Why God Is Above The Law

mnn“No one is above the law.” So the popular saying goes, and no truer thing was ever said in a mere six words. This thought, and our Western system of justice which sprang from it, stands as a testament, and a tribute, to the philosophy that gives mankind its best chance for ordered liberty.

That philosophy, of course, was largely shaped by a Christian worldview, one in which our rights, and our equality under law, were grounded in a transcendent being who made us for a purpose. Our Founders certainly understood this when they recognized that all men are created equal, and that this equality finds its roots in the “Creator,” who endows each person with rights that are inalienable. As the familiar phrase recites, among these rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Many secularists today, however, mistakenly believe that this concept also applies to God. They fail – or refuse – to see the distinction between the Creator and the created, as they put God “on trial” for everything from genocide, “ethnic cleansing” and murder in Old Testament times to every instance of suffering in the modern world that God “could,” but fails, to prevent.

A moment’s reflection should make plain that God need not answer to us – He, indeed, is the one thing “above the law” for He is the law. He is no more subject to it, or answerable to us, than the computer programmer is to the rules he writes into a computer simulation. While God’s apparent indifference to the human condition may cause us to speculate about his nature, or his will, none of our opinions or our accusations will ever “make out a case against him.” This is simply nonsensical when one realizes what the concept of God entails.

Most people understand this intuitively. Take the prevailing view of abortion in many circles today: a majority of Americans apparently still support the notion that a mother can choose to end the life of the baby growing within her. Christianity holds, to the contrary, that it is always wrong to deliberately and without justification take innocent human life. Since the developing child is “innocent” and since he or she is “human life,” that should end the discussion. The reason it doesn’t is that many people recognize that the baby’s life is different – the baby lacks self-awareness or developed intelligence and the baby is “dependent” upon his mother’s body for continued life. These factors, skillfully manipulated through the rhetoric of “choice,” lead many people – who refuse to think through what in fact is at play – into serious error.

Think of it this way: human beings, regardless of their age, level of intelligence, or degree of dependence on others are in a horizontal relationship with each other. We are all the same kind of creature. While we each possess distinct and different talents, and while opportunities for development differ, we are equal in the nature of our being. Though many wish to view the mother as “superior” to the child, in reality she is not. The mother of the child did not “create” the child she is bearing; the child was “begotten.” This may sound like mere semantics, but it is not. For it is the power to “create” from nothing – as God did in the Big Bang event – that gives the right to dictate to those that were created.

Men and women, when they “procreate,” are but a link in the chain of life that God set into motion thousands of years ago. They take part in the process; they are not the source of it. If science ever leads to the creation of intelligent robots, men will be the “creators” and will have the right to do with those robots what they will. Having created them from raw materials, whatever rights they are eventually given will be dependent entirely on the will, and wishes, of those who created them.

As the Bible teaches, in God we live and move and have our being. This is literally true: the sum total of what we are is grounded in God’s creative power. If he were to stop thinking of us for even a moment, we would cease to exist. Our relationship to Him is not one of equals, as we are entirely dependent upon him.

I’d say that gives him the power to define morality, and to not be subject to second guessing by us. Better that we stop pointing the finger of guilt at Him and start listening to what he expects of us.

Posted by Al Serrato



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  1. rick mathews says:

    Really good blog, thank you so much for your effort in writing this post.

  2. br.d says:

    Very excellent article.
    This, in fact, is one of the core issues of contention between the reformed and non-reformed conception of the person of God. The doctrine of “Divine Right of Kings” asserted the King/monarch not subject to any earthly jurisprudence as an ordained representative of God. This king was said to be above-the-law, (by extension) because the person of God is above the law. This doctrine was championed by reformed Christians because the conception is core to their theology. This is why we see in Calvinist Jonathon Edward’s, descriptions of God flicking men, women, and children into a lake of fire, as one disposes of a hideous spider.

    But does the language of scripture, (in toto), depict God as being above the moral standards he declares? Are God’s moral standards applicable only to the creature, and not the creator. In Scripture God says, “They built high places of Baal, throwing their children in the fire…something I did not command, did not enter my mind they should do such a thing”.

    Jesus says “Be ye holy as your heavenly Father is holy”, and consistently uses parables (human stories) full of moral implicatures, connecting moral standards applicable to mankind as examples of God’s character.

    In Corinthians 13, Paul details the outward manifestation of Agape, detailing them as manifestations of the nature and character of God. That is why David Hunt, writing about Calvinism titles his book “What love is this?”

    Perhaps the best resolve for this conflict is to ask if God holds himself accountable to his own declared moral standards? The reformed tradition says no. The non-reformed tradition says yes. Perhaps this one question is the key to resolving a core issue of contention between these two traditions?

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