Friday, September 29, 2006

More impressions from Burnett

Burnett expresses the need for a judicary as the court of last appeal, and that judiciary, in the civil arena, is by definition, infallible, as there is no recourse beyond it. Although it is admitted that the supreme judiciary can err, it is a judicial infallibility by the very fact that there is no further recourse after its decision is rendered.

Now this applies to the laws of this world, but what of the laws of God? There is a whole exploration of the fact that all civil law, in order to even be law, must be derived from the law of God (ie: the natural law). Thus, if a judiciary must be infallible in judging acts (the external forum) alone without regard to belief or assent (the internal forum), then the laws of God, which require both belief and assent as well as acts (internal and external forum), it is even more essential and necessary to have a judiciary posessing actual infallibility, empowered and capable to construe the Divine Law, as the consequences in this realm are of such a higher order than in the merely civil realm.

The thesis, which Burnett wishes us to consider, is: would God create a system inferior to the systems of merely human construction?

Let’s see if I can paraphrase Burnett and get his point across.

Suppose God, the Supreme Lawgiver, had created a system which did not include a judiciary as the final court of appeal, capable of construing the intent of His Law. Then, when appearing before the tribunal of the final Judge for the disposition of one’s life, to the charge of violation, the individual would answer, “How did I know I was supposed to do this, and not do that? Where was I supposed to find out?” To the retort, “from the plain words of scripture,” the defendant again could honestly answer, “Plain to you perhaps, because it was you who wrote it, but to me, an unlearned man who cannot even read the law in the language of promulgation, there is nothing plain at all about it. In fact, there are many learned men as well who claim it is plain, yet cannot come to agreement about the meaning of that which is supposed to be plain. So therefore I have done whatever I thought was right, since you left me without sure guidance.”

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