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Tag: Judicial Law

God’s Moral Law

ten commandments

Recently, my friend Ben Berwick got into a discussion with several Christians about [the] moral law. You can read his post on the matter here.

In Christian thought, there is a difference between “moral law” and “the moral law.” Moral law is generally viewed as natural law; the law that is supposedly written on the hearts of all humans. (Jeremiah 31:33, Romans 2:16, and Hebrews 10:16) Most Christians think the law written on our hearts is the Ten Commandments. Which version? Or just the Nine Commandments since keeping the Sabbath is practiced by few Christians today? The Bible never says what the laws that are written on our hearts, so Christians assume what these laws are, much like they assume God exists to start with and that we have a “heart.” If the law is written on the hearts of all humans, why is there such diversity and disagreement on morality — even among Christians? Is the Ten Commandments the only law that is “moral”? If not, why didn’t God write all of his laws on our hearts? Maybe it is a memory problem. We don’t have enough storage space for 635+ laws, so God just gave us a summary list of laws to follow.

Many Christians, especially those of a Calvinistic/Reformed persuasion, take a different view of the moral law. Believing ALL Biblical law is moral, these Christians divide God’s law into three categories: moral, ceremonial, and judicial. Some Calvinists believe the moral law is binding and in force, but the ceremonial law was fulfilled in the atonement of Christ and the judicial law applied only to the nation of Israel. While the judicial and ceremonial laws can still be instructive, only the moral law is binding today. Good luck with deciding exactly what those moral laws are. Other Calvinists believe that only New Testament law is valid and in force. Much metaphorical blood has been spilled defending these positions. As a Calvinistic Baptist, I held to the former view — that of theonomist Rousas Rushdooney — that all the law of God, rightly interpreted, is in force today.

Evangelical apologists would have you believe that the moral law is clear and absolute. Why, then, is there so much debate and confusion among Christians about God’s law? It seems to me that Christians are every bit as subjective on God’s law as they claim unbelievers are. They believe what they want to believe and ignore or interpret away the rest. Ever cafeteria Christians, they pick and choose which laws to believe and, hopefully, practice. I say hopefully since there is no evidence that Christians are meaningfully more moral than unbelievers.

A whole separate argument is whether God himself is moral. I argue that he is not, and that many of his “moral” laws are, in fact, immoral.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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Bruce Gerencser