The Book of Enoch and Natural Law

The Book of Enoch and Natural Law
James Scott Trimm

We read in the Book of Enoch:

2:1 Consider you all his doings of the heavens, how they do not change their orbits, and the luminaries which are in the heaven, how in the stations of their lights, that all rise and set in order, each in its season, and transgress not against their appointed order.  
2:2 Behold you the earth, and give heed to its works from first to last, how steadfast they are, how none of these things change, and everything appears to you.
2:3. Behold the signs of summer and clouds and dew and the winter, how the whole earth is filled with water, and clouds pour down rain.
3:1 Observe and see how [in the winter] all the trees wither and shed all their leaves, except four-teen trees, which do not lose their foliage but retain the old foliage until two to three years pass.
4:1 And again, observe you the days of summer how the sun burns and glows. And you seek shade and shelter before it on the burning earth; and so you cannot tread on the earth, or on a rock by reason of the heat.
5:1 Observe you all the trees cover themselves, on all of them their leaves grow green, and all their fruit is brought forth in glorious pride. Praise you, and give you heed and know with regard to all these works, and recognize how He that lives for ever has created all these.
5:2 Year to year all His works go on thus for ever, but they do all His word.
5:3 Observe how the seas and rivers together fulfill and do not change their doings by abandoning His word.
5:4 But you have changed your works and have not done the commandments of YHWH, but you sin against him with great and hard words with your impure mouths against His greatness, Oh, you hard-hearted, you shall find no shalom .
5:5 Therefore shall you curse your days, and the years of your life shall perish, and the years of your destruction shall be multiplied in an everlasting curse, and you shall find no mercy.
(1Enoch 2:1-5:5)

Enoch is expressing the concept of Natural Law.  As Paul writes to the Romans:

13 For the hearers of the Torah are not righteous before Eloah, but the doers of the Torah are justified.
14 For if the Goyim (whom the Torah is not to), from their nature do [acts] of the Torah, (while the Torah is not to them), to their nefeshot [there] is a Torah.
15 And they show the work of the Torah, as it is written upon their heart, and their conscience bears witness concerning them, as their own reasoning [will] rebuke or defend one another,
16 In the day that Eloah judges the secret things of the sons of men, according to my Good News, by the hand of Yeshua the Messiah
(Rom. 2:13-16 HRV)

Now especially within Torah Observant circles we have wrestled with what Paul is really saying here.  Recently while studying the writings of the first Century Jew Philo of Alexandria, I discovered the answer to what Paul is actually expressing here.

Philo of Alexandria taught the concept of Natural Law.  Philo taught that the universe is an effect that must have a cause, i.e. a Creator, and that this Creator has a preference for order as opposed to chaos, as expressed by the order of the universe itself.  Philo taught that implicit to the order of the universe.

And his [Moses’] exordium, as I have already said, is most admirable; embracing the creation of the world, under the idea that the law corresponds to the world and the world to the law, and that a man who is obedient to the law, being, by so doing, a citizen of the world, arranges his actions with reference to the intention of nature, in harmony with which the whole universal world is regulated.
(On Creation 3)


…the man who adhered to these laws, and clung closely to a connection with and obedience to nature, would live in a manner corresponding to the arrangement of the universe with a perfect harmony and union, between his words and his actions and between his actions and his words.
(On the Life of Moses 2, 48)

To Philo, the Torah of Moses is identical with the Natural Law which is revealed in the very order of the universe which is the Creator’s work.  Paul speaks of this very principle earlier in Romans when he writes:

17 For the righteousness of Eloah is revealed in it, from Trust to Trust; as it is written, The righteous will live by trust. (Hab. 2:4)
18 For the wrath of Eloah is revealed from heaven, upon all the iniquity and the wickedness of men–those who hold the truth in iniquity,
19 Because the knowledge of Eloah is revealed among them, for Eloah revealed it among them.
20 For the hidden things of Eloah, from the foundations of the world, by His creations; by [His] wisdom, were made evident and power, and Godhead, which is eternal: that they might be without excuse. (See Wisdom 13:1, 5, 8)
21 Because they knew Eloah, and they did not glorify Him as Eloah, and give thanks to Him: but were made vain in their reasoning, and their heart was darkened, without understanding.
22 And while they were thinking in their nefeshot that they were wise, they were fools.
23 And they changed the glory of the incorruptible Eloah, into the likeness of the image of a son of man: who is corruptible, and into the likeness of birds, and of four-footed [animals], and of creeping things of the earth. (See Wisdom 11:15; 12:24-27; 13:10; 14:8)
24 Because of this, Eloah released them, to the defiled lust of their heart: that they might dishonor their bodies by them.(see Wisdom 14:12, 24-27)
25 And they changed the Truth of Eloah into a lie! And they reverenced and served the created, more than their Creator, (See Wisdom 14:29) to whom be our praises, and our blessings forever and ever. Amen
26 Because of this, Eloah released them to the passions of shame: for their women changed the use of their sex, and did that which was not natural.
27 And also their men, thus forsook the use of women, and ran riotously in lust for one another. And man with man, they behaved in disgrace, and the reward that was just, to their error, in themselves, [they] received.
28 And since they had not determined in their nefeshot to know Eloah, Eloah released them to a mind of vanity, that they might do that which is not proper;
29 Being filled with all iniquity, and sexual immorality, and bitterness, and evil, and greed, and envy, and slaughter, and treachery, and deceit, and evil reasoning,
30 And murmuring, and slander. And [they are] haters of Eloah: insolent, prideful, boasters, inventors of evil, mindless, who are not obedient to their parents,
31 And who have no stability, and no love, nor tranquility, and no tenderness.
32 [They are] those who, although they know the judgment of Eloah (that those who act like these, He condemns to death), not only do these, but also fellowship with those who do them.
(Rom. 1:17-32 HRV)

Paul is therefore saying that the Creation itself reveals the Natural Law of the Creator, which is itself the Torah.  Paul is saying that when the Goyim follow this Natural Law which is evident in the Creation, they are showing the Torah (at least to some degree) written in their hearts, and that such persons may perform acts of the Torah without having heard the Torah.

The Book of Enoch recounts the fall of a group of angels, who fell from heaven and took human form in order to copulate with human women (1Enoch 6; Gen. 6).  Chapter 41 gives a prophecy Enoch received BEFORE this fall of angels (see 1En. 39:1). At that time Enoch says concerning the movements of the Sun and Moon:

5 And I saw the chambers of the sun and moon, whence they proceed and whither they come again, and their glorious return, and how one is superior to the other, and their stately orbit, and how they do not leave their orbit, and they add nothing to their orbit and they take nothing from it, and they keep faith with each other, in accordance with the oath by which they are bound together.
6 And first the sun goes forth and traverses his path according to the commandment of YHWH Tzva’ot, and mighty is His name for ever and ever.
7 And after that I saw the hidden and the visible path of the moon, and she accomplishes the course of her path in that place by day and by night-the one holding a position opposite to the other before YHWH Tzva’ot.
And they give thanks and praise and rest not;
For unto them is their thanksgiving rest.
8 For the sun changes oft for a blessing or a curse,
And the course of the path of the moon is light to the righteous
And darkness to the sinners in the name of YHWH,
Who made a separation between the light and the darkness,
And divided the spirits of men,
And strengthened the spirits of the righteous,
In the name of His righteousness.
9 For no angel hinders and no power is able to hinder; for He appoints a judge for them all and He judges them all before Him.
(1En. 41:5-9 Trimm Translation)

But later in the Astronomical/Calendar section we read:

“And in the days of the sinners the years shall be shortened,
and their seed shall be tardy on their lands and fields,
and all things on the earth shall alter,
and shall not appear in their time . . . .
and many chiefs of the stars
shall transgress the order (prescribed);
and these shall alter their orbits and tasks,
and not appear at the seasons prescribed to them”
(1 Enoch 80:2,6)

So we see in the Book of Enoch that when the fallen angels rebelled against the intended will of the Creator and corrupted mankind, there was a corresponding disturbance to the natural order of the universe.

The universe is rational not chaotic. The rational nature of the universe reveals “natural law” as the intent of the Creator.

Becoming a clear and unbiased thinker allows a man to harmonize his own thoughts with the divine reason (Logos) of the universe (the mind of the Creator expressed in the creation). There is only one truth, there are never two or more sets of contradictory facts. Therefore if our thinking is truly rational, it is in harmony with the Creator and His universe. A man should thus conform his desires and his will to the reality of the universe itself.

The fact that the universe is orderly and not chaotic implies providence because it suggests that reality is intended to unfold in a certain manner. Man has freewill to either conform to this providence or struggle against it, but happiness can only result from conforming to this providence, and that is the natural desire of the rational mind.

When the natural law was violated by the fallen angels and the intended will of the Creator was resisted, the result was the corruption of mankind the great flood and the binding and imprisonment of the fallen angels.

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