THE EDITOR, Sir:
In the Rev Devon Dick's article 'Two better than Ten Commandments' (20/09/12, Gleaner), there is much food for thought, the 'eating' of which could lead to a kinder, gentler, and more just society. However, I would like to believe that the Ten Commandments still serve a purpose for those who, like the man in the Gospel, asked, "And who is my neighbour?"
In other words, to be concrete in exercising the Two Commandments of love, many may not be able to understand fully the implications, for they might still be "like babes still on milk" (I Cor 3:2ff). This is where the Ten would help as a reality check. One can recall the 1960s craze about situation ethics: 'Just love!' I need not remind of some of the unchristian, immoral behaviour that resulted from 'babes' just loving.
Therefore, my understanding of the relationship of the Ten Commandments with Jesus' Two Commandments of love can be seen in terms of two tendencies in the Old Testament: to expand (hence the more than 600 commandments to make sure the Ten are not broken); and to contract (hence the Two).
The Ten, in the thinking of the prophet Micah, are contracted into the famous 'Three': "Do justice, love tenderly and walk humbly with your God (Mic. 6:8)". I propose that it is within this tradition of contraction that Jesus put forth the refreshing 'Two' culled from Deuteronomy and Leviticus.
We could conclude that the Ten Commandments are for 'babes', whom Paul labels "unspiritual" and still needing explicit guidance; whereas the Two Commandments of love are for those who are "spiritual" and appreciative of union with Christ (cf. I Cor. 3: 1-4).
DONALD J. REECE (Most Rev)
Archbishop Emeritus of