1. Moral Character v. Rules.
One is the absolute bottom line, the crossing of which is immoral. The other may set standards higher than the moral standards for non-moral reasons.
a. Rules can require higher standards than the basic moral standards
i. A Man has a rule requiring employees to show up for work clothed in business attire – coat and tie. Sports jackets are acceptable. Blue jeans are not. Can we take from this that he has a moral standard against nudity or against blue jeans?
ii. At the company picnic, the same man allows the wearing of blue jeans. He has no moral compunction against denim, he just has a higher rule at work.
iii. The same man attends nudist gatherings and has clothing optional parties at his country home. We can see nudity is not a moral issue for him although his rules at work would not allow it for reasons unrelated to his moral standards.
iv. The same man holds a formal dinner party at which Tuxedos are required. Does he have a moral problem with not wearing tuxedos? No. He has already proven that by allowing sports jackets at work, blue jeans at the picnic and full nudity at his parties. It is just at the time of the party, he chooses to raise a rules standard that is higher than his moral standards.
b. The way to determine what a man’s moral character or values are is not to look at rules he has set up at one time and place, but look to see if he, at other times allows lessor standards to be followed. In other words, the moral values are the bare minimum. The moral conduct is measured by what he allows at maximum, not by more stringent rules applied at a specific time.
2. Men’s moral values can change over time. A man who held clothing optional parties/orgies without moral compunction one day, can decide that his moral standards have changed and refuse to allow or attend such parties at a later time.
3. If Yahweh is eternal and unchangeable, his moral standards have not, do not and never will change.
4. Thus, to determine what Yahweh’s moral values are, we need to look at what he has ordained or allowed at any time. Whatever he as approved at any time has to be in accordance with and, therefore, an indication of, his moral character and standards.
5. This does not mean he cannot change mere rules from time to time like the nudist requiring tuxedos at the dinner party or coat and tie at work. But if he ever allowed it, then it is not a violation of his moral principles.
6. What we can glean then from the Bible about Yahweh’s moral values?
a. Slavery is not immoral.
God has no moral compunction against slavery. He expressly and
Repeatedly approved of it in the old testament. Even if you read the
New testament as setting up new rules that mean slavery is not
consistent with Christianity, the fact that Yahweh ordained and expressly
approved it before and the fact that his moral character never changes
means that it cannot violate his moral character and principles.
b. A soldier goes to war. He participates in an attack on a town and kills all of the men. The women are rounded up. He spots a young girl that he likes. He takes her from the group and claims her as his own. He takes her home, shaves her head and gives her one month to mourn the death of her parents. He then has sex with her, with no requirement that she consent. After a few days, he decides she is not as fun as he thought and shows her the door.
Yahweh has expressly said this is acceptable to him. Deuteronomy 21:10-14.
So if you have a moral compunction against this, your sense of morality
is higher than his and clearly cannot derived from him or the Bible. Yes,
you can point to things in the bible that would say don’t do this -- such as do
unto others, etc. – but that is not the bottom line moral standard unless you are
going to say Yahweh’s moral standards change. If he at one time approved of this
conduct, it cannot now violate his moral principles unless those moral principles have changed