Pastor's Blog

What Is Natural Law (and why is it important)?

“For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So they are without excuse.” Romans 1:19-20

 

What is natural law? Natural law is the idea that there are certain truths that are “self-evident.” The Declaration of Independence asserts, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Are there then some things that are plain and understood by all? Are there some truths that do not need to be proven by reason? The Bible certainly teaches that there are. Paul says that God’s eternal power and divine nature are seen by all, through the things God has made.

 

Martin Luther said that the best statement of natural law was the Ten Commandments. These outline our obvious and self-evident duty toward God and others. The first four commandments outline our duty to God: 1) There is a God who should be worshipped; 2) We must not make gods out of things that are not God; 3) God’s name must be honored; 4) We must set aside regular time to worship God. Are these self-evident? The Bible teaches that these are the duties humans owe to God. There is no escaping these duties, no matter what any person or society might say.

 

The second set of commandments outline our duty to others: 5) Honor your father and mother; 6) Do not kill; 7) Do not commit adultery; 8) Do not steal; 9) Do not lie; 10) Do not covet. Are these self-evident? They are. They seem to be “natural” and appropriate ways to keep healthy relationships with others and not infringe on the rights of others. To transgress any of these prohibitions is an obvious wrong.

 

The United States is a country ruled by laws. That we are ruled by laws means that all are subject to them. There are not laws for some but not others. This creates a fair society in which all people are treated equally. It protects us from the tendency of those in power to treat some more “fairly” than others.

 

But who determines the law? The best determination of right and wrong does not come simply from human ideas. It comes from God. When we transgress those obvious and natural laws God has set up, we do harm to our society and come under the judgment of a righteous God.

 

There are some truths that are self-evident, right, and good. This is what the Bible teaches. That certain societies may depart from them does not make them any less true.

 

With Warm Regards,

 

Bob Bohler