The Source and Authority of Law
On January 22nd, 2012, our nation will be reminded of one of the most egregious rulings in the modern era. Thirty nine years ago, The Supreme Court decriminalized abortion on demand through the infamous ruling known as Roe vs. Wade. Not since the Dred Scott Decision addressing slavery has our nation suffered a more polarizing governmental decree.
Through the years this so-called “law” has raised many difficult issues America has debated and discussed. Today, I would like to focus in on one aspect of the deliberations, the nature of law. Who or what is the ultimate source and authority of law? Is law a fixed, eternal standard that is binding upon all men, at all times, and in every nation? Or, is law evolutionary in nature, which turns the Constitution into a “living document” that becomes wax in the judiciary to fit society’s ever changing mores? Is the source and authority of law based upon the Triune God of the Bible or autonomous men?
The premise this article seeks to establish is Almighty God, the God of the Holy Bible, and His righteous, holy character is the basis and authority for all just laws. James 4:12 states, “There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who are you that judge another?
James emphatically declares that the God of Holy Scripture is the one and only Lawgiver. He is the only one morally qualified to institute law. Men, as fallen creatures, are not morally qualified to make law. All men can do is either uphold or violate God’s fixed, moral absolutes. If we choose to break God’s moral commandments, however, the unavoidable consequence is they eventually break us. America is finding this out the hard way as we hurl ourselves against God’s moral commandments, which provide the framework for life and the infrastructure of reality.
If men are tempted to reject these Biblical truths, they can only fall back on two failed and disastrous options. The civil government or the individual is the source and authority of law. Tragically, Roe vs. Wade reveals that too many Americans today consider the State as sovereign? This is why many thoughtlessly look to Washington D.C. as the source of all law, power, and authority in the universe. I hate to burst this idolatrous bubble, but the Sovereign Lord of the universe was not born in Washington, D.C., He was born in Bethlehem.
Historically, when man believes civil government is the ultimate authority, the ultimate power, and source of law inevitably nations degenerate into “isms”―Communism, Fascism, or Nazism, just to name a few. These tyrannies have paved the way for terrible atrocities. If earthly government is the highest authority with no accountability to its Creator, it can easily be tempted to exploit and harm the very ones it claims to serve. This, in a nutshell, reveals much of mankind’s bloody history.
The second option, which we see increasingly manifesting in America today, is the sovereignty of the individual. If God is not sovereign and the civil government is not sovereign, then men resort back to the lie in the garden. The individual is left to construct his own “truth.” Men define for themselves what is good and evil apart from God’s objective truth. Thus, they become a law and god unto themselves. The consequences to this fallen condition are anarchy, chaos, and confusion.
Truly, only One Nation under God can balance the delicate tension between authority and liberty. Only One Nation under God can secure a just, social order on one hand and maximum individual freedom on the other.
Roe vs. Wade is an example of men seeking to establish law apart from God’s moral commandments. It is a “legal” decree that violates God’s law, which states, “Thou shalt not kill (murder).” Roe vs. Wade decriminalized the murder of innocent babies made in the image of God. The Supreme Court, a court that did not fear God or man, vainly sought to remove the basis of law from God’s fixed moral commandments and opted for an evolutionary view of law instead. It is this mentality that seeks to change the Constitution of America into a living, evolving document that breaks the chains, which once restrained the Federal beast from devouring our liberties. To them, law like men, are evolving. Law is not God’s eternal rules for living set in stone; it has a more fluid quality that follows the path of political expediency. It is this path of least resistance that makes both men and rivers crooked. Roe vs. Wade is humanistic man seeking to make straight what God has called crooked.
Roe vs. Wade finds its basis of law in the pagan Roman Empire. Back then, it was the father who had the authority under paterfamilias to determine whether or not children lived or died. If the child did not find favor with his dad, he was sentenced to the infanticide wall and left to the elements and beasts. It was Christians back then who rescued these precious infants and raised them in the faith. If any of you reading this article are seeking to save babies at abortion mills today, you are walking in this same grand rescue tradition established by the early Church.
Today, under Roe vs. Wade, it is the mother who holds the power of life and death when it comes to her children. If she wants the baby, thumbs up, if she doesn’t want the baby, thumbs down. America, with a straight face, pretends this is law. When laws are based upon the mere whims of men or women, nations become lawless. This places law keepers in a precarious situation. Why is this the case? Simply put, in the days of lawlessness, those who keep the law, become the outlaw!
Sir William Blackstone who wrote the Commentaries on the Laws of England stated, “Upon these two foundations, the law of nature (the eternal laws of good and evil) and the law of revelation (found only in the Scriptures), depend all human laws. That is to say, no human laws should be allowed to contradict these.”
Clearly, Roe vs. Wade violates these two foundations for law on both counts. Under the color of law, it has destroyed one third of an entire generation. I’ll conclude this article with a short prayer that comes from Psalm 119, which is a tribute to God’s law. The Psalmist prayed “It is time for you, LORD, to work: for they have made void your law (Psalm 119:126).” May He do so speedily. May He arise and end the American holocaust that has spawned the culture of death defiling our beloved land in Jesus’ mighty and holy name!