R2Kt Virus, Natural Law, And Attacks On Biblical Christianity — Part II

The same sort of argument applies to the doctrine of the sacraments (29:5). The divines assume that we know what bread and wine are and what their nature is. Scripture does not teach us what is the “substance and nature” of bread and wine, only that they remain substantially bread and wine. We need Scripture to teach us what the sacraments are but nature teaches us what bread and wine are.

Does nature teach an anorexic what bread and wine are? Also what if we were pantheist? Would a pantheist who believes that god is everything and everything is god, if he were consistent, think that the nature of bread and wine are what Natural law teaches they actually are or would the suppression mechanism work in such a way that he would worship the bread and wine instead of eating it? No doubt nature and natural law teach a good number of things, but the issue that Dr. R. Scott Clark is not dealing with is the issue of suppression — an issue that the Scripture teaches on. Or would R. Scott Clark accuse the Apostle Paul of being Barthian?

Later in his comments D. R. Scott Clark launches the accusation at Theonomists that we do not believe people can know anything. This is nonsense because any theonomist worth his salt would tell you that a person who insist they can’t know anything has at the same time insisted that they know they can’t know anything. Second, the theonomist does not believe that people can’t know anything. The theonomist heartily agrees that people are culpable for their sin because they sin against a better knowledge. The theonomist does not insist that truth can’t be known. The theonomist insists that that truth can’t be known apart from presupposing God, and that the pagan, because of the suppression mechanism picks and chooses what he will admit to knowing. Dr. R. Scott Clark, in his argumentation denies total depravity. Clark seems to insist that man only suppresses the truth in unrighteousness in spiritual categories but in non spiritual categories he can interpret aright. And Clark believes this in the teeth of the twentieth century which built culture after culture in direct defiance of Natural law. Ask the Soviet Checka about Natural Law. Ask the German Einsatzgruppen about Natural Law. Ask the Chinese who lived through “the great leap forward” about Natural Law. Come visit the Soviet Gulags, or the Ukrainian Harvest of sorrow, or Bergen-Belsen, or the Cambodian killing fields and then make an argument with a straight face about Natural Law theory.

The Canons of Dort (RE 1.4) make a similar distinction between what “the light of nature” can and cannot do. The light of nature is insufficient for salvation, but it is sufficient for the ordering of common civil life. This teaching is explicit in CD 3/4/.4:

Who would ever disagree that the light of nature is sufficient for the ordering of common civil life? Absolutely the light of nature is, considered only in and of itself, sufficient for the ordering of common civil life. However, when fallen man reads that which is sufficient, because fallen man’s epistemology is insufficient, he reads that which is sufficient in such a way to make it insufficient. The problem is not in the light of nature. The problem is with he who reads the light of nature.

What shall we say, then? Is Natural law not true? Certainly not! Indeed Natural Law was one agency that God used to teach me of my sin. For I would not have known what suppressing the truth in unrighteousness really was if Natural law had not proclaimed the necessity of God to think aright. But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by Natural Law, produced in me every kind of opportunity to suppress the reality of God wherever such denial became convenient.

For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the Natural law,
deceived me. So then, Natural Law is holy, and what it teaches is holy, righteous and good. Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! But in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it produced death in me through what was good, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.

There remain, however, in man since the fall, the glimmerings of natural light, whereby he retains some knowledge of God, and natural things, and of the difference between good and evil, and shows some regard for virtue and for good outward behavior. But so far is this light of nature from being sufficient to bring him to a saving knowledge of God and to true conversion that he is incapable of using it aright even in things natural and civil. By no means, further, this light, such as it is, man in various ways renders wholly polluted and hinders in unrighteousness, which by doing he becomes inexcusable before God.

Again, no Theonomist would disagree with this. By the way, don’t miss the parts in bold. Fallen man is incapable of using the light of nature aright even in things natural and civil.

There remains in postlapsarian man glimmerings of natural light but as fallen man becomes more and more consistent in working out the anti-thesis in the direction of God hatred that glimmering, while never completely extinguished, becomes increasingly faint.

WCF 10.4: “…be they ever so diligent to frame their lives according to the light of nature and the law of that religion they do profess” The Confession assumes that it is possible for human beings to order their lives according to the “light of nature.” A life thus lived is lived according to natural law. This law keeping is insufficient for salvation, but civil life is about law it is not about salvation.

Dr. R. Scott Clark left out the italicized part in the above blockquote. Since Dr. R. Scott Clark suggest that WCF 10:4 proves living a life guided by the light of nature is sufficient for the civil realm, does this mean that living a life guided by false religion is sufficient for the civil realm? If we as Christians are to esteem the light of nature for the civil realm, given Dr. R. Scott Clark’s appeal to WCF 10-4 should we also esteem the “law of that religion the pagans do profess,” for the civil realm? The Divines in WCF 10-4 combine the light of nature with the rules of pagan religion thus perhaps suggesting that they understood that the light of nature would always be read in relationship to “the law of that religion that pagans do profess.” This in turn is suggestive that when the Christian faith challenges “the law of that religion that pagans do profess,” they at the same time challenge their reading of the light of nature in the civil realm. The antithesis lies not only in the law of that religion that pagans do confess but also in the way that pagans read the light of nature because of the law of that religion they do profess.

WCF 20.4: …for their publishing of such opinions, or maintaining of such practices, as are contrary to the light of nature….” On Christian liberty, the divines connect “the powers” ordained by God to maintain order (which was a problem during the English civil war!) with this troublesome expression, “the light of nature.” This language and way of thinking about civil life was well and deeply ingrained in Reformed orthodoxy in the 16th and 17th century.

Absolutely it was! You would expect no less among a people living in the context of Christendom. It is the unity that Christendom brought to thinking that allowed for a commonly understood appeal to “the light of nature.” Take away the unity brought about by the existence of Christendom (as Dr. R. Scott Clark desires) and you take away the foundation upon which their notion of Natural Law was built. People who have different faith and cultural foundational presuppositions are going to likewise have different “lights of nature,” and different versions of Natural Law.

The contest here is not whether or not Natural Law exists. It does. The contest here is whether or not Natural Law can be used as a basis to build a common sphere among people of genuinely different faith systems and cultures. It can’t, because non-Christians read Natural Law through the prism of their faith and culture system and so distort it.

Unlike our theonomists, the divines believed that there is a natural law, that it can be and is known, that it contains specific precepts that are revealed with sufficiently clarity to be applied, even by the unregenerate, to specific instances. The skepticism that our theonomists have demonstrated toward the perspicuity of natural law is not only downright late modern (who can know anything really?) but contra confessional.

Yes, Yes, let us remember how well the unregenerate Communists applied Natural Law in their legislating against Christian Ukrainians. Let us remember how well the unregenerate National Socialist judges applied Natural Law to the legal realm with their rulings on the non-humanity of Jews. Let us remember how well the unregenerate Americans did in applying Natural Law to the decisions to fire bomb Dresden or Tokyo. Yes, all of these are instances where the Natural Law had sufficient clarity to the pagan so that even the unregenerate could rightly apply it to specific instances.

Those poor stupid Theonomists. Why can’t they just get with the game and see how wonderfully this R2Kt virus stuff and Natural Law works.

Author: jetbrane

I am a Pastor of a small Church in Mid-Michigan who delights in my family, my congregation and my calling. I am postmillennial in my eschatology. Paedo-Calvinist Covenantal in my Christianity Reformed in my Soteriology Presuppositional in my apologetics Familialist in my family theology Agrarian in my regional community social order belief Christianity creates culture and so Christendom in my national social order belief Mythic-Poetic / Grammatical Historical in my Hermeneutic Pre-modern, Medieval, & Feudal before Enlightenment, modernity, & postmodern Reconstructionist / Theonomic in my Worldview One part paleo-conservative / one part micro Libertarian in my politics Systematic and Biblical theology need one another but Systematics has pride of place Some of my favorite authors, Augustine, Turretin, Calvin, Tolkien, Chesterton, Nock, Tozer, Dabney, Bavinck, Wodehouse, Rushdoony, Bahnsen, Schaeffer, C. Van Til, H. Van Til, G. H. Clark, C. Dawson, H. Berman, R. Nash, C. G. Singer, R. Kipling, G. North, J. Edwards, S. Foote, F. Hayek, O. Guiness, J. Witte, M. Rothbard, Clyde Wilson, Mencken, Lasch, Postman, Gatto, T. Boston, Thomas Brooks, Terry Brooks, C. Hodge, J. Calhoun, Llyod-Jones, T. Sowell, A. McClaren, M. Muggeridge, C. F. H. Henry, F. Swarz, M. Henry, G. Marten, P. Schaff, T. S. Elliott, K. Van Hoozer, K. Gentry, etc. My passion is to write in such a way that the Lord Christ might be pleased. It is my hope that people will be challenged to reconsider what are considered the givens of the current culture. Your biggest help to me dear reader will be to often remind me that God is Sovereign and that all that is, is because it pleases him.

8 thoughts on “R2Kt Virus, Natural Law, And Attacks On Biblical Christianity — Part II”

  1. Daniel,

    I appreciate your adjectives of praise but with the R2Kt virus guys, my covenant children could be brilliant. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel.

  2. so how can you vote for a non-Xian? Doesn’t the antithesis require entrusting the rule of the magistrate only to those who are regenerate and can read natural law correctly? If it doesn’t, then be careful, Daniel may stone you.

    Also, why don’t the regenerate in the CRC read both natural law and the Bible aright on the authority of men? Why won’t you apply the same rules to your church that you do to the United States?

  3. Darryl,

    I’m a fool because I refused to answer your questions and decided to inject some levity into things?

    I probably won’t be posting anymore of your posts here.



  4. Darryl,

    Per your comments at Green Baggins.

    Ah yes, the marvels of liberal democracies, where only 50 million of the unborn have been slaughtered since 1973. I suppose life is fine for the likes of Darryl Hart as long as they can write book after book while ignoring the killing machine that is our current liberal democracy. Yes, what a wonderful thing it has been to see the realm of nature gobble up the realm of grace.

    I can imagine Obergruppenführer Hart reclining at his writing desk lecturing German theonomist reminding them of the wonders of German “National Socialism.” Why, what a wonderful life National Socialism had provided for those who would just ignore oven baked jews. How much prosperity those German theonomists had gained in their publishing enterprises. All they had to do was to make sure that they dare not challenge the States direction of the realm of nature and stay put in their constricted realm of grace.

    Darryl, I do thank you for completely demystifying the whole idea of somebody having a Ph.D. Thanks to you I will measure each one the way I measure each blue collar worker I meet — which is only by the merit of their character. Thanks to you I will never be awed by a Ph.D. or give them some kind of benefit of the doubt just because they wasted time polishing their ignorance.

  5. Brett,

    I admire your sense of humor. It may seem to you like is is as easy as shooting fish in a barrel, but I don’t think it really is. You’ve shown that you are brilliant. Good to have you on the team.


  6. Jeff,

    Hey, you’re the guy who deserves a medal spending so much time at Confessional Outhouse working with the R2Kt brothers. My sense of humor wouldn’t last nearly as long as yours has over there.

    Thanks for stopping by,


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