Tensions within the Two Great Commandments

Tensions within the Two Great Commandments - PID: 713741573...

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PID: 713741573 Tensions within the Two Great Commandments In the Gospel of Matthew - arguably one of the most important books of the Christian faith - we are presented with what Jesus calls the two greatest commandments: First, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” and second, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” These commandments may seem straightforward upon first inspection, but further analysis of them leads to some serious questions that must be considered if indeed we are to regard these as the greatest commandments given by God to mankind. The most notable and concerning of these questions involves a blatant contradiction between the two commandments. If we are to love God with our entire heart, soul, and mind, then how can we possibly have any love left with which to love our neighbor? Essentially, these two commandments present us with three parties to whom love should be shown: God, our neighbors, and ourselves. The first commandment (and according the Matthew’s Jesus the most important one) tells us that every capacity that mankind has available for love should be directed wholly and completely toward God. It seems then, that we have no capacity leftover with which to love our neighbor, and as a consequence, ourselves. Many thinkers have tried to work around this tension by proposing that mankind’s capacity for love is unlimited and that one cannot possibly run out of love to give. While this may seem like an easy solution, it fails to address the real problem. The proposed solution wrongly assumes that the contradiction between the commandments disappears when infinite amounts of love are available to mankind. In
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actuality, the tension is just as prevalent as before. Even if mankind has an infinite
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This note was uploaded on 03/30/2008 for the course PHIL 112 taught by Professor Reeves during the Fall '07 term at UNC.

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Tensions within the Two Great Commandments - PID: 713741573...

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