A basic summary from Greg Forster’s very helpful book, The Contested Public Square: The Crisis of Christianity and Politics (IVP, 2008):
Basic Principles of Natural-Law Thought
- Natural law is an eternal moral law revealed to all people through human nature.
- Natural law influences (but cannot save) even fallen and sinful humanity.
- Natural law is the proper basis of political authority.
- Natural law authorizes society to establish a government.
- Governments are themselves subject to the natural law.
- Each society’s laws should apply the natural law to that society’s particular circumstances.
Objections to Natural Law and Responses
Objection #1: The natural revelation of moral law is obstructed by our sinfulness.
Response: Natural knowledge of right and wrong is damaged by sin, but not eliminated.
Objection #2: Affirming the authority of natural law compromises the authority of the Bible.
Response: The Bible itself teaches the authority of the natural law.
Objection #3: Natural law is a law made by human nature rather than by God.
Response: Natural law is a law made by God and revealed through human nature.
To explore the concept of natural law in a bit more depth, here’s a helpful conversation Douglas Wilson had with J. Budziszewski (pronounced BOOjee SHEFski), author of Written on the Heart: The Case for Natural Law (InterVarsity, 1997), What We Can’t Not Know: A Guide (Spence, 2003), Natural Law for Lawyers (Blackstone Fellowship, 2006), The Line Through the Heart: Natural Law as Fact, Theory, and Sign of Contradiction (Intercollegiate Studies Institute Press, 2009).