Natural Law

The Protestant Reformers and the Natural Law Tradition

"Although it is decidedly true that they championed a particular understanding of grace and faith that took issue with their Roman Catholic counterparts, . . . they assumed the natural law as a part of the fabric of the created order and therein maintained continuity with those across the Reformation divide." - Public Discourse

261 reads

Is natural law the answer?

When Christians consider whether and how to legislate morality, we’re immediately confronted with the fact we’re actually asking two questions:

  1. What should inform the content of public morality in an ideal sense? That is, setting present geo-political realities aside and focusing only on transcendent values, what is “the public good,” how can we know it, and to what extent should we advocate for it in the public square?
  2. How does the Church apply this public morality in real life, within the geo-political, pluralist realities that are the real world?

One way some Christians have answered the first question is to turn to natural law theory; specifically, a broadly Christian form of natural law. Is this a fruitful path?

What is natural law theory?

When we say, “natural law,” we mean it is “natural” in the sense that it reflects the nature, essence or intended form of something (X). “Law” refers to a normative dictum that explains what X, in light of its nature, should do in certain circumstances.1 This means human beings can (1) observe the nature and intended purpose of something, and (2) these observations form the basis for moral values and obligations.

3160 reads

Should Protestants Reject Natural Law? Responding to Common Objections

"Even according to Protestant traditions with the gravest views of sin, fallen human beings do not get everything wrong when thinking about morality. Since Scripture itself affirms that the created order reveals God’s moral law, Christians should not turn their backs on natural law for the sake of promoting biblical teaching." - Public Discourse

435 reads