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The Covenants and Me, Essay Example

Pages: 5

Words: 1238

Essay

Introduction

This is a reflection paper based upon examination of the covenants in the Old Testament and how they impact my life as a nurse today.  This historical perspective illustrates the value and the wisdom of the early covenants with God and the importance of Christian values as they relate to both the medical and nursing profession.  The Bible illustrates how God has intervened in history in order to guide the development and progress of mankind.

The Covenants

In so far as the Old Testament is concerned there are the following main covenants:-

  • The covenant with Adam
  • The covenant with Noah
  • The covenant with Abraham
  • The Covenants through Moses
  • The covenant to David
  • The Future covenant

It is important to realise that many of the covenants are linked to one another through history and time of the Old Testament.  They relate to God’s plan for mankind and his self-revelationin the spiritual guidance of mankind.  (Hill, A.E.  2010).

The covenant with Adam – This relates to the covenant with God and Adam ‘You must not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil’. Adam broke the covenant with God, the initial first sin, and died as a result.  In modern day interpretation we all live with good and evil within us. We choose our own destiny but as a nurse we choose to help others in life, this through the acquisition of knowledge that is transferred into acts of goodness.  God wanted mankind to love one another and not commit acts of evil (sin).  The covenant remains in terms of living a good and productive life in accordance with Christian values.

The covenant with Noah–The scriptures describe this as a time of great wickedness on the Earth and only Noah was held in esteem by God.  By destroying the earth with flooding and saving only the righteous i.e. Noah and the animals it provided testimony to destroying evil and the need for leading a righteous life.  There is little modern day relevance other than the need for Christians to lead a good life and help others.

The covenant with Abraham – Probably considered amongst the most important covenants in the Old Testament and relates to the need for humans to obey Gods commands.  It was really aimed at rewarding the Israelites with the land of Canaan for those whom obeyed the covenant and followed the laws of God.  This covenant mainly leads to that of Christian conversion  and links to the New Testament and the covenant with Christ.  This really relates to Christian nurses following the laws and doctrines of the religion primarily through the Ten Commandments, the covenant made through Moses.

The covenant with Moses – From the Christian perspective probably the most important covenant as it sets out the Ten Commandments of the faith.  Interestingly enough it is somewhat dated but many of the covenants hold fast to this very day.  It is really a set of standards or code of ethics in which to live by.  It has little relevance to nursing other than a philosophical doctrine from a religious standpoint that more equates to the medical canon of ‘ first do no harm’.  In some regards this has become outmoded as we are living in a globalised world of multi-culturalism that requires tolerance of all peoples beliefs and religions and a duty more towards the respect of humanity and helping people retain their dignity.

The covenant to David –  This covenant made to David and the Kings ( sons of Judah) really reflected the relationship between the future Kings of Israel and the relationship with God. A commitment of God to the Nation of Israel provided they followed the Covenant and respected the laws of God.  It sets the path for the coming of Christ as ‘the king of kings’ . and essentially a covenant between the peoples of God and Israel.  There is no link to the nursing profession in a modern context.  Other than the fact that in the religious context God is the highest authority.

The future covenant –  This sets out the coming of Jesus and his relationship with both the people of Israel and mankind.  As such Jesus becomes the heir of the Covenant that was made with King David.  In the past Kings have been scapegoats for the actions of their peoples.  Christ would be a redeemer and give his life for the sins of mankind in order that those who obeyed the covenants would find eternal life through the holy spirit.  This has little reflection to the modern nursing profession but more towards the continuation of Christianity as a faith and religious belief.  The covenant is really based upon a doctrine and set of religious values for those who prescribe to the Christian faith i.e. try to avoid sin and lead a good life and productive life in the helping of others.  Most nurses, regardless of faith or religious beliefs, try to uphold these values within the context of the ethical and professional values supported by the nursing profession.

The Relevance to Nursing

The Old Testament dates back to 1600 BC at the time of Genesis.  As such the philosophy and doctrines portrayed in the Bible are literally thousands of years old.  They reflected a simple time of people and ideas.  As such many of the covenants do not readily translate to modern times. It is recognised however that much of the Middle East remains steeped in tribalism, medieval values and conflict between that of Islam, Judaism and Christianity.  It could equally be argued that much of the misunderstanding, confusion and conflict in the region comes from a lack of modernity and teaching within the different faiths that all hold roots within the confines of the Old Testament.  Nursing is a global profession that is dedicated towards serving the wellbeing of humanity; this has to be accomplished in an environment of trust, tolerance and an appreciation of others cultural beliefs and values that may not be determined by purely Christian value-sets.

Some aspects of religious values, particularly in the framework of Catholicism, run contrary to popular medical thinking and advice.  This has created many controversial subject areas including that of abortion, use of condoms, rights of gay people etc.  The covenants do not really promote religious freedom but are more geared towards a stringent set of rules and guidelines that determine the religious relationship with God.  Even the very context of ‘Gods interventions in history’ are based upon the single premise that God exists.  There is no scientific evidence that proves towards the existence of any deity, regardless of religion.  It may well be that much of this has been misinterpreted over time and that the references to God refers to our own spirituality and the goodness and evil that resides in all of us.  We chose which of these to develop as part of our own destiny and purity of the soul.  This is not to refute religions but purely to offer an alternative perspective.

The Covenants of the Old Testament may offer certain guidelines towards best practice for Christian Nurses but in reality they are outdated and not truly reflective of the modern society in which we live.  Similarly, the various religions may be criticised from the same perspective.  Nurses need to live in the globalized modern world and be more guided by the codes of conduct and ethics of the profession.  Perhaps more inspiration being drawn from the humanity of icons like Florence Nightingale and the care and compassion in nursing practice

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