I have recently been taking time for some much needed reflection on the law. I've worked through questions like: What is law? What is the purpose of law? What can law teach me about the nature and character of God? How do I properly integrated my understanding of law, its purpose, and its execution into a fundamental and systematic biblical worldview?
Against the backdrop of these questions I have some thoughts I though worth sharing:
LAW n. 1. The regime that orders human activities and relations through systematic application of the force of politically organized society, or through social pressure, backed by force, in such a society; the legal system Black’s Law Dictionary, 9th ed..
"The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether." Psalm 19:7-9 (NASB)
"No human society has ever been able to maintain both order and freedom, both cohesiveness and liberty apart from the moral precepts of the Christian religion…. Should our Republic ever forget this fundamental precept of governance…this great experiment will then surely be doomed." - John Jay, First Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court
to preserve, promote, and protect relationships.
Law is, in its primary sense, a standard duly established and promulgated by a delegated authority in conformity with the laws of nature and nature’s God, in whom all authority is ultimately vested. In its most familiar context, government is that authority. The point I have asserted here is well stated by Roger Scructon in his article titled “The Good of Government.” The following is an excerpt from that piece:
Scructon’s worldview (based solely on the article linked above) seems ultimately incompatible with that of the Christian. However, he rightly apprehends the government as the guarantor (not the grantor) of human freedom. We cannot not be deceived into a belief, as the sovereign citizen movement has, that Rousseau was correct in suggesting that we are “born free.” Government is not an impediment to human freedom from which one must be unshackled. Rather, it guarantees human freedom by legitimate force through the authority vested it in, not by men, not by itself, by the author of the natural law.“Government is a search for order, and for power only insofar as power is required by order. It is present in the family, in the village, in the free associations of neighbors, and in the “little platoons” extolled by Burke and Tocqueville. It is there in the first movement of affection and good will, from which the bonds of society grow. For it is simply the other side of freedom, and the thing that makes freedom possible.”
Scructon argues in his article that “the human individual is a social construct,” noting the fundamental transformation of political and anthropological suppositions, the individual being a hallmark of modern philosophical thought. He appears to assert, I think correctly, that humans are not free “in the state of nature”, but “by nature,” i.e., in accordance with the natural law. He says that this is “because we can become free, in the course of our development,” (emphasis in original) which necessarily involves relationship with others. Kant’s categorical imperative commanding us to treat rational beings as ends only and not as means does so because real relationship (a prerequisite for humanity) can never be forced.
Law exists because the family, and not the individual, is the fundamental and irreducible basis of humanity. Relationship is fundamental to human existence, and since, now, humans exist in a state of brokenness, law has been established to promote temporal freedom from the bondage into which we are born.
For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:3-4, ESV)
 Leo XIII, Libertas præstantissimum: AAS 20 (1887/88),597; cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, STh I-II,90,1.