Re-formation thesis#34 of 95 - The conscience reflects the light of the incarnate Word/Logos that is diffused within every soul that comes into the world
Jn1:9 (NKJV) – That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world
Col1:16 – By Christ were all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominions, or rulers, or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.
The previous theses affirmed that the human’s spirit is planted by God and will one day return to Him. It would therefore be surprising if it did not include A BLUEPRINT FOR HUMAN BEHAVIOUR. And so it does: the law of God written on the “heart” (Rom2:15). This divine blueprint manifests itself in the faculty of CONSCIENCE. It is also described (but often mistranslated) as the light of Christ that enlightens every man coming into the world (Jn1:9). That translation is indicated by the Greek word order; apart from which it is hardly likely that John writing in the late first century would be informing his readers that the Light (Christ) “is coming” into the world” (e.g. NIV NASB). As with certain translations of Rom2:14-15 regarding the innate working of conscience, it is an attempt to obscure any positive role Scripture might ascribe to “natural law”.
Particularly in this context, natural law is not alluding to “Mother Nature” but to the very law of Christ. For all things, INCLUDING NATURE HERSELF and the precious human soul/spirit were created by the pre-incarnate Christ as Logos, through Him and for Him (Col1:16). Amongst the earliest Church Fathers such as Justin Martyr and Clement of Alexandria, this principle was articulated in terms of the divine Logos (Word) whom they recognized had provided every age, race and each individual with seeds of divine truth – the “Logos spermatikos”, leading everyone to some knowledge of God and His law, however fragmentary. Origen specifically regarded the seed of reason provided to all men equipping them with a measure of wisdom and justice as the essence of Christ Himself, as did Justin Martyr (ref#1).
From such a perspective Christianity does not supersede natural law but rather builds on it. Even pagan literature, philosophy and mythology contain wisdom that could be regarded as a preparation for the gospel, and that is how the apostle Paul utilized it. For example, he drew upon a Greek poet Epimenides and a Greek philosopher Aratus in his sermon in Athens (Acts17:26-28). Such insights as they had in turn had sprung from the Light of Christ provided to all people. Whilst that light will have been fragmentary, in those who encounter Christ through the gospel it should fill the whole being and radiate out to the world.
Ref#1 The first apology of Justin Martyr chap. 46
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