Re: Shapes of a Wedge

From: Peter Ruest <>
Date: Mon Jun 07 2004 - 00:45:14 EDT

Hi Dennis,

I agree with most of what you wrote in your post of 04 Jun 2004 12:01:24
-0600. But I see a problem in the following:

>...To disregard the law's intent is what I take to be subtracting from
>the law. My concern about adding to the law is that legislators,
>making laws, are engaged in an exercise that is a form of original
>sin. When Adam determined to know good and evil for himself (i.e.,
>make up his own laws), he commited the mother of all sins. Case law
>is different in principle than legislative law because the former
>acknowledges the authority of an existing body of law from which to
>interpret for particular cases, while the latter leaves it up to
>humanity (legislators, kings, the people) to determine right and
>wrong for themselves. This is how I understand Deut. 4:2, not in the
>sense that the letter of the torah must be followed as such today.
>...Yes, those texts contain transcultural principles, though the letter
>of the law was given to cultic Israel. In our case, just as Jeremiah
>would not have promoted idolatry, AmXns should not promote government
>in which representatives of the people determine right and wrong for
>themselves, for this is what law-making is. That does not mean that
>we are called by God to overturn Washington through armed rebellion,
>but we can avoid participation in its law-making institutions. Yet
>this has largely not been done. Disentanglement from the evils of the
>world-system can be difficult and carry a price which most AmXns are
>not willing to pay at this time.

Those of us who are privileged to live in democratic societies also
participate in bearing some of the responsibility for its laws, whether
this is by means of voting for constitutions and electing parliaments or
other law-making bodies, or even by means of initiatives and referenda
regarding specific laws. By the way, I don't see a principal difference
between legislative law and case law, as human sin represents a problem
in both areas. And any existing body of law is a result of humanity
determining right and wrong, with only some of the legislators taking
God's laws into account. On the one hand, we must recognize that there
is no such thing as a "Christian state", as a majority of the citizens
are not following Christ. Thus, we cannot expect to be able to provide
for a law system fully in accordance with the intent of God's laws. But
on the other hand, trying to avoid participating in the law-making
process is not a live option for us, as it is not possible to
disentangle oneself from the evils of the world-system in this way.
Abstaining from politics in a democracy is also a political action,
which may have negative consequences. Experience shows that even
minorities can exert a political influence.

By grace we proceed, as Wayne would say.



Dr. Peter Ruest, CH-3148 Lanzenhaeusern, Switzerland
<> - Biochemistry - Creation and evolution
"..the work which God created to evolve it" (Genesis 2:3)
Received on Mon Jun 7 01:13:48 2004

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