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The Foundation of Beautiful Society: Genesis 9 and Natural Rights

???????????????????????????????While foolishly engaging a Twitter troll the other day, as this egomaniacal barbarian cursed the idea of God and Scripture, declaring Christianity and all other religion the source of all evil, (200 million dead at the hands of atheists not withstanding) I asked the man if he understood that everything that he liked best about the modern world had its roots in Scripture, Judaism and Christianity. Unfortunately, I can’t repeat his reply here in such delicate company.

Assuming that what this thug likes best about the modern world is the concept of freedom of conscience, the doctrine of equality, the right to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness, i.e. property rights, as opposed to, say, video games, drunken orgies and the quiet joy of inflicting harm on other people, then what I said holds.

In a recent set of posts, I’ve been discussing the biblical theology of Genesis Creation and considering the development of the story as it addresses the fundamental questions of reality… things like, “Who made the world?” “How did he make the world to function?” “What’s wrong with the world?” “How can I function best within the world that is?”

We watch as unchecked evil so fills the human heart and human society that a blanket of darkness eliminates even the possibility of creation reaching its potential with such societies in existence. Only one righteous man remains, and YHWH choses to obliterate human society, while preserving a seed of all the earlier creation in a re-creation of the world out of the waters of a great flood.

YHWH promises never to destroy the world with water again, but must still confront the reality that the seed of corruption remains in the heart of man, (Genesis 8:21) bringing with it the danger of a return to the condition that led to the need for the flood in the first place. YHWH addresses this concern with the first law, the law of blood, propagated on the notion of man as an image bearer of God in the world… a position that demands fundamental levels of respect in the interactions between people.

“Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image,” (Genesis 9:6) becomes the first law planted among men that demanded that men carry it out. The foundation of this law, respect for “image of God” status, shared by both men and women without class, race or age distinction (Genesis 1:27) establishes the seed like nature of this law. It is a law so basic in its principles that many laws may spring from it, extrapolating its message in a myriad of ways… so basic that all just law springs from it.

The greatest things that have emerged out of modern society have emerged out of this law, for it is the root of natural law, which is the foundation of our Declaration of Independence and our constitution as a nation.

I quote:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness – That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” (sic)

A slide away from convictions about God lead to a slide in our status as image bearers, leading to a slide away from natural rights. This is an ideological devastation. For when “image bearer” goes, natural rights go, and all the grandest achievements built upon it thus far, and all those still hoped for, perish.

Government is no longer a government of the people, for the people, by the people, but becomes a Government of the few over the many, (as was the case through most of human history) making the arbitrary designs of some the foundation for a nation’s laws, guaranteeing nothing to any given person.

The individual becomes nothing, the corporation of society becomes everything. The will of “the elite” becomes everything as they tinker to create a society that pleases them. A person does not exist as an individual, but only as part of a whole, whose corporate needs eliminate any perception of individual rights.

A person’s body is not sacredly his own, for good or ill; one’s property is not secure, one may not keep what he or she creates or earns to expend as he wills, for good or ill; one’s liberty can be taken at will, not only for violating another’s natural rights, but for failing to comply with the will of “the elite,” who govern by whim. Parent’s children do not belong to them, but are regarded as cogs in the mechanism of society.

Slavery declares that a person CAN own another human being.

Abortion declares that one’s size and age DOES determine one’s viability as human, that one human has the right to take away another person’s life without consequence.

Entitlement programs declare that one’s labor, produce, property and time are not his own, but can be taken to promote the political and social designs of some against the many.

Both “Jim Crow” laws and “Affirmative action laws” decree that some people deserve special rights based on race or gender.

An equal application of laws designed to protect natural rights, however, hold individuals responsible to operate with respect for the sacred humanity of everyone and to both take and demand personal responsibility for one’s choices.

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