I am very curious how to take Mosaic Law after reading Mark 10:5. I can understand the text clear enough, Moses wrote this particular ruling in the Mosaic Law specifically for the people at the time, but the notion that Moses writes laws seems to be different from when the laws are presented as being from God and throw into question how to interpret any of the ruling declared back then that are presented by Moses. How are we to view Mark 10:5 and, by extension, the authorship of the rulings in Mosaic Law?
It is my understanding that the Law of Moses was not intended to punish every sin, and the treatment of divorce is an example of that.
One passage that helps me understand this teaching is this one: “[T]ake heed to yourselves, and let none be faithless to the wife of his youth. For I hate divorce, says the Lord the God of Israel, and covering one’s garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So take heed to yourselves and do not be faithless.” Malachi 2:15-16
From this passage, it is my understanding that divorce was still evil under the Law of Moses. One apparent problem with this interpretation is that, if divorce was still evil, then it appears that the Mosaic Law permits people to do evil and tells them how to do it.
I think that part of the answer to this is something St. Thomas Aquinas says: “[L]aws imposed on men should also be in keeping with their condition…[and] the same thing is not possible to one who has not a virtuous habit, as is possible to one who has. … Now human law is framed for a number of human beings, the majority of whom are not perfect in virtue. Wherefore human laws do not forbid all vices.” (Summa Theologica I-II Question 96 Article 2)
It appears to me that divorce was not forbidden in the Mosaic Law because the Mosaic Law was not intended to forbid all sins. But that doesn’t mean divorce was good, any more than it means adultery is good in America just because our laws don’t forbid it.
As to the fact that it says the man should write his wife a bill of divorce, my understanding is that that was to at least provide something for the woman. She could not be accused of adultery for going out and marrying another man if she could show by a bill of divorce that she had been repudiated by her former husband.
If my understanding is correct, the Mosaic Law is still divinely inspired, and comes from God. Because it is a law for human government, though, it does not forbid all sin, but tries to limit the evils committed in sins such as divorce, e.g. by protecting the woman from future punishment through the bill of divorce.
Is that helpful?
Trying to change all at once can be very difficult. Sometimes it is easier to set intermediary goals and change a little at a time. I view the Law of Moses as a good-but-imperfect, intermediary morality between the general moral chaos that man had fallen into after the sin of Adam and the high morality for which man was created and to which Christ calls us back.
If you read Exodus, Deuteronomy, and Leviticus closely, it tells you that God told Moses to make some laws, while other laws Moses made for the people. It also talks about the times when the people messed up, and God made a more restrictive law, or Moses made new regulations.
Scott Hahn and Jeff Cavins have talks on Bible history that deal with this sort of thing. EWTN’s website is a good place to look for audio talks, etc.
I’m sorry but where can I see this specifically?