After watching last night’s debate about “Joe the Plumber,” I thought this reminder was in order. I recently read this and was amazed at how some things never change. This was written almost 40 years ago and sounds as if it was written yesterday. Humanism and its promise for entitlements (or in Joe’s case, purchasing a business) never cease in their power grab and attempts to usurp God’s jurisdiction and authority. The humanist “messiah” will always make promises that he can’t (and never intended to) keep. If you happen to know Joe, forward this on to him; if not, read it yourself and pass it on anyway…
Excerpt from “The Sanctity of Life” (an essay by Rousas John Rushdoony):
Nowadays, it is popular to think of laws as a restraint on life, and this is an attitude widely encouraged by existentialist humanism. The free life is the life beyond law, beyond good and evil, we are told; it is emancipation from law and morality. Our historic American position, however, has been the Christian faith that true liberty is under law, God’s law. Godly wisdom, which means faith and obedience, is, according to Scripture “a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her” (Prov. 3:18; cf. 11:30). According to the Berkeley vision of Psalm 19:7, “The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul.” Instead of being a form of bondage, God’s law is for us the condition of life.
Let us analyze the meaning of this, God’s law as the condition of life. The condition of a fish’s life, its environment, is water; take a fish out of water and it dies. The condition of a tree’s life, its health and its environment, is the soil; uproot a tree, and you kill it. It is no act of liberation to take a fish out of water, or a tree out of the ground. Similarly, the condition of a man’s life, the ground of man’s moral, spiritual, and physical health, is the law of God. To take men and societies out of the world of God’s law is to sentence them to a decline, fall, and death. Instead of liberation, it is execution. Man’s liberty is under God’s law, and God’s law is the life-giving air of man and society, the basic condition of their existence. When Moses summoned Israel to obey God’s law and to walk by faith, he said, “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live” (Deut. 30:19). “Therefore choose life,” and choosing life means living in obedience to God’s law through faith in Jesus Christ, whose saving grace enables us to believe and obey.
Law is therefore the condition of man’s life because God is the creator of life and the sole ground of it continuation. God’s law is the essence of life and the terms of life. Those who tamper with God’s law, or who espouse any departure from it, instead of seeking freedom to live, as they claim, are in actuality seeking death. For a fish, “escape” from water is an escape from life; it is a will to death. Jesus Christ, speaking as Wisdom ages ago, declared, “But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death” (Prov. 8:36). The hatred of God’s law is the hatred of life: it is the love of death.
True government is government according to God’s word, in terms of His law, as a ministry of justice. Those who despise government are, according to Moses (Num. 15:29-31) and St. Peter (II Peter 2:10), guilty of the sin of presumption. Presumption means taking for oneself authority and power for which one has no warrant or right. Whenever we set aside God’s laws concerning life and death, we are guilty of presumption. Presumption is the mark of an unbeliever. Presumption means that we have set ourselves in the place of God and have demanded that life and death be on our terms only.
The presumptuous humanists talk about reverence for life, but, instead of having any regard for the sanctity of life, their view of life is secular and profane. Life for them has no connection with God; it is simply a natural resource to exploit and to re-shape to their own tastes. They are presumptuous, that is, self-willed; their universe is essentially their own ego and their own intellectual pride, their confidence that they represent the elite ruling class of the ages. Their presumption makes them not only contemptuous of God but of other men. We live in a day when the love of all men is insistently proclaimed in theory, and the massive hatred of all men is practiced in fact. We hear much about equality from men who tell us they are our superiors and therefore know what is best for us. We hear calls for unity from men whose every action divides us. Presumptuous men, because they are self-willed, can only bring anarchy. Faith and obedience bring unity because they unite men in Christ, not in man’s will. “Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it” (Ps. 127:1).