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Authority's Rights
bdschuh Wrote:In "The Divine Code," vol. 1, it is explained that a community has the right to place restrictions on its members. It logically follows that if a government has that right (by a consent of the majority as in the USA, or not), then the members of that community have an obligation to keep those restrictions. To keep the laws of G-d is a man's entire duty. The obligation to obey the government, therefore somehow must be some kind of duty to G-d Himself. But "The Divine Code" explains that these laws which the government imposes (other than the Seven Noahide Laws) are not to be considered as laws that G-d commanded. Is this an apparent paradox?
There are two levels of G-d’s commands to mankind (the Children of Noah). These two levels are distinct, and somewhat far from each other (although they also have a commonality – they reveal G-d’s interest in and expectations from mankind):

(a) There are the commands issued by G-d to mankind. These are general commands. I will use just one for an example. G-d commanded mankind not to murder. This is G-d’s command, and although man may (and indeed should) accept this logically, the foundation and basis for what is prohibited is not decided by any human logic, but only by G-d’s decree. (This applies even if all of mankind would join together and come to a majority or unanimous decision that in some cases murder is permitted, for example, to abort a fetus if it is known that it will be born sick. This may seem logical, but G-d’s decree forbids it. Another example would be “mercy killing” of a sick person who is begging the doctors and family to terminate his life - this may seem logical, but G-d’s decree forbids it.)

(b) One of the 7 general commands is to follow the ways of justice, with societal laws, court systems, enforcements for these societal laws, etc. Even though this general law from G-d is as hard and fast as the other 6, and no society has the right to decide based on any logic that they don’t need any type of legal system, nevertheless, the details of this general command are flexible and given over to mankind and their societies to decide the particulars. For example: the court system in every society must decide how to deal with a murderer, how judge him and punish him, etc. They cannot decide that they will not judge such cases, or close their eyes to such a case. But the court system and society that is deciding this has the privilege to decide how to do so (within certain bounds – e.g. bribery of judges and perjury by witnesses are forbidden as direct transgressions of the general Divine command for righteous courts of law).

In the U.S. it is accepted that in criminal cases, the verdict is given over by a jury and not by the judge(s). In most other countries, the verdict is given by judges. In each society the accepted rule must be obeyed. This particular detail is not G-d’s command, but rather only a man-made detail in the process of the observance of G-d’s command.

Based on point (b), G-d expects from mankind in general (societies and individuals) to use logic in different fields to improve the world, within the context of the 7 general Divine commandments. Included is that societies set rules for the people regarding various issues, as needed in order to guard people from actual sin or physical harm, etc.

For example: different governments and societies may decide that one of the following will be enforced as a civil law:
- That it is forbidden for private people to have weapons, in order to prevent possibilities of murder.
- That it is an obligation for every individual to have weapons for self defense.
- That it is permissible for private people to choose to have certain types of weapons, but not other types
- and so on.
These civil laws must be obeyed by the people, since this is the upkeep of society which G-d expects from every individual. Therefore one who does not obey the civil law is doing wrong, but this is not to the degree of the grave sin of transgressing one of G-d's direct Divine commandments.

The differences between (a) and (b) above:

1. The 7 universal (Noahide) commands themselves that were instructed by G-d through Moses at Mt. Sinai may never be changed or altered, and a truthful prophet can never come and say that G-d commanded him to change these basic statutes. As for the logical points included in (b), it is natural that their details will vary from one place and society to another, and over the course of time, and they may be changed according to the logic of the society and its ruling government.

2. The man-made instructions [included in (b)] must always be understood and recognized as only man-made rules according to human concepts, and NOT as additional commands from G-d. No truthful prophet can come (after Moses, as explained in “The Divine Code,” vol. 1, Introduction, p. 27-35) with a message that G-d commanded any new Divine law. A person who says that any of the laws in the category (b) (or any new precept, no matter if is logical or totally illogical) is specifically commanded by G-d is lying (because G-d says in the Torah that there must not be any adding or deleting of Divine commandments, beyond those that He gave through Moses).

bdschuh Wrote:Some people say that G-d put the various governments in power and that to obey them is as if you obeyed G-d Himself. (I am assuming that any such government is neither commanding its citizens to break any of G-d's laws, nor is it preventing one from performing a good deed.)
As above, an individual must adhere to the societal law, but this obligation is not as severe as for G-d's specific universal commands, which apply to all the Children of Noah. A person establishes a much more important spiritual dimension and connection to G-d by fulfilling a Divine command that applies to him or her, and therefore there is also a severe negativity if a person disobeys a Divine command that applies to him or her. As to the latter logical points mentioned above, G-d does demand for a person to obey laws of society, but the spiritual connection for obeying, or the spiritual punishment and disconnection for disobeying, is on a different and lower level. (It goes without saying that if a universal command from G-d is in direct conflict with a law of society, a person must obey G-d’s Divine law, according to the details and conditions of the Noahide Code.)
bdschuh Wrote:If we are not to obey a government as if that obedience is being done for G-d (Who sees all things), then it is easy to say that if one does an act which the government doesn't know about, then no crime or sin actually happened, if one's action didn't violate any of the Seven Laws.
This is not true, since a sin has been done (which might be only a “light” sin). And it is wrong even though the government didn't know about it.
bdschuh Wrote:As it is a very basic prinicple in a free state that one is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty, will G-d hold us accountable for committing crimes against the government's law (crimes which are not transgressions of the Seven Laws) if the government never knew of it and so the person was never prosecuted in the government's court system?
As above, these are sins and G-d will judge a person for them. Albeit some are on a different and lower level of severity, compared to the 7 universal commands.

Messages In This Thread
Authority's Rights - by Torahstudent - 07-24-2007, 01:05 AM
RE: Authority's Rights - by oceanoah - 08-08-2007, 11:27 PM
RE: Authority's Rights - by Mattityahu ben Noach - 01-08-2010, 11:59 AM
RE: Authority's Rights - by Director Michael - 01-11-2010, 08:55 PM
RE: Authority's Rights - by semiferger - 02-20-2010, 04:59 PM
RE: Authority's Rights - by bdschuh - 06-28-2010, 08:53 AM
RE: Authority's Rights - by Rabbi Moshe Weiner - 06-30-2010, 01:41 AM

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