The Noachide Theology as the world
oldest religious Faith dates all the way back to Adam.
To understand this properly, one has to also consider
The Oral Tradition for Jews
© 2003 Rabbi Yechiel Sitzman
According to the
simple Biblical narrative, the only commandments that
G-d gave to Adam were to prohibit him from eating
from the Tree of Knowledge and that he should have
children. The Bible does not mention of any other
laws given. The narrative continues with the story
of Cain and Abel. When was the commandment not to
murder given? Who told Cain that it was wrong to murder
his brother? Prior to the flood, there was no written
Biblical injunction of law. If not, how could G-d
consider any human action to be bad and thus accountable
for punishment? Without having knowledge of law and
morality, how could the generation of the flood have
known their actions to be evil before G-d?
Some might wish to
say that everyone knows deep down the difference between
right and wrong. But this is not always true. Different
cultures hold different values. What one culture may
hold as perfectly acceptable another culture might
find repugnant. Modern logic claims that everyone
knows the difference between basic right and wrong;
and that even without the giving of such laws, the
pre-flood generations should have known better, even
without being told. While this logic might sound good
to us today, it does not have any value by Biblical
According to the
Bible, (ref. Lev.), ignorance of the law lessens a
violator's punishment, or exempts him entirely. Therefore,
if punishment came, as we see with regards to the
flood, then we can logically conclude that certain
laws were given (and violated) even though the Bible
does not out rightly record the giving of these laws.
The holy Rabbis teach us a point that is essential
for any student of the Bible to learn and to learn
well. Not everything was written in the Bible.
As with every ancient
culture, the nation of Israel held a very rich Oral
Tradition that fills in many of the blanks in the
Biblical narrative. Over the many years, the great
majority of these Oral traditions have been written
down and this is how we know of them today.
The Jewish Oral Tradition
teaches us that indeed, Adam and all his descendents
were commanded to observe certain universal commandments.
Numbering only six, these universal laws were given
to Adam so that his progeny (offspring) would learn
how to create and establish a society based upon morality,
righteousness and human rights. The six universal
laws given to Adam are as follows:
1. No idolatry
2. No blasphemy
3. No murder
4. No sexual immorality
5. No theft
6. To establish just courts
Short, simple and
direct to the point. It is these six principles that
human society was originally commanded to observe.
The Bible does not overtly record this, yet the Bible
does record mankind being held accountable for them.
G-d repeated these
laws to Noah and all his children with the addition
(Gen. 9:4) of the forbiddance of eating part of a
living animal. None of these universal laws are recorded
outright in the Bible as having been given before
the flood. Even though G-d punishes Cain for murder
and later destroys an entire generation for similar
sins, nowhere is there recorded the giving of the
laws that defined such actions as sin. The Bible does
delete many important facts, which for whatever reason
known to G-d, He chose not to include. For example,
where did Cain and later Seth and others find their
wives? The Bible does not record their wives’
births. Where did they come from?
The Bible also doesn't
mention the names of any of the pre-flood matriarchs
and mothers with the exception of Eve (and one or
two other women). Are we to assume that the other
fathers of old were born without mothers simply because
the Bible doesn't mention any mothers? Obviously such
type of thinking is quite insulting to human intelligence.
We take it for granted that although certain things
are not clearly mentioned they, nevertheless, are
and religion, since its Sinai foundations, have been
built upon a two-fold type of knowledge. The first
being the absolute written Word of G-d and the second,
equally important and authoritative, that the Oral
Tradition that provided the comprehensive meaning
and official interpretation of the written Word. Only
with the proper combination of the two can the Bible
ever be properly understood.
In addition, every
human being is expected to follow principles of action
that can be deduced by unadulterated common sense
that is based upon the axioms evident from the above
mentioned seven laws. Examples of this are the obligations
of giving charity to the poor and hospitality to travelers,
as well as not displaying disrespect toward one’s
The chain of tradition
of these universal laws was broken for most people.
At the revelation at Mount Sinai it was revealed again
to Moses. There were also some minor changes in some
of the laws at that time. From then onward, all non-Jews
are expected to observe these laws as they were given
to Moses because they were revealed (a second time)
to him. Thru out history there have been individuals
who were committed to this way of life.
In recent years Noachides
have begun to organize themselves into communities
and have been establishing contact between them using
modern communication methods.
is the same as the theology of Judaism. However, non-Jews
are not required to accept all the details of this
theology to the extent that Jews are. Observant Noachides
are the Non-Jews in Judaism. Just as the Priests,
Levites, women etc... have particular Laws given to
them at Sinai, so do Noachides have particular Laws
and together we all make one True Universal Religion,
walking in the Ways of our Creator.
And just as Noahides
have the Seven Universal Laws to follow, they also
must have an oral tradition that encapsulates how
to observe them.