou shal not murder!Anyone who commits murder over his brother will be brought before judge. Penalty: Death.Law = GospelDo not commit murder!Jesus accepts death as punishment for murder. But he wants to punish murderous inclinations as well.Gospel (+)Do not harbor anger that impels to murder! Do not call names!Whoever is angry and abusive will be prosecuted (officially and spiritually). Penalty: Damnation.Radicalization(a) Anger that impels to murder is as blameworthy as the action itself (act of murder). It displays the same disrespect for human life and dignity. It is of secondary importance whether the anger was caused by something previously done or not, whether the act that prompted it was accidental or willful. (b) Calling names (raka = fool, empty-headed; moros = stupid, blockhead) indicates a reprehensible state of mind. Therefore already abusive language entails evil that deserves condemnation. (c) Worship cannot redeem for the sin of harboring anger. On the contrary, it has to be postponed until a full reconciliation is attained, - a clear indication that fraternal responsibilities toward co-citizens have primacy over common cultic duties. (d) One has to reconcile and stay friendly no matter who has started the confrontation. Litigation is wrong and ought to be avoided. If you get to court your fate is in the hands of the officials, not something you can determine by your own will. And losing control over your own life is reprehensible if it is a result of your own failure.Adultery Matthew 5:27 - 30You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.'[Ex 20:14] But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, 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. And if your right hand causes you to sin, 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.
PreceptSanctionLawThou shalt not commit adultery!Death.Law = GospelYou shall not commit adultery!Jesus accepts physical execution but adds religious punishment. Adulterer deserves not only stoning but throwing of the whole body into hell.Gospel (+)You shall not have lustful looks and desires!Removing voluntarily and preemptively the organs that have triggered the adulterous action.Radicalization(a) The thought of un-chastity (philandering) injures the marriage bond. Hence whoever looks with lust out of wedlock commits adultery. (b) The thought of un-chastity affects the mind. The outbreak of lustful desires in thoughts and looks is therefore as blameworthy as the adulterous action itself. (c) It is a profound insight to realize that our thoughts shape our character while looks engage in interaction both passively and actively; all the same, thoughts and looks are not equal to physical actions that are punishable. Therefore to condemn for corporeal or mental reactions which are not fully under conscious control sets the moral bar very high. Many people violate this precept and hardly anybody resorts to the suggested kind of self-punishment. (d) A voluntary self-punishment does not eradicate the sin committed in thoughts and desires. If we cut off a hand or an eye the person remains an adulterer although physically crippled. It is therefore impossible to undo the act of adulterous thoughts and looks by physical punishment.Divorce Matthew 5:31 -32It has been said, 'Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.'[Deut. 24:1] But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.
PreceptSanctionLawWhen divorcing give a written notice of divorce to your wife!Legal penalty only for failure to give a letter of notice; wife is not permitted to divorce anyway.Law = GospelDivorce is permissible if the wife has not been faithful.For Jesus, this is the only case that justifies divorce. No punishment if it was a case of fornication.Gospel (+)Never divorce if the wife has not been unfaithful!Damnation.Radicalization(a) Divorce leads to adultery. By divorcing you are inducing adultery on your ex-wife and her next husband if your wife remarries. Therefore both the no-fault and the fault based divorce are prohibited. The supposition is, of course, that marital communion is eternal (one of the sacraments). (b) Still, this is the only passage where NT allows divorce at least conditionally. If the wife was engaged in fornication (porneia) then remarrying does not entail adultery?! Therefore divorce should be permissible at least in this case for the man.Oaths Matthew 5:33 - 37
Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.' But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God's throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.PreceptSanctionLawDo not break promise sealed by swearing, an oath or vow!Otherwise: You could be cursed and subjected to divine wrath.Law = GospelKeep promise!Otherwise: Legal fine or religious condemnation.Gospel (+)Do not invoke the name of God! Do not make any vow when promising!Otherwise: Moral and religious condemnation.Radicalization(a) Redundancy. God is not separated from oaths and promises. All oaths equally involve God. Hence it does not matter much whether you swear by God loudly or silently. Oaths are simply unnecessary due to the continual presence of God. Therefore do not swear at all. (b) Sacrilege. You don't have right to invoke God and his belongings for your purposes. Even less it is appropriate to substitute evasively divine name by something less sacred! Such a substitution is blasphemous. To replace these lower instances by your own head is presumptuous. c) Dishonesty. Finally, swearing and making oaths leaves room for hypocrisy. It indicates certain mendacity and mistrust. Truthfulness should be secured by inner integrity of the person, not by an oath. Therefore everything beyond your word ("yes" or "no") is superfluous (or comes from the "evil one" who is the source of all dishonesty).Retaliation Matthew 5:38 - 42You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.'[Ex 21:24] [Lev 24:20] [Deu 19:21] But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
PreceptSanctionLawTake a tooth for a tooth, an eye for an eye!Otherwise: A curse will fall on you.Law ( - ) ReversalNo agreement. Do not take revenge at all!Otherwise: Condemnation