VI - THE GREAT DELUSION - II
Early in the eighteenth century BCE the Babylonian law code was written
called the Code of Hammurabi. The best surviving copy is on a
relatively large 'stele' and contains 282 laws controlling many aspects
of society such as Religion, Military service, Trade, Slavery and the
duties of workers.
The Code of Hammurabi stele, ca. 1792-1759 BCE, at the Louvre
[P1050763]; at the right a closeup of the popular image atop the stele.
This stela was discovered at Susa in 1901 by Jean-Vincent Sceil
(1858-1940), French Orientalist, and is inscribed with the Code of
Hammurabi, the laws of the kingdom. Hammurabi sits enthroned at top of
King of Babylon for 42 years, Hammurabi claimed divine authority for
his laws. There was some control of worker's wages and ascribed
penalties for shoddy work; about one third of the laws address familial
relationships, including inheritance and divorce. One provision
actually proscribed the removal of judges that made incorrect or unjust
decisions - a feature that might appeal to some today. [If a judge try
a case, reach a decision, and present his judgment in writing; if later
error shall appear in his decision, and it be through his own fault,
then he shall pay twelve times the fine set by him in the case, and he
shall be publicly removed from the judge's bench, and never again shall
he sit there to render judgement1|.]
The stele referred to above is written in earlier Akkadian cuneiform,
which leads one to wonder if it follows on the heels of earlier
efforts. There are a few law codes known prior to Hammurabi's, but none
quite so complete or broad-ranging in society. The Code of Hammurabi
was written so that any citizen could read and understand what was
expected of him1|.
The Hammurabi Code has a number of laws that would be considered
'moral'. For example, the penalty for theft was death; if one places
something of value with another he should sign a contract and have it
witnessed; anyone bearing false witness [against a woman] should be
judged and have a mark placed
on their brow; if a man surprise his wife
in flagrante delicto with
another man, both should be tied and 'thrown
in the water'; if a man sleeps with a 'child wife' who has never known
a man and still lives at home with her father, the man shall be put to
death and the woman found blameless; if a man abandons his wife but
later returns to claim her she has no obligation to take him back; a
man who separated from his wife was required to pay child support - as
well as returning her dowry; if a wife gave her maid servant to her
husband to bear children, the man can take no other wife, and if that
maid servant holds herself as equal to the wife the husband cannot sell
her, but she remains a servant; if the maid servant bears no children
the wife may then sell the servant; incest by a father was forbidden
with a penalty of exile; incest of a son with the mother carried a
penalty of both being burned; if a man put out the eye of another then
his eye would also be put out [an 'eye for an eye'] - likewise a 'tooth
for a tooth'; if any one hires an ox, and God strike it that it die,
the man who hired it could swear by God and be considered guiltless; if
a female tavern keeper should take corn instead of money for a drink,
and the value of the corn is larger than the price in coin, 'she shall
be convicted and thrown into the water.'
Interestingly, when a conflict arose between two litigants, one was
required to 'swear before god' which, if he did so, then decided the
issue in his favor - even if the claim for damages later proved false;
such was confidence in a public 'fear of God'.
Aristotle, the Greek philosopher and writer is quoted in his
Politics as saying that it is
better to be ruled by law than by a
person. Today we divide the 'law' into civil law, criminal law, common
law, tort law and a variety of other nuances. It is obvious from the
Code of Hammurabi that such distinctions were not particularly
considered as separate before a Babylonian judge of the time.
In today's cultures 'religious laws' can raise contention and strife.
The best recognized religious law historically in Western tradition is
known as 'The Ten Commandments', which shares wide popular awareness
with the Code of Hammurabi. The term 'Ten Commandments' was first
coined by the Geneva Bible, 1660 CE.
Moses with the two tablets of
the 'Law' bracketed by the Chinese philosopher Confucius and the Greek
lawmaker Solon as seen
on the Eastern Pediment of the Supreme Court Building in Washington,
D.C. The image is intended to highlight the source of the law in
In one sense at least the Ten Commandments are not really 'laws'; the
Hebrew Scriptures terms them as the 'ten statements'. They serve as the
foundation of Jewish law: the Halakha
['walking'], which the Jews say
contains 613 mitzvoth
['ordinances'] from the books of Moses, as well as Talmudic and
rabbinic laws. There is no doubt that the commandments serve to provide
a moral code as a basis for
the law, much the same as the Code of
If 'Thou shalt not kill' seems more civil than moral, certainly 'Thou
shalt have no other gods before me' is surely a commandment towards the
moral; similarly 'Thou shalt honor thy father and thy mother' and 'Thou
shalt not covet thy neighbor's house'. While the latter two are a state
of mind, murder is an open act that affects the whole community.
The Greek city-state of Athens in the sixth century BCE developed the
first 'democracy', allowing the common citizen to directly participate
in its government and laws. The political path was strewn with
boulders. Democracy in Athens is best known from the period of
Pericles. Since the goddess Athena was the patron of the city,
religious mores and practices were implied in the law. After Pericles,
democracy declined and was finally suppressed by the Macedonians,
Philip and Alexander the Great.
Early Roman law was bonded to religion and religious practice. However,
as the city-state grew to empire, Roman law became shaped by
'professional' jurists. The Corpus
Juris Civilis was instituted by
Emperor Justinian the First in 529 CE, and survived in the Eastern
Roman Empire through the middle of the fifteenth century CE.
In Western jurisprudence mention must be made of the Magna Carta in
1215, rewritten in 1297. Lord Alfred Thompson Denning (23 January, 1899
– 5 March, 1999) described it as 'the greatest constitutional document
of all times – the foundation of the freedom of the individual against
the arbitrary authority of the despot2|.'
The original document more
accurately described the independence of the landed gentry from
arbitrary monarchic rule. While it was partly motivated by the
independence of the Papal church, and repeatedly involved Rome in
English politics, the Magna Carta can be generally said to be bereft of
any moral codes.
John Adams, Gouverneur Morris, Alexander Hamilton, and Thomas Jefferson
around table; 'Leaders of the Continental Congress' by Augustus
Tholey, ca 1894. [Library of Congress:
After the founding of the American Constitutional Republic, John Adams
said in a speech to the military in 1798, 'our Constitution
only for a moral and religious people.' In another instance he said
statesmen 'may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion and
Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom
can securely stand2a|.'
In signing the U.S. Constitution Gouvernor Morris stated, 'I believe that religion
is the only solid base of morals and
that morals are the only possible support of free governments.'
Jeremy Bentham (15 February, 1748 – 6 June, 1832) and John Austin (3
March, 1790, – 1 December, 1859) put forth a philosophy in the first
half of the nineteenth century - somewhat prior to but contemporary
with Charles Darwin - called 'positivism', which claims that the 'real
law' is entirely separate from 'morality'3|.
Positive law states what
is - 'the penalty for murder is...' while moral law states what ought
to be - 'a citizen ought to avoid public drunkenness'.
Carl Schmitt (11 July, 1888 – 7 April, 1985), a German political
theorist and professor of law, rejected both positivism and the idea of
the rule of law; he advocated a jurisprudence of the exception, which
denied that legal norms could encompass all of political experience. He
cut his philosophical teeth during the Weimar Republic; in 1933 he
enthusiastically joined the Nazi Party and reportedly died an
unrepentant Nazi theorist.
Today 'post-moderns' see a new evolution
of philosophic and political
thought: nihilism - the
belief in nothing. It is said that Søren
Kierkegaard (1813–1855) set the foundation for an early form of
nihilism which he called leveling.
He describes it this way, 'Leveling
at its maximum is like the stillness of death, where one can hear one's
own heartbeat, a stillness like death, into which nothing can
penetrate, in which everything sinks, powerless4|.'
leveling as the process of
suppressing individuality to a point where
the individual's uniqueness becomes non-existent and nothing meaningful
in his existence can be affirmed... which certainly tends to describe
much of contemporary life. In the socialist state the individual hardly
exists at all, but is 'property of the state'. Modern complex societies
also infringe upon the same self-identity.
Kierkegaard differs from the modern interpretation of nihilism, which
states that there was never any meaning, purpose or value to begin
with. When the post-modern [whatever that means] individual feels the
desperation of not existing,
the appeal of something intangible, like
faith in Christ, takes on a
whole new meaning.
History: We Should Have Paid
Does the above vignette appear to be evidence for evolution of the law?
Read what the ancient Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus (37 – ca. 100
said about what happened at the Tower of Babel following the flood of
the sons of Noah were three, - Shem, Japhet, and Ham, born one hundred
years before the Deluge. These first of all descended from the
mountains into the plains, and fixed their habitation there; and
persuaded others who were greatly afraid of the lower grounds on
account of the flood, and so were very loath to come down from the
higher places, to venture to follow their examples.
Now the plain in which they
first dwelt was called Shinar. God also commanded them to send colonies
abroad, for the thorough peopling of the earth, that they might not
raise seditions among themselves, but might cultivate a great part of
the earth, and enjoy its fruits after a plentiful manner.
But they were so ill
instructed that they did not obey God; for which reason they fell into
calamities, and were made sensible, by experience, of what sin they had
been guilty: for when they flourished with a numerous youth, God
admonished them again to send out colonies; but they, imagining the
prosperity they enjoyed was not derived from the favor of God, but
supposing that their own power was the proper cause of the plentiful
condition they were in, did not obey him.
Nay, they added to this
their disobedience to the Divine will, the suspicion that they were
therefore ordered to send out separate colonies, that, being divided
asunder, they might the more easily be oppressed.
Now it was Nimrod who excited them
to such an affront and contempt of God. He was the grandson of Ham, the son of Noah,
a bold man, and of great strength of hand. He persuaded them not to ascribe it to God, as if
it was through his means they were happy, but to believe that it was their own courage which procured
that happiness. He also gradually changed the government into tyranny, seeing no other way of
turning men from the fear of God, but to bring them into a
constant dependence on his power.
He also said he would be
revenged on God, if He should have a mind to drown the world again; for that he would build a tower
too high for the waters to be able to reach! and that he would avenge himself on God for
destroying their forefathers!
Now the multitude were very
ready to follow the determination of Nimrod, and to esteem it a piece of cowardice to submit to God;
and they built a tower. . . 5|
Notice carefully the parallels with today's Western cultures. God
commanded them... Now, as then, people are encouraged to
'commandments' of God, because some fanatic made them up as 'stories',
because they no longer apply, or due to outright hostility towards the
Divine. Josephus says that God was concerned that they might raise
seditions, but people refused to believe that God had their best
interests at heart, that He wanted them to enjoy the fruits of the
earth. They believed that God wanted them to migrate to 'low ground' in
order to slay them in another flood.
. . . they were so ill
instructed, that they did not obey God, for
which reason they fell into calamities. . . In our times we
that the educational system is badly failing, that the media
information organs are withholding important information - or
misstating it negatively. We fall into worse and worse calamities as
our dependence on a loving God continues to diminish. Due to media
suppression of information many people today do not know the extent of
the persecution of the Christian church all throughout Western
Poorly informed people say, 'If God is a loving God, why would He send
people to Hell?' The Bible makes it clear that God 'sends' no one to
Hell. Isaiah 5:14 states, 'Hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her
mouth without measure . . .', and Isaiah 14:9 explains, 'Hell from
beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming. . .' Hell
enlarges its mouth constantly because people are pressing to get in...
they are 'coming' of their own choice. Christians tell these people,
'If I am wrong I have just wasted my time; if you are wrong you face a
Jewish / Roman historian
Flavius Jospehus in a somewhat fanciful rendering appearing in the
translation quoted here by William Whiston.
. . . they, imagining the
prosperity they enjoyed was not derived from
the favour of God, but supposing that their own power was the proper
cause of the plentiful condition they were in, did not obey him
. . .
Our founding fathers in the United States encouraged us to constantly
thank God for our blessings and prosperity. The Western education and
information institutions are dedicated to pushing secular humanism and
the idea that everything good derives from the 'government' as a result
of our clever choices in the polling booth. Yet, when things go awry,
people are encouraged to curse God.
. . . Now it was Nimrod who
excited them to such an affront and
contempt of God. He was the grandson of Ham, the son of Noah, -- a bold
man, and of great strength of hand. He persuaded them not to ascribe it
to God, as if it was through his means they were happy, but to believe
that it was their own courage which procured that happiness . .
Western 'charismatic' political leaders scare their constituents into
believing that if they are removed from power all the benefits that
accrue due to government policy will be lost. Even when the whole
economic deception teeters on collapse, like one or two European
economies in 2011-12, the people are encouraged to violence to maintain
their 'free gifts'. There is no call to prayer and faith.
. . . He also gradually changed
the government into tyranny, -- seeing
no other way of turning men from the fear of God, but to bring them
into a constant dependence upon his power
. . . More and more we see
Western governments turning to oppressive actions against the Christian
church in order to strip any faith in God and encourage it to give way
to manufactured fear. A century ago, the Christian church dominated
Western politics and culture; today the church is on the run, fighting
rear actions just to maintain its survival. The more the church digs
in, the worse the 'official' attacks on it grow. Judaism and Islam
seemingly face these 'official' perils in the twenty-first century to a
Christianity appears to be the greatest threat in contemporary Western culture.
Along with the diminishing of the Christian church, freedom is also
diminished in American society as the founding fathers warned. As was
seen in Nazi Germany and in Stalinist Russia, it is impossible to
oppress a portion of the population without threatening the rest of the
population, holding them at bay with fear. Similarly, the family - the
foundation of all societies and essential to a Christian up-bringing -
must be undermined, replacing family security with government
'official' security, a security that can either be tendered or
withdrawn contingent on individual reception. In America today the
public school system is lobbying to feed the children all three meals a
day, relieving the parents of virtually all responsibility for their
children and binding the children to dependence on the government for
their survival. The relief of cost and responsibility will seduce many
parents to relinquish their children to government control.
. . . Now the multitude were very
ready to follow the determination of
Nimrod, and to esteem it a piece of cowardice to submit to God .
Some who are captured by the lure of authority are heard saying that
Christians are 'mindless robots' that are incapable of thinking for
themselves, but blindly follow the dictates of their leaders; this is
the work of Babel: projecting your worst faults onto your opponents,
thus fooling people of the truth. Of course, it is the helpless victims
of those dependent upon the carpet-bagger
politicians that believe they
will not survive without their tyrannical leaders.
This rather pithy - if passionate -
rendering of a carpet-bagger is
by the late Brian Mór, an
advocate for Irish freedom. It
captures the essence of the
deceptive traveler come to
help the faceless and helpless
and thus to help themselves.
Why should we refer to these politicians as 'carpet-baggers'? Because
they arrive with little or nothing, help themselves at the public
trough, stuffing their bags full, and disappear into the night when all
their implanted fantasies turn to naught.
It would appear that at least some things have not changed, have not
evolved. Certainly there has
been introduced some new ways of looking
at creation. Before the time of Charles Darwin there was little thought
of an universe without a Creator.
Only after such a concept was
broadcast across the population did such things arise as 'Marxism', the
'Big Bang' theory, philosophies of hopelessness such as 'nihilism',
animalistic behavior excused as 'insanity'. . .
God intervened at Babel by scrambling the languages; it is the last
'recorded' time that God has entered into world affairs with intent.
Bible prophecy indicates that the next time may be nigh.
Holman's Bible Dictionary defines the name Nimrod as 'we shall
in the Aramaic marad means
'rebel', and in Arabic to be
'boldly disobedient'. Micah 5:6 identifies Assyria as 'the land of
Nimrod.' Some relate the name to Assyrian and Akkadian nimru 'a
leopard', as 'spotted' or 'stained'. Such an association may support
Nimrod being identified as a 'hunter' and 'mighty'.
One of the Ten Commandments compels us to honor our mother and our
father. As a spirit of rebellion [nimrod]
pervades our society we can
observe the breakdown of the family and the rise of rebellious youth;
those youth feel isolated and are subject to be victims of nihilism.
Socialistic government policies only reinforce a sense of isolation
and, for some, rebellion. This suits the plans of the 'post modern'
Today Christian preachers entreat from the pulpit, 'They are the Ten
Commandments, not the ten suggestions!' The comment points towards the
modern rejection of moral values as being opposition to the oppression
by the minority. Such is the dynamic of the Babel phenomenon:
re-labeling terms to suit a deception, redefining the language.
[All web links acquired in Summer
1| The full translation by L.W. King (1915) of the Code plus the
Prologue and the Epilogue text,
boastfully written by Hammurabi, can be read
2| For example, see Rights and Responsibilities: Civic Duty and the
Rule of Law, Denning lecture;
Master of the Rolls, Inner Temple, 23
November, 2009. Also see:
2a| John Adams, letter to Zabdiel Adams, 21 June 1776
3| It will not perhaps surprise the reader that Jeremy Bentham pushed a
philosophy of 'separation of church
and state', a right to divorce,
decriminalization of homosexual acts and abolition of slavery and the
death penalty - certainly a 'forward-thinking'
4| Søren Kierkegaard, The Present Age,
translated by Alexander Dru with Foreword by Walter
Kaufmann, p. 51-53; (1949).
5| Flavius Josephus, The Antiquities
of the Jews, Book I, Chapter IV (ca. 94 CE); translated by
William Whiston, A.M.; Kregel Publications;
6| Trent Butler, et al., eds., Holman
Bible Dictionary, Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville, TN; (1991)