The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.
–Tacitus, Annals III 27
Back when I was in Seminary, I remember a discussion about the complexity of the Old Testament Law and its meaning for us today. And that is when it hit me—laws demonstrate immorality, not goodness. Now while this proposal may seem counterintuitive, it is an accurate statement that the more laws a people have, demonstrates how immoral the people are, not how good they are? It’s true! Think about it.
When God created Man in the Garden of Eden, there was only one simple law—don’t eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge. After that law was broken, God needed to create an entire system of laws. Why? It certainly was not to show how advanced or good the people were, but rather God’s Law was designed to illustrate just the opposite–He wanted to show how depraved Man had become.
In our own modern context, a law often gets passed only when someone does something really bad that nobody ever thought about before. Imagine, if you will, a small remote village where no woman has ever been raped and where no man has ever thought of such an evil act. Would this village have a law against rape? Nope. Only when a society experiences such evil does it find the need to create such a law. Why? Because laws are meant to govern the wicked impulses of man not the good. A complex set of laws is not indicative of an advanced people, but of an immoral people.
So the next time you see the government passing a new set of laws, don’t think that makes your society better or more righteous than another. Fact is, it probably means that your society is more evil.
The more laws, the less justice. ~ Cicero