Nowadays it is popular to think of God’s law as a restraint on life, and this is an attitude widely encouraged by existential humanism. The free life is life beyond law, beyond good and evil, we are told: it is emancipation from law and morality. Our 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” (Pro. 3:18, cp 11:30).
Let us analyze the meaning of God’s law as a 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 environment, is the soil. Uproot a tree, and you kill it. It is not an 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 decline, fall and death. As we see, God’s law is not a restraint, but the source of life, the essence of life and its terms. To be removed from God’s law (the law our country so adamantly insists is restraining) is not liberation, but execution.
The presumptuous humanists talk about reverence for life, but their view is secular and profane. Life for them has no connection with God. It is simply a natural resource to exploit and reshape to their own tastes. 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 and not God driven, can bring only the kind of anarchy we see in our country today.
Faith and obedience bring unity because they unite men in Christ, not man’s will. “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it” (Ps. 127:1).