A law prior to the Law?
So I have been thinking about the Law and other pagan parallels to it. It seems that some seem to think that God used pagan religious concepts and incorporated them into the Law (Peter Enns, Dr. Horton, and Kline come to mind). My question is why does it have to start from the pagans and move to the Law? Why not the other way around?
It seems to me that some sort of rules for responding and interracting with God was around prior to the Law. Evidence for this is the Cain and Abel story (how would they know what a good sacrifice was or even to make sacrifices at all). It would also seem strange for God to give Moses the Law in the way He did if many of the concepts were completey foreign to their surroundings.
So if the world started Godly and had some set of rules (whether written or oral doesn't really matter to me), it doesn't seem to be a far stretch that if everyone had a culture with a specific type of religious rules that those who were pagans would adopt these rules and modify them to meet their religious views.
I personally think it is more common to see an inverse pyramid of theological beliefs (beliefs starting at one point and then spread out into an array of directions) over time versus a pyramid (an array of beliefs coming together to form a single belief over a period of time).
Am I thinking clearly or would my dog make a better seminary student at this time?
The general answer to your question is that God revealed to His creatures something of His Law, before the Law was given on Mount Sinai, in what we call the "creation ordinances."
I heard a sermon on this generally, and posted for comment and input:
It makes sense that God revealed certain things to man to obey, such as work, marriage, sabbath, etc. before the Law was particularized on Mount Sinai, and that gave mankind a basis for obedience, and a measure of his disobedience.
(This also makes all the stronger the case for a sabbath "cease" and shows it for the moral perpetual command it is).
I would suggest that you get a copy of Biblical Theology by Gerhardus Vos. The section on Genesis 1-3 will be encouraging reading.