Things We Will NOT Discuss
A. Whether God exists
A lonang perspective is admittedly based on the existence of a Creator who has verbally and authoritatively revealed his laws. The historic understanding of God is of an uncreated creator, a being who is both transcendent (that is, one who is not part of the creation itself, because he is uncreated) and immanent (that is, one who is not completely detached from the creation, but who actively participates in its governance). According to this view, the Creator caused the world and its most foundational laws to come into being quite apart from any human action, and still actively enforces those laws today.
In contrast, the foundational assumption of modern jurisprudence is that God does not exist, or that if he does exist, he is irrelevant to modern legal considerations. However, this is merely an assertion of philosophical preference. It is not the only, the necessary, or even the most reasonable, starting point for legal inquiry. There are many logical reasons why God’s existence should be presumed for jurisprudential purposes. However, I will explore none of these. This exercise is not an apologetic for the existence of God.
I am presuming the existence of God simply because that is the presumption of lonang, and lonang wasn’t my idea. The historic legal writers and the American founders made this assumption, and I am stuck with it because that is the system I have chosen to examine. I can’t very well examine the lonang system to see what it says about itself and reject out of hand its most fundamental assumption. Neither can you. All we can say is, “OK, if we assume the existence of God, what difference does it make?” And go from there.
B. Whether the Bible is true
The same goes for the question of whether the Bible is true. Let’s face it: the historic proponents of lonang at the very least deemed the Bible to be a reliable source of divine law, regardless of whatever else they thought about it. And that’s the presumption I will adopt for the purposes of this analysis. As my religious friends will point out, such a view of the Bible will not save anyone. Quite right: it isn’t supposed to. And it doesn’t need to.
You may disbelieve me if you like, but my only intention is to determine what the Bible says (as to divine law), and its jurisprudential implications. The truth or falsity of such matters I leave to you to decide.
C. Whether Lonang Is True
Ditto. Before we debate whether any part of lonang is right or wrong, true or false, good or bad, let’s first limit the discussion to determining what lonang is. Later on, when we know what we are dealing with, both in general and with some specificity, we can consider what implications flow from having described what lonang is.
I want to avoid, as much as possible, approaching legal issues piecemeal. Just as a square peg will not fit in a round hole, so you cannot graft a lonang concept into some other legal framework and expect it to fit. We are ultimately talking about alternative legal frameworks – complete systems of thought, not merely some favorite issues. Consequently, before any evaluation of the worth of the lonang system can be made, we must first take some care to describe the system in enough detail to determine how well it hangs together. Then, once that is done, the comparison of lonang with other perspectives (positivism, etc.) will need to be made systemically.
As a practical matter, this means I will attempt to describe, based on available evidence, what lonang is, but will not (for now) attempt to validate lonang as compared to any other framework or system of thought. I will initially only consider internal arguments from within a lonang framework as to what lonang is on any specific issue, not any external arguments on what the law is or ought to be apart from lonang. Consequently, for example, arguments as to the economic or social implications of specific laws will not be considered, unless those arguments shed light on what lonang is.
A time will come for that type of external comparison, of course, and I know that you will make such comparisons in your own mind as we go along. I simply ask that you bear with me in deferring those analyses until later.
D. General Natural Law Theory
This is not an exercise in comparative philosophy – not that such things are uninteresting, or unimportant. But I have no intention of comparing lonang with legal naturalism, legal positivism, legal realism, critical legal studies, or any of the other general legal frameworks.
Why? Because comparing this framework with that framework on a purely macro basis will not tell us anything about what lonang has to say about a given subject. And that is the goal: What does lonang say about this or that? I want to get specific, although from a larger perspective, using deductive logic and legal reasoning. I want to review the evidence, not debate policy, and see just how specific we can get.