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Before the Law - the existence of God

Many years ago while attending Arizona State University I came across a short story in one of my courses that caused me to pause and reflect on my spiritual journey. It's only natural that one reflect on their own humanity, that person behind those two windows in your skull. Who am I, who is God, how can I know he is who he said he is? What is his plan for me? I believed in God, I knew he had already done great things for me in life. But I also knew many who did not believe in him, perhaps did not believe of a God... And the allegory below captured what many young men and women; teens, contemplate.

Frank Kafka

Before the Law

Frank Kafka

Before the law sits a gatekeeper. To this gatekeeper comes a man from the country who asks to gain entry into the law. But the gatekeeper says that he cannot grant him entry at the moment. The man thinks about it and then asks if he will be allowed to come in later on. “It is possible,” says the gatekeeper, “but not now.”

At the moment the gate to the law stands open, as always, and the gatekeeper walks to the side, so the man bends over in order to see through the gate into the inside. When the gatekeeper notices that, he laughs and says: “If it tempts you so much, try it in spite of my prohibition. But take note: I am powerful. And I am only the most lowly gatekeeper. But from room to room stand gatekeepers, each more powerful than the other. I can’t endure even one glimpse of the third.” The man from the country has not expected such difficulties: the law should always be accessible for everyone, he thinks, but as he now looks more closely at the gatekeeper in his fur coat, at his large pointed nose and his long, thin, black Tartar’s beard, he decides that it would be better to wait until he gets permission to go inside.

The gatekeeper gives him a stool and allows him to sit down at the side in front of the gate. There he sits for days and years. He makes many attempts to be let in, and he wears the gatekeeper out with his requests. The gatekeeper often interrogates him briefly, questioning him about his homeland and many other things, but they are indifferent questions, the kind great men put, and at the end he always tells him once more that he cannot let him inside yet.

The man, who has equipped himself with many things for his journey, spends everything, no matter how valuable, to win over the gatekeeper. The latter takes it all but, as he does so, says, “I am taking this only so that you do not think you have failed to do anything.” During the many years the man observes the gatekeeper almost continuously. He forgets the other gatekeepers, and this one seems to him the only obstacle for entry into the law. He curses the unlucky circumstance, in the first years thoughtlessly and out loud, later, as he grows old, he still mumbles to himself. He becomes childish and, since in the long years studying the gatekeeper he has come to know the fleas in his fur collar, he even asks the fleas to help him persuade the gatekeeper.

Finally his eyesight grows weak, and he does not know whether things are really darker around him or whether his eyes are merely deceiving him. But he recognizes now in the darkness an illumination which breaks inextinguishably out of the gateway to the law. Now he no longer has much time to live. Before his death he gathers in his head all his experiences of the entire time up into one question which he has not yet put to the gatekeeper. He waves to him, since he can no longer lift up his stiffening body.

The gatekeeper has to bend way down to him, for the great difference has changed things to the disadvantage of the man. “What do you still want to know, then?” asks the gatekeeper. “You are insatiable.”

“Everyone strives after the law,” says the man, “so how is that in these many years no one except me has requested entry?” The gatekeeper sees that the man is already dying and, in order to reach his diminishing sense of hearing, he shouts at him, “Here no one else can gain entry, since this entrance was assigned only to you. I’m going now to close it.


Before the Law to me was a clear narrative of human life. We come to a point in our lives in which we seek purpose and order, yet we are obstructed from this by our own minds (our gatekeepers). The facts that seemingly surround us. (Proverbs 3:7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil) We want health, while declining in well being, we want youth, while growing ever aged, we need love, yet never finding it. If we do, it's ephemeral and soon to be lost.

There is no constant, permanent principle to guide us in life. We seek a reason, a Law if you will, that will help us, and thus we seek it, but discover our path is obscured by ourselves! The Gatekeeper is our own mind, our human reasoning. The Gatekeeper is all that we have, he is our companion, how can we then push past him?, we say. It would make no sense to do that; and besides he is all knowing....

We strive after the Law, the knowledge that there must be something greater than ourselves. An intuitive desire to believe in a deity, and to find the meaning of life.

We are the Man from the country- Spending everything on the Gatekeeper - pursuing any and all of life’s pursuits and pleasures to fill a void and hoping to come to an understanding of what is the meaning of life.

But we are arguing with ourselves. You are your own gatekeeper, why argue with your self? There is an entrance before the law for each one of us. And there is no harder thing for many - to believe in something that is seemingly not tangible; that science has not proven out. (I Cor 1:27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;)

If you have come to the place that God and his divinity cannot be reasoned out, have the courage, a step of faith, to ask this higher being (James 1:5) to make himself real to you so you can enter through that door and experience the divine law, God’s plan of salvation. Faith cometh by hearing, I’ve come by this way today on the way to heaven, will you go with me?

I'm going now to close it....

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