Bible Studies
Written by Jim Jordal   
Wednesday, 31 December 2014


By Jim Jordal

You’ve all probably heard the phrase “it’s perfectly legal” used to justify some shady legal action or business decision. It's sad but true today that many extremely damaging and downright immoral acts have been legislated into the law of the land by legislative bodies under control of the plutocratic 1 percent. Thus they can truly claim that, no matter how evil the public impact of the rule, it is perfectly legal.

Yes, it may be legal, but is it moral? When something is legal it means there are laws, court decisions, or regulatory decrees placing it in effect, establishing penalties for its violation, and discouraging opposition to it. It was created or decided by some individual or group having power to do so, even though it may not reflect the true will of the people.

Morality is something else since it relates, not to wealth or power, but to knowing and conforming to universally accepted principles of right conduct, or natural law. These moral principles arise out of antiquity and the religious and cultural experiences of people as civilizations formed out of chaos. Occupying the top of the pyramid of moral values and behavior is of course the well-known concept called the “higher law,” or the law of God, which transcends all human law and is the ultimate source of what we view as “right” or “wrong.”

Moral authority is the power accruing to people using and acting upon principles of higher law. Mohatma Gandhi used his great moral authority to topple the British Empire in India, as did Martin Luther King to loosen the grip of racism and oppression on African Americans. Unfortunately, moral authority in our leaders is sorely lacking today as money and power trump all concepts of right and wrong.

Systems of domination develop special languages to avoid moral blame. The military uses “collateral damage” to justify people killed or damage done in military actions. The idea is, “We didn’t want to do it, and we don’t like it, but it was unavoidable if we were to achieve our strategic goals. It was perfectly legal, so we did it.”

Predatory corporations use “it was the market” to achieve similar protection from blame for their actions damaging millions of people, entire nations, and often the planet itself. Employees of these corporations say, “I had to do it because I was ordered to,” even when a small amount of opposition would likely have altered the action.

So, what does God say? In Psalm 94:20 he says, “Shall the throne of iniquity, that devises evil by law, have fellowship with you? And in Isaiah 10:1a he says “Woe to those who decree unrighteous decrees...” So according to the Author of all Wisdom it is possible for humans to devise laws and decrees unrighteous in scope and evil in operation. This curse is what we endure in many phases of life today.

An example is that six years after the so-called “recovery” from the recent economic collapse and recession began, the vaunted benefits of more jobs and increased spending seem not to have reached the bottom half of our population. Why not? Because anti-labor laws and union-busting regulations have worked together to deny labor their fair share of the profits of growth. Power has gravitated from workers to owners, along with great wealth, since money follows power.

God's principles of Jubilee justice require that the wealth of the earth be shared equitably, or fairly. So laws enabling corporations or wealthy individuals to accumulate far more than their reasonable share of the world's wealth would be judged by God as “unrighteous decrees.” This is not communism, as some say, but simply justice and righteousness. We don't seem able to understand this because we persist in substituting human knowledge for the revealed wisdom of God. And we don't understand it because by-and-large our churches don't preach it and our institutions of learning don't teach it.