Natural law amounts to a formal structure for legitimizing commitment to the devil’s great lie: you shall be as god, determining good and evil for yourself. Everything about it is anti-God, anti-Bible, anti-Christ. It is fallen man’s covenant with sin, death and hell; the expression of his adamant hostility towards God.
Its designated purpose among the Romanist and Enlightenment Protestants who developed it was clearly compromise with the unsaved worldview. They would engage the unsaved mind on what they mislabeled as neutral ground – the field natural science – and prove the Truth of God’s Moral Law and Christian Ethics through the instrument of fallen man’s intellect, rationality and logic. If ever there was a fool’s errand, that must have been it.
The most fundamental, foundational error in natural law thinking is man’s potential to discover any fact in nature that is a bare fact in and of itself. In other words, that there are facts in nature that are not created facts; facts discoverable in nature that do not serve the purpose of the Creator to reveal Himself that man the creature might glorify God and enjoy Him forever. As every believer should be instructed from God’s Word to know, Christ’s role as the Creator of all things is a function of His office as The (singular) Prophet Who reveals God. All the laws discovered in nature (creation) by man’s science – biology, physics, chemistry, etc., are created laws, created facts. None of them are stand-alone facts. None of them have any meaning in themselves apart from the purpose of the Creator.
This inescapable reality with regard to the material aspect of creation emphasizes the utter absurdity of attempting to discover moral truth and determine ethical value apart from God. When the natural law theologian (there’s a oxymoron for you!) agrees to reason with the unsaved man in the context of a natural world which consists of independent facts and laws – phenomena which are true in and of themselves independent of God and His purpose, any such meeting does not take place on neutral ground. The home field advantage has been ceded to the unsaved mind. The outcome has already been determined before any reasoned debate commences, because the basic assumption of the unregenerate has already been admitted – that the realm of nature stands on its own, independent of God. If that be true, then there is no inherent meaning anywhere in the cosmos, apart from the mechanical laws that govern its material functions. Any moral truth or ethical value must be read into it, not drawn from it, which is exactly what the unsaved man desires (and, so it would seem, the natural law theologian must desire the same).
The choice is not between God’s Law and natural law. It is between God’s Law and lawlessness. That which gives the veneer of legitimacy to natural law is man’s conscience God’s restraining grace. That any consensus can be reached regarding morality is a consequence of man’s conscience. Man does not come into this world a tabula rasa, but rather an image bearer of God. As such, he is imprinted with God’s Moral Law. Man has an inherent knowledge that murder, theft, adultery and lying are morally wrong. This knowledge does not rise up from the ground, nor is it the product of human investigation, it is an essential component of the image of God in man. However, because man is a fallen creature, a sinful, rebellious creature – because man is totally depraved – that divine image is distorted and disfigured. It is not reliable, not competent to lead man into truth and righteousness. It is only able to condemn and testify against his wickedness.
Furthermore, because man’s understanding is darkened – blind to spiritual truth; blind, no rather dead, to God and His truth – man twists and perverts the truth of his own conscience until he is able to convince himself that light is darkness and darkness is light; that good is evil and evil is good. It is only by the grace of God restraining the depravity of the unregenerate mind that human society is not swept away in a flood of its own wickedness. Yet the perversity of man insists that it is not God’s grace, but man’s own moral virtue that preserves humanity thanks to natural law.
Natural law is the vehicle man uses to project his own depraved thoughts about good and evil into a world he views as having no meaning beyond himself. The resulting situation is perhaps the most eloquent testimony against natural law, for that which results is not law at all; at least not in the sense of establishing any moral absolutes. No, the unregenerate mind rejects the existence of any moral absolutes – there can be nothing to permanently bind man in the role he has assumed as god. What develops is an ever-changing panorama of morals; in other words, moral relativism. The principles upon which the shifting sands of natural law morality ebb and flow are man’s collective experience and political expediency. The moral code resulting from natural law can bend any which way these winds happen to blow.
That’s why modern democracy based upon natural law is so dangerous; why the modern conquest to convert all human societies into modern democracies endangers the entire human race. But that is a another topic.
Even so, Lord Jesus, Come quickly.
– Greg Mills