Sunday, April 19, 2009

Calvin and "Natural Law"

I decided to post some comments I recently made to a question posed to me referring to a previous post called, "Natural Law is NOT Our Standard".

The question goes like this: "Do you totally disagree with John Calvin's statements in these excerpts found here?:

My Answer: No, not at long as I am interpreting Calvin correctly. I believe the majority in the Church in modern times have taken these thoughts of Calvin to an extreme that was not meant. I could be wrong, but I see Calvin here making clear points that so-called natural law IS God's law as written on the hearts of men universally, just as Romans chapters 1-3 indicates, and then imposes the same standard to civil govermment in Romans 13:3-4. Calvin's whole point I believe, is one of equity. He is careful to point out that the standard of all equity, no matter "who" makes a social/civil law, is based on God's standard of equity. Therefore, if these social/civil laws do not conform to the standard of God, they are no longer equitable, nor valid, but are instead, a code of ethics designed for thieves and murderers bent on undermining the very nature of God and man both.

Calvin did not expound on my later point here, but his whole premise would imply such, just as Romans 13:3-4 implies the same. I believe Calvin does make my later points in other writings of his such as in his sermons on Deuteronomy, but his thoughts on "natural law" here, and his thoughts on all men being subject to God there, do not contradict themselves, they are simply 2 sides of the same coin. (See also, Gary North's "Was Calvin a Theonomist?")

I am no expert on Calvin by any means and have only read some of his work in partiality, I am just trying to answer your question to the best of my current ability. I think my biggest problem with "natural law" is how it is embraced by the Church as an "excuse" to judge matters of this life and the heathen world apart from the standard of God...(even though both Calvin and Romans teach the exact opposite on this topic). I've seen this attitude consistently in the Church and in my own experience and to me there is no justification for it other than a sinful desire within the Church to act out of human wisdom and understanding, prefering pragmatism over true equity. This is the core belief and standard of the religion of humanism and should have no quarter within the Church. The only way to combat such heresy, sometimes apostasy, is with the standard of God, not with human wisdom and reason.

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