The ancients believed in doing what was right, but we believe in doing what we think is right. The ancients were told to live by the truth, and we are told to live by our own truth. Modern institutions advise us to disregard the wisdom of the past and live in the future, where we are wholly consumed with our personal image and public perception.
Our Federal Government (and other governments) is among the most enthusiastic about this way of living. No one disregards rules like government, and no one is so happy to tell us to disregard rules like government (so long as they are the “right” rules to disregard).
The regrettable truth is that the church is silent on the matter. The world does as it pleases, and considering the church’s silence, that pleases the church. They no longer preach repentance, and they no longer preach the abolition of sin. Instead, they prefer to conceal themselves under the rock of Galatians, Ephesians, the fruits of the spirit, and the armour of God.
We don’t feel convicted leaving church anymore. We leave feeling tired because we haven’t been refreshed with the truth as we desire. Sermons have been diluted to the point where the drink is disgusting. Pastors and church leadership refuse to refresh us with the scriptural drink we need because someone who had no intention of drinking the drink at all told the church the beverage was simply too strong.
As a consequence of these things, every man does what’s right in his own eyes. But how do they decide what that is?
A man might say it’s reasonable to limit free speech because people have a tendency to say hurtful things, but his explanation fails to explain.
If a man says it’s reasonable to limit free speech because people say hurtful things, it begs the question, “Why shouldn’t we be allowed to say hurtful things?” The man might reply, “Because it makes them sad.” To which we could reply, “Why shouldn’t they be sad?”
Unless stopped, this process repeats ad infinitum.
The ancients solved the problem by appealing to self-evident law and truths encoded in the Scripture and engraved on stone. Our modern governments, however, cannot appeal to these self-evident laws because they are committed to throwing them away. The law tells us, “thou shall not murder,” but our politicians legislate abortion. The law tells us, “Thou shall not steal,” but government steals a man’s business by locking it down indefinitely.
Instead, in the present day, appealing to feelings, emotions, or instinct is in vogue. A man who wants to be recognized as feline demands I address him by specific verbiage affirming his “felineinity” because it “feels right to him.” Or, a man might tell me that I have to lockdown my business because we all have a common goal—a common instinct—of safety and preserving society.
This is intolerable as well. At any given time, all of us might have a dozen different emotions and instincts, all wrestling for instantaneous supremacy. My instinct to perhaps too-passionately cheer for my team at a hockey game may (or may not be) suppressed in favour of my instinct to promote a presentable and Christian attitude in public. My instinct to work might be challenged in favour of seeing my family more often. Finally, happiness is often warranted and even righteous; at other times, it’s insanity.
Indeed, the only reason we’re able to use terms like “righteous” or “insanity” is that we have a law and principles that tell us when an emotion or instinct exists in right relation to the world around us.
It’s precisely this law that keeps us from devolving into the animal kingdom. The new alpha of a pride has an instinct to protect his lineage, so he kills all cubs not his own. Bears have an instinct to eat, so they will eat anything, even their own. The hippo has an instinct to mate, so the beachmaster conquers a harem. These animals have instincts, but they do not have a law.
Like the animals, we have instincts. Unlike the animals, we have a law. We indulge those instincts and emotions so long as they abide by law, which really means we abide by law.
Where does this law come from? Our government acts as though it comes from themselves.
Government is composed of the same men and women subject to the same instincts and emotions that you and I are. They have a desire to own, otherwise they wouldn’t capture so much of our money. They have an instinct to control, otherwise they wouldn’t demand so much power. They have an emotion of pride, otherwise they wouldn’t act with such arrogance.
If our government is the generator of law, then their instincts and emotions decide what laws are created. We cannot say government generates laws purely because the laws are reasonable—we’ve already shown that to be subterfuge—and we also agree that politicians are intent on throwing the self-evident principles away in favour of ideals like climate change, absolute safety, and total equality. If they admit there really are some self-evident truths and laws that exist independent of emotion and science, they completely disregard their progressive agenda.
Again, if government truly is supreme and generates laws, they do so because they feel like it or because their instinct moved them to do so. But which of their instincts should take precedence over the other? Why should the instinct for freedom be suppressed by the instinct for safety? Within man, no rational answer can be given.
In such a system, it’s not as though politicians are supreme over their sentiments, instincts, and emotions. Instead, their sentiments, emotions, and instincts are supreme over them. And because those same men and women rule you and me, their instincts and emotions are supreme over us. Our attempts to restrain our unbridled nature and emotion means our unbridled nature and emotion is unleashed.
I argue for the supremacy of God because I am a Christian, true. I believe the words of Paul in Colossians 1:15-18 when he says that “He [Christ] is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.”
But I also argue for the supremacy of God because if we grant that God is supreme, it means man isn’t supreme. We recognize God’s supremacy so we humans aren’t recognized as supreme and lose our humanity, for our humanity does not come from our sovereignty, but our submission. The hippo is free to do what he wants, so he is a hippo. The human is told he cannot eat a piece of fruit from a tree in the middle of a garden, so he is a human. But he eats the fruit, and so he loses his humanity.
Each species of animal is categorized by unique essences and traits that act like a fence, distinguishing them into their specific categories. An elephant has a trunk and big ears, whereas a hippo is fat and has a 4ft mouth.
For the human, a significant portion of that fence is the law. He is fenced in by the law, and so he is classed among the humans. If we lose that law, we are let loose, like animals out of a gate, and are freed, not to be human, but from our humanity. If we are free to make our own laws as we please, we are free to make ourselves as we please, which really means our instinct, emotions, and sentiments are free to make us what they please. The frightening thing about this is that our instincts frequently desire to make us terrible monsters.
In God, however, we avoid this dreadful fate because He is the law. In Matthew 5:17, Jesus says I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. And Hebrews 10:7 says, “Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—I have come to do your will, my God.’”
The only way to enjoy the rule of law—actual law independent of subjective emotions and thoughts—is to recognize the supremacy of God. His attributes, qualities, person, and essence are described in the law and revealed to us in self-evident truths. He does not hand us these laws because He has an instinct telling Himself to do so. He hands us the law because He is the law.
Some things are self-evident. Some things are true because they are. Some things—Thou shall not murder, Thou shall not steal—are true because He is. The Lord’s appearance at Sinai, where the law was first given, happened whether our instincts agree or not. The law is the law whether our emotions are happy about it or not.
If we refuse to accept this foundation of law is outside ourselves, we will not end up with natural law. Neither will we end up with lawlessness. We will end up with something much worse. We will end up with what Chesterton described. We will end up with busybody government officials trying to micromanage our instincts using instincts of their own. We will end up where we are today.
We will end up where every man is free to do as he chooses, so long as he chooses to sin.
*Note--This is a simplified transcript of a livestream I gave, here!
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