“… The image was equated with the soul’s natural attributes, while the … likeness, was equated with man’s moral conformity to God; the former were retained after the fall, the latter lost. This disjunction of image and likeness, and their segregation in each case from innate knowledge of God, became characteristic of scholastic and Roman Catholic doctrine. The Roman Catholic view is that man was created morally neutral, and that original righteousness was a superadded divine gift. While the fall eliminates this divine bonus, it produces no radical distortion of man’s original nature. Since the fall leaves the natural attributes unimpaired, man’s grasp of theological realities by the natural reason is not seriously affected by sin. The compartmentalization of man through the sundered image and likeness moderates the impairment of human nature by sin, and allows to the natural reason a positive significance in theology which finally inverts the Augustinian epistemic priority for divine revelation.”
Dr. Carl F. H. Henry
God, Revelation & Authority Vol. I pg. 332
Alright, this explains why Roman Catholics (RC) can appeal to Natural law without blushing. Now, clearly they don’t have a leg to stand on from Scripture since there is no distinction to be made between likeness and image and since Scripture teaches the complete vitiation of man’s intellect in the fall. Secondly, no Reformed Theologian worth his salt would ever say that, ‘while the fall eliminates this divine bonus (original righteousness), it produces no radical distortion of man’s original nature.’ Now, since that is true, how do Reformed Theologians consistently get from a ruinous fall to the teaching of Natural law which depends on Thomistic Roman Catholic categories?
Henry notes the ‘compartmentalization’ of RC thinking and when he notes that we can’t help but immediately think of a similar ‘compartmentalization’ that advocates of Natural law thinking are likewise involved in. On one hand, redemptively speaking man needs God’s regenerating grace in order to understand aright special revelation, while on the other hand, in the other compartment, man doesn’t need God’s regenerating grace in order to understand and embrace God’s Natural revelation in the creation realm.
Can Reformed people consistently compartmentalize the Creation realm from the Redemptive realm in order to save Natural law theory? Does their inconsistency on this matter reveal an unwarranted captivity to categories alien to Reformed ideas regarding the extent of depravity?
5 thoughts on “Roman Catholics & Natural Law”
Show me in Scripture where it says that sin is in the will and not in reason.
The punishment was according to the sin. Man turned away from God therefore all of man is fallen including his reason, will, intellect. Thus we have total depravity.
Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.
I Corinthians 2:14
But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; he cannot know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
And it is true … in paradise Man never did do a math problem incorrectly.
The Scripture clearly reveals that Man is fallen in his WHOLE being.
Second, you ask about a command in the Decalogue pertaining to reason. I choose number 1, since loving cannot be done apart from the mind thinking about what it loves. But really, in as much as all the commandments require the use of reason to understand they are all pointed to the intellect.
Finally the will is the caboose that follows the mind. The will is the mind choosing. You can’t get to aberrant wills without aberrant minds leading the way.
New Bumper sticker,
What is it about Total in Total Depravity that you don’t understand?
You are the brick! Reading stuff like this written in the way like this is a great pleasure for me.
You have to revise your opinion. Repeating this nuttery misses your point. Give us proofs. Not just with words, but with deeds.
My best friend has this kind of website. Itâ€™s so much better than this one. So you better go away from here