1. Does religion have anything to do with political theory?
2. What are the social and political implications of Genesis? For two examples, consider nature, and women. Are any of the cultural values described in this book still with us? 3. How did the Hebrew people define themselves as a people? In what specific sense are they a community? What is the relationship of community to covenant? How does any society define itself as a distinct society? 4. Can you find the three different examples of covenant in the readings? What are they? How are they similar to each other, and how are they different?
Religion was central to early political control of society. By assuming the authority of higher beings, priests and princes were able to suppress dissent without constant recourse to military terrorism. The more successful leaders realized that internal legal harmonization bought significant advantages, and most judicial systems are religiously inspired. Both English Common law and Roman Codex systems exeunt across Europe used to presume that 'all law is known to God' and the law court is merely a forum in which we lesser beings might 'discover the mind of God. Since 1948 the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has guided most western judiciaries. The British monarch is still enthroned "By the grace of God, Defender of the Faith" and British coins bear the legend "Deo Gratia, Fid Def" around the royal image as a constant reminder to British subjects of this divine providence! Some people have argued for a strong religious influence on the workings of modern governments while others have detected little for no religious influence at all. Nations throughout the world have differed widely in terms of their ideas of religion and its place in the state. Some of these nations have failed while others have produced notable success, but religious influences in choosing the system of governance can usually be traced back to one of three central political philosophers. The ideologies of John Calvin, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Joseph Priestley all are similar in some aspects, but an area in which they differ is in their notions of the proper role of religion in 'westernized' (non theocratic or liberal) societies. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ God is creating a community.
From the very beginning, God implies the expansion of His own community. He says, "Let Us," indicating a community already exists. Man was made, physically, in God's image, and he begins with characteristics of shape and form in common with his Maker. The rest of the Bible fills in the details of how mankind is being brought from having not only form and shape in common with his Maker, but also character, so that he fits perfectly into the community that the Maker is expanding. When the Son of God came, He came with a message from His Father. Jesus gave as the title to the message that He brought, "the good news of the Kingdom of God" (Mark 1:14-15). This is the Boss Himself, and this is the title He Himself gave. It was the good news of the Kingdom of God. Is there any doubt in our minds that God is forming a community? Is there any doubt that Jesus Christ will rule this community, first, and that afterward, He will turn everything over to the Father? (I Corinthians 15:28)? There is nothing ambiguous here. Is God forming a community? The important thing for us is what ramifications the good news of the Kingdom of God has on the way we live our lives. In the course of the unfolding of Christ's ministry, and the apostles' afterward, we find some interesting things that have a direct impact on the way we live our lives. First, Christ was the Son of God. Does not a son indicate a family relationship? “Son” is used in the Bible in at least two different ways. One means "a direct descendant of." The other is used in the sense of "characteristics of, but not necessarily...