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Natural Law - Does it Exist and is it Biblical? (Part 1)


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Natural Law - Does it Exist and is it Biblical?

I. The Purpose of this Study
1. Many philosophers, economists, and preachers teach that there is a "Natural Law" that is written into the hearts of men which enables them to know intuitively that certain things are right and wrong.
2. The purpose of this study is analyze the idea of the "Natural Law" from the scriptures and see to what extent it is true, and where is it false.

II. There is natural law in the sense of the laws of nature.
1. Natural law - Law n. - III. Scientific and philosophical uses. 17. a. In the sciences of observation, a theoretical principle deduced from particular facts, applicable to a defined group or class of phenomena, and expressible by the statement that a particular phenomenon always occurs if certain conditions be present. In the physical sciences, and occasionally in others, called more explicitly law of nature or natural law. The ‘laws of nature’, by those who first used the term in this sense, were viewed as commands imposed by the Deity upon matter, and even writers who do not accept this view often speak of them as ‘obeyed’ by the phenomena, or as agents by which the phenomena are produced.
2. Laws like the Law of Gravity, the Laws of Thermodynamics, and the Law of Biogenesis are all Natural Laws which God instituted when He created the universe.

III. But is there a natural moral law that all men know inherently?
1. Natural law - Law n. - ** Divine law. 9. The body of commandments which express the will of God with regard to the conduct of His intelligent creatures. Also (with a, the, and pl.) a particular commandment. a. gen. So God's (Christ's law), the law of God. b. as communicated by express revelation, esp. in the Bible. Hence occas. the Scriptures themselves. c. as implanted by nature in the human mind, or as capable of being demonstrated by reason. Formerly often the law of nature (now rarely, because of the frequency of that expression in sense 17), law of kind, natural law, the law of reason, etc. The expression law of nature (lex naturæ or naturalis, jus naturale) in Cicero, Seneca, and the Roman jurists, is ultimately derived from...Aristotle.
2. Is it true that God has implanted His law by nature in the human mind?
A. The answer is yes and no.
B. God has implanted His law in some human minds (the regenerate), but not in others (the unregenerate).
C. This will be proven in the remainder of this study.

IV. Verses that allegedly support the Natural Law theory
1. The verses that allegedly support the Natural Law idea in the Bible are taken out of context and do not refer to the unregenerate.
2. The Natural Law doctrine is derived from verses of scripture such as Rom 2:14-15, Heb 8:10, Heb 10:16, Jer 31:33, Psa 37:31.
3. These verses speak of a law written in the hearts of regenerate men, not all men in general.
A. The heart of man by nature is stony (Eze 11:19; Eze 36:26).
B. In regeneration, God gives his elect an heart of flesh (Eze 11:19; Eze 36:26) and writes His law on the fleshy tables of that new heart (2Co 3:3).
C. With the law of God written on the new heart, the elect are able to keep God's statutes and judgments (Eze 11:20; Eze 36:27).
4. Jer 31:33-34 is speaking of the New Covenant (the New Testament) that God would make with Israel who were representative of God's elect (Isa 45:4).
A. Heb 8:10-12 and Heb 10:16-17 are quoting Jer 31:33-34 showing the fulfillment of it.
B. In the New Covenant, God gives the elect a new heart in regeneration and writes the law of God on it, and forgives their sins (Heb 8:11-12 c/w Col 2:13).
C. This is done for God's elect out of every nation, both Jews and Gentiles (Rev 5:9).
D. Therefore, the Gentiles in Rom 2:14-15 are elect Gentiles to whom God gave a new heart with His law written thereon in regeneration.
i. Rom 2:14-15 is not referring to all of the Gentiles, nor to all of mankind, but only to the elect among them.
ii. This is why they could do by nature the things in the written law of God without having it -- because it was written in their hearts -- which is not the case with the unregenerate (Rom 3:9-18).
iii. These Gentiles had a conscience which accused them of sin and excused them of things that were not sin (Rom 2:15).
iv. This shows that they were regenerate because the unregenerate have a defiled conscience (Tit 1:15-16).
E. Think about it -- if the law of God is written in the heart of every man at conception like the Natural Law doctrine states, then why would God make a new covenant in which He would write His laws in the hearts of His elect?
5. Psa 37:31 is referring to the righteous, not to the unregenerate (Psa 37:28-30), and therefore is not a proof of the Natural Law written in all men's minds by nature.
6. Therefore, the verses used to support the Natural Law actually disprove it because they only refer to the regenerate elect, not to all the human race.

V. What moral laws do men know naturally?
1. The natural man doesn't naturally know to do good.
A. The natural man doesn't receive the things of the Spirit of God (1Co 2:14).
B. The carnal mind (natural man) is enmity against God and is not subject to the law of God (natural or revealed) (Rom 8:7).
i. God is good (Mar 10:18).
ii. God's law (natural or revealed) is good (Rom 7:12; 1Ti 1:8).
iii. Therefore, if the natural man is enmity (an enemy) against God who is good, and he is not subject to the law of God which is good, then he doesn't naturally know to do good.
iv. Not only doesn't the natural man know to do good, but he doesn't do good (Rom 3:12).
C. The Natural Law that all men have written in them is the law of sin in our members (Rom 7:23).
2. Let's search the scriptures and see which laws that all men know naturally.
A. Thou shalt not murder? Nope (Rom 3:15).
B. Thou shalt not lie? Nope (Psa 58:3).
C. Thou shalt seek God? Nope (Rom 3:11).
D. Thou shalt do good? Nope (Rom 3:12).
E. Thou shalt speak kindly to people? Nope (Rom 3:13).
F. Thou shalt not curse? Nope (Rom 3:14).
G. Thou shalt respect other people's property and not damage it? Nope (Rom 3:16).
H. Thou shalt live in peace with thy neighbor? Nope (Rom 3:17).
I. Thou shalt be subject to the law of God? Nope (Rom 8:7).
J. Thou shalt not envy? Nope (Jam 4:5).
K. Thou shalt not lust? Nope (Jam 4:5; Rom 7:7).
3. But they still have a conscience to tell them what's right and wrong though, right? Nope (Tit 1:15).
4. An examination of heathen Indian tribes such as the Aborigines, Inca, Aztec, Mayan, or American Indians without any Christian or Western influence will reveal that many of the "natural laws" such as "Thou shalt not kill" are not natural at all.
5. God has set the world in men's hearts which prohibits them from finding out the law of God without first being regenerated and the word of God being revealed to them (Ecc 3:11).