Eleven Theses on Natural Law
Sex and Culture
Written by Douglas Wilson
Saturday, 05 January 2013
1. At the foundational level, natural law needs to refer what nature
teaches us, and not to what any particular men have said about it.
Natural law theorists are commentators on the text, and commentaries on a
great text always differ among themselves. We should not make the
mistake of rejecting the text because we have rejected any or even most
of the commentaries.
2. Accepting the authority of natural law in the sense I am
describing does not require a nature/grace dualism. That dualism is
found in some of the commentaries, but not in the stars. What is nature
but one vast repository of grace? And what is the grace of God but
something manifested in all of His works?
3. If we accept what special revelation teaches us about natural
revelation, we need to have some sort of doctrine of natural law. This
is because natural revelation creates the profound and ongoing moral
obligation to worship the true God.
4. The God who speaks through nature speaks in Scripture, and the God who speaks in Scripture was born of a virgin in Bethlehem.
5. Those who accept natural law in this sense do not believe that
natural law operates independently of what God has told us more
specifically in the Scriptures. Special revelation is consistent with natural revelation, but it also trumps it. Moses outranks the natural order, and Jesus outranks Moses.
6. Every form of natural law that tries to evade the exhaustive
authority of Jesus Christ over every last molecule in the cosmos is to
be rejected. But it is also true that every rejection of
natural law that tries to evade the exhaustive authority of Jesus Christ
over every last molecule in the cosmos is to be rejected.
7. If a man rejects natural law in all its formulations, but insists
that special revelation is authoritative over the public square, whether
it has been baptized or not, his error is a trivial one. But if he
insists on the "Bible only," and then restricts its authority to those
who have voluntarily submitted themselves to it, he is guilty of a
8. The most serious dualism to avoid is not a nature/grace dualism,
but rather the dualism that tries to pretend that the God who speaks in
Exodus and Romans is a different God than the one who speaks in
Andromeda and the Pleiades.
9. The list given in Romans 1:29-32
demonstrates that, according to special revelation, natural law
provides a rather extensive amount of detail when it comes to what God
will judge in us. Natural law contains considerable detail.
10. The Reformers held to a chastened form of natural law theory. So should we.
11. The current test case for all theologies of natural law is
homosexual marriage. If they allow for it, they are contradicting, in
ascending order of importance, what the Lord God has said in the Milky
Way, in the human conscience, in the law of Moses, and in the words of
our Lord Jesus Christ.