Imagine the following scenario: A priest say that the icon on the altar told him to tell the people: Molech says you should sacrifice your child by fire or be stoned, and as you can see from the speech bubble here, the icon says you should obey the priest. Any properly God-fearing Israelite would dismiss this as nonsense. You literally made up the whole thing. The icon is just a piece of painted parchment either you or someone else drew, it doesn’t say anything, and nobody gave you this command, you just plucked it out of the thin air. There is no Molech behind the painting..
Now imagine this other scenario: A judge says that this piece of paper tells him to tell you the following: The Law/Constitution says that you are required to pay taxes to the government. In the light of the previous scenario we should ask ourselves, what law? What is this law that we should obey it? All we see are a couple of squiggly lines you drew on this piece of paper! Now, suppose the judge were to say, no no, I didn’t write these words, the Founders wrote this document, and so you should obey what it says. However, why does that give you a reason to obey the those words? That just tells us that someone else made up the words, not that the piece of paper was not made up at all. Suppose the priest of Molech said, no no, I didn’t make this icon of Molech, Beelzebub the painter made the icon, so you should obey it. That’s ridiculous, so what if we knew that it was Beelzebub who made the paper/icon? Why should we obey it? Does Beelzebub prove that there’s a Molech behind the painting?
Now, the following line of response might occur to you, suppose the judge were to say, I’m not asking you to obey “the law”, as an inanimate object, I’m asking you to obey the Founders who wrote the law, this piece of paper reveals what the Founders want, but it is the Founders you should really be obeying. While this line would evade the charge of idolatry (I’ll elaborate more later), it is however prohibited by the Founders themselves. As John Adams expressly said of the purpose of a constitution: “to the end it may be a government of laws and not of men”. The very meaning of rule of law, according to Adams and the subsequent common law tradition, expressly precludes the government of men. There’s no human being behind the squiggly lines of the piece of paper, the squiggly lines is not meant to be a mere instrument or means of revealing what concrete actual particular men want or intend. America is not the government of the Founders, it is supposed to be the government of law as opposed to men. (Thus even the answer of “obeying the People” with capital P does not work, the People still is composed of men, and the Constitution is not meant to be merely an instrument of the masses.)
If this analysis is correct, then there’s no qualitative difference between obeying “the Law” as an inanimate object sans humans beings, and obeying icons or idols, also inanimate objects without life. Both the judge and priest of Molech pretends to tell you that there’s some mysterious force behind the icon, statue or squiggly lines, issuing orders from the legal ether. But they literally are making it all up, “the Law” no more says anything than do icons or statues. Even if you painted speech bubbles on an icon of Molech, it is still dumb, dead, it is not alive, there’s nobody home except the priest lying to you again about this icon speaking to you. “The Law”, if it is not an expression or revelation of the will of actual concrete intelligent being, is just an idol, made up by priest and judges pretending that it can speak from the Platonic heavens or issue orders from the ether, using it as a mouthpiece to manipulate men.
There is a legitimate concept of government by laws or rule by law, whereby the law is an instrument of rulership by concrete people, the king, the People, and ultimately, God. Concrete intelligent beings, their will and desires, are the sole real existents, the law only has force, meaning, and authority from someone’s concrete wishes. But the rule of law is idolatrous pagan nonsense. “The Law” no more issues orders than do painted icons do.
Man, as the Scriptures teaches us, has been made a little lower than the angels. It is right and proper for men to be subject to God, to obey other intelligent beings made in the image of God, representing the dominion of God, and to angels (and even we shall judge the angels). It is beneath the dignity of man to be subject to abstract nonsense and constructs like idols, icons, and squiggly lines on pieces of paper. To the one who seeks to command, bears the burden of command, idolatrous “law” and paintings displaces the burden of command to pieces of paper, while the deceiver jerks the strings from behind the scenes, evading the responsibility.
I would go further and argue that even “principles” themselves are constructs which should have no meaning other than the will of those who stipulate those concepts. The Bible does speak of the powers and “principalities”, however the “principalities” are not benign but actual spiritual forces in the heavenly places. There’s someone behind the principles, and it best be subject to Christ.