Here is another difficulty with theonomy. Maybe it’s not with theonomy the idea, but it does invite young theonomists to reflect more deeply on what they are actually saying. Here is Deuteronomy 25:11
“When men fight with one another and the wife of the one draws near to rescue her husband from the hand of him who is beating him and puts out her hand and seizes him by the private parts, 12then you shall cut off her hand. Your eye shall have no pity.
There are several problems here if we take it at face value and apply it to a modern Western law code:
- Just think about it: how likely is something like this ever going to happen? I am a school teacher and I break up fights all the time. It’s not that easy to get between two people in a fight (and I’ve been hit before, though I was so pumped up with adrenaline I didn’t feel it).
- If two guys are moving rapidly and throwing punches, how likely is it that a woman is going to go low and grab the private parts of the other guy?
- And would you really apply this? If a bad guy broke into your home and the wife was able to help out by “disabling” him (and for the sake of argument, save your life), are you really going to reward her by cutting off her hand? Really?
Someone could say, “Well, that applies to the Mosaic covenant when it was important to provide an heir.” Maybe. The text doesn’t say anything about that, so it’s just ad hoc and speculation. There is still the justice of the matter, covenant heir or no.
And then there is the equity of the matter. Well before that: is this law moral or civil/judicial? It’s obviously judicial since there is a penalty attached to it. So what’s the equity for today for theonomists? Remember, on the theonomic gloss the “judicial law abides in exhaustive detail.” The Reformed Confessionalist does not have this problem. The Confession only says “allows” the equity and no more. Which is a nice way of saying that this law would never be applied. The theonomist has to apply the law.
Good luck with that.