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Causality & the Illusion of Choice

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December 12, 2022

Laws & Causality

While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest…shall never cease — Genesis 8:22

The world is built on laws and principles. A law is, in essence, a series of “if this, then that”, defining the framework for causality, the relationship between cause and effect. Laws make life predictable to a certain extent as they are a series of statements that clearly define action and reaction, choice and consequence. We see this in Deuteronomy 30

Two things to quickly note about Laws;

  1. To a certain extent, Laws are neither good nor bad in and of themselves (except for some man-made laws); they are neutral. They tend to bear no emotion (friendly nor malicious). They are, and how one views them would depend on what side of the law/consequences they are on, whether desirable or unwanted.
  2. Laws have relationships with each other and often have interdependencies (like a neural network). Some cases can be superimposed on each other, provided all the conditions for superimposition or overrule are met. The same way the Laws of Aerodynamics override the Law of Gravity, provided the conditions are met, is similarly that the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus overrides the Law of Sin and Death (Romans 8:2)

Laws can be broadly divided into two; Nature Laws and Man-Made Laws.

Nature Laws are woven into the fabric of the earth and every created thing. Nature Laws are, as the name implies, a function of nature and cannot be tweaked or changed; they can only be observed/discovered. The study of these Nature Laws in their various fields is referred to as a science (or the sciences). We will highlight a few examples. We have Physics as the science or study of physical laws (gravity, escape velocity, motion, etc.), we have Biology as the science or study of rules that govern living things (hence the Mr NIGER D observation), we have Psychology/Social Sciences as the study of laws that govern social interaction (with observations like FOMO, Group Think, Cognitive Biases, etc.)

Nature Laws can not be changed or tweaked, nor are they respecters of persons. They do not care about feelings/emotions, context (unless the said context is woven into the Law), and blissful or willful ignorance. They do not pander to “individualized realities” or “individualized truths”; they do not pander to opinion or emotion; they stare at the cold hard facts — should the premise on the “if” side of the Law be fulfilled/met, the “then that” would take effect, no questions asked. Regardless of whether it’s a sad or happy day, what goes up must come down. Be it man or woman involved in the “going up”, the rate at which said “coming down” would occur is defined. With Nature Laws, we may only sometimes understand the why or the how. Still, from observation (and a scientific approach), we can establish the relationship between action and reaction.

As we see in Ecclesiastes 3:2, there is a time for everything, and while the time between action and reaction may vary with Nature’s Laws, rest assured, every action does have a reaction; what is sowed would be reaped. It may take corn three (3) months to mature for harvest and apples an entire year; regardless, in the fullness of time and according to the governing Law, the harvest is coming, and you can see it coming.

Man-made laws, as the name implies, are made by man for man. The way I see it, most man-made Laws (or rather the good ones) are like a hedge to prevent the unwanted consequences of Nature Laws.

For example, the no-smoking Law on aeroplanes is not there because the aviation industry hates smokers. Chemical Laws dictate that if a flame comes into contact with a combustible material, that material will get lit (quite literally). In addition, science has established the impact of second-hand smoking (i.e. if you are a second-hand smoker, then this, this, and this is likely to happen). Man-Made Laws were created as a hedge to prevent the undesirable consequence of these Nature Laws, a way of protecting society and humankind from satisfying the “if this” side of laws that yield unpleasant effects — like putting a fence around a ledge to prevent people from falling off. Man-made laws require a man to create and implement the consequences/reaction, and because man is malleable, these laws are often malleable and can be changed. In fact, they are changed now and then — sometimes yielding positive effects, other times yielding adverse effects.

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked [He will not allow Himself to be ridiculed, nor treated with contempt nor allow His precepts to be scornfully set aside]; for whatever a man sows, this and this only is what he will reap.— Galatians 6:7

Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil— Exodus 23:2A

If fifty million people say something foolish, it’s still foolish.— Anatole France

Man-made laws are malleable; because man makes them, they sometimes pander to opinion, emotion, “individualized truths or realities”, propaganda, or the mob, and herein lies their flaw. Man-made laws are made as a hedge against Nature Laws, and paying too much attention to the pandering to man while simultaneously losing sight of the Nature Laws governing those actions is bound to have disastrous ends. This is because Nature Laws “no send your papa” — they’re no respecter of persons or emotions. They are the actual Laws; man-made laws are simply a hedge.

The truth is that a stupidity, or blissful ignorance of Nature’s Laws, even after having passed through a million mouths, does not become any less foolish. Nature Laws do not operate in a democracy; if a million people or the majority believes a foolish thing, it neither makes that thing true nor less foolish. The united voice of millions cannot lend the slightest foundation to falsehood.

With man-made Laws, a little digging can uncover the Whys or the goal of the Law. On the premise of immutable Nature Laws, one can confidently predict the impact of said Man-made Laws. Because man makes man-made laws, and to err is human, there are some man-made laws with undesirable consequences. It is relatively easy to identify these “bad laws” once viewed from the lens of nature Laws — are bad because they yield unwanted effects.

The Illusion of Choice

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. — Galatians 6:7

In the reality of the existence of Laws, i.e., statements that define action and reaction, cause and effect, and choice and consequence, the idea of “freedom is choice” is not without the burden/chain or shackle of consequence. It would be shortsightedness (to particular extent foolishness) to make decisions based on the actions themselves or immediate impact and not on the long-term result.

It would be shortsightedness to, on the premise of “immediate effect”, “emotion”, or even compassion, institute man-made laws or imbibe practices and actions that ignore the mid to long-term effect of Nature Laws. This approach may sound harsh, and it may appear void of compassion or “understanding of persons” in the immediate, but this has the potential to save lives. We see such a scenario play out in the “handing over to Satan” (1 Corinthians 5:5), in the sparing of the rod that spoils the child (Proverbs 13:24), in the pruning of the branch which produces (John 15:2), in the seed falling to the ground to die, so it does not abide alone in the end (John 12:24). It may be hard, it may “hurt” in the immediate, but you are preserving life, the light afflictions producing an incomparable eternal weight and glory.

We view our slight, short-lived troubles in the light of eternity. We see our difficulties as the substance that produces for us an eternal, weighty glory far beyond all comparison, because we don’t focus our attention on what is seen but on what is unseen— 2 Corinthians 4:17–18

The challenge is that we often lose sight of the consequences because they are not always immediate, which results in the illusion of choice, that we are choosing between actions when, in fact, we are choosing between consequences. Making decisions on the face value of the decisions themselves, or in other words, “just because”, is too close to foolishness for comfort — because, for every action, there is a reaction; there are Laws and principles that govern everything.

It starts with the Why, what’s the goal? Why this? And then examine the consequences. It’s the same advice I give to changing rules that pre-date you and have no reference material; proceed with extreme caution, especially when you need help understanding the why until you know the relationship between action and reaction that resulted in its existence.

Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set. — Proverbs 22:28

On a side note, a child who puts their hand in a fire and feels the heat would not need to be told to be wary of flames. Sometimes face the consequences; like our mothers’ whips, it resets the brain and provides clarity and fast.

Frame Your World

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. — Joshua 1:8

I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that. — Deuteronomy 30:19

My son, keep your father’s commandment and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. Bind them always upon your heart; tie them around your neck. When you walk, they will guide you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you — Proverbs 6:20–22

You bear the responsibility for framing your world with your actions, and you bear the responsibility of adding to your faith, firming up knowledge on the immutable Laws of God and using that knowledge to frame your world. In closing, before you take that action/step before you make that decision, please review it and ask these two (2) questions.

  1. What’s the source of your opinion on the matter? Is it the function of a man-made law? Or a Nature Law?
  2. What is the mid to long-term effect of this action, and what defines the relationship between action and reaction? What is the perspective of a Nature Law?

There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. — Proverbs 14:12

One of the easiest and quickest ways to solve a maze is to avoid trial and error and simply walk back from the endpoint. Similarly, rather than look to the actions and the steps to take, look to the consequences as determined by the Laws and walk backwards to order your steps and actions. And guess what? The one place you can find most of the needful Nature Laws is in the Bible! So dig deep! It’s more for your good than it is for His.

But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom, and continues to do so — not being a forgetful hearer, but an effective doer — he will be blessed in what he does. — James 1:25

Do have a blessed week!

Itoro Nehemiah

@_it0r0

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