"We have staked the whole of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God." James Madison

Thursday, July 03, 2008

The Powerful Source of our Law

After debating about the recent rulings from the SCOTUS, some things have become clearer regarding the source of authority. Our constitution was written in secret and vigorously debated over several months, and even some of the participants refused to sign the final draft. They contended that in its form, there was either too much specificity or too much ambiguity. But the final effort provided a document that was able to be amended if needed, and provided a solid framework for our laws today. It is clear that our Constitution was based on the fundamentals of Divine law as shown here:

A. [O]ur citizens should early understand that the genuine source of correct republican principles is the Bible, particularly the New Testament, or the Christian religion.
Noah Webster, History of the United States (New Haven: Durrie & Peck, 1832), p. 6.

B. All [laws], however, may be arranged in two different classes. 1) Divine. 2) Human. . . . But it should always be remembered that this law, natural or revealed, made for men or for nations, flows from the same Divine source: it is the law of God. . . . Human law must rest its authority ultimately upon the authority of that law which is Divine. James Wilson, Signer of the Constitution; U. S. Supreme Court Justice
James Wilson, The Works of the Honorable James Wilson, Bird Wilson, editor (Philadelphia: Lorenzo Press, 1804), Vol. I, pp. 103-105, "Of the General Principles of Law and Obligation."

C. [T]he law . . . dictated by God Himself is, of course, superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over all the globe, in all countries, and at all times. No human laws are of any validity if contrary to this. Alexander Hamilton, Signer of the Constitution
Alexander Hamilton, The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, Harold C. Syrett, editor (New York: Columbia University Press, 1961), Vol. I, p. 87, February 23, 1775, quoting William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England (Philadelphia: Robert Bell, 1771), Vol. I, p. 41.

D. [T]he . . . law established by the Creator . . . extends over the whole globe, is everywhere and at all times binding upon mankind. . . . [This] is the law of God by which he makes his way known to man and is paramount to all human control. Rufus King, Signer of the Constitution
Rufus King, The Life and Correspondence of Rufus King, Charles R. King, editor (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1900), Vol. VI, p. 276, to C. Gore on February 17, 1820.

Now, even though my position is that our Constitution was based either directly or indirectly upon biblical principles of right and wrong; specifically, the divine law of God as illustrated and sourced above, my esteemed and learned opponent’s position was: ‘Though the framers were influenced by biblical teachings, they more directly relied on the laws and philosophies from England.’ This is an interesting and seemingly feasible argument, so, after further research, my findings are such:

The root of English Law was also the bible.

Samuel Rutherford states in the question of ‘Whether government Be Warranted by a Divine Law’:

“The power of government in general must be from God, I make good:
1st because (Romans 13:1) “There is no power but of God; the powers that are ordained of God.”
2nd, God commands obedience, and so subjection of conscience to powers; Romans 15:5, wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, (or civil punishment) but also for conscience sake;” 1 Peter 2:13, “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man, for the Lord’s sake, whether it be to the king as supreme,” etc. now God only by a divine law can lay a band of subjection on the conscience, tying men to guilt and punishment if they transgress.”

Conclusion: “All civil power is immediately from God in its root; in that,
1st, God has made man a social creature, and one who inclines to be governed by man, then certainly he must have put this power in man’s nature; so are we, by good reason, taught by Aristotle.
2nd, God and nature intends the policy of peace of mankind, then must God and nature have given to mankind a power to compass this end; and this must be a power of government…”

In the THEOKRATIA, OR THE Divine Government of Nations CONSIDERED and IMPROVED, by Robert Fleming, V.D.M., Mr. Fleming writes: “…There is hardly any principle of argumentation, from whence purity of life, and reformation of manners may not be urged and enforced. For whether we consider natural or revealed religion; whether we think of God, ourselves, or others; whether we reflect on man apart, or in relation to society, as to their peace here, or happiness hereafter; still we may by an easy inference find our thoughts terminate on reformation and piety, as a thing excellent in itself, and beneficial to men; the very naming of which is enough to ravish the souls of good men, and to serve convictions on the consciences of the wicked…”

Whether the founders followed the Christian faith or not, they understood that Biblical values formed the basis for not only of the republic, but for English Law as well, and that the republic would be destroyed if the people's knowledge of those values should ever be lost.

This brings me to the head of the spear, so to speak. Understanding that our constitution is man’s interpretation of God’s divine law, one must assume that at times the constitution will fall short of providing adequate solutions to humanistic transgressions. When this occurs, such as the recent ruling against capital punishment extending beyond murder, and the California Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn the vote of the people regarding gay marriage, the solution is not to interject one’s opinion or to seek a populous consensus as was done in both cases, but to go to the source of our constitution; divine law.

Because secularism has pervaded our society and our nation has become mostly agnostic, our appointed judges are ruling based on a popular opinion rather than using fundamental principles of interpretation. It is very clear that in both cases, the decisions would have been exactly opposite had they adhered to the basic truths and applied biblical principles to each case. Thankfully, we are still ‘One Nation, Under God’; but that is slowly slipping away.