Perhaps I am not Lawful Neutral. Adam maintained in his last comment that we need to stop thinking of God as Lawful or Chaotic, Good or Neutral, and instead think of God as Love. He went on to state that a LN would know neither love nor God because they are too bound by rules. Instead, a LN is doing their best to avoid such… emotions? attachments? This wasn’t clear in his comment, and I don’t want to put words in his mouth (or keyboard, as the case may be), but that’s how I interpreted his closing paragraphs.
As I thought about the subject, I considered how we learn to love. In the nature vs. nurture debate of human development, it is difficult to discern from whence certain parts of a human’s personality and behaviours develop. I believe that we are made in God’s image, and subsequently are capable somewhere in our core of being good and holy. Sin, however, has corrupted this and separated us from God, and during this earthly life we will always struggle against that sin. Subsequently, I do believe that humans are capable of loving from the time they are born, yet need to learn how to love unconditionally and truly, because that kind of love is difficult for us.
Maybe you learn love through having a loving family, or from having a good relationship with God. I learned it mostly from the latter and through study of subject, which highlights my Lawful Neutral tendencies I suppose. It seems a bit ridiculous to learn of love through reading, but that has played a large part in my development. Books like Tuesdays With Morrie and the Dragonlance Saga taught me of sacrifice, chivalry, and love.
Can a Lawful Neutral love? I believe they can, depending on their moral code. The key to LN is that they uphold a code or set of rules, and they interpret and cling strongly to those rules. They are a Judge, working hard to figure out what fits and what doesn’t in light of that code. Let us suppose that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is a Lawful Good God (of which I’m still not convinced, though I feel that Jonny made a compelling argument that the definition of “good” really ought to be “like God.”). Were I to set my compass by God’s star, and working hard to obey His moral codes, I would be tending Lawful Good as well. What’s more, there are some very specific instructions that belie Adam’s statement that a Lawful Neutral is incapable of love and sacrifice.
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
My code tells me I ought to sacrifice my life for others. Therefore, I must do so, and in the doing I will learn what love is. My code speaks of sacrifice and love; anyone who follows it that is truly Lawful Neutral must devote themselves to understanding these concepts. This is why I say that “the majority of our country” is not Lawful Neutral, as Adam puts it–I agree with him that many do not hold to the code the Bible presents, and subsequently they could not be LN.
Still, I do not think that God sacrifices and loves and has compassion doesn’t immediately translate to Him being Lawful Good. I suppose the question really comes down to, “Would a Lawful Good deity harshly punish disobedience?” A Lawful Neutral deity surely would, for obedience to the rules and code is what Lawful Neutral is all about. One could, as Irrelevant observed, much more easily make the case that the God of the New Testament is Lawful Good and the God of the Hebrew Bible is Lawful Neutral. But the same God is represented in both canons. The question has been raised for centuries, “What changed between the Old Testament and the New?” I maintain that nothing changed.
To give a short synopsis to that belief, I see the Hebrew Bible and New Testament as being very different collections of work. In the former, the collected books are primarily 1) God communicating to His people, and 2) stories about people who followed God. In the New Testament, we have a bit of God communicating by way of Jesus, and then a lot of interpretation about what Jesus meant by the things he said. Even here, though, we do not see a God who fails to punish disobedience, we simply see it on a more human level. Rather than God punishing the nature of Israel, we see Paul recommending that a member of the Church be cast out for breaking rules.We see in Revelations the fate of the angels who have rebelled against God and broken rules.
And yet… I am not entirely convinced myself of my own thoughts. In the end, I think perhaps God does prove Himself Lawful Good. I am reminded suddenly of a passage I read recently in the book by Walter Wink I am working through, where Wink talks of God’s redemption.
I’m going to leave off here and go read–sorry for the abrupt ending and lack of conclusion, but I think re-reading these passages and simmering the thoughts a bit will yield some good results.