Monday, January 3, 2011

What is "Right" and "Wrong"?

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. He will be eating curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, for before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste – Isaiah 7:14-16

Today’s Reading: Isaiah 7-8; Ephesians 2

So I was reading this passage and I just couldn’t get past it. It is so fascinating to me.

Us Christians believe that Jesus is the Immanuel that God is speaking of through Isaiah. So, of course as I got here to this passage I was like oh nice! Let me see what he has to say. Then I came to the 15th verse:

He will be eating curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right – Isaiah 7:15

Whoa whoa whoa! Wait a minute!

So this begs the answer to several questions. First of all what do you mean when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right? I thought he was perfect (which I believe to be true)? So given that I believe that he was perfectly without sin then what does this say about sin? Does sin imply that you must have knowledge of the good or bad of a given situation?

Then this made me jump back to the Adam and Eve tale where they ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge. It was then that they knew they were naked and hid themselves from God. Before that the only wrong they could do was to eat of that tree. Theoretically they could have done anything else that they wanted to. They wouldn’t have known better.

Then the next question is at what point can we say that someone knows wrong? What if you are a soldier who decided to fight for your country because you were raised to believe that your country was on the side of good in the world? What if in the field of battle you kill someone in a fire fight. Was it wrong? Without a doubt that person would have killed you right? What if the country that you thing is good was WWII Germany? Does that make you any more wrong than the soldiers fighting for American in Iraq?

But what if all of this is a moot point because kids at that time were infants when they start eating curd and honey? So really this scripture is confirming what I thought in the beginning that Jesus knew right from wrong from before he could even remember making the choices? In this respect the scripture just makes Jesus more certifiably gangsta than he was already.

This is what I enjoy about the Bible. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not my job to determine whether or not someone is right or wrong, going to heaven or hell, or any such other state of another’s spirit. That’s God’s job and I’m happy to let him do it. For me there are a few hard and fast rules, like Grace for instance; but there are way more situations that are varying shades of gray.

The spiritual walk is more of an art than science. 


  1. I agree when determining what is right or wrong, God is the only one qualified to make that judgment. However, when coming into the truth, you are then accountable to apply that tuth.

    That's what's so amazing about this particular scripture. Jesus was already at a place of judging what is right and wrong as a child. I believe because of who He is, the power of sin had no rule over Him in any way, form, or fashion.

  2. "For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous person, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of God.

    Let no person deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience." Eph 5:5-6

    What universal karma can't judge, God will.

    I'm definitely cool with that.

  3. Right and wrong are pretty simple for the most part aren't they? I mean, we usually KNOW inherently when we are doing something wrong. We are able to rationalize of course (ex: a soldier shooting a civilian). Even if you feel that God is the only one who can judge, I STILL feel like we usually know. Don't you?

  4. @Danny I do feel like we know but I don't necessarily thing that we always know intellectually. I think that our society has socialized us to be ok with some pretty wrong stuff but that little voice or feeling inside doesn't lie!

    That being said I think that works for us but often times it's hard for us to know when others are doing right or wrong in those borderline cases.

  5. DP-I feel as you do that we all have what we require to discern between right and wrong.

    Then I considered, I used to eat read meat and only stopped doing so because of contamination scares. Makes sense right? Accept in those communities where eating red meat is a sin against God. So my eating red meat in the first place made me a sinner within that society. A definite wrong, right?

    In some communities, occasionally spanking a child with a switch is a necessary action to assure their proper rearing. In other communities, spanking a child in any way is a definite wrong.

    Which led me to my conclusion that I am able to discern for myself in my experience, but maybe not so for all. What's wrong to me may not be true of you. In those cases, whose right? Who decides?


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