WHAT IS NATURAL LAW AND HOW DOES IT RELATE TO THE UNITED STATES
Undergirding American civil religion are the Judeo-Christian values and principles that helped make America the envy of the world. The oral Torah (G-d's instruction) contains a "universal" (Noahide) moral/legal code given to Adam & Eve repeated after the flood to Noah and reiterated within the universal portion of the instruction given to Moses. Stoic philosophy in the writings of Greek and Roman philosophers (3rd century B.C. - B.C.E to 5th century A.D - A.C.E) also reflect a universal moral approach emphasizing a need for laws that reflect these values. Cicero was a Roman statesman, orator, lawyer and philosopher, who served as consul, ( highest elected political office), in the year 63 BC. He introduced the Romans to the chief schools of Greek philosophy and created a Latin philosophical vocabulary. Cicero’s writings (106 BC – 43 BC) (see note #2) first include the notion that laws must conform with "natural law" to be valid. St. Paul (c. 10–67 ce), described a law “written in the hearts” of the Gentiles (Romans 2:14–15). The Apostolic Decree recorded in Acts 15 is commonly seen as a parallel to Noahide Code.
Moses Maimonides (1135–1204) and Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225–74) are respectively the most important Jewish and Christian theologians of the medieval period. Each sought to wed Aristotelian method and thought (Greek) to his own biblical path. Maimonides is the primary Jewish authority on the universal divine code found in the Babylonian Talmud (oral Torah). There is a powerful rationalistic disposition in Maimonides’ thought, and this included the way he understood religious texts. Maimonides did not write purely philosophical works. His works that are regarded as philosophical address issues motivated by religious ideas and concerns. Maimonides held that reason and revelation concern one body of truth; each is a mode of access to truth, and he thought there was significant philosophical wisdom in revelation. He acknowledged the content of the revealed Noahide Code is discoverable through reason by the “wise of the nations”. To Maimonides prophecy belongs on the same epistemological spectrum (theory of the nature and grounds of knowledge especially with reference to its limits and validity) as other types of rational knowledge, such as science and metaphysics (the branch of philosophy that deals with the first principles of things, including abstract concepts such as being, knowing, substance, cause, identity, time, and space). The prophet however has an ability to receive a more than ordinary extent of intellectual emanation. Aquinas was the foremost classical proponent of natural philosophy. He argued that reason is found in God.
Rabbi Jacob Emden (1697 - 1776), a scholar interested in secular works, proposed that Jesus and Paul intended to convert the gentiles to the Noahide laws while calling on the Jews to keep the full Law of Moses. “Then Jesus spoke to the multitude, and to his disciples, saying, the scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do.” Matthew 23:2 and 5:18-19. Paul agreed at a convention with the apostles at Jerusalem to admit the Gentiles into the Church only as proselytes of the gate, that is, after their acceptance of the Noahide laws (Acts 15:1 -31). It is empirical fact that the Western tradition of political thought developed in constant dialogue and influence of the Hebrew Scriptures.
The English have Identified with the Hebrews as far back as 730 when Bede compared the English to the Jews in his “Ecclesiastical History of the English People”. John Lyly ( 1553 - 1606 ) was an English writer, poet, dramatist, courtier and member of Parliment. Tudor Englad was fighting to maintain independence against Catholic Spain. England’s identification with the Hebrews was expressed in John Lyly’s declaration that England was a “New Israel.” It is also reflected in the political philosophy of English theorists such as Tomas Hobbes, James Harrington, and John Locke which include extensive interpretation of the Hebrew Bible.
The 17th century became so inundated with biblical political thought that it is often called the “Biblical Century”. Protestants developed a deep respect for the Hebrew Scriptures and eagerly interpreted ancient Israel as a constitutional order that should be applied to their own circumstances. An understanding, study and focus on rabbinic exegesis by the Protestant polity accelerated scholarship on the Hebraic Republic. The effort to retrieve Jewish learning and traditions was a massive undertaking whose effects were felt, directly or indirectly, across the European intellectual landscape. An indication of what was happening is the astonishing effort at translation of rabbinic sources into languages accessible to Christians—an effort that, by century’s end, had led to the translation and publication in Latin of 15 tractates of the Talmud, the Mishnah, a range of Midrashic compilations, the Targums of Onkelos and Yonatan, rabbinic works by Maimonides, Yehuda Halevi, Ibn Ezra, David Kimchi (Radak), Levi ben Gershon (Ralbag), Abravanel and others, as well as the Zohar and other kabbalistic texts. An index of Christian works interpreting this ocean of newly translated Jewish sources, compiled in 1694, includes an amazing 1,300 titles, many of them published time and again all over Europe. https://jerusalemletters.com/the-biblical-century/
Academics often don't recognize Puritan natural law because they were distinct from Roman Catholics. The Puritans looked to the early Church as normative and modeled their civic affairs on the record of the "Old and New Testaments". They held that even those who have not heard God's law are obligated to follow this law and have the capacity to do so. This is the "law written i their hearts". (Romans 2:14-15). The Puritans also placed emphasis on both the human creation in the image of God and rationality and the ability to think and form judgments was an incident of God. They also recognized humanities fall from original perfection. The Puritans were also educated in Greek philosophy and Renaissance humanism. They expected consonance of Christian truth and the best of classical literature. These "wise heathens" were understood as speaking from the remainder of the image of God and rationality and the ability to think and form judgments was an incident of God. Puritan natural law - biblically warranted, classically interpreted - -"salvation" but its primary purpose was the continuation of civilization apart from knowledged of God's revealed will.
To William Ames (1576-1633), an influencial an influencial figure for New England Puritains, reason and revelation are neither unrelated nor, ultimately, in conflict. They both point to the same body of principles: "the moral law of God revealed through Moses is completely the same with that which is inscribed in the hearts of men." However, this natural law was often distorted by man's fall. The law pure and complete in all its parts can only be found in the written law of God. This is similar to John Locke who simultaneously affirmed the reasonableness of the law of Moses and Christianity yet argue that human beings need a divine law giver for "tis too hard a task for unassisted Reason, to establish Morality in all its parts upon its foundations; with clear and convincing light." In Scripture, the puritans and Locke say alike: We see face-to-face what reason glimpse only through a glass, darkly. The civil law to the extent it was just and right is derived from the law of nature. Therefore Puritan civil law comes from God even if they are promulgated through the mediation of human actors. When traceable to one with proper authority the law iteslf must be followed.
John Selden (1584-1654) an English lawyer, Member of Parliament and scholar who knew Hebrew. Wrote a Latin book called ‘De jure naturali et gentium, juxta disciplinium ebraorum’ (On natural and Gentile law, compared with Hebrew principles). Published in 1640 c.e. In chapter 7 he states: ‘Sextum juris Noachidarum...quod de judiciis est, atque enumerationem ex Talmudicis aliquot. Quod igitur in enumeratione illa Septumum est, eber min ha-chai, quo crudelitas immanis in animalia cetera vetatur.’ (Six of the Noachide laws, those of judicial significance, are enumerated first in the Talmud among other sources. The seventh is therefore the prohibition of ‘the limb of a living animal’, which forbids cruelty to animals).
‘The Constitutions of the Freemasons’, by Rev. Bro. James Anderson, D.D..was published by the Grand Lodge of England in 1738. He states in "The Old Charges of the Free and Accepted Masons: Charge 1 - Concerning G-d and Religion: “A Mason is obliged by his tenure to observe the Moral Law, as a true Noachida [Noachidae or Sons of Noah was the first name of Masons according to old traditions]; and if he rightly understands the Craft, he will never be a stupid Atheist, nor an irreligious Libertine, nor act against conscience......They are generally charged to adhere to that religion in which all men agree (leaving each brother to his own particular opinion); that is, to be good men and true, men of honour and honesty, by whatever names, religions, or persuasions they may be distinguished; for they all agree in the...great Articles of Noah, enough to preserve the cement of the Lodge......Thus Masonry is the center of their union, and the happy means of conciliating persons that otherwise must have remained at a perpetual distance.”
In 1717, four lodges in London formed the first Grand Lodge of England. Within thirty years, the fraternity had spread throughout Europe and the American Colonies. Freemasonry became very popular in colonial America. George Washington was a Mason, Benjamin Franklin served as the head of the fraternity in Pennsylvania, as did Paul Revere and Joseph Warren in Massachusetts. Other well-known Masons involved with the founding of America included John Hancock, John Sullivan, Lafayette, Baron Fredrick von Stuben, Nathanael Greene, and John Paul Jones. Another Mason, Chief Justice John Marshall, shaped the Supreme Court into its present form.
In 1788, Pastor Samuel Langdon, one of the most influential clergy in colonial America at the time and president of Harvard College, gave an election sermon titled, The Republic of the Israelites an Example to the American States. Referencing Deuteronomy as a constitution, Langdon proclaims: "...As to every thing excellent in their constitution of government , except what was peculiar to them as a nation separated to God from the rest of mankind, the Israelites may be considered as a pattern to the world in all ages; and from them we may learn what will exalt our character, and what will depress and bring us to ruin. Let us therefore look over their constitution and laws, enquire into their practice, and observe how their prosperity and fame depended on their strict observance of the divine commands both as to their government and religion “
The substance of the Noahide Law is the historic source of the norms of “natural law”, which are the basis of the American revolution. “Throughout the ages, scholars have viewed the Noahide Laws as universal norms of ethical conduct, as a basic concept in international law, or as a guarantee of fundamental human rights for all. (Encyclopedia Britanica – 1991 – “Noahide Laws.”) Early modern writers such as Grotius, Selden, Milton and Locke are the basis of the modern state. All made extensive reference to the Hebrew Scriptures in their political writings. In 1574, the famous Swiss Hebraist Cornelius Bertram published De Politia Judaeorum (“The Jewish State”), a treatise that sought an understanding of the best regime through the study of the Hebrew Bible, Talmud, the books of the Maccabees, and Maimonides. Thus began a period of 150 years during which the Hebrew Bible and later Jewish tradition became the focus of intense scrutiny in the search for political wisdom that could be of assistance in laying the foundations of a new political order in Protestant Europe. During this period, which lasted well into the 1700s, Bertram’s book was followed by dozens of additional such works, including the Dutch political theorist Petrus Cunaeus’ influential work, The Hebrew Republic (1617), which made reference to the Talmud, Midrash Rabba, Maimonides, Abraham Ibn Ezra, Moses ben Ezra, David Kimche, Joseph Karo, Abraham ben David, and others in an effort to expound republican government according to Jewish political thought. Parts of this work were translated into English in time to become a handbook for republican revolutionaries in the period of Cromwell. http://azure.org.il/download/magazine/193az21_Hazony_Yoram.pdf
Grotius' concept of natural law had a strong impact on theological debates and political developments of the 17th and 18th centuries. He influenced Samuel Pufendorf and John Locke. By way of these philosophers his thinking became part of the cultural background of the Glorious Revolution in England and the American Revolution. In Grotius' understanding, nature was not an entity in itself, but God's creation. Therefore, his concept of natural law had a theological foundation. The Hebrew Scriptures contained moral precepts which Jesus confirmed and were still valid. They were useful in interpreting the content of natural law. Both biblical revelation and natural law originated in God and could therefore not contradict each other. De jure belli ac pacis, His most lasting work, was an effort to restrain conflicts on the basis of a broad moral consensus. "On the Law of War and Peace", published in 1625, advances a system of principles of natural law, which are held to be binding on all people and nations regardless of local custom.
Samuel Pufendorf (8 January 1632 – 13 October 1694) was a German jurist, political philosopher, economist and historian. He argues that the will of the state is nothing more than the sum of the individual wills that are associated within it. Therefore the state needs to submit to a discipline essential for human safety. This 'submission', is understood the sense of the individual wills that compose the state must be obedient to discipline essential for human safety and demonstrate mutual respect toward each other. It is for Pufendorf the fundamental law of reason, which is the basis of natural law. He adds that international law should not be limited or restricted only to the Christian nations, but must create a common link between all peoples. All nations are part of humanity .
John Selden (1584-1654), was an English jurist and legal historian. Sheldon authored “On Natural Law and the Law of Nations, According to the Teachings of the Jews. He provided “a theoretical justification of customary law, that in no way should be equated with some kind of amoral relativism”. Selden’s writings offer a model of customary national law within a universal framework. He reconcils authoritative customary law with universal moral and legal principles. Selden viewed the Jewish legal tradition as comparable to that of the English common law. Both legal traditions exhibited a relation between fundamental, natural laws and the particular laws of a national tradition. That relation is worked out through a tradition of articulation based upon reflection on experience, not abstract reasoning. Both traditions recognize certain fundamental laws. Selden found these universal laws in the Noahide precepts as laid out in the Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 56-59.
John Milton, ( 1608 -1674), ), was an English poet, pamphleteer, and historian.
Milton is best known for Paradise Lost, regarded as the greatest epic poem in English. In his prose works Milton advocated the abolition of the Church of England and the execution of Charles I. From the beginning of the English Civil Wars in 1642 to long after the restoration of Charles II as king in 1660, he espoused in all his works a political philosophy that opposed tyranny and state-sanctioned religion. His influence extended to the American and French revolutions. In his works on theology, he valued liberty of conscience, the paramount importance of Scripture as a guide in matters of faith, and religious toleration toward dissidents.
John Locke ( 1632 – 1704) was an English philosopher. His arguments concerning liberty and the social contract later influenced his natural law theory. Man in a state of nature is characterised by reason and tolerance. In a natural state all people were equal and independent, and everyone had a natural right to defend his "life, health, liberty, or possessions". The sole right to defend in the state of nature was not enough, so people established a civil society by social contract to resolve conflicts in a civil way with help from government in a state of society. Locke knew Hebrew and the first of his Two Treatises on Government is devoted to biblical interpretation. Locke was convinced that the entire content of the Bible was in agreement with human reason. In Scripture, the puritans and Locke say alike: We see face-to-face what reason glimpse only through a glass, darkly. The civil law to the extent it was just and right is derived from the law of nature. Therefore Puritan civil law comes from God even if they are promulgated through the mediation of human actors. When traceable to one with proper authority the law iteslf must be followed.Note 3
Montesquieu ( 1689 – 1755) was a French judge, man of letters, and political philosopher. He is famous for his articulation of the theory of separation of powers. His anonymously published “The Spirit of the Laws” in 1748, influenced the Founding Fathers in drafting the United States Constitution. He was the most frequently quoted authority on government and politics in colonial pre-revolutionary British America. Montesquieu was cited more by the American founders than any source except for the Bible. In Scripture, the puritans and Locke say alike: We see face-to-face what reason glimpse only through a glass, darkly. The civil law to the extent it was just and right is derived from the law of nature. Therefore Puritan civil law comes from God even if they are promulgated through the mediation of human actors. When traceable to one with proper authority the law iteslf must be followed.
Sir William Blackstone (1765–69) indicated the moral fundation of the English Common Law was Natural Law. As above mentioned, Selden (1584-1654), viewed the Jewish legal tradition as comparable to that of the English common law. He noted that both traditions recognized certain universal laws which are found in the Noahide precepts. It is also noted that there is, in English precedent, references to Scripture as the foundation of the law of England (Ratcliffe's Case, 3 Rep. 37a, 40 a-b (1592)). Sir William Blackstone was an English jurist. Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England, 4 vol. is the best-known description of the doctrines of English law. Blackstone indicated that the moral foundation of the English Common Law is Natural Law.
Traditionaly formal nations and their boundaries were established after the Flood in the Covenant with Noah. Before the Flood the earth was governed by patriarchal family units. The haggadic assumption that there are seventy nations and languages in the world is based upon the ethnological table given in Gen. x., where seventy grandsons of Noah are enumerated, each of whom became the ancestor of a nation. Beginning in the sixteenth century, English, Dutch and American Protestants revived the Hebrew Scripture’s emphasis on national independence which lead to the founding of the first modern nation states. Hugo Grotius, the philosopher and legal theorist of the Dutch Renaissance was familiar with the Oral Torah and the Noahide Code. His masterwork, On the Law of War and Peace, is the basis of international law.
Grotius’s faith in the God of Moses, and his belief in a basic God-given universal Law permeates his writings and influenced thinkers like Hobbes, Paine, and Locke which gave birth to the American Revolution. Many Americans in the founding generation believed the model of political leadership and civil government, established by God through Moses for the Hebrew nation, was worthy of imitation in their own polities. A growing body of scholarship identifies Hebraic republicanism as among the ideas that informed the founders' political thought. Among the Biblical texts that offered useful guidance on republican government and political leadership were Exedus and Deuteronomy.
JOHN LOCK ESSAY ON THE LAW NATURE: “Is there a Rule of Morals, or Law of Nature given to us? Yes. This law of nature can be described as being the decree of the divine will discernible by the light of nature. It appears to me less correctly termed by some people the dictate of reason, since reason does not so much establish and pronounce this law of nature as search for it and discover it as a law enacted by a superior power and implanted and implanted in our hearts. Neither is reason so much a maker of that law as its interpreter…It is not known or made known in the same way as positive laws … it is ... known to men because it can be perceived in the light of nature itself.”
"The 20th century witnessed a renaissance in natural law theory. This is evident in the post-war recognition of human rights and their expression in declarations such as the Charter of the United Nations, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights, and the Declaration of Delhi on the Rule of Law of 1959. Natural law is conceived of not as a 'higher law' in the constitutional sense of invalidating ordinary law but as a benchmark against which to measure positive law." (Raymond Wacks - Philosophy of Law - Oxford Universtiy Press)
ONE NATION UNDER GOD
The Congress of the United States -- H.J.Res.104 One Hundred Second Congress of the United States of America recognized... “the historical tradition of ethical values and principles which are the basis of civilized society and upon which our great Nation was founded ... have been the bedrock of society from the dawn of civilization, when they were known as the Seven Noahide Laws; ...... “ The United States Constitution has a broad area reserved to the people upon which neither the Federal or State govermnets may infringe. This allows us to be ONE NATION UNDER GOD in which individual differences and opinions are respected. The American nationalism needed to strengthen our nation would include a re-visitation of our shared history and the set of ideals once associated with the civil religion. Undergirding the civil religion are the Judeo-Christian values and principles that helped make America the envy of the world. (Note #4).
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The constitutional rights to petition and to peaceable assembly have found their modern home in the right to “expressive association”. Both rights were crucial in persuading the Supreme Court to hold that the First Amendment implicitly contains a “right to expressive association”, a right to associate to engage in the activities protected by the First Amendment. The right of expressive association protected civil rights protesters from hostile state action in the 1950s and 1960s. After the Court's 2000 decision in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, it also protects private groups that wish to promote traditional ideals and values. It also protects the peoples rights to form churches and associations which reflect individual ethnic identities while at the same time being ONE NATION UNDER GOD.
The Constitution of the United States has endured for over two centuries. Part of the reason is that it is the complement of the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration provided the philosophical basis for a government that exercises legitimate power by "the consent of the governed". It defined the conditions of a free people, whose rights and liberty are derived from their Creator. The Constitution delineated the structure of government and the rules for its operation, consistent with the creed of human liberty proclaimed in the Declaration.
The "consent of the governed" stands in contrast to "the will of the majority," a view more current in European democracies. The "consent of the governed" describes a situation where the people are self-governing in their communities, religions, and social institutions, and into which the government may intrude only with the people's consent. There exists between the people and limited government a vast social space in which men and women, in their individual and corporate capacities, may exercise their self-governing liberty. In Europe, the "will of the majority" signals an idea that all decisions are ultimately political and are routed through the government. Limited government is not just a desirable objective; it is the essential bedrock of the American polity. The success of limited government based on the “consent of the governed” requires civic virtue, ie., the cultivation of habits of personal living that are important for the success of the community. The identification of the character traits that constitute civic virtue are a major concern of political philosophy. Truth, justice, respect, civility between persons and groups, concern for the common good, duty, respect for rules of democratic government and minority rights, reward based on merit, lead to peace and prosperity.
A second fundamental element of the Constitution is the concept of checks and balances. Central to the institutional scheme is the principle of separation of powers. This frustrates designs for power. At the same time it creates an incentive to collaborate and cooperate.
Equally important to the constitutional design is the concept of federalism. The institutional design divides sovereignty between two different levels of political entities, the nation and the states. This prevents an unhealthy concentration of power in a single government.
At bottom, in the space left by a limited central government. The people rule themselves by their own moral and social values, and call on local political institutions to assist them. This creates a government wherein the views of the people and their civic associations can be expressed and translated into public law and public policy subjectto the limits established by the Constitution.
The Constitution is our most fundamental law. It is, in its own words, "the supreme Law of the Land." Charles Warren once noted, what is most important to remember is that "however the Court may interpret the provisions of the Constitution, it is still the Constitution which is the law, not the decisions of the Court." Warren did not mean that a constitutional decision by the Supreme Court lacks the character of binding law. He meant that the Constitution remains the Constitution and that observers of the Court may fairly consider whether a particular Supreme Court decision was right or wrong.
ONE NATION UNDER GOD VS. GLOBALISM
GLOBALISM: It is the idea of slowly shifting to a fully integrated world where all countries cooperate with each other in politics, cultural values, knowledge, and politics. Of the many criticisms of globalization, the prominent critique is that globalization erodes national sovereignty and takes away the power of governments. With globalization, eventually, every country would run and function the same way. The deep rooted cultures of these countries would be lost due to mass migration. There would be a spread of commodity-based consumer culture as well as international bureaucratic institutions. It poses the dangers of cultural homogenization. Cultural barriers are necessary in order to have culture. The functioning of international and supranational organizations is often not “democratic” in terms of representation and accountability and also reduces the power and sovereignty of individual governments. There would arise strong bargaining power of multinational companies vis-à-vis local governments. By allowing international corporations and multinational businesses to set the economic (and often, the political agenda), critics argue that the nation state becomes irrelevant. Capitalism runs on the profit motive. Hence, international businesses cannot be allowed to set the terms of the political and economic discourse for a nation. The nation state is answerable to all its citizens. International corporations are answerable only to a board of directors, the stock holders and the profit motive an favors the wealthy and privileged. The nation states exist for welfare of the citizens and not for making profits alone. By usurping the powers of the nation state international corporations reduce everything to money and profits. This as well as non elected international bureaucratic institutions has a corrosive effect on the welfare of the citizens of the nations in which they operate.
NOTES: LAW AS A UNIVERSAL VALUE
NOTE 1. From a traditional perspective G-d established the Covenant of the Rainbow with Noah and all of the world’s creatures after the flood. G-d would never again destroy the earth ( Genesis 9:11). This covenant is not dependent on mankind’s observance of these Seven Laws of Noah. The Hebrew root of “emunah” means trust. Emunah is translated as trust or faith. There is however a distinction in meaning. Trust is based on emperical experience and an intelectual conclusion that something is true. When on arives at “faith” through “trust” it is is a rational belief reinforced by emotion. The Hebrew word “Halacha” is often translated as law. The Hebrew root of “halacha” means to walk. It means how you walk or conduct yourself in practice of what you believe. “Noah was a righteous man in his generation.” “Noah walked with G-d.” “Noah found grace in the eyes of G-d” (Genesis 5:8, 6:9).
The Noahide (Universal) comandments that were repeated after the Flood were for the benefit of all mankind. These universal commandments could have been challenged at a later time and were thus repeated through Moses. There were two covenants made with Israel. The entire Book of Genesis, and the Book of Exodus up to and including the arrival of the Israelites at Mount Sinai is the first covenant made between G-d and the Israelites, traditionally transmitted by G-d through Moses when Israel arrived at Sinai. It includes their acceptance of the earlier Noahide (Universal) moral code which was intended for all the families of the earth. Thus the universal code was renewed through Moses after it had become neglected by the the nations. Four days latter ten utterances were spoken by G-d openly to all of the Israelites at which point they became the Jewish people. This is a second covenant particular to the nation of Israel. Traditionaly Abraham went beyound the minimum requirements of the Noahide code. Abraham’s conduct anticipated much of the second and particular covenant made with the people of Israel at Sinai.
The essentials of all G-d’s instruction given through Moses are called the Oral Torah. The oral Torah includes the details of G-d’s universal directive for all people as well as G-d’s specific instruction to Israel. The details of the universal code as G-d specified them to Moses, are the true foundation of the universal Noahide Code. Through observance of these universal commandments all people and nations have a part in the “Torah of Moses”, which is G-d’s “Tree of Life” (Proverbs 3:18).
The term 'Noahides' refers to all mankind. One of the seven commandments given to the children of Noah is the commandment to establish a legal system (dinim). Prof. Nahum Rakover is the author of LAW and the NOAHIDES, LAW AS A UNIVERSAL VALUE. This study attempts to elucidate the Noahide obligation to establish a just legal system. The commandment to establish a legal system requires the establishment of a just legal system, one that is applied with fairness and before whom all are equal. Those who follow the dictates of an unjust legal system are held accountable for obeying the law law and not resisting it. It was on this basis that war criminals were tried and convicted at the international tribunal in Nuremberg after World War II. In recent years we are witnessing renewed interest in the Noahide commandments. Various groups that bear the name Noahides wish to learn of their Noahide obligations.
NOTE 2: The Stoics conceived of an entirely egalitarian law of nature in conformity with the logos (reason) inherent in the human mind. Cicero’s writings: “ Besides, the Stoics’ ideal is to live consistently with nature I suppose what they mean is this: throughout our lives we ought invariably to aim to morally right courses of action…Indeed this idea- that one must not injure anybody else for one’s own profit- is not only natural law, (but an) international valid principle: the same idea is also incorporated in the statutes which individual communities have framed for their national purposes. ..Once men grab for themselves, human society will completely collapse. But if nature prescribes (as she does) that every human being must help every other human being, whoever he is, just precisely because they are all human beings, then- by the same authority- all men have identical interests...Having identical interests .. we are all subject to one ...law of nature: and, that being so, the very least that such a law enjoins is that we must not wrong one another....there is an ideal of human goodness: nature itself has stored and wrapped this up inside our minds. Unfold this ideal, and you with straightaway identify the good man as the person who helps everyone he can, and unless wrongfully provoked, harms none.”
NOTE 3: Under clasical Natural Law theory sovereignty resides in God. In many of the Enlighment natural law theories based on social contract, sovereignty was delegated by individuals via. social contract to the nation. Thus the nation or democratic assembly became the unlimited sovereign. The Founding Fathers were familiar with the natural law writings of Enlightenment-era thinkers, especially John Locke. However, the dominant philosophical influence upon the Founders was that of classical-traditional Natural Law. In this regard, two facts are important: First of all, Locke’s writings (unlike those of many others of his time) are sufficiently supportive of classical-traditional Natural Law theory, that there is no necessary conflict between the two. In distiction the French revolution was based strictly on Enlightment theory. One principle that arises from French revolutionary constitutionalism is that of national sovereignty. In the words of Barthélemy:
“There could be but one sovereign person, who had been the King. Another person had to be found in opposition to him. The men of the Revolution found that sovereign person in a moral person: the Nation. They took the Crown from the King and placed it on the head of the Nation.” (i.e. goverment or democratic majority)
In the United States divine sovereignty limits government. The majority can not make laws that violate divine law.
"American Exceptionalism", is. government patterend on the Hebraic Republic. In this system the individual curates moral law. He is the chief agent in defining what is morally right. The reason that this has worked in America is that its people have traditionally believed in the clasical natural law in which sovernty rests in "natures god". The natural law is a common-sense standard to which every individual can help hold government accountable. "We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights ..." Socialism rests complete sovereignty in the nation or the collective. For socialists the , the use of state power is the natural expression of the moral law. The state is not limited by the inalienable rights of the people or citizens. There is no higher divine natural law to which the state is subject. The state controls the means of production as well as all aspects of life. Thus socialism ultimately leads to an amoral totalitarinism
Note #4: Government Leaders Encourage Adherence to the Seven Noahide Laws
The universality of these principles and global import was recognized in 1982 by President Ronald Reagan when he spoke of “the eternal validity of the Seven Noahide Laws [as] a moral code for all of us regardless of religious faith” (Proclamation on the National Day of Reflection, April 4, 1982). Seven years later, in 1989, President George H.W. Bush not only proclaimed that these “Biblical values are the foundation for civilized society” but he also recognized that “A society that fails to recognize or adhere to them cannot endure.” He understood how these “principles of moral and ethical conduct that have formed the basis for all civilizations comes to us, in part, from the centuries old Seven Noahide Laws.” And, in doing so, he noted their origins: “The Noahide Laws are actually seven commandments given to man by G-d, as recorded in the Old Testament. …” (Proclamation 5956-Education Day, USA 1989 and 1990, 102 Stat. 3016, April 14, 1989) Both the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States Congress in 1991, on a bipartisan basis, further recognized how this “historical tradition of ethical values and principles…upon which our great Nation was founded … have been the bedrock of society from the dawn of civilization, when they were known as the Seven Noahide Laws.” The American Congress understood how “the most recent weakening of these principles … has resulted in crises that beleaguer and threaten the fabric of civilized society.” Thus, they warned us that “without these ethical values and principles the edifice of civilization stands in serious peril of returning to chaos.” (Public Law 102-14, 102d Congress, 1st session, H.J. Res. 104)
Other world leaders have joined the call for further observance and knowledge of these laws. For example, Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Union wrote (in July, 2014) that he seeks greater “dissemination of the universal values known as the Noahide laws” and Major General Michael Jeffery, Governor General of Australia, lamenting family breakdowns and drug and alcohol abuse in modern society in a 2008 letter wrote that he believed that observing the fundamental values of the Noahide Laws can be an antidote to such ills of society.
We only need to look at the havoc in which we find ourselves living today in order to recognize the validity of these truthful assertions.