Wednesday, Jan 22, 2020. Where do we get our ethics from? What is “good”? Modern society has developed a set of human rights, which is supposed to be a universial law for everyone, for every nation and every community on the planet.
We also know the 10 commandments from the Old Testament, which are basic rules of ethics also active in the New Testament. They take a different role in the New Testament, compared to the old one. But they are still basic guidance for our life, for thoughts, words and actions.
But what is the root of our ethics? Why should we follow some ethics at all? Can we discover the spiritual dimension and true root of our ethics? According to the bible it is a reflection of the holiness of God. It is a reflection of his character, his goodness, his love.
God's Holiness at Mount Sinai …
In the biblical book of Exodus, the 2nd book of Moses, we find the story about God's holiness at mount Sinai. Let us read about this important event, which prepares an important contract between God and his people:
9 And the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I am coming to you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and may also believe you forever.” When Moses told the words of the people to the Lord, 10 the Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments 11 and be ready for the third day. For on the third day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. 12 And you shall set limits for the people all around, saying, ‘Take care not to go up into the mountain or touch the edge of it. Whoever touches the mountain shall be put to death. (2 Mose 19, 9ff)
God is so holy, that humans cannot come into any contact to him. That is the basic background of this story. Here, the holiness of God has severe consequences for humans. Who ever touches him, has to die. Death is the consequence of separation from God. Only goodness can live.
But there is much more to learn here: God wants everyone to believe forever. He wants the people to listen. He wants me and you to listen. He wants to be with the people, with all of us. He wants to be our companion, our friend.
The third Day and God's Presence …
The people are to wait for three days, and then on the third day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai. This Old Testament story is a template for what will come later. The New Testament takes up many of the Old Testament stories and experiences. These experiences are God's preparation for his salvation agenda. God wants humans to be holy enough to enter his presence. He wants us to live forever.
The New Testament communicates Jesus to be the son of God, who dies for the sin of the world. In the death of Jesus everyone, who believes in him, shall be saved. In his death there is forgiveness. And on the third day, the resurrection day, God comes down to be with all who believe. He comes in the sight of all the people.
We are invited today to learn about what holiness truly means. We are invited to get to know the source of all our ethics. It is the truthfulness, purity and love of the eternal God and creator.
But God is not only the source of our ethics. We need more than that. We do not only need a set of rules. It will never satisfy us, it will never give us peace. We need to reconfigure our goals, our purpose, our perspective. What is it that makes us what we are? What is the purpose of our life? We need to rediscover the role of God for what we are. He wants to be source and target at the same time. He wants to be the one who loves us and is with us. He wants to be the goal and target of my life - in the sense of being the power and spiritual entity which defines who I am and what particular goals and targets I follow. This is what the New Testament calls to live “in him”. In him there is a deep and true conversation starting, there is freedom, there is truth and love and mercy. (Roland Potthast)
This is part of the trilogy project “Faith of a Scientist”.