“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 humanity its best chance for self-government and ordered liberty.
The philosophy that found its expression in this view was itself largely shaped by a Christian worldview, one in which our individual 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 declared their right to independence from Great Britain and affirmed that “all men are created equal.” In their view, this equality finds its roots in the “Creator,” who endows each person with “certain unalienable rights.” As the familiar phrase sets forth, among these rights are “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Many secularists today have misapplied this thought, mistakenly asserting 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 has the right to end the life of the baby growing within her. Christianity holds, to the contrary, that it is always wrong to 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 does not 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 tens of 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 fully functional AI robots, human beings 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 for our continued existence.
I’d say that gives God the power to define morality. It places him above, and as the source of, our earthly law. As created beings, we should spend less time judging God and more time listening to what he expects of us.
Recommended resources related to the topic:
Correct, NOT Politically Correct: How Same-Sex Marriage Hurts Everyone (Updated; downloadable pdf, PowerPoint) by Frank Turek
Intellectual Predators: How Professors Prey on Christian Students by Frank Turek (mp4 Download) (mp3) (DVD)
Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions by Greg Koukl (Book)
Letters to a Young Progressive by Mike Adams (Book)
Another Gospel? by Alisa Childers (book)
Al Serrato earned his law degree from the University of California at Berkeley in 1985. He began his career as an FBI special agent before becoming a prosecutor in California, where he worked for 33 years. An introduction to CS Lewis’ works sparked his interest in Apologetics, which he has pursued for the past three decades. He got his start writing Apologetics with J. Warner Wallace and Pleaseconvinceme.com.