THE Basis of the Law

Bases of a Subspace

Mark 12:28-34 NIV

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?" 

"The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'  The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."

"Well said, teacher," the man replied. "You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices." 

When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.

Deuteronomy 6:4

Hear, O Israel: The lord our God, the lord is one. Love the lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

Leviticus 19:18

"'Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the lord.’”

A basis for a vector space or a subspace of a vector space is a linearly independent collection of vectors whose span is the entire space.  To find one basis for a subspace of Euclidean space which is the columnspace of a matrix, one looks for the largest collection of columns of the original matrix that are linearly independent.  These columns are a set of essential vectors--from them one is able to recover the entire columnspace of the original matrix. 

Basis appear in the Bible, too. To help the Israelite nation become worthy of the title, chosen people, God gave them a set of laws to follow.  Although we often focus on the Ten Commandments, the Old Testament Israelites had many laws to follow.  (See Leviticus, for example.)  God knew that the people of Israel needed lots of specifics, but he also knew that remembering every detail would be tough.  So he gave them a summary, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all of your mind and with all your strength." 

By the time Jesus came to earth, the Israelite people had forgotten that the intent of the law was based in the love of God and were focused on the details.  So, Jesus reminded them that the BASIS for the law was this summary and that this summary captures all of the essential elements of the law of God.