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God and the rule of law From a biblical prospective


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The foundation of our rule of law, biblical perspective. How are enjoyment of the rule of law comes from Christianity and the King James Bible. Civil government is grounded in the scriptures. The state must recognise that it is under God's law. Our rule of law establishes the rights and freedoms of every member of the nation.

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God and the rule of law From a biblical prospective

  1. 1. God And the Rule of Law Some thoughts by Dan Wooldridge From a biblical prospective
  2. 2. God And the Rule of Law • An understanding of the rule of law in Western democracies • Our Common-Law comes to us from a long and trusted tradition • Particularly coming from the UK foundation
  3. 3. How an atheistic state destroys • Our heritage of a rule of law • From the perspective of an observer
  4. 4. As the concept of • atheism & humanism infiltrate the state’s law making machine • We see a decline in true justice • Abandoning jury trials • Restricting the judgements of magistrates • Following after the trend to “Positive Law” that is growing in America
  5. 5. We enjoy the benefits of • the Rule of Law our understanding of our subjection to a rule of law helps us treasure our society • Let’s look at how our rule of law came to be and how we, believing Christians, are scripturally called to abide in it
  6. 6. Civil disobedience • Are there times for civil disobedience? • We will consider the whys and the wherefores of this after we have seen where our foundation of our rule of law comes from
  7. 7. These days we live as nations • Basically there are individuals, families, tribes and nations and now we have groups of aligned nations
  8. 8. Mankind is of one blood • Acts 17:26 • And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; • Deuteronomy 32:8 • When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.
  9. 9. God sets the boundaries • We might have a multicultural society but it is still a nation • It starts with an individual who, in our society, eventually understands they are part of the nation. • Being an individual, part of a family or of a tribe does not negate this fact.
  10. 10. There is a new call • That might be called Internationalism • We are one people • The trouble with this is that we could easily descend back to the time of mankind before the worldwide flood of Noah’s day
  11. 11. The flood of Noah • There was no state as such, no nation • Those of us who live in countries like England and Australia are subjects • We at least acknowledge now and particularly ought to acknowledge that we are subject to, ultimately, God.
  12. 12. You might say that • We are subjects of the realm. • The realm is itself subject—subject to God • In our society we are all subjects, including the monarchy, judiciary & Parliament. • We are all subjects under God & we publicly acknowledge this in every aspect
  13. 13. Nations are governed • Whatever the structure of the government it represents the state. • We ought to look at what the Bible says about civil government and to look at the history of the formation of the rule of law under Christianity.
  14. 14. The Christian foundation • Of the rule of law in the West is a legacy of enjoying liberty and resisting tyranny • The Bible is the most important book concerning both the rule of law and our democratic Western civilisation
  15. 15. Unfortunately we are led to • believe that our democratic roots come from ancient Greek philosophy • The democracy of ancient Greece was only applicable to the ruling classes
  16. 16. The discovery of the individual • Christianity is the foundation of our individual rights and freedoms that we enjoy today • The recognition by the rule of law of our individual rights and the value of each individual person did not exist in ancient times.
  17. 17. The 5 world empires • The Babylonian Empire • The Medes and Persians Empire • The Greek Empire • The Roman Empire • The British empire
  18. 18. The British “empire” • This empire cannot be classed with the other 4 as it never owned and controlled its peers • It concerned itself with conquering and ruling nations that were not as civilised or sophisticated as they were—the ruling powers of the world today are like iron and clay
  19. 19. The British empire • Did, however, spread its influence all across the globe and with it travelled the King James Bible and the English language
  20. 20. According to Bible prophecy • The image that Daniel saw had feet of iron and clay and that is what we have got today • Until Jesus comes back there simply will not be a world order/state that surpasses all the nations regardless of what people may think.
  21. 21. Look at the image • The image has feet of iron and clay • These do not mix and do not bind together so there will always be divisions and no one force will be able to rule in total control.
  22. 22. The Babylonian empire • The Emperor held absolute right of life and property over every one in his domain which was really a world empire
  23. 23. The Medes and Persians empire • The Emperor held the power of life and death over everyone in the domain—see the book of Esther for instance
  24. 24. The Ancient Greeks • Did not acknowledge the right of all individuals but rather a higher class separated from the masses • Consider Utopia and the like in the general writings of the gang of three—Plato, Aristotle & Socrates
  25. 25. Their democratic system • Only applied to the elite • If you were not part of the elite then you were part of the Hoi polloi • Their democracy and law giving system relied on voting from the citizenship who were the elite class
  26. 26. Roman law protected • Social institutions such as Roman citizens and the patrician family but did not safeguard the basic rights of every individual • The ordinary low born people were called plebs
  27. 27. The Romans didn’t practice • Or have provisions for personal security, freedom of conscience, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of association for the common people who were considered plebs
  28. 28. For the Romans • The individual was of value only as part of the political fabric and contribution to the end of the state being glorified • As the rule of the patricians descended into a more generalised republic, the balance of law and justice tilted towards law.
  29. 29. Justice and mercy were not seen • There was no need to establish intention • There were no mitigating circumstances • “Positive Law” is heading back to this state of affairs.
  30. 30. Law, today, is moving • away from justice • Justice implies mercy and this brings into our considerations the need to establish “intention” • Our rule of law consists of a balance between law and justice
  31. 31. After the Romans withdrew • from England - The English kings continued in a barbaric fashion and considered they owned the right of life over every one, including their possessions
  32. 32. It took a massive change so that • Even the Kings of Christendom could not violate certain rights of the subject because the idea of law was attached to the Bible based concept of Christian justice
  33. 33. The rule of law and individual liberty • Christianity has a legacy that law and liberty are inseparable to each other • God’s revealed will is the “higher law” and is placed above human law
  34. 34. Liberty is found under God’s law • because the Bible says • Psalms 19:7 • The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
  35. 35. The moral duty of people • People have a moral duty to disobey a human law that perverts God’s law • The purpose of civil government is to establish all societies in a godly order of freedom and justice
  36. 36. Rulers Who Enact Unjust Laws • Any ruler who enacts unjust law ceases to be an authority in the rightful sense and become mere tyrants • The word tyranny comes from the Greek for secular rule which means rule by men instead of the rule of law where the rule of law implies rule under God’s law
  37. 37. The Romans conquered England • they landed in 55 B.C. and brought order, roads and stabilised, if harshly, society and were gone by 410 A.D. that is over 500 years • they left a legacy of rule that did not recognise the basic rights set out by God’s law.
  38. 38. William the Conqueror continued • this legacy and it wasn’t until 1215 when the barons compelled King John to sign Magna Carta at Runnymede in England on June 15 1215
  39. 39. His brother Richard • was off fighting a miss intentioned war called for by the Roman Catholic Church to reclaim Jerusalem and the Temple from the Moslem invaders
  40. 40. It’s interesting to note • That God has moved the high priest, the sanctuary et cetera out of this earth into heaven and I do not believe has ever intended to re-establish any temple in Jerusalem.
  41. 41. The old Temple • with all of its procedures was dissolved when the veil of the Temple was ripped in twain and, later, demolished in A.D. 70. • Even the physical return of the Lord Jesus Christ will not change this
  42. 42. The Magna Carta • The Charter Underlines Basic Rights of the Individual According to God’s Law Found in the Scriptures
  43. 43. The tyranny of man • was finally overturned by declaring the equality of all people in the sight of God, Christianity compelled the Kings of England to recognise the supremacy of divine law over their arbitrary will and the laws that they made.
  44. 44. Our common law is based • on the balance between two principles of the just and the unjust. • This means that State law should never depart from God’s higher law
  45. 45. Roman Law left an inheritance • of absolutist monarchy and Magna Carta tore it down and transformed monarchy explicitly under law—God’s law • Christianity works as a civilising force and is a complete stranger to despotism
  46. 46. There are 2 landmarks • that we ought to appreciate • Magna Carta June 15 1215 • The Reformation October 31 1517
  47. 47. Christianity turns • Barbarians into decency • This becomes the foundation of common law which is in actual fact God’s law or the law that recognises the rights and responsibilities of the common man (not just the elite)
  48. 48. In essence state law can never • depart from God’s higher laws • Jurisprudence is the science of the just and the unjust
  49. 49. It follows that • the state is under God and his law • God’s law makes the King or whatever controls a state • This is fundamentally true because where will rules rather than law there will be no state or government that honours the individual rights of everyone
  50. 50. England got its state of liberty • from the Christian faith and biblical principles • This liberty rests on the presumption that God’s law always worked for the good of society
  51. 51. The converted Kings of England • would no longer possess an arbitrary power over the life and property of individuals and be able to change the basic laws of the kingdom at their own pleasure
  52. 52. People who attempt to • change or instigate laws should remember the book of Isaiah and God’s promise to deal with civil authorities who enact unjust laws
  53. 53. Consider these scriptures • Isaiah 10:1-2 • Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed; • 2 To turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless!
  54. 54. Many biblical passages • condemn the perversion of justice by godless law makers • Proverbs 17:15 • He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD.
  55. 55. • Proverbs 24:23 • These things also belong to the wise. It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment. • Exodus 23:7 • Keep thee far from a false matter; and the innocent and righteous slay thou not: for I will not justify the wicked.
  56. 56. Habakkuk 1:4 • Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth.
  57. 57. Isaiah 59:14 • And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.
  58. 58. God has a rule of law that is fair • And demonstrates pure justice • The right of a man before the face of highest authority • The just cause of a man to be upheld by authority
  59. 59. Lamentations 3:31–36 • 31 For the Lord will not cast off for ever: • 32 But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies. • 33 For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.
  60. 60. • 34 To crush under his feet all the prisoners of the earth, • 35 To turn aside the right of a man before the face of the most High, • 36 To subvert a man in his cause, the Lord approveth not.
  61. 61. Those in authority are to judge justly • Deuteronomy 16:18 • Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, throughout thy tribes: and they shall judge the people with just judgment.
  62. 62. The truth is that tyrants cannot • hang on in any land where the Bible is open and the gospel preached • The greatest security for any nation is that its population read the scriptures for themselves
  63. 63. Jesus and his Christianity • makes men think • Despots are always threatened when men think
  64. 64. Biblical reasons for civil government • Civil government is introduced in the book of Genesis • After all, Noah and the flood came about because of the increase of violence throughout the world • The earth was corrupt
  65. 65. Genesis 6:11–13 • 11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. • 12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. • 13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.
  66. 66. Genesis 9:1–19 • 1 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. • 2 And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.
  67. 67. • 3 Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. • 4 But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat. • 5 And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man.
  68. 68. • 6 Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man. • 7 And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein. • 8 And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying,
  69. 69. • 9 And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you; • 10 And with every living creature that is with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth.
  70. 70. • 11 And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth. • 12 And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:
  71. 71. • 13 I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. • 14 And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud:
  72. 72. • 15 And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. • 16 And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.
  73. 73. • 17 And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth. • 18 And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan. • 19 These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread.
  74. 74. Note verse 5 & 6 • 5 And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man. 6 Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.
  75. 75. The judgement of God on the world • at the time of Noah was brought about because of the violence of man to man— people became murderers as a way of life and boasted that they could get away with it because all they received was a mark.
  76. 76. Genesis 4:23–24 • And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice; ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech: for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt. • 24 If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.
  77. 77. The story of the 1st murder • tells us about the need for the rise of the rule of law now that mankind has sinned and fallen out of close fellowship with God
  78. 78. Genesis 4:8–16 • And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. • 9 And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?
  79. 79. • 10 And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground. • 11 And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand;
  80. 80. • 12 When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth. • 13 And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear.
  81. 81. • 14 Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me.
  82. 82. No vigilante retribution • 15 And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him. • 16 And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.
  83. 83. Capital Punishment • God now commands capital punishment for those who take a person’s life because people are always created in the image of God.
  84. 84. The Right to Execute Murderers • This means that the right to execute murderers does not belong to government officials themselves but to God who is the author of life and commands a death penalty for murder in several places in the scriptures
  85. 85. • Genesis 9:6 • Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man. • Exodus 21:12 • He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death.
  86. 86. Numbers 35:30–31 • Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death by the mouth of witnesses: but one witness shall not testify against any person to cause him to die. 31 Moreover ye shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer, which is guilty of death: but he shall be surely put to death.
  87. 87. Numbers 35:33 • So ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: for blood it defileth the land: and the land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it.
  88. 88. The scriptures also note • the difference between murder and manslaughter • Under certain conditions asylum was granted for the unintentional killing of another person • Such a person could return to their inheritance after the death of the high priest
  89. 89. Numbers 35:6 • And among the cities which ye shall give unto the Levites there shall be six cities for refuge, which ye shall appoint for the manslayer, that he may flee thither: and to them ye shall add forty and two cities.
  90. 90. Murder or Manslaughter • Determining murder or accidental death - if there was any doubt whether the death was accidental, deliberate or intentional • Numbers 35:12 • And they shall be unto you cities for refuge from the avenger; that the manslayer die not, until he stand before the congregation in judgment.
  91. 91. Conditions for Manslaughter • The conditions for manslaughter were clearly set out • more than one witness is called • the congregation judges the matter
  92. 92. The Case for Murder • The killing had to be intentional • there had to be more than one witness to establish the case for murder • it was imperative that witnesses were truthful
  93. 93. The case for manslaughter • was considered to be under the following conditions
  94. 94. Death by a blow in a sudden quarrel • Numbers 35:22 • But if he thrust him suddenly without enmity, or have cast upon him any thing without laying of wait,
  95. 95. Death by anything thrown at random • Numbers 35:23 • Or with any stone, wherewith a man may die, seeing him not, and cast it upon him, that he die, and was not his enemy, neither sought his harm:
  96. 96. Death by an axe & handle parting • Deuteronomy 19:5 • As when a man goeth into the wood with his neighbour to hew wood, and his hand fetcheth a stroke with the axe to cut down the tree, and the head slippeth from the helve, and lighteth upon his neighbour, that he die; he shall flee unto one of those cities, and live:
  97. 97. Death by accident • You could be held responsible for the accidental death of another • Deuteronomy 22:8 • When thou buildest a new house, then thou shalt make a battlement for thy roof, that thou bring not blood upon thine house, if any man fall from thence.
  98. 98. Life can only be taken away • from the individual with civil authority when applied under God’s law and God’s commission.
  99. 99. The sanctity of a person’s life • is the ground on which capital punishment rests • A person’s life is so valuable and unique that it demands, for the perpetrator, an exact equivalent to the death of the victim.
  100. 100. There had to be proof of intent • if there was any doubt about the intent the congregation of the city of refuge judged the matter • the offender was punished by the loss of life or by having to stay in a city of refuge away from his inheritance until the death of the current high priest
  101. 101. State has to be subject • The State has to be subject to God’s higher laws • After sin entered into the world it became necessary to establish civil government in order to curb violence
  102. 102. Originally the state was not • part of God’s plan for mankind • The State places some people in position of authority over others
  103. 103. In the beginning man and woman • Lived in close fellowship with God under his direct and sole authority
  104. 104. The entrance of sin • eroded that authority and the willingness to live under God’s direct authority • The judgement of the flood established the need and the reasonableness of civil government
  105. 105. That state or civil government • was always intended to be under and subject to the law of God and his authority • Understanding that civil government as the result of our sinful condition justifies the doctrine of limitation of the powers of the State
  106. 106. Constitutional order is based • on checks and balances between the branches of government
  107. 107. Legislative, executive and judicial • These divisions bow to a the biblical revelation of God that is our supreme Judge, Lawgiver and King • Isaiah 33:22 • For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us.
  108. 108. Since all mankind are born • of a sinful nature the functions of the state should be legally checked because no human being can be trusted with too much power. • God has instilled in each of us a desire for freedom from political tyranny
  109. 109. Godly State laws provide • freedom to people only because those laws are fully indebted to the scriptures • Mark 2:27 • And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:
  110. 110. If you understand the order of this • then Kings are called to govern for the sake of the kingdom and not the opposite
  111. 111. When you place God’s higher laws • above human law the basic laws are not designed by the State but written with the finger of God in the human heart • Any constitution ought to be sustained primarily by God’s higher laws
  112. 112. No statute enacted by Parliament • is valid if it does not respect God and the law • God is the fountain and founder of all good laws and constitutions
  113. 113. This is the problem of humanism • as it attempts to make man the controller of his own volition and then empowers the state and thus the state is made absolute
  114. 114. The idea of evolution • undermines the rule of law • Theories of evolution challenge the concept that human law should always be subject to God’s higher laws • Evolution replaces the existence of God’s natural moral order as the primary source of law
  115. 115. In this way evolution regards • the “positive law” of the State as the major result of sheer force and social struggle • Positive law becomes a product of human will • Laws will then lose their dignity and any idea of government under law loses its philosophical foundations
  116. 116. The term “positive law” in the USA • is said to mean law that comes about through due legislation • the current trend is that type of law limits the power of a judge to mitigate or deviate from it at all. • It also removes the need to prove intent
  117. 117. As a result of this, • societies start to lack the moral condition of the legal culture that allows them to effectively restrain the all-powerful state from emerging
  118. 118. Man is born in sin, fallen by nature • Where man is made the controller of his own evolution by means of the state, the state is made into the new absolute authority • God’s law is dropped and the state becomes the new god • Evolution always leads not only to revolution but also to totalitarianism
  119. 119. Since Darwin a revolution in thinking • particularly higher education has brought about the establishment of the new god, the Socialist Scientific State. This develops a feeling that higher education gives the right to rule and that many “important” matters cannot be left to the democratic process that includes the many.
  120. 120. • We are already seeing this emerging in our country where a retiring High Court judge has suggested that the non-intelligentsia are not equipped to make some executive decisions based on a democratic outcome like a referendum.
  121. 121. Who Is Fit to Judge? • We are also seeing a push to rid the justice system of jury trials because the jury is made up of a cross-section of people, who are not fit to make proper judgement seeing that they are incapable of understanding the situation in the “correct” light and context.
  122. 122. Establish Intent • When there is no need to establish intent • there is no need for a panel of your peers to judge your heart and intention
  123. 123. Under this system we see the rise • of the scientific socialist state • one of the fundamentals of this is that body and soul are not linked together in cause and effect • the body is merely an extension that can be indulged without affecting the soul of man
  124. 124. The Scientific Socialist State • Emerging in the West right now • Behind every legal order there is always a god • Whether it is God himself or those who have control over the state
  125. 125. The state becomes a “god” in itself • if there is no ultimate appeal or subjection to higher laws and authority of God’s own laws and rule • Whenever the law of the State is regarded as the only source of legality then civil rulers become all-powerful authorities over the life and liberties of the individual
  126. 126. In these circumstances • there is no legal protection reasonably afforded against tyranny
  127. 127. If the supremacy of God’s higher laws • is not made to prevail then the end result is always tyranny • If you want to ensure the defeat of our happiness then adopt views and opinions against God’s plan whether from a legislated point of view or in judicial determinations
  128. 128. There is a Supreme Lawmaker • just look at the complexity of the universe and all things within it • I don’t wish to get into the absurdity of evolutionary thought but if you really think that there is no order and law behind our universe and that we randomly evolved then maybe you deserve to live in tyranny
  129. 129. I believe the Genesis record • and for the first long period before the flood there was a form of individual, family, tribal law system that ended in tyranny, corruption, violence and wholesale murder. I see no indication of this ever-changing in the history of mankind where God’s higher law has been overthrown in favour of man-made laws that are subject only to themselves
  130. 130. God’s law is always • above the state law • Our intellect should not be our basic reference in terms of legality because everyone is affected by a sinful nature • Our basic legal rights should be considered. These are the ones revealed by God himself through the holy scriptures
  131. 131. Our nature has been damaged • by original sin and so law is not so much to be based on the wisdom of this world as on God’s wisdom and God’s own will
  132. 132. As the Bible says • 1 Corinthians 1:25 • Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
  133. 133. The rule of law can only work • if civil authorities are able to respect the prevalence of God’s higher laws over the state law
  134. 134. the law of God is always perfect • because God’s wisdom is always perfect human authorities are sinful creatures who might have their minds controlled by desires of the flesh
  135. 135. They may be slaves of sin and rebels • against God of course, the people of a nation who elect sinful people and obey their wicked rulings are slaves of sin themselves
  136. 136. A basic question of the rule of law • is to know which sort of authority we want as the ultimate source of power ruling over us • The authority of a loving God or the authority of a sinful ruler
  137. 137. If we decide for the sinful ruler • then we have no right to complain against the reign of totalitarianism and the rise of tyranny because we’ve asked for it
  138. 138. Human laws that contradict • God’s higher law will always lead to this because God’s higher law maintains and regulates natural human rights to life, liberty and property • If we look at the physical universe it is obviously held under certain laws by its creator
  139. 139. This creator also created us • but also gave us our own intelligence • If we use this intelligence to supersede the intelligence of our creator then we are foolish • The world of intelligence is not nearly as well governed as the physical one
  140. 140. • If we deliberately overturn the intelligent laws that were given for our protection and prosperity we ought to be considered extremely unwise
  141. 141. The moral law infuses human nature • our conscience gives us the basics of moral law. • As far as our behaviour to each other is concerned
  142. 142. with a clear conscience • We instinctively know what is wrong • We don’t kill each other as in murder • We don’t steal from one another • We don’t bear false testimony • We don’t covet what is not ours • We don’t commit adultery
  143. 143. Since the New Testament • God’s kingdom is not seen on this world as a state or nation • As such laws regulate what is wrong rather than stipulate what is right
  144. 144. Laws limit behaviour • and you can’t define, and so limit, what is right you can only limit or define what is wrong and particularly what is wrong against your fellow man
  145. 145. The biblical understanding of • lawful resistance against tyranny • When God delegates His supreme authority to human rulers, they have no liberty to use it in order to justify tyranny. • In fact, there are quite remarkable examples in the Holy Scriptures where God explicitly commands civil disobedience against the state.
  146. 146. For example, • Egyptian midwives refused to obey the Pharaoh’s order to kill Hebrew babies. • Exodus 1:17 • But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive.
  147. 147. 3 famous Hebrews did not obey • Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar, when he commanded everyone to bow down and worship his golden image • Daniel also refused to obey a decree enacted by King Darius, which forced everyone not to pray to any god or men except to himself.
  148. 148. In the New Testament, • we have the example of the first Apostles’ attitude towards the Sanhedrin, a Jewish council of priests and teachers of the law.
  149. 149. The council ordered them • not to preach in the name of Christ Jesus. • However, the Book of Acts says that the Apostles refused to obey their ruling, and, as the Apostle Peter boldly declared • Acts 5:29 • Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
  150. 150. The zeal of the apostles for the Lord • was so great that they refused to be silenced by unfair rulers, even if such a refusal resulted in arrest and/or execution. • They considered themselves bound by God’s Law in the first place, and kept on preaching the Gospel as if it were no legal prohibition.
  151. 151. To be obeyed, therefore, • civil authorities have firstly to obey God and the law. • Whenever laws are enacted which contradict God’s law, civil disobedience becomes a Christian duty.
  152. 152. Although the first apostles regarded • it as totally lawful to disobey ungodly legislation, today’s followers of Christ like to quote from chapter 13 of Paul’s letter to the Romans in order to justify their compliance with immoral rules
  153. 153. Some like to use Romans 13 • as the case for always obeying the state regardless of the States subjection to the law of God • And to condemn any form of resistance against the government, as a resistance against God Himself
  154. 154. Romans 13:1–14 • Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
  155. 155. • 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: 4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.
  156. 156. • 5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. 6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.
  157. 157. • 7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. 8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
  158. 158. • 9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
  159. 159. • 10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. 11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
  160. 160. • 13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
  161. 161. The conditions are in verse 3 & 4 • 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: 4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.
  162. 162. Paul, however, argues here • that we obey the civil authority because they are not a deterrent to good works • Rulers who are not “a terror to good works”
  163. 163. Are civil authorities • ministers for good works? • Then they are ministers of God • When you do evil—fear • We have inherited a justice system that has declared itself under God’s law
  164. 164. If the person who holds • state power abuses his or her God-given power, ‘our duty is not to submit, but to resist.’ • the state is to be an agent of justice, to restrain evil by punishing the wrongdoer, and to protect the good in society.
  165. 165. When it does the reverse, • it has not proper authority. • It is then a usurped authority and as such it becomes lawless and is tyranny.
  166. 166. God has established the state • as delegated authority, not an autonomous power above the law. • When we obey the state it is not that we obey individuals who are in charge of the state machinery, but it is rather for obedience to a God-given authority who is commanded by God to promote natural principles of liberty and justice.
  167. 167. Paul also says that • Even though he was held as an evil doer • the Word of God is not to be bound • 2 Timothy 2:9 • Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.
  168. 168. Right of resistance • The right of resistance against tyranny is an important element of the rule-of-law system ordained by Him. • As a democracy we are responsible for electing those governors under God’s law • The rule of law, Christianity and human rights
  169. 169. Where do we get our rights from? • According to the biblical worldview, human beings were created by God and, as such, have never ‘acquired’ their basic rights from the state. • Nor are such basic rights a result of any work performed by them, but it flows directly from the nature of each human being who is always conceived in the image of a loving God
  170. 170. Our basic rights come from God • Genesis 1:26–28 • And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
  171. 171. • 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
  172. 172. God created all mankind, • male and female, in His own image, commanding them to fill the earth and subdue it. • We find here a very complex meaning for the recognition of personal dignity, as the result of the relationship between God and His people, which the Fall has distorted but not destroyed.
  173. 173. From this fact it follows, • for instance, that widows will not be burned on their husband’s funeral pyre • that people will not be sold to slavery • widows & orphans not left in abject poverty
  174. 174. The majority-Protestant nations • Are the most rights-based and democratic ones.
  175. 175. On the other hand, the various “isms” • seem to offer the most serious obstacles for the realization of democracy and personal rights. • In contrast to Islam, Christianity has democratized political manners, and still is the main moral force that holds democratic values together in the West.
  176. 176. It can be said that no other • religion, philosophy, teaching, nation, movement—whatever—has so changed the world for the better as Christianity has done • In declaring that we all stand on equal ground before God, Christianity gives the best moral foundations for social and political equality.
  177. 177. If Christianity is found to be true, • the individual, male or female, is not only more important but incomparably more important than the social body or the state. • The sum is not greater than each individual part
  178. 178. Conclusion • A visible fact, in these days of moral relativism, is the gradual abandonment of the Christian faith and culture in the Western world. • As a result, the moral foundations for the rule of law have been seriously undermined.
  179. 179. Westerners, who believe that • abandonment of Christianity will serve for democracy and the rule of law, are blindly ignoring that such abandonment has already brought totalitarianism and mass-murder to several Western countries.
  180. 180. Any honest analysis of • Contemporary Western history would have to recognize that no effective legal protection against tyranny can, in the long run, be sustained without the higher standards of justice and morality brought into the texture of Western societies by Christianity.
  181. 181. Westerners who disparage • Their Christian heritage should get much better informed . • Were it not for this religion, we would not have the freedoms we enjoy today, for instance, to dishonour the very source of these freedoms, namely Christianity.
  182. 182. Regarding the present climate • of multiculturalism, it would be better for us to think much more carefully about these matters • Wherever Christian ideals have been generally accepted and their practice sincerely attempted, there is a dynamic liberty; and wherever Christianity has been ignored or rejected, persecuted or chained by the state, there is tyranny.
  183. 183. Conclusion • Let us pray for the machinery of state • let us pray for all ministers of Parliament • let us pray for all the officers of the court • let us use our democratic privileges to make certain that the state stays subject to the rule of law under God