As Christians, we affirm that Scripture is our supreme guide to truth and righteousness. Some wish to go further and assert that it is our only guide. But how then can we account for the remarkable insight and moral integrity that many unbelievers seem to display? Indeed, how to account for the myriad ways in which believers themselves navigate the world based on knowledge and intuition not always derived from Scripture?
Enter the doctrine of natural law. Frequently misrepresented as an assertion of the autonomous power of human reason or as a uniquely Roman Catholic doctrine, natural law has actually been an integral part of orthodox Christian theology since the beginning, and is even clearly asserted in Scripture itself.
In this brief guide, David Haines and Andrew Fulford explain the philosophical foundations of natural law, clear up common misunderstandings about the term, and demonstrate the robust biblical basis for natural law reasoning.
Natural Law: A Brief Introduction and Biblical Defense could not have come at a better time. One does not need to be a rocket scientist to see that the increasing secularization of Western culture has lead to ethical, theological and behavioral chaos and relativism. Christians must speak clearly and convincingly about the messy issues of our day, but they, especially Protestants, are ill-prepared to engage the world of ideas without citing the Bible. Among other things, this implies that Christians should be laboring for a theocracy, but this is not what is needed and the state must have some sort of guidance to carry out its mission of punishing wrongdoing in Romans 13 without the scriptures. The existence, nature and knowability of natural moral law is what meets these needs. Fulford and Haines have provided an outstanding work that must get a wide readership if Christians are to re-engage the public square thoughtfully and appropriately. They follow a carefully developed order of presentation in this book. Before giving what may be the best recent biblical defense of natural law theory, they rightly are concerned to make very clear exactly what natural law is. Refreshingly, they ground natural law in solid metaphysical treatments of God’s relation to the natural law and in the metaphysics of the creation within which natural law makes sense. This is followed by unpacking the claim that natural moral law is knowable by human beings. Given this treasure-trove of background, the biblical defense of natural moral law is clarified. I am excited about this book! And I thank God for Fulford and Haines who took great effort and much time to serve the church with this resource.
—J.P. Moreland, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University
This is a Guide that has considerable depth, indeed two distinct dimensions. The reader is first guided to the philosophical roots of natural law thinking in ancient and scholastic philosophy; then secondly to the Biblical evidence for natural law. The result makes for a first-rate, thought-provoking introduction.
—Paul Helm, Professor Emeritus, King’s College, London
In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.
David Haines holds a BTh. from CTS, an M.A. in philosophy from Southern Evangelical Seminary, and a PhD. in philosophy from Université Laval. He and his wife live in Québec with their 4 children. David is the associate professor of philosophy and religion at VIU, the associate professor of ethics at SEMBEQ, and has taught History of Christian Apologetics at FTE-Acadia. He is also the founding president of Association Axiome, an association of French Evangelical scholars; and the Christian Philosophy and Apologetics Center. He has published a number of articles on Natural Theology, as well as a co-authored book on Natural Law. His academic research focuses on Ancient and Medieval metaphysics, C. S. Lewis, Thomism, and natural theology.
Andrew A. Fulford is a Ph.D candidate in Historical Theology at McGill University. He has published articles on political theory and the doctrine of Scripture in the Protestant Reformation, and is a columnist at the web journal The Calvinist International.