In the context of organized religion, the books of Genesis and Exodus are texts of great importance. They are the foundation of the Bible, and therefore, also the very foundation of Christian theology. When these books are looked at outside of the context of the Christian faith, they provide broader lessons on life and observations on human behavior that are relevant to all of society, and not merely just the society of the church. The teachings of these books, as told and shaped by the authors/editors, provide ideas separable from the overall religious themes, which are the underpinnings of a basic, moral and just society.
In Exodus, Moses delivers the Ten Commandments to the Israelites from God. The first four Commandments, (no other gods before me, don?t worship false idols, do not take the Lord?s name in vain and remember the Sabbath), emphasize God?s role as an awesome figure of authority.
In both action and word, God has proven throughout history that he is jealous, vengeful, and that he ultimately controls the fate of all humanity. The six Commandments that follow, deal with the principles behind the workings and success of a decent society. The Ten Commandments cover basic human rights, as well as sound rules which are the foundation of proper social interaction. These principles are vital to the creation and survival of any society, regardless of religious affiliation.
The fact that Genesis is a creation text allows the authors the freedom to use it as a means of clarifying many of the inexplicable aspects of world, from social order, to human nature, to odd natural phenomena. The notion that God created Adam in his own image, and that it was Eve who was tempted to eat from the Tree of Knowledge, explains both the patriarchal tone of the Bible and society. Stories such as the loss of innocence in the Garden of Eden, and the sin and subsequent smiting of Sodom and Gomorrah, establish that humans as a whole are weak willed and inherently evil. These stories, and many others show that God will strike down and harshly punish those who betray his vision.
Fear of the wrath of God has motivated people?s thoughts and actions throughout history. On issues ranging from abortion to adultery, the fear of horrible eternal retribution has greatly effected society?s perceptions of these issues. According to the Bible, God enforced his teachings with unbelievable displays of miracles, thunder and fire. In modern recorded history, there are no proven instances of such awesome displays of force. However, the mere mention of such occurrences in this ancient text is enough to instill fear in the hearts of Christians. Even thousands of years later, the omnipresent threat still enforces the commandments of God.
Whether they intended to or not, the authors/editors of the Bible conveyed a very pronounced social agenda. While this is the most important work in Christian theology, its teachings and lessons can also be effectively applied to secular society. The Bible provided the necessary guidelines for the creation and sustenance of future unified nations. It is the basis of almost all aspects of modern culture, politics and society.