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  • The natural law and the nature of the Church

    For those of you who aren't familiar with the concept of the natural law, i think the basic principle is that each of us is endowed with a moral code.

    In this thread i hope to discuss those who have not heard the gospel, or others who may be ignorant of certain aspects of the gospel and of the christian faith.

    This will probably involve discussing different faiths, that is why i put it in WR.

    First off i'd like to make the assumption that each of us is endowed with a moral code, or ethics to live by.

    I believe there are certain people who can be ignorant or have never heard of christianity, but who by obeying their intrinsic moral code can have an elementary understanding of God.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Jerome1 View Post
    For those of you who aren't familiar with the concept of the natural law, i think the basic principle is that each of us is endowed with a moral code.

    In this thread i hope to discuss those who have not heard the gospel, or others who may be ignorant of certain aspects of the gospel and of the christian faith.

    This will probably involve discussing different faiths, that is why i put it in WR.

    First off i'd like to make the assumption that each of us is endowed with a moral code, or ethics to live by.

    I believe there are certain people who can be ignorant or have never heard of christianity, but who by obeying their intrinsic moral code can have an elementary understanding of God.
    Interesting. Every assumption has a theory. Care to share the proof you have for this assumption? Not saying your wrong but show us what led you to this conclusion?
    Amazzin

    Obedience to God is more than a soldier obeying his commander. It is our grateful response to the Lover of our souls.

    CHURCH: Where worship is enjoyed, not endured - Grace is preached, not legalism - And Christ is exalted, not religion!



    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Jerome1 View Post
      In this thread i hope to discuss those who have not heard the gospel, or others who may be ignorant of certain aspects of the gospel and of the christian faith.

      I believe there are certain people who can be ignorant or have never heard of christianity
      False premise. The Scripture tells us God has set each person in their habitation, and has revealed Himself to them; and they are not ignorant of Him; nor have not ever heard of Him. "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened."



      Titus 2:11 "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men"

      Acts 17:24 "God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us"

      John 6:37 "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing"

      Romans 1:18 "God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen."

      Romans 2:11 "For there is no respect of persons with God....Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another"

      Psalms 139:1 "O lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee. For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb."

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      • #4
        David some of your scriptural verses are out of context to what i am arguing.

        For example.

        Romans 1:18 "God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

        My translation of the bible reads.

        Romans1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all the ungodliness and wickedness of those who suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.

        (Emphasis added)

        In both translations it states,"can be known," and "may be known." Which is future tense and suggests that they have an elementary idea of God, but can attain a greater knowledge of God.

        The natural law is the law which all men are endowed with and which is intrinsic to our human nature. This natural law or moral code is sometimes called our conscience. This is what can give us an elementary idea of a creator, because this natural law also includes the ability for us to reach conclusions using reason.

        To have a better understanding of God requires divine revelation.

        Augustine and Thomas Aquinas went into greater detail regarding these ideas.

        Scientists have also carried out studies to see if morality is universal and inate within each of us. Here is a link to a theory by an evolutionary biologist asking whether we are endowed with a moral code.

        http://discovermagazine.com/2007/may...start:int=0&-C=

        Here is a link to christian author and historian William Craig discussing the subject of morality without the existence of God.

        http://www.veritas.org/download/media/A08GAT03.mp3

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        • #5
          Originally Posted by Jerome1
          "In this thread i hope to discuss those who have not heard the gospel, or others who may be ignorant of certain aspects of the gospel and of the christian faith.

          I believe there are certain people who can be ignorant or have never heard of christianity"

          There are Scriptures pertaining to this, but for the life of me, I cannot find them right now.

          And I, personally, believe that a few of us are born WITHOUT a moral code...
          Romans 15:30 KJV 30Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me;

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          • #6
            Originally posted by menJesus View Post
            Originally Posted by Jerome1
            "In this thread i hope to discuss those who have not heard the gospel, or others who may be ignorant of certain aspects of the gospel and of the christian faith.

            I believe there are certain people who can be ignorant or have never heard of christianity"

            There are Scriptures pertaining to this, but for the life of me, I cannot find them right now.

            And I, personally, believe that a few of us are born WITHOUT a moral code...
            You are probably thinking of the following verses.

            Luke12:47 That slave who knew what his master wanted, but did not prepare himself or do what was wanted, will receive a severe beating. But the one who did not know and did what deserved a beating will receive a light beating.

            Romans10:14 But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him?

            There maybe people with mental disabilities who may be exempt, because they cannot logically conclude certain things like most other people.

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            • #7
              No, what I am thinking of is a Scripture re: the people who knew Him not...

              We had an interesting thread on this a while back, about who God will hold accountable, and why.

              But when it comes to the laws, I am clueless...
              Romans 15:30 KJV 30Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me;

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Jerome1 View Post
                For those of you who aren't familiar with the concept of the natural law, i think the basic principle is that each of us is endowed with a moral code.
                G.K. Chesterton loved children, especially learning from children. I think in this instance we can learn something from children... You don't have to teach them to lie, to be selfish, to look out for number one. From this I would not argue natural law from the specifics of a moral code, but natural law from the concept of a moral code. Even with that said, that we have this weird idea that men ought to behave a certain, we still don't.

                The existence of this idea of a moral code is much more for God than is the specifics of that morality.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Xel'Naga
                  G.K. Chesterton loved children, especially learning from children. I think in this instance we can learn something from children... You don't have to teach them to lie, to be selfish, to look out for number one. From this I would not argue natural law from the specifics of a moral code, but natural law from the concept of a moral code. Even with that said, that we have this weird idea that men ought to behave a certain, we still don't.

                  The existence of this idea of a moral code is much more for God than is the specifics of that morality.
                  Yes we all know how we ought to behave, this is not true for every moral dilemma, but generally speaking.

                  The question is what happens to someone who obeys their conscience, and earnestly believes in a creator, but does not subscribe to the Judeo/Christian God? What if they believe something different in regards to doctrine regarding the same Judeo/Christian God that you believe in?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Jerome1 View Post
                    Yes we all know how we ought to behave, this is not true for every moral dilemma, but generally speaking.

                    The question is what happens to someone who obeys their conscience, and earnestly believes in a creator, but does not subscribe to the Judeo/Christian God? What if they believe something different in regards to doctrine regarding the same Judeo/Christian God that you believe in?
                    Even Satan believes in God and he's a devil still (To steal half a quote from A.W. Tozer). Obeying your conscious, earnestly believing in 'a' creator... Doesn't cut it. If they think different about the Judeo-Christian God then they can back it up with scripture. If not, tough luck.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Xel'Naga View Post
                      Even Satan believes in God and he's a devil still (To steal half a quote from A.W. Tozer).
                      Satan knows there is a God but doesn't obey him.

                      Originally posted by Xel'Naga
                      Obeying your conscious, earnestly believing in 'a' creator... Doesn't cut it. If they think different about the Judeo-Christian God then they can back it up with scripture. If not, tough luck.
                      Thats a paradoxical argument, if they don't believe in the Judeo/Christian God how can they prove it from the Judeo/Christian scriptures?

                      What about a Muslim for example who obeys the dictates of his conscience, lives a life of charity, believes in a creator, but has never heard of the gospel?

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                      • #12
                        The point i'm making is that culpability depends on knowledge. Each of us is endowed with the natural law or conscience so we have no excuse for not obeying our conscience.

                        If i understand the concept correctly, the natural law is like a prerequisite to the eternal law, or a better understanding of the revelations of God.

                        Therefore people can be guilty of suppressing both the truth of the natural and the eternal law.

                        Obeying both the natural and eternal law brings us closer to God, willfully suppressing them distances us from God.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          As we are all endowed with the natural law(conscience) we can also receive personal revelations. Not everyone is endowed with the ability to receive and interpret revelations such as Daniel being able to interpret King Nebuchadnezzar's dream, or Joseph being able to interpret the Pharaoh's dream.

                          At the Council in Jerusalem in Act15:1-21 the disciples instruct the members of the church concerning food sacrificed to idols and fornication. Were these instructions binding on the members of the whole church?

                          Also generally speaking protestants and the Orthodox church accept the first seven councils as ecumenical and authoritative.

                          If you accept these councils as authoritative, does that mean you reject any teaching that contradicts them?

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                          • #14
                            It's alot simpler than you seem to be making Jerome.


                            When someone seeks the Lord, with their heart, they will find Him.

                            He is not very vary from any one of us.

                            Abraham, living in Chaldea amongst all the pagans, no councils, no churches, no creeds or anything there....and He was a faithful, fervent child of God.

                            It's no different than anyone along the Amazon River in Brazil, the Nile River in Egypt, or the Moon.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by David Taylor View Post
                              It's alot simpler than you seem to be making Jerome.


                              When someone seeks the Lord, with their heart, they will find Him.

                              He is not very vary from any one of us.

                              Abraham, living in Chaldea amongst all the pagans, no councils, no churches, no creeds or anything there....and He was a faithful, fervent child of God.

                              It's no different than anyone along the Amazon River in Brazil, the Nile River in Egypt, or the Moon.
                              But Abraham was given special revelation which as I believe Jerome was trying to point out very few people have. If one is not given special revelation and they follow the natural law (conscience) then is it possible to be saved.

                              Jerome answering your original question I would say that if anyone is able to worship the creator instead of the created and follow their conscience then God will have mercy on them. I would suggest looking at C.S. Lewis' last book in the Chronicles of Narnia The Last Battle where Aslan talks about anyone that worshiped Tash because they did not know about Aslan it will not be counted against them. Because if they had known about Aslan then they would have worshiped him. I am not saying that Lewis is correct, and it is important to note that he is not a theologian and never claimed to be one. But it is an interesting theory nonetheless.

                              I also have a friend that believes in Lewis' idea of Purgatory, see The Great Divorce. Because he thinks that it should/could be a place where people that have never had a chance to hear the Gospel should be given a chance to hear it there. I do not really agree with him to much on that but again an interesting idea.

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