The institution of law and the rule of law did not begin with the likes of philosophers like Hobbes or Locke’s in the 17th and 18th centuries. It also did not begin with Greek philosophers like Plato or Aristotle towards the end of the BC era (429-322 BC). The institution of law and the rule of law also did not begin with the ancient Hammurabi Code (18th cent BC) or the mythical Code of Manu or the Magna Carta of the 13th century AD. But Law and the practice of the rule of Law is as ancient as human history stretching to over thousands upon thousands of years. This creation of man was preceded by the creation of the Universe which probably took millions of years as both scientific research and Biblical revelations show. In short, the TRUTH about the law and the rule of law precedes all the later BC and AD landmarks of legal establishments.
But before we proceed any further, allow me to first state the approach I take in considering TRUTH and LIES (falsehood). To begin with, the world is full of lies and falsehood. We are bombarded all our lives by these lies through our educational systems and especially the media in the form of newspapers, magazines films and written books etc. But this bombardment is not surprising because the fallen world is under the grips of Satan who is a murderer and the father of all lies. The Bible describes him thus: “He was a murderer from the beginning and abides not in the truth… he is a liar and the father of all lies.” (Jn.8:44). How then do we sift through all the lies that surround us and arrive at the truth? As far as I am concerned, it is by reading the words of God and Jesus who is ‘the way, the TRUTH and the life’ (Jn. 14:6).
Now, the truths of God’s laws and the rule of law were given to Moses in a written and codified manner from the Mount of Sinai- See Ex. 20:1 to 24:4. In Dt.9:10 it is mentioned that the very fingers of God wrote the commandments. However, even before this event, God had given some verbal laws to both Adam and Noah-See Gen 2:16, 17 and also Gen. 9:6. Jesus too, acknowledging and recognizing these Laws of God said: “Render unto Caesar, the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s”-Mk12:17. (Caesar here of course represented the State and the civil government of the Roman empire of those days. Then the Apostle Paul in that same vein also wrote the following words: “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established…consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted. (Rom. 13:1&2)
The Law and the rule of law is therefore divinely sanctioned and established by God since the dawn of human history. This divine law of God is also not external or outside the realm of our understanding but is written within our very hearts. This fact is stated in scripture in the following words: “Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach…No the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so that you may obey it” (Dt. 30; 11-14). In the history of humanity, Kings and empires have come and gone, but the institution of law and legal jurisprudence had withstood the changes of times. And this institution of the law is our only refuge in a fallen world of lawlessness and lies. These revelations from the scripture (Bible), also confirms that behind the law- stands the Lawgiver who is none other than JEHOVAH GOD.
In the flow of history, all that man (including Atheist!), have done is to build on these laws of God and develop the laws for governing man and his affairs in the world. In this process and developments, the Magana Carta, Hobbes and lockes, the British and American Constitutions etc. have all contributed towards defining the law into a fine articulated system.
If we however reverse the order of putting the recipient of the law (man), in the place of the lawgiver (God), then we will throw the whole system of jurisprudence into confusion and disarray. This is what is happening to our 21st century world. If this reversal is not is checked by Christian intellectuals, the situation will get even worse. We may even end up in a situation where a man made Dictatorship of the Judiciary will reign over all our lives. The final choice is therefore one of: Shall man bow to God’s given laws and live within God’s given freedom or bow down to his own man made laws and be enslaved by his own fellow man. In the final picture of law and the rule of law, God rules in the heavens from his throne and also in the kingdoms of man in the world. (See Dan 4:17,32, 37).
Kaka D Iralu