Murals in Foundation Hall Depict History of Law and Mission of the Law SchoolOctober 17, 2013
Author: Dave Thompson
Six murals displayed at Liberty University School of Law in Foundation Hall outline the history of the rule of law, from the Creation of the world through present day. The paintings, by Lynchburg artist Paul Dinwiddie, went on display at the beginning of the academic year.
The first mural portrays God as the Creator and source of law, depicting Creation, the Fall, and the promise of Redemption.
The second mural includes early legal codes, beginning with the Ten Commandments that God gave to Moses, continuing with the Justinian Code, and finally displaying King Alfred the Great’s “Book of Dooms.” The Book of Dooms was the first compilation of the Common Law. It begins with the Ten Commandments.
The third mural, highlighting the beginnings of Western legal tradition, shows King John signing the Magna Carta, Puritan settlers signing the Mayflower Compact, and portraits of Johannes Gratian, Henry de Bracton, William Blackstone and Edward Coke.
The fourth mural commemorates the founding of the United States, with an early American Flag billowing over a grain field, the Committee of Five presenting the draft of the Declaration of Independence to Congress on June 28, 1776, and quotations from the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.
The fifth mural portrays an ideological battle over the rule of law. The competing ideologies with Western values informed by Judeo-Christian principles include Darwinism, Secular Humanism, and Kinseyism. These ideologies clash at the United States Supreme Court and throughout the judiciary.
The sixth mural brings us to the mission of the law school. Dr. Jerry Falwell, Sr., founder of Liberty University, prayed that one day he would witness the founding of a law school as part of Liberty University. The law school became a reality in 2004. He envisioned that the law school would train future generations in law to impact the legal academic and the culture and restore the rule of law. The Supreme Court Room is also shown in this mural, along a picture of the first inaugural graduating class in 2007 as they bow their heads in prayer during commencement. This picture is taken from the last print article featuring Dr. Falwell before his death on May 15, 2007. The Chicago Tribune article was entitled, “Falwell saw law school as tool to alter society.” The article's subtitle read, “Liberty: confronting the culture is stated goal.”
The mural designs took several years to complete. Dean Mat Staver led the design team and we assisted by Deryl Edwards. After the historical sequence was determined, the murals went through many sketches before painting began. The painting process then took a year and a half to complete.
Dean Staver commented: "The murals in Foundation Hall depict the history of law from Creation to the present. The rule of law has been undermined by ideologies which are inimical to the rule of law. The murals remind us of our mission to restore the rule of law "
Our motto is ad fontes, which is Latin for “back to the sources.” Law is a manifestation of God’s character. When the foundation of law is properly understood and applied, law is designed to protect life over death, exalt liberty over tyranny, and bring order out of chaos. But, when the foundation is destroyed or distorted, law has the opposite effect. It promotes death over life, elevates tyranny over liberty, and creates chaos instead of order. The mission of Liberty Law is to restore the foundations of law by grounding it in transcendent principles in the context of the Christian intellectual tradition in honor and conformity to the higher law of our Creator.
At Liberty University School of Law we strive to be the best in everything we set our hand to do because our actions are a reflection of the Almighty God whom we serve – the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – our Lord and Redeemer. We follow the motto often spoken by our founder, Dr. Falwell: “If it’s Christian, it ought to be better.”