The Bible and the Constitution Prof. Bradley P. Jacob
Is the United States Constitution consistent with the Holy Bible? For many people today, and especially for most lawyers, legal scholars and judges, the question is both irrelevant and silly. Their answer would be a simple, “Who cares?”
Yet there are some – Christian judges, lawyers and legal scholars – for whom the question matters a great deal. It matters to anyone who follows the tradition of Thomas Aquinas, William Blackstone, and Martin Luther King, Jr., in holding that a human law that violates God’s eternal principles of justice is no law at all, and that civil disobedience is justified in such a case.
It seems to matter a great deal to Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, both committed Catholic Christians. Justice Thomas has suggested that principles of God’s law might under some circumstances force a judge to turn from strict adherence to the Constitution. Justice Scalia, on the other hand, acknowledges the existence of higher law as a guide for the people and the legislature, but maintains that his role as a judge is simply to correctly apply the positive law of the Constitution.
This seems to be a huge impasse between Christian judges who are otherwise very similar in worldview. But if the Constitution is completely consistent with God’s law, the difference melts away. Following divine justice and following the Constitution will lead down the same road.
This article attempts to answer, or at least to begin to answer, that question. First, it examines Scripture to see if there is any specifically God-mandated form of human government and law. Finally, it collects biblical principles that seem to have direct application in our understanding of law and government, and asks whether those principles are correctly reflected in the United States Constitution.
For those concerned about law in the context of truth and justice, the answers are very important indeed.
- higher law
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/brad_jacob/1/