Conscience and the Law of Life

          A recent, very bad idea, to rescind the protection granted to medical service providers (doctors, nurses, and pharmacists) who refuse to perform abortions or to participate in the process of giving abortifacients for conscience’ sake, has been implemented now, of all times–in a crucial time in our nation’s history, when too many of God’s laws are being snubbed, ignored, and violated. God’s Law is the source of, and standard for, conscience; therefore such objections are not just an appeal to “private” conscience, but rather, they are refusals to participate in the breaking of God’s commandments–specifically, the Sixth Commandment: “‘You shall not murder’” (Exodus 20:13).

          Another recent lamentable trend is to roll back some laws honoring Sunday–for the asserted reason of generating further business in bad economic times. But Christ commanded His followers, regarding the “things” (food and clothing) necessary for sustaining life: “‘Therefore do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you’” (Matthew 6:31-33). To honor the Sabbath, to honor Sunday, is to honor God (cf. Exodus 20:8-11, 31:13-17).

          The American concept that the civil magistrate should not–and under God’s Law, cannot–force people to go against their consciences (when conscience comports with God’s written Biblical law) extends back to the Colonial Era of American history–to the principles and values cherished by the New England Puritans. (See, e.g.: William Cooper, The Honors of Christ Demanded of the Magistrate (1740); see also the essays Acknowledging the Almighty and True Heroism and the Rule of Law.)

          This concept is infinitely more important when the point at issue is the protection of human life, for the Creator made humans in His image. (See: Dr. Benjamin Colman, A Dissertation on the Image of God wherein Man was Created (1736). Colman and Cooper were co-pastors of the Brattle Street Church at Boston, Massachusetts, and both were good friends of Governor Jonathan Belcher.)

          Obviously, for Christian doctors, nurses, and pharmacists who value the sanctity and intrinsic dignity of human life, participating in an a life-terminating procedure such as abortion quite frankly, is murder. Nothing less than the entire concept of people’s unalienable rights depends upon the fact that such rights (the greatest of which is the right to life) are a gift from our Creator, as the Declaration of Independence declares. Furthermore, God’s Biblical Law is inherent in and intrinsic to the moral political philosophy undergirding the Constitution of the United States; these principles are intrinsically “built into” the very fabric of the Constitution, and thus are inherent in it. Unalienable rights are explicitly protected by the Declaration of Independence, and that Declaration is incorporated into the moral political philosophy of the Constitution itself.

          Thus, we should honor–not penalize–medical service providers who honor life, and who refuse to terminate it. As with every Christian act that comports with God’s Law, every such deed in written down in the chronicles of Heaven. The value to work for is the knowledge of God’s approving eyes looking down on us from Heaven above. We should remember: individual actions and decisions, though they seem small when taken individually, yet they serve as small microcosms of the larger antithetical battle between good and evil, between the protection of life and the pursuit of death. No job, no role, no decision, even if it is small, escapes God’s notice or is insignificant in His eyes. He cares about every public and private decision. He expects His standards to be upheld–for His people to act like He Himself would, in every situation. And He is with His people in their actions. He is represented in them; they are His special agents, “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:20). Of such things are the chronicles of Heaven written. 

          King David said: “O LORD, You have searched me and known me. [***] For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them” (Psalm 139:1, 13-16).

          “[Moses said:] ‘The LORD your God will make you abound in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your land for good. For the LORD will again rejoice over you for good as He rejoiced over your fathers, if you obey the voice of the LORD your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in the Book of the Law, and if you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. [***] See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the LORD your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess’” (Deuteronomy 30:9-10, 15-16).

Bound to Follow the Supremacy of Divine Moral Law Over Legislative Law

          Moreover, recent legislative attempts to legislate into law the provisions of a U.S. Supreme Court opinion, Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), are wrong and misguided–and against American founding principles.

          The American Revolutionaries “chief complaint with the (unwritten) British constitution was that it resulted in British courts adhering strictly to man-made law (called ‘positive’ law in legal jargon, because it ‘posits,’ postulates, or demands–a commandment to do or not to do something), regardless of whether that positive law was right or wrong according to the dictates of the Divine standard. The most common source of positive law was legislation such as Acts of Parliament, and American colonials often complained about Parliamentary injustice.”

          “Rather than advocate the absolute supremacy of the legislature, regardless of right and wrong,” American revolutionaries thought “that the legislative power is not always right.” “[T]he British position was, that might makes right! That power trumped morality; that the legislature’s laws were superior to the law of God: That’s why the British fought the Americans! The British basically took the view that America had to be opposed because it had gone against Parliament, and America fought Britain because Britain in principle and in practice had gone against God’s Law.”

          “[T]he moral law (expressed in written form as the Ten Commandments) is incorporated into the meaning of the U.S. Constitution. To be ‘unconstitutional’ is to be considered the same as being ‘against the Law of God.’”

          “Given this history, the moral law background of the American founding documents–the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States–should be taught in public schools and everywhere. But the 21st-century cultural disconnect between God’s moral law and some secularist laws and legal decisions, grounded in the legal positivist view that man is his own ultimate authority, and flowing from the 21st-century lack of acknowledgment of God as the source of human rights, switches the nation off the track of its original founding principles. Speaking of the Constitutional goal of establishing justice: Refusal to acknowledge the sovereignty of God as the source of national (and international) human rights–the very principles of the Declaration of Independence built into the U.S. Constitution–inevitably leads to a gradual backing away, or even repudiation, of those Declaration principles”–“a repudiation that affects the quality of justice, and tends to turn justice into injustice–even tyranny.”

          “The United States was built on the recognition of the difference between right and wrong. And that difference between right and wrong is defined by God’s moral law. The United States’ political, legal, and constitutional system was built on the Ten Commandments–and should be so again.”

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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