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Friday, July 2, 2010
The gravity of the law: defy it at your own peril

THE LAW OF GRAVITY IS.  No point in discussing it, because you are not going to change it. You don't have to like it, but you will obey it -- and you ignore it at your own peril. On this, I hope, we all agree.

There are many laws that we may think that we can choose to ignore because their consequences are not immediate and obvious, but that does not mean that disobedience is without consequence. You may, for example, ingest small amounts of a toxin every day without any obvious physical costs, but, if you continue, the odds are you will pay. Consider most aging cigarette smokers.

We may appear to be able to choose not to obey many laws, but in doing so we put ourselves in jeopardy. In the case of man-made laws, we risk the justice of man. Our prisons are full of those who have done that. With or without a commandment chiseled in stone, stealing risks the wrath of man.

In the case of so-called natural laws, we risk facing the brunt of nature. Our hospitals and graveyards are filled with tightrope walkers who worked without a net, figurative and otherwise.

Besides natural physical laws, there are natural moral laws. We may think that we are free to live as we like, but not without natural consequences.

There are natural consequences to moral, or immoral, actions -- whether we realize it or not. Those who lie as a matter of course may see some temporary benefits, but in the long haul, as most of us have seen, the person who does so will live a life bereft of any meaningful personal relationship.

[I know some of you don't believe in God, but play along with me for a while, if you will.]

In the case of God's laws, we risk the even more consequential consequences defying of an eternal God. It would, I would think, behoove us to know and obey those laws, as much if not more so than the laws of man or the so-called laws of nature.

I remember hearing as a child, in regard to man's dictates, that "ignorance of the law is no excuse." Saying "Officer, I didn't see the speed limit sign" won't get you too far with most law enforcement officials. "Son, they were sitting right there. Not my job to read them to you," the highway patrol officer might say. The great majority of us would accept that as the way it is.

Most of us understand that we didn't create the laws of nature. It is pointless to fulminate at the natural order when we let go of a brick and it lands on our foot.

There are natural economic laws as real as the law of gravity. There are natural moral laws as immutable as the conservation of matter. And there is a spiritual realm more real than material universe that we can touch and feel. That's right, more real.

If there is all-powerful, all-knowing spiritual being who created the order which comprises the world we reside in, then it follows that the material realm was derived from the spiritual realm, that the spiritual realm, despite its obscurity to our physical faculties, is a higher realm than the material realm.

Here's the point. If there are spiritual laws, we would do well to find out what they are -- and we had better obey them. While defying the earthly law of gravity may be death defying, defying the even more fundamental spiritual laws may really matter.

So, what if there are laws more certain than gravity, more powerful than E = mc².  Got any idea what those laws might be?  [Here's a possibility for the first one: there is a God.]

Gary D. Gaddy always liked the bumper sticker that read "186,000 miles per second. It's not just a good idea: It's the law!"

A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday July 2, 2010.

Copyright 2010 Gary D. Gaddy

Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:00 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, June 30, 2010 10:47 PM EDT
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