Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Constitution for all humanity: The 10 Commandments/"Natural Law" and "natural law" (God's Law)

This note is inspired by the early American "revolutionary thinkers" of the 1760s and 1770s, in particular, James Otis and his 1764 writing called "The Rights of the British Colonies Asserted and Proved."

If you think about it, the 10 Commandments are man's Constitution, written by God, for humanity; and humanity is to govern themselves by the 10 Commandments, therefore they are humanity's supreme law, just as the US Constitution is the supreme law of the USA, and each state's supreme law is their State Constitution, in as much as it abides by and does not violate the Federal Law and the USA Constitution. For never once has God repealed or altered the "10 Commandments". He has added other "commandments" in his modern day revelations, commandments for this modern day dispensation and for his restored gospel to be spread through out the world, but they in no way go against, contradict, invalidate, or alter the "10 Commandments" given on Mt. Sinai. 

This brings James Otis's above mentioned writing into observation. James Otis, a lawyer from the Massachusetts Bay Colony, writes:

"But let the origin of government be where it may, the end of it is manifestly the good of the whole. Salus populi suprema lex esto [let the welfare of the people be the supreme law], is of the law of nature, and part of that grand charter given the human race (though too many of them are afraid to assert it) by the only monarch in the universe, who has a clear and indisputable right to absolute power; because he is the only ONE who is omniscient as well as omnipotent..."

"To say the [British] parliament is absolute and arbitrary, is a contradiction. The parliament cannot make 2 and 2, 5. Omnipotency cannot do it. The supreme power in a state, is jus dicere [to declare the law (judges/judiciary)] only:-jus dare [to give or make the law (legisalture/legislative)], strictly speaking, belongs alone to God. Parliaments [and Congresses] are in all cases to declare [DECLARE] what is for the good of the whole; but it is not the declaration of parliament that makes it so: There must be in every instance, a higher authority, viz. GOD. Should an act of parliament [or Congress] be against any of his natural laws, which are immutably true, their declaration would be contrary to eternal truth, equity and justice, and consequently void: and so it would be adjudged by the parliament itself, when convinced of their mistake."

Any words appearing in brackets [] are my personal additions.

James Otis is asserting that any law made by men by means of man's government, that is contrary to or goes against God's laws/"natural law", and indeed "Natural Law", which God himself is bound by, is automatically void, and cannot and should not be declared by any government of man. God is the supreme law maker for all His creations, including humanity. But I also personally believe God himself is bound by what I term "Natural Law" with a capital "N", meaning eternal laws of Nature that God himself must obey; for something cannot be created out of nothing-it something must be created out of something. Thus, any law or commandment He makes and gives to humanity must obey these "Natural Laws". These laws/commandment that God Himself gives to humanity are what I deem "natural law" with a lower case "n", or "God's Law". Thus, because God must obey "Natural Law", the 10 Commandments, which can be deemed "natural law/God's Law" are in and of themself automatically "Natural Law". And any law that man creates must not violate or contradict "God's Laws/natural law" or "Natural Law". And if they do, then they are automatically and immediately void, and should be repealed when man's government is made known of their error. Therefore, God is both jus dare and jus dicere, the supreme law giver and law declarer for all humanity. 

This is my personal belief, based off of scripture study, modern day revelation from God to His Prophet, and the study of historical writings of American Patriots, who I personally believe were very much inspired by the Lord in many many ways. 

I add more to this note, adding more quotes from the same essay by James Otis quoted above, my own commentary, as well the lyrics to the LDS church hymn "The Iron Rod", being that the word(s) of God and his laws/commandments will "safely guide us through".

- James Otis Quotes:

"With regard to the parliament [you can substitute Congress], as infallibility belongs not with mortals, it is possible they may have been misinformed and deceived. The power of parliament is uncontroulable, but by themselves, and we must obey. They only can repeal their acts. There would be an end of all government, if one or a number of subjects or subordinate provinces should take upon them so far to judge of the justice of an act of parliament, as to refuse obedience to it. If there was nothing else to restrain such a step, prudence ought to do it, for forcibly resisting the parliament and the King's laws, is high treason. Therefore let the parliament [or congress] lay what burthens [burdens] they please on us, we must, it is our duty to submit and patiently bear them, till they will be pleased to relieve us. And it is to be presumed, the wisdom and justice of that august assembly, always will afford us relief by repealing such acts, as through mistake, or other human infirmities, have been suffered to pass, if they can be convinced that their proceedings are not constitutional, or not for the common good.

Every subject [citizen] has a right to give his [or her] sentiments to the public, of the utility or inutility of any act whatsoever, even after it is passed, as well as while it is pending.-The equity and justice of a bill may be questioned, with perfect submission to the legislature. Reasons may be given, why an act ought to be repealed, and yet obedience must be yielded to it till that repeal takes place. If the reasons that can be given against an act, are such as plainly demonstrate that it is against natural equity, the executive courts will adjudge such acts as void. It may be questioned by some, though I make no doubt of it, whether they are not obliged by their oaths to adjudge such acts void."

"With regard to the public, it is the duty of every good citizen to point out what he thinks erroneous in the commonwealth..."

"The sum of my argument is, [t]hat civil government is of God [see D&C 134, and the 11th and 12th Articles of Faith]: that the administrators of it were originally the whole people: that they might have devolved it on whom they pleased [representatives]: that this devolution is fiduciary [involving trust], for the good of the whole..."

In other words, God's laws are natural laws, and cannot and should not be broken by man, including human legislatures. If any law passed by a human legislature be contrary to God's laws and commandments, it is automatically void. However, every citizen of that civil government where such a void law is passed has the right to petition to the both the public and the legislature for it's repeal, giving reasons as to why he/she should think it should be repealed. And the civil legislature that passed that void law, once made known of their mistake, has the duty and obligation to repeal such law. But, while that law is yet to be repealed, every citizen has the obligation and duty to obey that void law until it is formally repealed by the civil legislature.

This is where I disagree with Otis, however. For it seems that Otis might be asserting that obedience is required by the people even when the law is contrary to or creates the opposite situation of God's laws/commandment, going directly against His commandments. Perhaps I am wrong in this interpretation of Otis' words, but for me, I find myself of the opinion that Otis' sentiments of obedience to the laws of human legislatures applie to all laws excepting those that go contrary to God's laws, those that create the opposite of God's laws/commandments. For there are instances in the Holy Bible where the legislatures of man declared a law that went contrary to the 10 Commandments, most notably when King Nebuchadnezzar created a golden image, ordered all to bow down and worship it, and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego refused to do so, thus being cast into the furnace and rescued by Christ. Another instance is where the Persian King Darius was confused into signing into law that no man shall pray or make a petition to any God, save of King Darius, for 30 days. Upon hearing this, Daniel, one of the three presidents created by Darius, went out on his balcony and prayed to his God, and was thus thrown into the lion's den. We have plenty examples of instances where men of God have boldly disobeyed laws issued and decreed by the legislatures of men that defiantly and directly go against and even take a reverse course against, the commandments/laws of God. But, that does not mean this gives anyone the right to violently protest such laws. All protests/petitions must be done in a peaceful and legal manner. Shadrach, Meshach, Abed-nego, and Daniel all accepted their legal punishments for breaking the law, wherein they were all protected and saved by God, thus adding a testimony to those rulers who created such laws disobedient to God's laws, wherein those laws were swiftly repealed once God himself had made it known to those rulers that they had created laws that went contrary to His. 

But with laws that do not violate God's laws and commandments, every citizen has the right to petition the public and legislature as to why he/she feels that law should be repealed, and give reasons why, but because that law does not violate God's laws and commandments, it doesn't have to be and should not be repealed.

Lyrics to "The Iron Rod":

"1. To Nephi, seer of olden time,
A vision came from God,
Wherein the holy word sublime
Was shown an iron rod.

Hold to the rod, the iron rod;
’Tis strong, and bright, and true.
The iron rod is the word of God;
’Twill safely guide us through.

2. While on our journey here below,
Beneath temptation’s pow’r,
Through mists of darkness we must go,
In peril ev’ry hour.


3. And when temptation’s pow’r is nigh,
Our pathway clouded o’er,
Upon the rod we can rely,
And heaven’s aid implore.


4. And, hand o’er hand, the rod along,
Through each succeeding day,
With earnest prayer and hopeful song,
We’ll still pursue our way.


5. Afar we see the golden rest
To which the rod will guide,
Where, with the angels bright and blest,
Forever we’ll abide.

Text: Joseph L. Townsend, 1849–1942

Music: William Clayson, 1840–1887

1 Nephi 15:23–25

1 Nephi 8; 1 Nephi 12:17."

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