The Good News of “You Shall Not Murder”

Thomas White concludes his theological reflection upon the commandment “You shall not murder” in his recent commentary on Exodus with this striking paragraph:

“On a deeper level, this teaching points us toward the fact that Christ died for all in order to show us that God can definitively overcome not only the evils of hatred and killing found in others but especially those evils as they are found in ourselves. The Catechism of the Council of Trent formulates clearly the New Testament teaching: just as Christ freely accepted death out of love for all human beings, so all human beings by their sins are rightly understood to be in some real sense the authors of the death of Christ.  The solace found in this truth can be summarized as follows. The worst moral calamity that could transpire has already happened: human beings have killed God in his human nature. This was not something God willed but only something God allowed. And yet God used the worst moral evil to bring forth the greatest supernatural good—the forgiveness of sins and the elevation of human nature into participation in the divine nature. If God can do this with regard to his own death, then God can act in a similar way with regard to every other unjust human death and every human sin. It pertains to the mores of infinite mercy to make use even of human evils to reveal the ever-greater presence and power of divine goodness. In Christ, God declares the definitive victory of his love over every power of death and sin.”1


  1. Thomas Joseph White, OP, Exodus, Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible (Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2016), 178.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *