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Summary: Implications of the 7th Commandment - Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery

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The Missing Link

Introduction: A Kid’s Eye View

When I was a kid, I discovered among my parents’ books an ornately illustrated volume of the 10 Commandments. It looked like it was probably a reproduction of an illuminated manuscript that had been painstakingly created by medieval monks. The writing was big and old fashioned; the language was King James.

Something about that book drew me to it, although it wasn’t exactly because I liked it. Taken together, the words & the pictures & the “THOU SHALT NOT’s effectively conveyed a solemn warning about transgressing God’s commandments.

And the scariest one for me was the seventh commandment, “THOU SHALT NOT COMMIT ADULTERY.” You wouldn’t think that would be scary to a little kid, but it was. The reason it was scary was because I had no idea what adultery was. I knew it HAD to be serious, because it was stuck right between “THOU SHALT NOT KILL” and “THOU SHALT NOT STEAL.” I knew what those two meant and I knew they were both REALLY bad.

So I knew adultery was something really bad, but I had no idea what it was. I was afraid I might accidentally commit adultery and never know it.

So I put my reasoning skills to work. I used my best trick for figuring out words, which was to relate the word I didn’t know to words I did know.

Say, I came across the verb “liquefy.” Well, I knew what the word “liquid” meant, and I could tell this was a verb, so it must mean “to make something liquid” – sort of like what I liked to do to my hard ice cream.

The only word I could relate it to “adultery” was “adult.” So I thought adultery must mean, “to act like an adult.” I figured that it must be ok for adults to act like adults, so this commandment HAD TO mean that kids shouldn’t act like adults. I didn’t know WHY God would make such a big deal of kids who acted like adults, but who was I to understand God’s ways, right? Obviously GOD was VERY serious about it.

Just to make sure, I decided I would NEVER act like an adult. And lo, I have kept that resolution ever since.

When I preached about murder, I said the reason it was wrong was because it was a violation of a principle of creation, that is, that human beings have been made in the image of God

Because human beings have been made in the image of God, human life is more sacred than animal or plant life.

Adultery is wrong because it violates another principle of creation:

Genesis tells us that after God created Adam, He recognized that it was < not good for man to be alone >

And while Adam had all kinds of little and big creatures around for company, God knew that’s not what he needed.

So God created Eve to be a suitable companion for him

Just as a brief side road, the most familiar version – the King James – translated the words “a help meet.”

In contemporary English “help meet” doesn’t make any sense, so it has slid into “help mate,” which we understand better, but isn’t accurate.

And older use of the word “meet” was “suitable” or “proper” – which is a whole lot more like the Hebrew word, which means, “comparable to” or parallel to.


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