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Thread: Answering an objection that God's law is written on our hearts

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    Answering an objection that God's law is written on our hearts

    Romans 2:12-16 teaches that even though the Gentiles do not have the Law, they instinctively do the things of the Law. They show that the Law was written in their hearts. Moreover, their conscience bears witness against them. One objection that people make to this is that different people have different beliefs about what is right and wrong. If everyone has the Law written in their hearts, everyone would have the same beliefs about what is morally right and wrong. Some people think that homosexuality is ok, but others do not. How would you answer this objection?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaxb View Post
    Romans 2:12-16 teaches that even though the Gentiles do not have the Law, they instinctively do the things of the Law. They show that the Law was written in their hearts. Moreover, their conscience bears witness against them. One objection that people make to this is that different people have different beliefs about what is right and wrong. If everyone has the Law written in their hearts, everyone would have the same beliefs about what is morally right and wrong. Some people think that homosexuality is ok, but others do not. How would you answer this objection?
    The knowledge of good and evil, which we inherit from our original parents, which is the cause of our sinful nature and so also makes us self condemned before an infinitely holy God, was and is God knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 3:22) needs to be understood in contrast to God's law being written in our hearts do to the new birth (Jeremiah 31:33; Romans 3:31).
    . . . the Gospel of Christ, for it is [the] power of God to salvation to every [one] believing, . . . -- Romans 1:16.

    . . . that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: . . . -- 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4.

    Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: . . . -- 1 John 5:1.

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    I suspect Paul was thinking of some kind of "natural law," that is universal. For documentation that there is actually such a thing, there's an interesting appendix to C.S. Lewis' book "The Abolition of Man."

    Various religious traditions vary a lot on how their conceive of the divine, redemption, etc. But there's more agreement -- though certainly not complete -- on how people should treat each other.

  4. Amen KingsGambit, Teallaura amen'd this post.
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    In addition to what hedrick said, I'd encourage you to read Romans 1 as well where Paul accounts for why people engage in such behavior.
    I want something good to die for to make it beautiful to live.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hedrick View Post
    Various religious traditions vary a lot on how their conceive of the divine, redemption, etc. But there's more agreement -- though certainly not complete -- on how people should treat each other.
    I've seen this thought before. I find that many people that argue all religions worship the same God tend to minimize the differences in the first part and emphasis the second part. I personally don't believe all religions worship the same God because of the vast differences in the conception of the divine, redemption, etc.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaxb View Post
    Romans 2:12-16 teaches that even though the Gentiles do not have the Law, they instinctively do the things of the Law. They show that the Law was written in their hearts. Moreover, their conscience bears witness against them. One objection that people make to this is that different people have different beliefs about what is right and wrong. If everyone has the Law written in their hearts, everyone would have the same beliefs about what is morally right and wrong. Some people think that homosexuality is ok, but others do not. How would you answer this objection?
    True, everyone should have a good idea about what is right and wrong. There are some real hard liners about what is morally right and wrong. When reading scripture, there was a question posed to Jesus and in that question "this ruler or this man" (depending on what book of scripture you read this from) asks, " "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" and Jesus responds back by saying, ""Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good--except God alone."

    The next comment that Jesus tells this man, is this - "20 You know the commandments" ... ‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not bear false witness, honor your father and mother."

    Jesus is telling this man you know them - or in another passage Jesus tells the people, "what does the law say?" or "how do you understand the law?" either way. What is remarkable is that Jesus wants to know 'how' man interprets the law. How is the law understood - from within. The man continues with I have kept these laws since I was a boy! Which we all know that they are recited everyday - morning, afternoon and evening. Then Jesus said to this man, sell everything you have and come and follow me! Again, the question is posed - What does God require of me! He requires that His commandments shall be upon our heart (Deuteronomy 6:5, 6) - and out of the New Testament the people approach Jesus and again ask, "28 Then they inquired, “What must we do to perform the works of God?” 29 Jesus replied, “This is the work of God: to believe in the One He has sent.” 30 So they asked Him, “What sign then will You perform, so that we may see it and believe You? What will You do?… and Jesus simply answers, "This is the work of God: to believe in the One He has sent.”

    The ending is the answer, and it came from the apostles - "Who then can be saved?"..it is the same question on everyone's mind. Who can interpret the law if it is suppose to be "written" on our hearts (mind/soul). Are we doing the work that God requires - or - as in the New Testament version, "What must we do to do the works God requires?" Does the scripture read - law? It says, "works". Scripture doesn't say what law should I follow to do God's work or out of the law what does God require? In another passage, it does beg the question "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[c] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

    Out of 613 commandment - The above question was answered very basically, "To Love the Lord your God" - does it ask how to love God? that is by the law? We know it instinctively, within a human way. What is the catalyst to help "generate" that Love for God or how do we know how to show God our Love - 2 Maccabees said it best, "3 May he give you all a heart to worship him and to do his will with a strong heart and a willing spirit. 4 May he open your heart to his law and his commandments" - and how is this done? John 14, "26But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have told you. 27Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled; do not be afraid.…
    Last edited by Marta; 05-29-2017 at 04:35 AM.

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    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by hedrick View Post
    I suspect Paul was thinking of some kind of "natural law," that is universal. For documentation that there is actually such a thing, there's an interesting appendix to C.S. Lewis' book "The Abolition of Man."

    Various religious traditions vary a lot on how their conceive of the divine, redemption, etc. But there's more agreement -- though certainly not complete -- on how people should treat each other.
    I agree that Paul is talking about some kind of natural law. God has implanted in every person a knowledge of what is morally right and morally wrong. However, since we are born sinful, we can have a twisted notion of what is right and wrong.

    There is agreement about certain things such as torturing people just for fun is wrong, racism is wrong, genocide is wrong, and so on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaxb View Post
    I agree that Paul is talking about some kind of natural law. God has implanted in every person a knowledge of what is morally right and morally wrong. However, since we are born sinful, we can have a twisted notion of what is right and wrong.

    There is agreement about certain things such as torturing people just for fun is wrong, racism is wrong, genocide is wrong, and so on.
    Broadly speaking, perhaps. Certainly the Nazis and the KKK, e.g., did not consider racism to be "wrong."

    In the OT, YHWH did not regard genocide as "wrong" in any universal and absolute sense.
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    I think you're exaggerating his point by saying that the gentiles "instinctively do the things of the Law." He doesn't say that they do them. He says, "When" they do them...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Obsidian View Post
    I think you're exaggerating his point by saying that the gentiles "instinctively do the things of the Law." He doesn't say that they do them. He says, "When" they do them...
    I think it's reasonable to believe based on his statement that some do.

    It's also clear from 1 that not all do, since in 1 is uses the natural law to accuse them of violating even what ought to be obvious to them about God.

    I don't think Paul would define natural law as something that everyone agrees on. The argument in 1 is rather that it's clear enough from the world that everyone *ought* to be able to see it.

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