On the authorship of the Pentateuch/Torah:
This may have appeared in another thread. I cannot keep track. Sorry. Anyway, there seemed to be a lot of confusion about Jesus’ language in referring to “the Law of Moses,” “the Law,” & etc, in the gospels. What is getting lost in that conversation is that all of those references are not limited to the Decalogue (10 Commandments) and/or the various other laws (whether considered individually or as a group) in the Torah. The Law and the Prophets was a shorthand way to refer to the entirety of the Hebrew Bible. The Law (of Moses) is short for the Pentateuch/Torah. I don’t think it works to try to limit those sayings of Jesus only to the Decalogue in order to maintain Mosaic authorship of that portion.
In any case, based upon Deut. 34 alone, we know that someone else besides Moses had a hand in the finished product, so you can’t take Jesus’ statements to mean that he believed Moses wrote every single word of the Torah. As mentioned earlier, when Jesus refers to the Law of Moses, he is not doing anything other than referring to the Torah in the same way that every other Jew referred to it. Trying to read more (or less) into it than that leads only to more problems.
Second, based upon the manuscript history of the New Testament, we can assume that some scribal additions/edits/errors were incorporated into the text over the many years it was copied and passed down. For example, it’s pretty clear that the story of the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11) was a later addition to John’s gospel, and the “longer ending” of Mark is obviously inauthentic. Christians read and believed these things for centuries before recent discoveries allowed us to “correct” the gospels. Was the faith of those previous generations who read and accepted these stories as “true” in any way defective? No. God’s word will achieve the purpose for which he sent it (Is. 55:11). The divine nature of God’s word is self-authenticating, both in its prophetic character and in its spiritual effect on the elect. God’s sheep hear his voice and follow. Those who hear his voice in the Scriptures do not have to be convinced that they are authoritative. It is self-evident.
The approach you’re looking for, Mike, is called “canonical interpretation.” Essentially, it sets aside questions of source and authorship and deals with the text of the Bible as it has come down to us in the canon. Whether the three passages in question came from the actual pen of Moses or not is moot, in this hermeneutic approach. However, canonical interpretation also deals with the Bible as an actual piece of literature, complete with types and symbols and metaphors, which is something that you’ve previously resisted. You may be stuck between a rock and a hard place here.
Ex 20:8-11 and Ex 31:12-17 with respect to God’s six days and rest
What principle is Moses trying to teach here? Why does he instruct Israel to pattern their work-week after God’s example?
It is the same principle expressed in Gen. 1:26-28 – that God has created man in his image; therefore, man should “imitate” God. This is Israel collectively taking up the task that Adam failed to fulfill. The imitation of God is also the basis of Jewish (and later, Christian) ethics. For example, this article on “The Imitation of God” at the Jewish Virtual Library says:
The doctrine of the imitation of God is related to the biblical account of the creation of man in the image of God, which acknowledges a resemblance between man and his Creator. Yet man is to imitate God, not impersonate Him (see Gen. 3:5). The main biblical sources for the injunction to imitate God are found in the command to be holy as God is holy and to walk in God’s way (Lev. 19:2; Deut. 10:12, 11:22, 26:17). Man is to be God-like in his actions, but he cannot aspire to be God. … Man is to imitate God in loving the stranger (Deut. 10:18–19); in resting on the Sabbath (Ex. 20:10–11); and in other ethical actions. The idea of the imitation of God finds clear expression in rabbinic writings, especially the statements of the tanna Abba Saul. On the verse, “This is my God and I will glorify Him” (Ex. 15:2), he comments: “Be like Him. Just as He is gracious and merciful, so be thou also gracious and merciful” (Mekh., Shirah, 3). Abba Saul also comments on the verse, “You shall be holy as I the Lord your God am holy” (Lev. 19:2) – “The household attendants of the king, what is their duty? To imitate the king” (Sifra 19:2). Another classic expression of the ideal of imitating God in rabbinic literature is that of ?ama bar ?anina, who expounded the verse, “After the Lord your God ye shall walk” (Deut. 13:5): “How can man walk after God? Is He not a consuming fire? What is meant is that man ought to walk after [imitate] the attributes of God. Just as the Lord clothes the naked, so you shall clothe the naked. Just as He visits the sick, so you shall visit the sick. Just as the Lord comforted the bereaved, so you shall also comfort the bereaved; just as He buried the dead, so you shall bury the dead.”
To sum up, Moses chose to represent God’s creative “labor” in terms of a normal work-week in order to establish the ethical principle that man is meant to imitate God. This is taken up by Jesus (Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect) and expounded at length by the apostles:
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us.
Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.
the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.
So, the principle that Moses establishes is that man is to imitate God in everything, even in our mundane, everyday tasks. This is the foundation of ethics. That is the important thing about this passage, not whether it can be applied literally to Genesis 1.
Not sure if this was any help or not, but hang in there …