Yesterday, I started listening to R.J. Rushdoony’s lectures at Pocket College. The first lecture is entitled Introduction to the Law, that is, an introduction to biblical law. Rushdoony notes, “…we shall deal with the law, first of all, as revelation and treaty.” We must understand an extremely important fact about law in general…in every culture and in every civilization, law is religious in origin. “Law reflects what men believe to be is basically right and wrong in a society. It reflects the ideas of culture, of justice, of ultimacy.”
Law is inescapably religious. Neutrality is unattainable as one’s ideas of justice and morality are religious ideas. Law, in every culture represents a religion, whether Buddhism, Islam, Animism, Hinduism, and increasingly today, Humanism. In every society and in every culture, law is, without exception, religious. We must also understand that the source of law in any society is its god. How do we determine the god of a nation? Look to its laws. Is it in the monarch, the people, the state? As Rushdoony states, “In any and every law system, the source of law is the god of that society.”
This is an extremely important concept as we engage with unbelievers. Many decry the influence of religion over law and culture but fail to see that they are guilty of the very thing they protest. In actuality, they are protesting biblical law and influence, preferring their own religion, which in today’s culture, is increasingly Humanism. If religion were stripped from society, it would only be because the people have ceased to exist. Neutrality is a myth. Law is not and cannot ever be neutral. It will reflect the values of its people and give rise to its prejudices and presuppositions. That the ideas of justice vary so greatly among the people reveal to us that neutrality cannot even be considered.
Rushdoony goes on to discuss changes in law. He states that any change of law that affects the basic law structure of society is a change of religion. Humanism has steadily sought to replace biblical law with its own version. Biblical law, along with Christianity, is being disestablished. There is no toleration in any law system for another religion. Variances in a certain religion can and will be tolerated, but a religious society cannot tolerate another religious system except for tolerating total revolution and an overthrow of the present law system. Today’s humanistic society is a curiosity as it does appear to tolerate Islam but it does it in such a way as to further disestablish Christianity and the remnants of biblical law. As humanism finds itself unsustainable, it will be a wonder if Islam delivers to it its final death blow.
Christianity, Law, and Influence
The disestablishment of Christianity has been a steady process over the last two hundred years. The church has been inundated with modernism, with aberrant theology and eschatology, apostasy, and just plain indifference. The encroachment of humanism has happened on our watch, oftentimes with our approval. Those in rebellion to God have not gained ground because of its superior law system but because of our neglect.
We have failed to daily slay sin, to seek to glorify God in all things, to apply our faith to all of life. We have been derelict in our duty to God, to our families, to our churches, to our communities. Judgment begins in the house of God (1 Peter 4:17). We have failed to cry to our Sovereign LORD day and night, to delight in Him and His law-word. As God’s mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23) and as He is faithful and just to forgive our sins (1 John 1:9), let us come before Him in repentance, crying out, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” (Luke 18:13). Therefore, let us with renewed hearts and minds, run to assault the gates of Hell, live for the long tomorrow, and most of all, glorify God and enjoy Him forever.