The Eagle and Child: S1E5 – “The reality of the Law”

Symbol of law and justice in the empty courtroom, law and justice concept.

Moving on to Chapter 3 of “Mere Christianity”, Jack speaks further to “The reality of the Law”. Do we imagine a Moral Law because it is convenient to us? Or does it arise due to its good for society? In today’s episode, together with some help from C.S. Lewis, we tackle these and other questions…

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Episode 5: “The reality of the Law” (Download)


— Show Notes —

* My outline for the Chapter 3 is available here.

* This week, Matt and I were finishing off some Heineken. If you’d like to suggest what we should drink in coming episodes, please tweet us @pintswithjack. Remember, Matt is a very cheap date!

* According to Jack, the fact that there’s this Moral Law and that we don’t keep it is “odd” and this has consequences. What does this tell us about the Moral Law and what does it tell us about reality itself?

* Stones and trees aren’t “good” or “bad”. They are the way they are because they follow the laws of nature and could never have been otherwise. The laws of nature are only descriptive, not prescriptive. They describe what stones and trees do whereas the Moral Law describes what humans should do.

* Stones and trees are only “good” or “bad” in the sense that they are convenient or inconvenient to us, in relation to a particular use we have in mind. Is it the same with the Moral Law? Are “right” and “wrong” simply a question of convenience? No, because…

(1) Inconveniences can be identical, yet we regard one as “right” and another as “wrong”
(2) We might not be inconvenienced at all, yet still regard something as “wrong”
(3) Sometimes “bad” behaviour can be very convenient to us
(4) Sometimes our own “good” behaviour is immensely inconvenient

* When talking about the inconvenience of the Christian life, Matt and I referred to the book The Cost of Discipleship by the Dietrich Bonhoffer. When we make it to Book IV, in Chapter 8, Lewis will discuss the question “Is Christianity hard or easy?”

* Some people might say that the Moral Law is simply what pays society as a whole. While a “fair” society does indeed help people to flourish, this argument rather misses the point. Unless it affects me directly, why should I care about what’s good for society?

* Matt and I discuss Game Theory in relation to the idea of society good. Matt describes The Problem of the Commons and I then I talk about The Prisoner’s Dilemma.

* Doesn’t it make sense that a good God would write on our hearts a Moral Law which would encourage our flourishing? (Aside from Aries in the movie Wonder Woman, of course)

What are your thoughts about this article?