Galatians 6:7-18, 5:13 Jeremiah 31:36, James 1:22, 26, 2:8, 1John 1:8, 1Cor 3:18, 15:33, 6:9, Rom 8:6-8, 13, 13:8-14, Heb 9:27, Job 4:8, Prov 22:8, Hosea 8:7, John 13:34, Matt 5:38-46,
Everyone seems to know about natural laws and the consequences of violating those laws. Take the law of gravity. You trip – you fall; you roll out of bed – you are rudely awakened; you step off a cliff – you die. Everyone knows this and everyone is incessantly accountable to working with the law of gravity to avoid negative consequences.
This is true of many natural laws. If you don’t follow the laws of aerodynamics your plane crashes. If you violate the law of thermodynamics by touching a hot stove, you burn your hand. Unless there are mistakes or accidents, people obey these natural laws 100% of the time, without fail, and without someone looking over their shoulder to ensure obedience.
Why is this true? Well…we like incentives. We like pleasure. We don’t like pain. Working with the law of gravity allows us to walk freely to a chosen location. Working with the laws of aerodynamics allows us to fly to a vacation spot. And working with the laws of thermodynamics creates a warm and cozy winter evening.
But, as bizarre as it is, there are times when we look at a natural law that is as clear and powerful as the law of gravity and just walk off the cliff as if it doesn’t even exist. We can look a natural law in the eye and defy it, disobey it, maybe even deny its very existence. What’s going on? Why do we obey some natural laws and not others?
A moment of reflection gives the answer. When the cause and effect of a natural law are greatly separated in space and time, we are more likely to violate that law. In fact, the further the separation, the more likely it is that we will ignore the consequences of that law. Sadly, we also ignore the benefits too.
The cause and effect of smoking and death are separated by years. If the cause and effect were associated as closely as the law of gravity’s cause and effect, smoking would stop instantly. Alternatively, if the cause and effect of gravity were separated by years, we probably would violate that law too. We would step off a cliff and float effortlessly believing or hoping a “cure” for smashing our body into the ground would be found before we smashed our body into the ground.
We humans can get real creative when we want something. We find ways around natural laws. Figuring out the laws of aerodynamics, for example, got us around the law of gravity. Learning about the law of displacement enables us to float tons and tons of steel in the ocean. And those who don’t like to save money found an alternative which is, in essence, a “reverse savings.” Instead of putting money in a savings account every month until you have enough to buy a boat, a “reverse savings” allows you to buy the boat then put money into a “savings” (a loan) every month – which, of course, comes with a price called interest.