Systematic Political Science


The Origins of Societal Law with an Abridged Timeline 


Dallas F. Bell, Jr. 

Law (lex from ligare meaning to bind) is a rule which defines the conduct for an action ultimately enforced by an authority as Aquinas reflected.  Laws for the physical realm such as gravity are referred to as physical natural laws, NLP.  Laws for human behavior such as murder are natural laws related to freewill, NLF.  Societal law in natural law theory is concerned with NLF although it is acknowledged they must operate within NLP. 

The ontology or existence of law should address the following four possibilities.  Law is either an illusion, self-created, self-existent, or was created.  Violations of natural law result in consequences and cannot be an illusion.  Laws are rules or effects from a cause and cannot be self-created.  Likewise, since laws are effects which must have a cause they are prevented from being self-existent.  The cause of the effects of law has harmony among its effects and therefore has purpose.  Purpose emanates from the design of intellect.  Intellect comes from the personality of a being.  That being, ens necessarium, must transcend its creation.  Because, if there was a time when nothing existed and now something exists that something would have had to preexist its self to have had created its self from nothing.  That creator being is theologically called God. 

All laws are then theologically based in two respects.  First, the existence of law is a reality that will always be a factor.  Second, societal laws are measured on their compliance with those factors (deemed good) or noncompliance with those factors (deemed evil.)  This is contrary to legal positivists who epistemologically adjust to societal whims.  Laws must also be noncontradictory and not simultaneously this and not this.  There would be legal rights from God and limits to law e.g. the "harm principle" by John Stuart Mill.  The efficiency of conforming to absolute truth allows computers to be programmed by a logic code, provides the needed measurement for labor exchange in complex economies, and determines the direction for court decisions.  Societal law would need to encompass the rules for individuals and the institutions of family, church, business, and government along with their subsets. 

Dostoevski recognized that an ethical structure is necessary for societal interaction to accommodate justice, which requires judgment that requires punishment in a legal system.  The basic divisions in a legal system are criminal, civil, and administrative.  Statutes enacted to maintain order create criminal law.  Civil law compensates people who have been physically or economically injured.  Administrative law is concerned with the enforcement process of administrative agencies. 

Jurisprudence studies the theory and philosophy of law.  It is usually divided into the two groups of analytic jurisprudence (what law is) and normative jurisprudence (what law should be.)  The jurist Han Kelson suggested a Pure Theory of Law which would avoid reductionism to political ideology and moralizing.  This is an attempt to separate law as a phenomenon from morality and nature which is in itself an expression of morality.  That effort is contrary to the logic previously discussed and the lines of Horace's Third Ode, Leges Sine Moribus Vanae (laws without morals [are] useless.)  Those efforts were somewhat further discounted by the Critical Legal Studies movement that among other things saw all law as political.  Thereby, confirming the proof that societal law originates from the theological context of good or evil. 

Law then needs to define behavior such as murder and declare its punishment.  It must be either theist and comply with the God of the first cause of all natural law and provide immutable standards of justice that give hope or nihilist which doesn't provide immutable standards of justice and fosters hopelessness.  Oddly, the latter illogical approach is often accepted to psychologically suppress the reality of being eternally accountable to the authority of the infinite God of creation.  That holy God gave a logic system which has been historically proven immutable--the Bible.  The law contained therein has withstood unprecedented scrutiny and yet has proven valid for thousands of years.  Its truth is accepted or rejected and untruth believed to fill the vacuum.  Those who have added to the Bible or taken away from its completeness have created untruth.  Solomon said that unjust people are an abomination to the just and the just are an abomination to the unjust or wicked. This explains why the good and just who conform to God's law have difficulty coexisting with the evil and unjust who do not conform to His laws.  This teleological struggle is most evident in analysis of the historical origins of societal law.           


------An Abridged timeline of societal law------

(Attempts have been made to accommodate disputed dates among scholars.  Dating assumptions of scholars are based on the chosen theological belief for when time began.  Additional extrapolation of specific theologies and subsequent societal law is expected. ) 

The major theological beliefs for when time began. 

Around 4000 B.C.

Judaism, Zoroastrianism
Christianity, Islam, Baha'i


Billions of years ago

Satanism, Hinduism, Jainism
Buddhism, Sikhism, Evolutionism
and others


The biblical account of physical natural laws recorded by Moses.
Day 1--God created light.
Day 2--God created the firmament.
Day 3--God separated the continents and created plants.
Day 4--God created the sun, moon, and stars.
Day 5--God created the animal life in the water and in the air.
Day 6--God created land animals and humans.
Day 7--God rested. (This act is the precedence given for the 4th commandment regarding the Sabbath written in Genesis by Moses.)


3941* B.C.--Adam and Eve created in Eden, Mesopotamia. (*Dated by Moses' genealogical records in the Old Testament of the Bible.  Archbishop Ussher died in 1656 A.D. and estimated the date to be 4004 B.C.  The Septuagint, Greek version of the Hebrew Old Testament, dates at 5315 B.C.)

3940 B.C.--Adam and Eve violate God's law and are exiled from Eden.*

3880* or 3875 B.C.--Cain murders Abel and is exiled for breaking God's law. (This is more evidence of God's law or natural law of freewill being informally known.)

2285 B.C.--Noah worships God near the mountains of Ararat after God judged the earth with a flood.* (This event is echoed in the folklore from the Australian aborigines to the North American Cherokee.  The Ussher date is 2348 B.C. and the Septuagint is considered to be 3246 B.C.)

2160 B.C.--Babylon conducts census for taxation and builds the tower of Babel. 

2100 B.C.--Satanism, whose symbol is a snake or goat, uses human sacrifice, cannibalism, vengeance.

2100 or 2050 B.C.--Ur-Nammu's Code, Sumeria. (trial testimony and victim damages)

1995 B.C.--Abraham is born.* (widespread agreement on this date)

1896* or 1890 B.C.--The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by God with fire from heaven.

1700 B.C.--Hammurabi Code, Babylon. (commerce, slavery, marriage, theft, punishment; an eye for an eye concept)

1500 B.C.--Hinduism, India.

Around 1500 B.C.--Gambling is a crime in Egypt.

1356* or 1526 or 1571 B.C.--Pharaoh has Hebrew male babies murdered.

1280-880 B.C.--The Laws of Manu, India. (contracts and criminal law)

1275* or 1445 or 1491 B.C.--The Ten Commandments by the Israelite, Moses. (The formal natural laws of freewill, ordinances, and punishment which included either death or compensation to the victim by the criminal.  They cover the behavior of individuals and the institutions of family, church, business, and government and their subsets.)

1025-926 B.C.--Saul, David and Solomon have a unified Hebrew monarchy.* (dates vary)

1004* or 1056 B.C.--Saul consults a witch and God punishes him with death by suicide.

900 B.C.--Hebrew King Asa purges the sodomites and destroys idols.*

868-847 B.C.--Asa's son Jehoshaphat establishes regional courts and a supreme court in Jerusalem.  He purges sodomites and Baal worshipers.*

763 B.C.--Eclipse recorded by Assyrians. (most agree on this date)

628-527 or 600 B.C.--Zoroastrianism, Persia.

624 or 621 B.C.--Draco's Code in Athens, Greece. (harsh punishment called draconian)

600 B.C.--Lycergus Law in Sparta, Greece. (murdered deformed children)

599-527 B.C.--Jainism, India.

593 B.C.--Solon's Code in Athens, Greece. (reformed Draco's law)

580 B.C.--Taoism, China.

563-483 B.C.--Buddhism, India.

551-479 B.C.--Confucianism, China.

536 B.C.--The Book of punishments, China. (limited punishments)

451-448 B.C.--The Twelve Tables, Rome. (established a class society)

400 B.C.--The Hippocratic Oath, Greece.

375 B.C.--Plato's Republic

Around 350 B.C.--The Chinese code of Li K'vei. (theft, prison, model for T'ang Code)

331 B.C.--Alexander captured Egypt and established law.

330 B.C.--Aristotle's Politics

313 B.C.--Edict of Milan, Rome. (religious freedom)

287 B.C.--Hortensian Law, Rome. (plebiscites and the senate)

6* or 4** B.C.--Jesus the Christ is born to a virgin, Bethlehem. Jesus' human genealogy to Adam is recorded in the New Testament of the Bible. (**Dated by Josephus.) 

5* or 4 B.C.--Herod (74-4 B.C.) has male infants in Bethlehem murdered to kill Jesus.  

Ending of the B.C. period and beginning of the period A.D. (There isn't a 0 year.) 

28--Jesus said that unless one believes Moses one does not believe him.*

28--The beatitudes by Jesus at the Sermon on the Mount.*

29--Jesus confirmed the law to love God with all one's heart, soul and mind and thy neighbor as one's self.*

30--Jesus is crucified and resurrected. Christianity is expanded.* 


53--Paul's letter to the Corinthians tells Christians to not go before pagan courts for disputes.  Instead, Christians are to judge their own matters according to God's law.

54-68--Nero is the Roman emperor and married a teenage boy.

100--Shinto, Japan.

112-113--Pliny and Trajan, Bithynia. (Christianity is a capital crime)

313--Constantine makes Christianity the religion of the Roman Empire.

529--Justinian Law, Byzantine. (books codified Roman Law, Corpus Juris Civilis)


590--Roman Catholicism

602--Laws of Aethelberht (Anglo-Saxon code of law)

604--The Seventeen Article Constitution of Japan. (Buddha beliefs)

618-907--Taoism is the state religion of the Tang Dynasty.

651--Islam Shiites and Sunnites separate.

653--T'ang Code, China. (501 articles that list crimes and punishments.)

890-892--Laws of Alfred

924-932--Laws of Aethelstan

1054--Orthodox Christians and Roman Catholics separate.

1095-1291--Crusades result in as many as 100,000 deaths.

1200--Zen Buddhism

1215--Magna Carta, England. (freedom of church, fair taxation, prison, habeas corpus, commerce)

1215--Fourth Lateran Council forbids priests to participate in trial by ordeal.

1233--Inquisition established.

1274--Aquinas writes Summa Theologica.

1456--Gutenberg Bible

1469-1538--Sikhism, India.

1517--Martin Luther leads the protestant movement with his 95 Theses.

1525--Tyndale translates the New Testament of the Bible into English.

1603--King James I, England, asserts divine rights of kings.

1650--Tibetan Buddhism

1651--Hobbes' Leviathan

1689--English Bill of Rights (limited taxation)

1690--Locke's Second Treatise

1765--Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England (4 volumes)

1776--The American Declaration of Independence (all men are created equal, inalienable rights to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness)

1787--The Constitution of the United States of America

1790--U.S. Bill of Rights (freedom of speech, press, religion and trial by jury, cruel and unusual punishment, unreasonable searches and seizures)

1791-1792--Paine's The Rights of Man

1804--Napoleonic Code, France. (private law such as property, wills, contracts, liability and obligations) Quebec in 1865, Germany in 1900, Switzerland in 1907

1817-1892--Baha'i, Shia Muslims of Iran.

1830--Mormons, U.S.

1845-1879--7th Day Adventists, U.S.

1859--Evolution (Darwin's Origin of the Species)

1863--The Red Cross

1864--The Geneva Convention (human rights in war)

1865--The Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (abolished slavery)

1870--Jehovah's Witnesses

1879--Christian Science


1917--Lenin and later Stalin's policies in Russia will result in the murder of over 25 million people.

1924--The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were found.  Their excavation decades later revealed they had been buried under over a foot of ash tested to be unlike other ash material. 

1925--U.S. Scopes Monkey Trial began the movement to make evolution the official religion of the U.S.

1930--Black Muslims, U.S.

1931--Nevada legalized prostitution and gambling.

1933--Hitler's policies in Germany will result in the murder of over 6 million people.

1946--The League of Nations name was changed to the United Nations.

1947-1956--Dead Sea scrolls were found in Qumran. (verified that the current Bible version had been translated correctly)

1948--The nation of Israel was established.

1948--The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, GATT. (United Nations agreement on world trade)

1949--Mao's policies in China will result in the murder of over 85 million people.


1959--Castro's policies in Cuba will result in the murder of hundreds of thousands.

1962--U.S. court decision to prevent students from praying in schools.

1963--First U.S. lottery, New Hampshire.

1968--Hare Krishna in U.S.

1973--U.S. court decision to murder unborn babies.  In the first thirty years over 40 million are dead.

1975--After the U.S. military withdrawal in Southeast Asia, the Khmer Rouge murder over 2.5 million people.

1980--U.S. court decision to remove a copy of the Ten Commandments from a school following the reasoning that the students might believe the commandments.

1987--Slavery and genocide of Christians by Muslims in the Sudan.

1987--U.S. court decision that only evolution can be taught in government schools.

1993--U.S. Attorney General declares that the biggest enemies of the U.S. are people that believe the Bible is the word of God.

1998--Oregon law legalizing suicide.

1998--International Criminal Court, ICC.

2000--Law to legalize euthanasia in the Netherlands

2001--Law allowing sodomite marriages in the Netherlands.

2003--U.S. court decision to end all U.S. sodomy laws.

2005--U.S. court decision to allow a Florida woman to be starved to death because her quality of life was not deemed worthy.

2005--U.S. court decision to allow not only the government but private citizens to take private property from owners for their own private use.

2006--U.S. President vetoed a congressional bill for stem cell research which was to extend research to allow the parts of babies to be nefariously harvested.


Eschatological beliefs for the future are based on the chosen theology.