According to the Law


Written by:  Robert D Brinsmead

The Hebrew worldview copied the Sumerian in relation to the Fall of man and the angry gods myth  But whereas the earlier versions of this myth saw the anger and punishment of the gods as a very capricious thing, the Hebrews made the improvement by basing the execution of justice on existing Laws.  God could be relied up to act according to Law. (See Leon Morris, The Theology of the Cross). You can trace this legal basis right through to the foundation and development of Christian theology.  The leading theologians of the Church (or at least it seems the most influential theologians) were lawyers, or had a strong bent to legal argument.  You find that from Tertullian to John Calvin.  When you look at the great Systematic Theology tomes like the ones of Strong and Hodge, you can see that everything is legally based.  It is all founded on a concept of an eternal, unchanging Law that has to be upheld and honoured in all that God does, right down to and especially to the doctrine of the atonement.  This doctrine says that the main point or the most important thing as far as God is concerned, is not our salvation, but the vindication of His law.  Just as logically and legally based was the Calvinistic doctrine of double election of both saved and damned.  It just had to work that way to be legal.

Back in the 1980’s I began seeing through this great legal system and began calling it into question, and so I proposed that everything had to start from the reality of the Grace of God.  God would be gracious in all that he did.  This could be called unconditional love.  I notice that Ellens for the most part prefers to speak of it as Unconditional Grace (Honest Faith for Our Time).  It seems to me that the reason Ellens prefers to speak of this, for the most part, in terms of grace instead of love, is because he senses that love is too easily put into the role and confused with sentiment or sentimentalism.  In English, we don’t exactly have the distinctions made by the Greek words agape, phileo and eros.

Rather than having grace or love paying homage or even being subservient to the law, why not assert that this grace/love is the law of the universe.

Whatever is done in love is therefore the fulfilling of the law no matter what any book of rules might indicate.