Saturday in the Second Week of Lent

Exodus 20:1-21

The Very Nature of God

The Ten Commandments are not ten suggestions.  God did not give them to us for our approval.  Nor did God merely choose these ten rules as a way of stifling our ability to have “fun.”  The Ten Commandments are not something that God “came up with.”  They are not arbitrary.  On the contrary, they reflect the very nature of God.

When we say that the Ten Commandments reflect God’s nature, we mean that when we read these commandments, we are peering into God’s heart, into who He is.  In other words, when God gives us His commandments, He cannot help but to give us these; for, they are His Law, and His Law is not that which He creates, but that which is Himself.  When God created the world, He could not help but to create a moral universe where men reap what they sow, be it good or bad, according to their works.

Now if this sounds too philosophical, I may simplify things by adding that this is all only to say that God is good.  He does not choose to be good, no more than He chose what commandments to give us.  God is good.  And because God is good, His commandments are good.  And since goodness is God’s very nature, His commandments, which are good, reflect that good nature.

For instance, God forbids us to commit murder, not because it’s practical, but because God’s very nature is life.  God is life itself.  He cannot die.  He loves life and affirms life.  He hates death.  Moreover, God forbids adultery because He is a God of fidelity, a God who keeps His promises.  God could not have decreed adultery a virtue and fidelity a vice.  Such would have been against His very nature.  And God commands us to have no other gods before Him, to worship no images, to keep His name holy, in short, to honor and love Him above all things, not because He is a selfish tyrant, but because He is the greatest and best of beings.  He cannot help but to be so.  He is the uncreated, the eternal, the infinite.  He alone is God, so He alone is worthy.  And since He is goodness itself, He could only create creatures who would desire that which is good – which is Himself.  So He commands us to love Him, because He is love itself, because that is the greatest, most fulfilling thing we can do.  To know Him and enjoy Him forever – that’s what He created us for, because there is nothing better in all of life than knowing Him who is the most wonderful being over all – Himself.

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