You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.
Deuteronomy 14:21 ESV
I have long used this verse as an example of just how strange the Bible can get. After all, how is this verse ever supposed to apply to us today?
Nevertheless, I do, in fact, believe that it does apply today. I do not believe that Jesus has done away with the Old Testament law or even certain laws. He has not abolished them; He has, instead, fulfilled them. Therefore, even this rather unusual command still stands today in some way.
In Paul’s epistles, he patterns for us how to interpret the principles underlying such commands. For example, the law forbid oxen from being unequally yoked while working. Paul notes that the principle of that command still stands for us in regards to our relationships with non-Christians.
So, how does this command still apply?
I believe that the underlying principle is against using instruments of life as a means of death.
Mother’s milk is life-giving. Perhaps the only substance more life-giving is blood, which was forbidden for that every reason from consumption under the law.
It is improper and wrong, therefore, to use a means of life as a tool for death.
This very principle is at the heart of the Hippocratic Oath. Medicine is meant for the preservation of life, and it should not be used for harm.
Both abortion and euthanasia deviate from this basic principle of God’s law. Using instruments and technology created for sustaining life, they deliver death.
And as we attempt to convince ourselves that such actions are good and morally upright, we begin to become intimate with death itself. We begin to see death as a good rather than as an enemy to be defeated. Like boiling a young goat in its mother’s milk, killing a baby in its mother’s womb is a promotion of death.
And it kills also our morality.
We were made for life. Broken by sin, we are forced now to face the stark reality of death, but we never rejoice in it. And while we reject using tools of life as a means of bringing death, we should also rejoice that our God used an instrument of death (the cross) in order to bring us life everlasting!