Reason and morality are prior to the law

Published May 2, 2023

WORLD Opinions

The opening chapters of the Bible reveal three elements of creation order that are necessary for human civilization.

These pillars, revealed in Genesis 1-2, are basic ingredients to survival and flourishing. A sane and just society would recognize them. Indeed, in times not so distant, our society—and its laws—did make that acknowledgment.

The first is the very fact of our existence implies that the lives of human beings are the result of divine action. To be human, by definition, is to live, which expresses itself in the desire of those alive to continue living. A decent society will respect the human person and afford to him or her the ability to develop and live.

The second element the earliest two chapters of Genesis teach is that human beings are not an ungendered species. We are male and female. Male and female are fixed categories, and at every point of our existence our lives are mediated through either male or female embodiment.

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Andrew T. Walker is the managing editor of WORLD Opinions and serves as associate professor of Christian ethics at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also a fellow with The Ethics and Public Policy Center. He resides with his family in Louisville, Ky.

EPPC Fellow Andrew T. Walker, Ph.D., researches and writes about the intersection of Christian ethics, public theology, and the moral principles that support civil society and sound government. A sought-after speaker and cultural commentator, Dr. Walker’s academic research interests and areas of expertise include natural law, human dignity, family stability, social conservatism, and church-state studies. The author or editor of more than ten books, he is passionate about helping Christians understand the moral demands of the gospel and their contributions to human flourishing and the common good. His most recent book, out in May 2021 from Brazos Press, is titled Liberty for All: Defending Everyone’s Religious Freedom in a Secular Age.

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