Re: Lust of the flesh, Lust of the eyes, pride of life

Eric Weiss (
Mon, 04 Nov 1996 19:46:23 -0600

Re: Carl Conrad's comment that Martin Buber considered the "do not
covet" commandment to be foundational. A few years back I was pondering
why the commandment not to lust/desire was the one Paul singled out as
resulting in his death by the Law, and it occurred to me that all the
other commandments could be kept faithfully by outward observance--but
not this one. The desire to lust (or the desire to "desire") was
something one could not control, and Paul then realized that his flesh
had something very, very wrong with it--and that no amount of blameless
keeping of the Law could compensate for or overcome it. I wonder if
Buber ever realized the significance of Paul striking at the root of the
tree when he elaborated on the subject, the cause and the cure, in
Romans 5-8?

Re: Jonathan Robie's guilty feelings re: arousal and Jesus' statement
about lusting after a woman. I think GUNH is better translated here as
"wife" than woman, because one commits adultery with another person's
spouse. To desire to have another man's wife is to commit adultery in
one's heart, but for a young unmarried man to feel natural sexual
desires toward an unmarried woman is not in itself sinful, and can
certainly not be called "adultery." I think translating GUNH as "woman"
has resulted in needless guilt for literally millions of single
Christian men.