NOTE: I was not happy with my original post, so this was re-written. I pray it will be a better explanation of the idea I’m trying to explain.
For the majority of my life, I struggled to make sense out of a seemingly endless number of worldviews and the political ideologies that spawn from them. I have read the work of many philosophers, sociologists and political commentators in an effort to find some explanation for these differences. You see, I have always believed the world operates by a fixed set of rules, and that logic is among these. So, to me, if people take the time to properly think things through, we should all arrive at generally the same conclusions. After all, if there are fixed rules governing the universe, that means there is an objective Truth, as well. So, why do so many people seem to arrive at so many different versions of ‘truth?’ I never found a logical answer to this question — not until I let Scripture speak to me on its own terms. The moment I did so, I saw that everything we humans believe or do falls into one of two categories: we are either Lawful or we are lawless. It really is that easy. – at least, for me it is. The following post explains how I have come to see and understand this divide. I hope it may be helpful to your own personal understanding.
Whether or not people wish to admit it, this universe actually is governed by a set of rules or laws. There are different types of laws, and they are all fixed; they do not change with time, place or even culture. These laws can be discovered. One way of discovering them is through observation and testing, which is a process we know as ‘science.’ Another way to discover them is through the proper application of logic, which philosophers call ‘right reasoning.’ But I’m not writing about these laws, or how we can discover them. That is a subject for an entirely different series of posts. No, what concerns me at the moment is that these laws are real, they are fixed, and because they are real and fixed, that means there is one objective reality. And, if there is an objective reality — one Truth — a person will either seek to learn and embraces that one Truth, or they will reject it. There are no other possibilities on this issue. So, how is this connected to the subject of the Spiritual divide? Easy. If there are universal laws, then there must be a Law-Giver. This Law-Giver is God. If there is a God, then a person will either seek Him and His Laws, or they will reject Him and His Laws. In other words, a person either seeks to be Lawful, or they choose to be Lawless. As a result, everything we think and do as individuals falls into one of these two categories — everything.
The first side of this division is that of Lawfulness, but this is a bigger issue than just the Ten Commandments. It is all of God’s Laws combined: His Laws governing logic, mathematics, language, physics, economics — even morality. Whenever a person seeks to learn these laws, accepts them and then tries to live in obedience to them, then that person is said to be living a ‘righteous.’ This is because that person is trying to live obediently by staying on the right side of God’s Law. Now, this does not mean that such a person will never make a mistake in understanding God’s Laws, or that such a person will never violate the laws he does understand correctly, because they will. Everyone, no matter how ‘righteous,’ eventually breaks one of God’s Laws. Scripture calls it sin. Interestingly enough, the word, ‘sin,’ is derived from an ancient archery term meaning ‘to miss the mark.’ It may not seem like it, but this ancient meaning of the word, ‘sin,’ is not only connected to the Spiritual divide between Lawful and Lawless, it can serve as an indicator as to whether or not a person’s character is Lawful or Lawless.
If a person is lawful, then they will possess a certain degree of humility and will accept personal responsibility for their actions. This is because they have accepted that they are not the master of this universe, they know they never will be, and that they are accountable to the True Creator. This is why they recognize the Laws that govern this world: because they recognize the Law-Giver and His authority over everything — including themselves. This is part of what humility s all about: the act of submitting one’s self to a higher authority. In this case, that is God and His Law. Such a person has a sincere love for God’s Laws, and because Truth is part of God’s Law, that person will have a love for truth. A Humble person with a love for the Truth is capable of recognizing violations of God’s Laws. They can see it in others, as well as themselves. Because such a person is humble and has a love of Truth, they are also teachable. This means, if they do not see a wrong at first, or if they are mistaken about something, others can show them the wrong and they will acknowledge it. This is all part of a constant process of seeking, learning about and then embracing God’s Laws, and trying to live in harmony and obedience with them. We call this persistent pursuit to live according to God’s Law, ‘righteousness,’ and it is connected to things such as virtue, honor and moral character. People who make a habit of living this way are Lawful. Yes, they may ‘miss the mark,’ but they will correct their mistake and seek to get closer to that mark the next time.
Then there is everyone else: all those who reject God and His Law. These people are lawless, but this can be the confusing part. Many of them will appear to be just and righteous, but it is only an appearance. They are hypocrites (which actually means ‘play actor’). TO make matters even more complicated, there are two main divisions of lawlessness. There are those who follow false gods, and those who claim not to believe in or follow any god at all. Even these claims are signs of lawlessness.
First, we have those who follow false gods. If there is one set of un-changing law in this universe, then there is only One Law-Giver. However, according to Scripture, there are many gods with a small ‘g’ (you need to read the book I suggested in my post, UNDERSTANDING SCRIPTURE: It Starts By Learning The Biblical Worldview, because the Scripture actually do say this!). These small ‘g’ gods are the Princes behind the Principalities mentioned in the Psalms, as well as the Books of Daniel, Ephesians and The Revelation of Jesus Christ. They are real, and they have been given authority over the different nations by the One True God. The problem is, these spiritual Princes are lawless, themselves, so they lead the people under their authority into lawlessness. o, while these people may believe they are worshiping the true god, in reality, they have been deceived by the Spiritual Prince who was assigned to watch over them and to teach them about the True God. The end result is that the people in this category of lawlessness often appear to be very religious and righteous, but they are — in reality — following a false god. This means they obey a false law, which — ultimately — makes them lawless in the eyes of the True God.
Then there are the lawless people who claim not to believe in any god. These people are the most blind of all. Whether people realize it or not, we all worship a god. Whether it is the One True God, a false god or ourselves, we worship a god. And this is where so many go wrong. Sadly, this includes many people who sincerely believe they are following the True God, as well as many who believe in false gods. I say this because there are many who claim to believe in a god, yet they do not accept or obey the teachings of their faith. Instead, they either pick-and-choose what they will accept, or they re-write their own commandments according to their own desires, and even then, they often cannot live according the the rules they created for themselves. This also applies to people who claim to be Atheists. They may claim not to believe in any god, but in reality, they see themselves as their own god. No matter what the specific case, every person who has created their own rules is worshiping themselves and, because they are not the True Law-Giver, everything they claim to believe in is lawless. Even if they appear to be righteous, they are not — because everything they believe in and everything they do is ultimately based in rebellion to the One True Law-Giver and His Law.
I understand that others may disagree, but, for me, this understanding explains everything I see people doing throughout the whole of history. Not only does it explain it, but it does so in a consistent, rational way that can even be used to determine a person’s true motivations and predict the end result of their ideas. It has helped me to understand why I see so much in common between the ‘Left and Right,’ and ‘Liberals and Conservatives.’ It is because there can be lawful and lawless people in both groups. In fact, there can be lawful people who have made a mistake and appear lawless, and lawless people who appear lawful in both groups, as well. When you count up how many of us there are, and how all of us can be lawful or lawless, or mistaken, or hypocrites,… Well, it becomes easy to see how things can easily appear to be much more complicated than they actually are. The rick is to just learn and accept the eternal laws of this universe, as well as the Law-Giver. Once you do that, all you have to do to determine whether a particular person is lawful or lawless by nature is to observe what they say and do and compare it to what Scripture has to say. If a person habitually speaks or acts against Scripture, they are most certainly lawless. But, if they are habitually in obedience to, or can be corrected when they make a mistake, then they are most likely lawful. It is a simple, rational and consistent way to approach the difference between all of us because it is in agreement with God’s Law. So, for me, it really does come down to this question:
Are my words and actions lawful or lawless?
If I know my Scriptures, the answer to this question will be obvious. Those answers might not always be easy to accept, especially when I discover I am acting lawlessly, but they will tell me everything I need to know about what I am doing and what I should be doing. And, when I find I need to make a judgment regarding another person’s words or actions, I’ll have a reliable guide by which I can help me judge righteously.