Sunday, November 24, 2013

God and His Order: Part 2

The question begging to be answered is, simply, what legitimate role should civil government take?

As Christians, we may well look at the Bible as a foundation in every area of life, if not expressly, then in principle.  Speaking on civil government, Paul wrote,

"Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law." ~Romans 13:8-10

Romans 13 has been used by tyrants to legitimize their reigns of terror, but the specific things listed under the fulfillment of the law are all things that one person does to another.  If Romans 13 is to be used in an understanding of civil law, it may only be understood in a libertarian, free-market frame of mind.  There is no directive in the entire chapter for government to enforce anything other than evils perpetrated by one person against another.  If civil government were to legitimately enforce religious obligations, surely Paul would have placed, "Thou shalt not have any other gods before me," in the list, but he didn't. 

Government enforcement of morality is not the issue. Henry Hazlitt described the places of civil law and morality as two spheres - the smaller sphere of law within the larger sphere of morality.  Law can't fully encompass all of morality, only those things where people harm others; not only is it impractical to envelop all of moral law into civil law, it is unscriptural.  Government is not our god, God is our God.  To say civil government may "legislate morality" is to set the institution up as a god on earth.  There is no person or institution between us and the Father but His Son, Jesus Christ. 

Legislating morality is not a Christian position.  Proponents thereof are products of the statist model which require every problem to be solved by the state.  The proper place of government is to legislate against those evils committed by one person against another, so as to provide an equitable environment of justice. 

Legislate equity, not morality.

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