chapter  34
Law
ByDANIEL N. ROBINSON
Pages 11

Historically and until relatively recent times the rules of law found in various cultures and ages have been based on or justified in terms of foundational beliefs of a religious nature. Even in the world of classical Greece, though the city-states never hosted an official and doctrinally orthodox religion, neither was any city-state entirely secular. Theism in the broadest sense has been integral to the civic dimensions of life in all cultures and civilizations that have left a clear record of the sources and binding authority of their laws. From the earliest law codes to the expressly secular statutes of the modern nation-states, legal and theistic elements have been interwoven. Thus, in the Prologue to his Code (c.1790 bce) Hammurabi declares that he was sent by Marduk, patron god of Babylon, to rule the people and protect their right of property. Mosaic law (twelfth century bce) claims similar divine origins. Although China followed a somewhat different course after the widespread adoption of Confucianism, the earlier dynastic periods recognized the emperor as “Sun King,” the ultimate mediator between heaven and earth, and the judge of all things lawful and unlawful.