Full Text for Natural Orders (Text)

THE SPRINGFIELDER March 1970 Volume 33, Number 4 Natural Orders T HERE IS ORDER in creation in spitc of m~ich secnlillg di,. order, wrong, confusion and catastropliic cyvnts. TI^^^^ terms \vould have no meaning if they were not set in colnparison nit], orclc.r, \\?e find neither time nor space to discuss thc coml,licntctl his- tor. of the idea of natural law or order as it could be trace(l tllrough. out all philosophies and religions. Nor arc. we particul;lrl\ intcrcstcL1 in the insights that modern thought has @\.en to thc. ~l~rohlc.lll of existence as it is related to cosmic order. \Yc. ha\*c an a(l\.antngc. jn ever\. discussion on the subject of Law antl Order. sincc. \\-c ;ire ~hristians who have a relevation concerning thc C'rcator ant1 c.rc;l- ture that goes be!-ond that kno\vleclge of the law of \vllich Scripturc. gives evidence that it is written "in the heart of man". There ought to be no debate about the validit! of C;odUs Inws or orders. The fall of nun meant the loss of the irn:\g~b of ant] has brought about all moral confusion. Man, now is ;I sinner b\ na- ture. As has been aptly said bv Anselm of Canterbur\,: "\\'hiic~ in Adam the person made naturessinful, in 11s our natlirk no\, makes the person sinful." It is a basic confession that \vc sa\- "I 3111 by nature sinful and unclean", and the follo\ring phrase "and have sinned in thought, word and deed'' is simply stating the fact that my being a sinner becomes evident to me and others as \\7ell as. of course, to the all-knowing God by n~v sinful thoughts, n.ords. antl deeds. Fallen man however still has a qualit!. @\*en to hirn originall\ which makes him "redeemable." \Vhere man cuts himself off from God by his disobedience, God still pursues man and calls him to account. \Vhile the fallen Adam cannot but trtbnlble before God, hc has not that knowledge of God he had beforc the fall, othcrwisc. hc. would have fallen at the feet of his Creator and cried: "Father for- give me!". God's gracious promise of redemption raises him back into a dignitv no other creature has. As God lo\~s man, Coil \\.ill for good reasbn not have him in "the garden' east of Eden, but \\ill have him in Paradise bv the power of His Son's redemptive lo\.c.. \Ye who accept (his incomprehensible love of God know that we are now again children of God and heirs of er.crIasting litc b\ the act of the Seed who crushed the Serpent's head and has raiseti among men the "word of reconciliation." \\'c, who kno\v. bc!ir:\c. and confess this, kno~v at the same time that as neu creatures \\~c should walk in newness of life. Rut this nelvness of life is a \\alk in and through this world, and we find our gujdrIines not in \\-llilt is a new code of behavior but a new spirit of lorrb and ser1.i~~. '\\.c who know that Christ came to serve and give His life seek to scr\'c and love Him who first loved us. And in looking to Him \vho is our Lord we find that He points us back to the original orders. 111 His Nat ~cml Orders 5 _C _- . - - - - - - to 17n)blenls of ethics or behavior He repeatedlv refers to '\rls\\ c3rs In one case it seem He may actually hare said: bc,gi 11 n i 11 g- , , it , so." That might be saying: Read the rules oE crc;ltc'cl OI.CJC~-S in the first book of the Bible. And indeed, once we Izcup, I. (j5 \\-ith the story oE creation as revealed to us in Gene- -,,,v,r the place of man before God and in the world. ,is, it cb thcrc dl-. the \vorld for man. \\'hen He created light, He had ,hc of man in mind, when He created trees, He had the need of rllnn 'ill mind. and thus all through the creation storv till the whole ,, ,,,, ificr,nt cosmos is ready to be occopied by man, who is not, 1,. slwaking, the crown or top of the pyramid, but who is the," rulrr, I,ccu pant and in a sense God's viceroy. God puts all things un(lL,r his fee., bur not so that he can do as he pleases with any- thing hl. c;,n reacll. So, indeed. having been made in the image of (;ocl illld lli,,.illg been giwn ears and a mouth, having been endo~ved~ a.itll r,,cccl,, man is to be able to hear God and answer God. ,\n~~lropo]ogically speaking, man is made able to respond as a I>crqln. 1-lr: is nxaclc a responsible person. He is able to answer and ttlc.rcfol-c. nr~s~c-et-nhle to God. God having given man life, or rather I.~F.I-, since it is everlasting, has established the order of life, we i I. This order of life presupposes all other order. hdan has llo\\- a li\,ing and responsible relation to a11 creatures. The ruling ., ,~ncl subcluing power he is granted bears no danger of misuse as long .rb nian is God's image. Even after the fall God still makes man :. rc.sponsihlc for every thought, \i:ord and deed. The question: "Adam, \\hcrc art thou ?" continues on through history of man, even as it ccl~ocs in thc. question put to Cain: "\%'here is thy brother Abel?" . . 'It this point we turn to the question of the responsibility of Illall for man. God made man, as is sometimes said, "a social" being. It is not good for man to be alone. God gave man an helpmeet for hi"). 'rhc creation of E\,e is simultaneousl~ the establishment of the order of n~atrimon\ as a source of coming human life and exist- rncc. KO\\ Adam is placed into 5n order of relation to another per- \\'c ask7 lnight this not also be a part of the image of God in a. '"illcr scnsc, that man no\r is given an object of Now Adam larl lo\'c as God Io~res, not as an equal of God, but as an image of rcflccting God's love toward him in a love for a fellow human hei''g To the order of life is added the -order of lorre, and to the "r(l'r Of love is added the order of service. We who are fallen men ''lo barel?' imagine the bliss of such an existence, where the shining love of God illumines and pervades the whole existence of nun. 0111\. in loving service can man realize his blessed status. But this status too is ordered by the Creator: Eve is Adam's helpmeet Aclam is to recognize her as his o\\rn flesh and blood. Adam is to rrin5icler this union and order as one that transcends all other hu-' ""ln A man shall leave father and mother and cleave unto his wife. The order of matrimony needs real]!. no extra ch;lptcrs beyond the beginning chapters in the Bible. xow this order our attention is calletl to \\-hat nlight be considered station or ran k.'The XCIV 'rest:iment consta~~tl\ points to the Genesis record. Adarn, \\rho was first made and gi\cn (lo.ininion. which of course Eve was to share, since she too is created in thc image of cod, is told, after the fall, that his inistakc \\as to 1istci1 to the voice of the woman. Because he thus relintiuishetl his 1c;lder- ship he is to find that he can no more rulc in thr \\;I\ he did before the fa]]. The sin of both is disobedience, but PiluI calls attention to the fact that the attending circunlstances of the fall ]Joint to E\.c as the Idadjutrix Satanae," the agent of Satan. F,ve osurl>ed first the Lord- ship of God b! taking matters into her own hi1 thr scrc.)lld tcp was a natural consequence, she no\\- also entices ;\d;im to be obedient to her or Satan. There is in the lvords addrcsscd to her h\. C;od that "pcwtic" justice that woman shall forever be dra1l.n to lllihn desiring a com- panion and shall ever be disappointed in finding ;I ruler or master over her. The history of mankind, not to sa!. of marriage, has shown the truth of this word. Ever since that time Evc's position is onc she cannot escape because she still is ivoman. At the same time \Lre must read all of the words of God spoken immediately after the fall as a gracious yrescntation of how it is going to be in this fallen world. Man, strictlv speaking, is not curscd. In fact the curse, if we call it that, spoken over I1ve ant1 Adam is alreadv a blessing because of the promisc of the final conytrest of the SGpent. Eve will live, indeed she \\.ill live inythc ortlained order and station God has given her: she \\:ill be \\.ife and noth her. A11 difficulties, pain and anguish of becoming itlother. have thc fruit of life. For Adam too the sentence is commute^^ to life and even the thorns and thistles, the skveat and sorrow of his life cannot reall! dim the fact that he lives, and that there will be a concluest of Satan. SO the orders of life, and love and service are not abolished. Kather. the child of God the more anxiouslv will look to them for tlivine regulations in a confused and disarrkrd ~vorld. The child of Gd has the great advantage because he knows the real dignitv and honor of man, namelv, that God so loved the world, that ~od redeemed man from all tiouble b~ thc sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Man now living in this world as a child and belic\.er in Jesus Christ can and does appreciate the original orders of God as 3 boon for his existence between Paradise lost and the Paradise to come. A Christian sees God's providence and guidance in that God has preserved unto mankind the sacred orders that give. maintain. and protect life. These are rnarriagc, the farnil!,, governmen t, etc. \\'' know that where these orders are not maintained there not onl! the very existence of man is threatened but also the Church, the sun1 of believers is in danger. 1'Or tI1ilt rcnson there is no comnlunit\ or associatiol7 0f "en On ti ti \110111i1 111. 11101~ COnCPrnCd in maintaining? and I~rotccti~lg C;IKI'\ n;~tur;il 01- crc;ltrcl orders than the church. The C:hri\ti;111 \\ 110 ~IIO\\,S of the Creator and ludpc of all hlankind, kno\vs that \\-~IL~Kc Cbd's Ii~\\s ilrc ignorecl disaster threatcns sooner or later- \\'c li:~\.c herc for thcl first tin1c used the \\.ord 'law.'. \\'hereas 1,i1\\ ill1CI OrtIcr iIrC often namrd in one hrrilth, ma13y people do not J\no\\ tll~' rc~l connection bclt\vec.n la\\ and order. The orders of LOCI h)r 1111111 h:~\c hchc~l~ forgottm. ignored. blurred. blunted since the, original c.rc;ltion of man. For tllat reason the orders of God have hccn r.c*>t;~tc'il. csl~c.ciall\ . I>\. - thc Ten Commal,(lnlcnts, by the Deca- Ir,l:uc. Ili~t thcse C'ommnntlmcnts arc. mainly a of esarnples si\ c11 I to I tI1iit man shoulcl guard ;inel protect the natural orclcss. 7 111. ortlcr of life and the sanctjtl. of hulnan life is not estab- Iishctl 1~1t rccol~tir~netl b! thc ~omnlancinlcnt: "Thou shalt not kill." lu3t 40 the orclcr of ni;1t1.i111011\ is not established b\. the sixth Corn- Ini~nclnicnt. nc.ithcr t1oc.s the sb\enth ~ommandment nor the eighth cst;~l~li~li the rights ant1 the dignit\. of the individual. All these orders c\i>t fro111 crcation nntl in crcatic;n. but to thc eople of Israel were tl~c C:om1n;indment5 gi\ol. that tho among ik nations should be the Ieaclc~t-s in the. protection of the or-(lcrs of their God. T-otla, h~lic.\,~rs ha\c. more than ever the dutv to be light and 5i1i~ of tllc tbarth in tcstif\ing to thc \\:orlcl cor~cernin~ God's created orders. \;~tur:ill\. tile \\.orld docs not heat a path to the church to ;!>I, for this information i~nd acl\.icc. If there is anv path worn be- t\\.ccn the church and the \vorld it is the one beat& bv the feet of .-o-ci~llctl church nlembcl-s that inquire \\hat the world considers the propcbr ortIcr or rule For the cia!. \C'ho docs not know what the \\.orltl think5 of Go(l's crcntetl orders? At times it seems that any insistence. of Christin~is on cli\.ine orrlers and the dignity of His in- stitut ions nlakes them ridiculous. All the disintegrating trends in the iirc;i of marriage and sex. la\\ and order, Iove and service, have, 50 it scenls to sonle of us. finall! dissolved an!-thing that is not held together For pragmatic ;ln(l utilitarian reasons. \\'e coultl speak of almost an!. facct of human life and existence t()tiil\ nntl cleplorc the lack of Christian ethics even among those hibaring the nilme of Christ. But let us take one exan~ple. \\hat is thc dignit\ ancl honor of wonlen according to Godys 1)rigin;ll crc;ition? ~u'he nxife and n~other. This is true from a simple biolo~ical. social, pr:stical point of view. The great honor and dip,- nit\ of man is to he \\.hat Got1 wants him to be. God created Eve to be wife and a mother of all living. Wherc Eve forgets the 5hc loses her crowning glorv and must be ashamed of what she hss hecome. Adan1 the same. \'\'here the Inan does not know tor what purpose he livc.s, he knows nothing of his dignity and honor. Luther simp]\ sii\.s it in thc Christian question and answers : "Here con- sidcr \,our station according to the Ten Coinnlandrnentss.. Station is posjtion, in honor ant1 dignity. Whenever the place where cod has put me is not recognized I>\. me as the pl~cx~ \\ 11~1.c~ I o~l~ht I,, be and do m! dut!;, I 10s;. I lose niysclf. In the discussion about equalit!: of man 311ci \\o111;1n ;I' \\(')I as in other discussions of like egalitarian problc'ms. it i' oftcn for-- gotten, that being equal is not ncccssar~l\ bcin~ alil\c. \\.oII~,II~ c,lll nerer change placer with miin. \\hen Chiit-chill ;~skctl I,\ .Ili irate \voman in his audience to tell \\.hat thc cliff(~rc.ncc. I,ct,\ccll men and women really amounted to, hc ~cl-i~tctl~d 111s hc,itl '13 il puzzled and said: "I can't concci\e." It is part of ill1 it~lnit~t,il)lc ortlcl- of God that it takes a inan and a \\oman to "c.rc';~tc." ,I chilcl. 'Ihc role between the two partners cannot be re\-er.\ctl. i!~ little as the father-son relation can be rc\.ersccl. i\ son ho lortls it o\ I1i5 t,!- ther is out of order. i\ \roman \\.I10 sees her right\ ;111tl licr- tligll~t\ (11 being a hunlan being as violated by the "obc!." cl,t~r5c. rn rhc tn.ir- riage ceremonv probably has nwer calculi1tcd t hc' Iio110r .rntl (IjCrl ~t\ of being wife and mother worth thc. price of thc. lo\ ins 54~'l-t it(.' 51~~ owes her hushirnd. Of course, the sanlc' holds tr~ic, of thc. h~tsl,;r~tl', attitude. \vhen he does not in lo\cs accortl hi4 ~c'I)IIIIc'('~ 111~' 11o1lo1. due to her as his \vifc ant1 the mother of his chiltlrc.11. The Christian Church that kno\\s of thc r-c'l;rtiot~ of ('llr.~,~ and the Church to he il sacred rcflcction iintl 11ictur-c of ~lr,~l.ri,l~~, as God \\.ants it. \\.ill guard the dignit! of thC \\o1ncbn ill tl1c~ c.11~11-t 1; not by withdrawing privileges of one or thc othc,r kind. bt~t b\. c<\- tolling the orders of God in lvhich E,\T i11it1 all I1c.r cl;i~r~tltc.r5. Ill,~\ the KIorious and honorable part of scr-\.ice in lo\c iind in gi\iny ot life. \\'hercrer the women in the church find oly?ortu11itich\ for 4c.n ice in functions that neither diminish their clignit!. nor mi111,rtc against the created orders of God there the church \\.ill bcncbtit grc.pc.t~ctl by assigning stations and rank to \\.onien that c\cn though no1 tli- rectly contradictjng the orders. !.ct tcntl to pi~t n1or.c dist:rllc.c. t)c, tween the established, assigned di\.ine ordcrs and thc station \\-orlic,rl occupy. The world and the scculari/ctl churchcbs \\.ill not rc;r(l~l\ recognize or adniit it to be a danger against u,hich thc i11~15tlc4 \\~lrl). for the utilitarian and egalitarian ~notivr~tions dolninirtc rilost of th so-called situation ethics of our dav. It is thc.rcforc ncccss;lr\ rhill the corlgregations of the Lord's Church hart of tbcir rcrlwn\il>illt\ to teach again and more positi\.el\ on the crci~tcd ortlcr5. \ot tllc. "Thou shalt and thou shalt not" came first but r;rthc'r the ordc.1-s (;()(I gave and blessed. It is true that such orders ncecletl adclitionirl cn- forcement and sonieti~nes anicndmcnts for thc life of nicn after tllc, Fall. Christ, however, does not approve \\hen ht, sn\5 that \105(.. "For the hardness of the hearts" allo\\.ed certain ;~rrangc.~nct~ts. Recognizing that in the \\,orld, enicrgenc\ measures arc t:lhcn to preserve this world for the sakc of thc ~os~cl, ne\crtbclcss tl1~ Natural Orders .- --- 9 cOll,lll~rrl ion that lives of and by the Gospel will always remember tl,cjt this is ,~t God's original plan and order. It mi& be that under ,.irCu~-nsta~ce~, brought about by man's own fault, at times L,rlusual f,rdcrs Got! are not SO clearly seen or so strictly observed, but ,rcl,c.,.cr ~3 ill not see in such measures progress, but a creep- , cl,z,ntegration and entropv which \r~jll finally be ended when ~~d alld Judge of the whole earth puts an end to the rvorld lire. -rhe sins of Sodon1 and Gomorrah were sins against , orclet-s, and the fire that came was as much an eschatological i,ldc,ncnt as the decline and fall of ancient and modern civilizations ,,nci niltions- \\ hcrc\?er the Church has opportunity to counteract disorder \floulcl count the appellations that mark it as old-fashioned, pietis- t . rr n rc;a l istic, ou t-nicdcd and worse t~ be distinctions and honors. jjc,I,(, not conformed to the world is the Christian Churchjs honor is the dut! of all its members to shon. the attitude bv the djs- rlrlction of bc-ir~g distinct and different.