Conservative Index Add
pagetitle

Tuesday, May 21st, 2019Last Update: Tuesday, May 7th, 2019 11:03:32 AM

Historical and Theological Foundations of Law

By: Bill Graves

Noted Constitutional authority John Eidsmoe has written a legal classic on the origins and theological foundations of law. The three-volume series is entitled Historical and Theological Foundations of Law (American Vision Press, 2011) in which Eidsmoe demonstrates that throughout history the laws of virtually every nation and every legal system, if not all, have had theological foundations.

What is law and whence comes its authority? Is it law because someone with a crown commanded it? Or is it because a judge decreed so or a legislature said so? Is it law because a Higher Authority said so? What is Common Law? When did it begin? Is it relevant today? Eidsmoe answers these and many other questions.

In Vol. One, Ancient Wisdom, Eidsmoe examines the legal systems of ancient societies. He notes that Moses is “a colossus of history, the consummate statesman and lawgiver….” Eidsmoe observed the influence of the Ten Commandments and the Mosaic Laws on the Laws of King Alfred the Great of England (about 890) which were a part of the basis of the English Common Law. He also noted how both British legal giants, Sir Edward Coke and Sir William Blackstone, held “Christianity is part …..of our general laws, and (held) all revealed or divine law, so far as enacted by the Holy Scriptures to be of universal obligation.”

In Vol. Two, Classical and Medieval, Eidsmoe noted the deficiencies of the Greeks, their gods and their laws. Eidsmoe observes that “Alexander the Great is as famous for his ability to conquer and build a great empire as for his inability to govern it, just as Greek political philosophy is as remarkable for its pristine beauty in theory as for its utter failure in practice.” However, Eidsmoe states how the great Augustine pointed out differences between the city of man and The City of God – the title of his great classic. In the city of man, the earthly city was created by self-love reaching contempt for God while the in the city of God, the heavenly city was punctuated by contempt for self. The earthly city glories in itself while the heavenly city glories in God. Man’s city loves its own strength, shown in powerful leaders, but the city of God says: “I will love you, my Lord, my strength.”

Eidsmoe said Islamic law and philosophy, allegedly based on the will of Allah their God, is characterized not by faith, but by submission. He states the purpose of the Crusades was to help the Eastern Roman Empire fend off Muslim aggression and to regain people and territory that had been lost to Islamic aggression. He states that “the Crusaders never sought to conquer a single inch of territory that had not been earlier taken from Christians by Muslims through Jihadic warfare.”

In Vol, Three, Reformation and Colonial, Eidsmoe said the judges, scholars, philosophers and theologians who gave us the common law believed the true Law of Nature existed from time immemorial, having been created and decreed in the mind of God. By 1500, the common law had taken shape and Martin Luther and John Calvin would sharpen the “Two Kingdoms” theory and showed how they could function according to God’s law in a sinful world. Simultaneously, John Locke, Charles Montesquieu, Blackstone and others articulated the common law and its application to law and government in a philosophy that was both rational and distinctly Christian. America was a product of the Protestant Reformation. American historian George Bancroft wrote that Calvin was the virtual father of America because at its founding the country was two-thirds Calvinistic.

Eidsmoe had earlier written Christianity and the Constitution: The Faith of Our Founding Fathers in which he documents America’s Biblical and Christian foundations. In the Declaration of Independence God is mentioned four different times and it is stated that our rights come not from Government, but from the Creator. The Constitution is dated “in the Year of our Lord” 1787. The Framers believed that Christianity should be encouraged by the State and that Christianity is, as Daniel Webster said, a part of the law of the land. For 100 years after framing of the First Amendment, the federal Government sponsored the teaching of Christianity. Alexis de Tocqueville wrote that “Americans combine the notions of Christianity and liberty so intimately that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other.” The Supreme Court early on supported the teaching of the Bible and Christianity in education, outlawed polygamy because it is contrary to Christianity, held that America is “a Christian nation” and that we have “a duty of obedience to God’s will.”

Eidsmoe’s work is a tour de force and should be read by all who wish to know and understand the true origins of law.

About Bill Graves

Bill Graves is a former State Representative and is currently a District Judge in Oklahoma City.

Other Articles By Bill Graves

The True Meaning of the Constitutions Cruel & Unusual Punishment Clause

1. The Framers Meaning of Cruel and Unusual PunishmentThe Constitutions Eighth Amendment p...

Historical and Theological Foundations of Law

Noted Constitutional authority John Eidsmoe has written a legal classic on the origins and...

Other Constitution Columnists

Richard Engle

No More Mr. GOP
Many years ago when I was still young enough to be a Young Republican, I served as State Chair of...

John Michener

The Duty to Abolish Abortion: We are Without Excuse
The movement to abolish abortion has finally reached critical mass. Enough concerned and educated...

Tim Bakamjian

Stitts Strong Start
In his January 14th inaugural address, Governor Kevin Stitt outlined a clear set of goals for his...

Linda Murphy

The Expanding Role of K-12 Public Schools
The expanding role of social services and social change in K-12 schools should be closely examined....

Byron Schlomach

Oklahomas Dismal Public Education Ranking
Governor Stitt has made it his goal to move Oklahoma toward top ten status among the states. Exactly...

Bill Graves

The True Meaning of the Constitutions Cruel & Unusual Punishment Clause
1. The Framers Meaning of Cruel and Unusual PunishmentThe Constitutions Eighth Amendment provides...

Theodore King

The Federal Page for Spring 2019
National Debt Now Exceeds 22 TrillionOn February 12, the United States Treasury Department reported...

David Deming

Is the University of Oklahoma a Racist Institution?
The University of Oklahoma is apparently becoming infamous as a hotbed of racism. In 2015, a video...

Steve Byas

Conversion Therapy Bill is Totalitarian
When it comes to abortion, the relationship between the physician (i.e. the abortionist) and the...

In The News

Constitution Staff

Medicaid Initiative Petition Filed
A filing was made at the Oklahoma Secretary of State office on April 19 for proposed State Question...

Constitution Staff

State Election Board Conducts Voter List Maintenance
The State Election Board completed its statutorily-mandated, biennial voter list maintenance on...

Constitution Staff

Bills Make Their Way Through Oklahoma Legislature
With the close of the legislative session approaching at the end of May, various bills are being...

Constitution Staff

Gov. Stitt Establishes Cabinet
On January 24, Gov. Kevin Stitt issued his first executive order since becoming governor. The...

Constitution Staff

Oklahoma Republicans Elect Leaders and Adopt Platform
On April 6, nearly 1,000 delegates attended the Oklahoma Republican State Convention held at the...

Constitution Columnists

Richard Engle

No More Mr. GOP
Many years ago when I was still young enough to be a Young Republican, I served as State Chair of...

John Michener

The Duty to Abolish Abortion: We are Without Excuse
The movement to abolish abortion has finally reached critical mass. Enough concerned and educated...

Tim Bakamjian

Stitts Strong Start
In his January 14th inaugural address, Governor Kevin Stitt outlined a clear set of goals for his...

© 2001 - 2009 The Oklahoma Constitution, all rights reserved.
Contact the Oklahoma Constitution by calling 405-366-1125 or emailing okconsti@aol.com
Content Management System (CMS) provided by WebTeks CMS.