It is a very remarkable thing that Scripture does bracket together animals with men under judicial law. The occasion of the bracketing is also significant, for it takes us back to the Flood, which destroyed the antediluvian possessors of the earth. These things remind one of a very significant fact, that man holds his own present dominion over the earth as an animal rather than as a man. Thus there are certain Primeval Laws quoted in the Bible, which apply to all mankind, and are well worth special study. Unlike other laws, these ones were enunciated to the parents (Adam and Noah) of all living men; and they were announced on three pregnant occasions, all of which had to do with man's sovereignty over the earth. The first was at the Creation, when man was put in possession of the earth; the second was at the Curse, when the conditions were changed under which man might continue to possess the earth; and the third was after the Flood, when man was again put in possession of the earth. Now these laws all refer to conduct, not to worship.
There is nothing, for instance, to match the first three purely theological commandments to the Jews (Exodus 20:2-7). So long as men obey the laws of conduct—so long, that is, as they rest on the Sabbath (Gen. 2:2-3; cf. Exodus 20:8. Note the word, "remember," for the law was already in existence); so long as wives obey their husbands (Gen. 3:16); so long as the murderer is faithfully executed (Gen. 9:5-6)—men observe the Primeval Laws, and so there is no Scripture reason why they should be dispossessed of the earth, whatever gods they may worship.
This does not deny that man has, from the first, been called to live on a higher plane; it only means that his actual possession of the earth is not, at present, made dependent on his doing so.
Whatever may happen to men after death, and however much Jews and Christians may suffer even in this life for serving false gods, man as man cannot be dispossessed of the earth (so far as Scripture goes) so long as he obeys the Primeval Laws. Those Laws are placed upon the lowest possible basis—man's conduct as a creature not as a worshipper. Hence we find in Scripture that Jews might be disinherited for serving false gods; but no heathen were ever disinherited for such a reason. The Canaanites were dispossessed for their sins of conduct, not of worship. God treats man, outside the Jewish or Christian categories, as an animal. Conduct is demanded of him, not worship.
It is very significant that within the last century we have not only seen an apostasy developing from traditional Christian beliefs, but one movement after another has also arisen specifically to attack the Primeval Laws. When we talk of the "Decay of Sabbath Observance," of the "Feminist Movement," or the "Movement for the Abolition of Capital Punishment," or modern attacks upon God's Institution of Marriage, we refer to things which show that not only is our Christian era drawing to an end, but "Man's Day" itself is also doing so. We see the Christian apostasy, and man's secular revolt appearing together; just as was prophesied (against all apparent probabilities) nearly 2000 years ago. For both Pagans and Jews in those days, while resisting Christianity, still held firmly as a whole by the Primeval Laws. Nobody could have thought it probable that a world-wide secular revolt against the Primeval Laws should finally appear in company with the Last Days' doctrinal apostasy from Christian Faith. Yet it was indicated in Scripture that the revolt and the apostasy would appear together at the time of the end; and we now see them appearing together before our eyes.
Therefore, note that when that secular revolt is fully developed, and when it is clear that man, as a whole, no longer means to observe the Primeval Laws, then chaos must be logically expected.
The early chapters of Genesis make it clear that the kingdoms of this world cannot logically (that is, in strict legal justice) become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ (Rev. 11:15), until man has first disqualified himself by deliberately rejecting his own terms of tenure—the Primeval Laws! Hence the significance of these modem movements, which represent man's growing efforts to disinherit himself; and hence also the significant fact that in the opening chapters of the Revelation, we see—just before the Day of the Lord begins—God seated to Judge the earth, on a Throne surrounded by the special symbols of the Noachian Covenant (Rev. 4:3-6, etc.). For the rainbow, and the four great beasts, irresistibly recall that Covenant and the four classes of creatures with which it was made. The beasts represent the leading types of those very classes! (cf. Gen. 9:9-10).
Remember that the Noachian Covenant represents the last addition to the Primeval Laws—under the complete set of which we all come as sons of Noah, since not one of them has ever been abrogated in Scripture. Both Paul and Peter specifically reaffirmed the Law for the subjection of women, even among Christians; and Christians never questioned the point until the world at large began to do so. The appearance of such a Throne as is pictured in Rev. 4 shows how little we can trust the arguments of those misguided Christians who, would encourage such sinister movements today. John shows us not only that the Primeval Laws remain unchanged, but also that they remain the basis of Legal Judgment right up to the end of our age, by the God of Creation (cf. Rev. 4:11).
The significance of this seems unmistakable. In the meantime, however, I repeat that these Primeval Laws are Laws purely of conduct, not worship; they are Laws on man as animal rather than as distinctively man. Hence animals can be bracketed with him in them; and consequently we see that former creations as such need only have been possessed by animals. Here again we find how little the testimony of the rocks can invalidate Scripture.
A.T. Last updated 16.2.2006