Beyond Conspiracy and Blind Skepticism (When the Spiritual Realm and the Natural Realm Clash)

Status
Not open for further replies.

A.Joseph

Puritan Board Senior
I’ve had some pretty cordial discussions with some members about discernment (often associated with conspiratorial thought or sensitivity). It’s good when a more articulate individual can present these things in a thorough, thought-provoking manner and offer some biblical insights….. (hence, the title/heading). …. Like Peter Jones or….

Joe Boot introduces the current face of globalism, tracing its philosophical origins back to the Tower of Babel and forward throughout the history of human thought and civilization. He contrasts this with an exposition of the biblical teaching on nationalism and distinct, sovereign states.

 
Last edited:

A.Joseph

Puritan Board Senior
So a global promotion of enlightenment-based classic liberal style democracy was bound to default back to and/ or propel widespread totalitarianism ….. The ruling empire, no matter how widespread, defines and grants rights accordingly. A natural law where the state is god, hence no true, absolute and lasting foundation. …
 
Last edited:

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
So a global promotion of enlightenment-based classic liberal style democracy was bound to default back to and/ or propel widespread totalitarianism ….. The ruling empire, no matter how widespread, defines and grants rights accordingly. A natural law where the state is god, hence no true, absolute and lasting foundation

In the last sentence, how are you using the term "natural"? Tyrants have historically opposed natural law. In fact, natural law respects natural differences and allows hierarchies to flourish, the very hierarchies democracy seeks to destroy.
 

A.Joseph

Puritan Board Senior
In the last sentence, how are you using the term "natural"? Tyrants have historically opposed natural law. In fact, natural law respects natural differences and allows hierarchies to flourish, the very hierarchies democracy seeks to destroy.
I guess I’m just running with what Joe Boot is expressing regarding natural law. ….

 

Jeri Tanner

Administrator
Staff member
I listened to a bit of the video, got the jist, and had a few thoughts. I'm right now reading through Isaiah, and yes, from it and the rest of the Bible you see that there is a restless power always at work to subdue, and many times that desire is ultimately to dominate and rule the world. Certainly agree that there seem to be current powers at work with this interest.

But when you read the OT, you see that these wicked ones are actually puppets in God's hand of providence. His interest is in his church, specifically the poor ones of the land (poor in spirit). He uses these power hungry nations and entities for his own purposes of judgment and in bringing about his purposes. So, nothing new, right? I liked how the speaker introduced the subject and made a comparison with biblical history, Babylon, etc. But the mistake I think he makes and I hear it everywhere, is equating, for instance, God's command to Timothy to "fight well in the Lord's battle" to a command citizens have to fight globalism (he says the battle line we face today is two competing views of the future of humanity). But Paul's charge to Timothy was a spiritual one and applies to the ministers of the Church. This always gets conflated and this guy conflates it, identifying globalism as the fundamental battle of our time. Well, I mean, I get what he's saying, but though churches and private Christians may and should pray about and for these things, in a sense, in the end, we are at the mercy of God's doings in the nations.

I think what we need as Christians is faithful preaching. Preaching that strengthens and prepares us to be ready for what we're facing (already facing; godlessness in our nation). Speaking of which, this was a FB post from Rev. Gavin Beers a few weeks ago:

"Don't be so quick to conclude that general laws applied to all are not motivated against Christianity. In Daniel 6 a general decree was passed by the king that would have affected all people of all religions. However, the account makes plain that this general decree had been specifically designed by the princes and presidents to target a faithful adherent of true religion."

In other words, it's all about the church.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
I guess I’m just running with what Joe Boot is expressing regarding natural law. ….


That's what I figured. The Ezra Institute is largely unschooled on what the Reformed have said about natural law. No one who reads natural law theorists like Althusius would have said what Boot said. Even Vandrunen wrote an article on how Rutherford's natural law theory resists tyrants.
 

A.Joseph

Puritan Board Senior
That's what I figured. The Ezra Institute is largely unschooled on what the Reformed have said about natural law. No one who reads natural law theorists like Althusius would have said what Boot said. Even Vandrunen wrote an article on how Rutherford's natural law theory resists tyrants.
So, what happened? …..

“But the reality is, “Natural law theory serves temporarily as a believable political philosophy only when there is a common religious agreement beforehand. Shatter that religious agreement, and natural law theory becomes useless.”[2] As soon as religious consensus is lost, people’s vision of what ‘natural law’ is becomes totally disparate or is abandoned altogether.

Scripture teaches that the human problem is essentially ethical, not a lack of information. Sinful humanity, in the face of our better knowledge, chooses evil – the Fall radically affected human reasoning, not just a person’s soul and body. As such, reason, with its self-generated moral and political order, cannot save. Without a Christian vision of God and the human person, political life is doomed to be a mere exercise of power, indifference and selfishness.

To your point….

“sophisticated doctrine of natural law which, with varying Thomistic and Scotistic accents, was firmly aligned with the medieval realist tradition. To be sure, they did place a relatively greater emphasis on the role of conscience in natural law’s testimony against sin, as well on the role of sin in obscuring humanity’s knowledge of the conclusions and applications of natural law. Nevertheless, there was widespread agreement that nature teaches all human beings the fundamental principles of God’s moral will.

The doctrine of natural law is especially relevant for Christians in today’s world, where emotions have supplanted reason as the final arbiter of truth. With the loss of a shared cultural belief in a fixed natural order, we have witnessed the erosion of the common ground that makes moral persuasion possible.” https://mereorthodoxy.com/natural-law-early-protestantism/

So again, what happened? Maybe Boot touches on something…..
 

A.Joseph

Puritan Board Senior
I listened to a bit of the video, got the jist, and had a few thoughts. I'm right now reading through Isaiah, and yes, from it and the rest of the Bible you see that there is a restless power always at work to subdue, and many times that desire is ultimately to dominate and rule the world. Certainly agree that there seem to be current powers at work with this interest.

But when you read the OT, you see that these wicked ones are actually puppets in God's hand of providence. His interest is in his church, specifically the poor ones of the land (poor in spirit). He uses these power hungry nations and entities for his own purposes of judgment and in bringing about his purposes. So, nothing new, right? I liked how the speaker introduced the subject and made a comparison with biblical history, Babylon, etc. But the mistake I think he makes and I hear it everywhere, is equating, for instance, God's command to Timothy to "fight well in the Lord's battle" to a command citizens have to fight globalism (he says the battle line we face today is two competing views of the future of humanity). But Paul's charge to Timothy was a spiritual one and applies to the ministers of the Church. This always gets conflated and this guy conflates it, identifying globalism as the fundamental battle of our time. Well, I mean, I get what he's saying, but though churches and private Christians may and should pray about and for these things, in a sense, in the end, we are at the mercy of God's doings in the nations.

I think what we need as Christians is faithful preaching. Preaching that strengthens and prepares us to be ready for what we're facing (already facing; godlessness in our nation). Speaking of which, this was a FB post from Rev. Gavin Beers a few weeks ago:

"Don't be so quick to conclude that general laws applied to all are not motivated against Christianity. In Daniel 6 a general decree was passed by the king that would have affected all people of all religions. However, the account makes plain that this general decree had been specifically designed by the princes and presidents to target a faithful adherent of true religion."

In other words, it's all about the church.
Sure, but some within may be seduced and led astray by the good intentions of these forces to keep us comfortable and look out for us. It’s worth a mention to stand our ground…. Not necessarily look to pick up a sword against every new morphing and reconfiguration of leviathan. That’s not what I would recommend. Just stay eternally vigilant without losing our main focus. We can do both and let God’s intentions unfold as they will….. And they will.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
So, what happened? …..

“But the reality is, “Natural law theory serves temporarily as a believable political philosophy only when there is a common religious agreement beforehand. Shatter that religious agreement, and natural law theory becomes useless.”[2] As soon as religious consensus is lost, people’s vision of what ‘natural law’ is becomes totally disparate or is abandoned altogether.

Scripture teaches that the human problem is essentially ethical, not a lack of information. Sinful humanity, in the face of our better knowledge, chooses evil – the Fall radically affected human reasoning, not just a person’s soul and body. As such, reason, with its self-generated moral and political order, cannot save. Without a Christian vision of God and the human person, political life is doomed to be a mere exercise of power, indifference and selfishness.

To your point….

“sophisticated doctrine of natural law which, with varying Thomistic and Scotistic accents, was firmly aligned with the medieval realist tradition. To be sure, they did place a relatively greater emphasis on the role of conscience in natural law’s testimony against sin, as well on the role of sin in obscuring humanity’s knowledge of the conclusions and applications of natural law. Nevertheless, there was widespread agreement that nature teaches all human beings the fundamental principles of God’s moral will.

The doctrine of natural law is especially relevant for Christians in today’s world, where emotions have supplanted reason as the final arbiter of truth. With the loss of a shared cultural belief in a fixed natural order, we have witnessed the erosion of the common ground that makes moral persuasion possible.” https://mereorthodoxy.com/natural-law-early-protestantism/

So again, what happened? Maybe Boot touches on something…..

Boot is saying a bunch of things at once and it is hard to really focus on one single thing. It is false that natural law worked only with a shared moral consensus. Paul said the pagan Romans and debauched Corinthians had the work of the law written on their hearts.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
“But the reality is, “Natural law theory serves temporarily as a believable political philosophy only when there is a common religious agreement beforehand. Shatter that religious agreement, and natural law theory becomes useless.”[2] As soon as religious consensus is lost, people’s vision of what ‘natural law’ is becomes totally disparate or is abandoned altogether.

As I've said before, Paul used natural law in a pagan religious consensus.
Scripture teaches that the human problem is essentially ethical, not a lack of information. Sinful humanity, in the face of our better knowledge, chooses evil – the Fall radically affected human reasoning, not just a person’s soul and body. As such, reason, with its self-generated moral and political order, cannot save. Without a Christian vision of God and the human person, political life is doomed to be a mere exercise of power, indifference and selfishness.

Boot switches terms midway through this argument. He begins with the problem of ethics, not information. I agree. He then says reason cannot save. No natural law theorist ever said it did. The rest of this paragraph is factually wrong. Pagans do at times choose the good.

“sophisticated doctrine of natural law which, with varying Thomistic and Scotistic accents, was firmly aligned with the medieval realist tradition. To be sure, they did place a relatively greater emphasis on the role of conscience in natural law’s testimony against sin, as well on the role of sin in obscuring humanity’s knowledge of the conclusions and applications of natural law. Nevertheless, there was widespread agreement that nature teaches all human beings the fundamental principles of God’s moral will.

I am something of an amateur medievalist. I don't think this is true. I have no idea what a Scotist accent of natural law is. The last sentence isn't merely medieval, it is also Reformed. The ten commandments is the summary of the moral law, and God holds men accountable for it.

I'm confused about the link. It seems that Kyle Dillon is saying what I am saying, yet both Kyle and I disagree with Boot.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
On the other hand, I certainly agree there are globalist conspiracies. Conspiracy theories are just "spoiler alerts." I've almost never been wrong.
 

A.Joseph

Puritan Board Senior
As I've said before, Paul used natural law in a pagan religious consensus.


Boot switches terms midway through this argument. He begins with the problem of ethics, not information. I agree. He then says reason cannot save. No natural law theorist ever said it did. The rest of this paragraph is factually wrong. Pagans do at times choose the good.



I am something of an amateur medievalist. I don't think this is true. I have no idea what a Scotist accent of natural law is. The last sentence isn't merely medieval, it is also Reformed. The ten commandments is the summary of the moral law, and God holds men accountable for it.

I'm confused about the link. It seems that Kyle Dillon is saying what I am saying, yet both Kyle and I disagree with Boot.
The Dillon link supports your position, which I also support. But his conclusion is that the concept of natural law has lost its true meaning and foundation. Boot may be clumsily trying to make that case. Im obviously empathetic to how Paul reached out to the religious pagans and I don’t believe we should lose such a charitable approach. I don’t believe Paul was just being kind but spoke as he saw and experienced his surroundings. I guess I’m empathetic to all sides and kind of view natural law as an empty term due to the depravity of man and our tendency to render the concept null and void if we are not restrained by God….. this may get into the realm of common grace or the amount of regenerating grace God will grant a people or a culture, especially those in high places…. But not completely sure. Calvin and Luther had a good mission field for religious conscience in society. Today, we are more influential on a very local, individual level, but mostly a deeply sincere and spiritual one, which is obviously most important.
 
Last edited:

A.Joseph

Puritan Board Senior
@RamistThomist , what do you think of how the concept of natural law, no matter how perverted, has morphed into a catalyst for global (‘universal’) civil and human ‘rights.’ ….

Boot circles back and claims there is a link back to….
“After the death of Alexander the Great in 322 B.C., his empire fragmented into four realms and Greek culture became a state-worshipping culture. Maintaining classical culture required a coherent and cohesive political order – the doctrine of natural law provided the glue, arguing that there exists a universal law structure, and that all rational men can apprehend it. For the Stoic, reason itself was inherent in the universe as an impersonal principle (god), and so the rational state became the locus of divinity.”

And that the motives were and now are imperialism.
 

A.Joseph

Puritan Board Senior
A quick search notes the Greek and Roman conception of natural law ….



The linked source above notes that, “Natural Law finds its power in discovering certain universal standards in morality and ethics.”

But who sets the standard? Those in power or something greater?
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
A quick search notes the Greek and Roman conception of natural law ….



The linked source above notes that, “Natural Law finds its power in discovering certain universal standards in morality and ethics.”

But who sets the standard? Those in power or something greater?

Christian reflection removed the Stoic pantheism from natural law.

As to who determines what, that's the problem with every single type of government. As the Carl Schmitt, the German jurist, pointed out, whoever determines the exception to the rule determines the rule.

To answer the specifics of the question, God has established things with natures, so the answer depends on what the nature of the thing is.
what do you think of how the concept of natural law, no matter how perverted, has morphed into a catalyst for global (‘universal’) civil and human ‘rights.’ ….

For starters, I don't think natural law has been perverted so much, unless you are speaking of Grotius. So, I reject the premise of the question.

Boot circles back and claims there is a link back to….
“After the death of Alexander the Great in 322 B.C., his empire fragmented into four realms and Greek culture became a state-worshipping culture. Maintaining classical culture required a coherent and cohesive political order – the doctrine of natural law provided the glue, arguing that there exists a universal law structure, and that all rational men can apprehend it. For the Stoic, reason itself was inherent in the universe as an impersonal principle (god), and so the rational state became the locus of divinity.”

I do not think this is historically true. Yes, the stoics believed reason was inherent in the universe, but it's debatable how that influenced Alexander the Great's followers.
 

A.Joseph

Puritan Board Senior
So is natural law dependent on a Christian worldview or is it inherent in creation? Is it ultimately contingent on a personal embrace of the Christian faith or may it be rationally and philosophically reasoned and deduced?

Cause it seems that man can be led to buy into almost anything these days against the God-sourced/sustained realities of the external, universal creation.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
So is natural law dependent on a Christian worldview or is it inherent in creation? Is it ultimately contingent on a personal embrace of the Christian faith or may it be rationally and philosophically reasoned and deduced?

Cause it seems that man can be led to buy into almost anything these days against the God-sourced/sustained realities of the external, universal creation.

I avoid phrases like "Christian worldview," if only because of its Kantian baggage. Natural law is creational. Old Greeks and Romans might have used natural law, but for them nature was pantheistic; for the Christian it is creational.
 

A.Joseph

Puritan Board Senior
I avoid phrases like "Christian worldview," if only because of its Kantian baggage. Natural law is creational. Old Greeks and Romans might have used natural law, but for them nature was pantheistic; for the Christian it is creational.
Believe it or not, it appears Boot is in agreement with you on most points. He appears to take exemption with the term natural law but not much else. I’m still watching the first video and didn’t get to Q&A yet…..
 

A.Joseph

Puritan Board Senior
I do think it’s important to retain that all men are image bearers with the law written on their hearts as Paul emphasized in scripture. I do think that’s a key biblical concept not only for justice on earth and society but as far as our well meant offering of the gospel. That’s an important foundation of natural law. Unfortunately, we are living in a time that true kindness is blindly gratuitous and not lovingly discerning by presenting a charitable but faithful message of Jesus as a savior from sin, including personal sin, but He’s ultimately accessible for anyone to grab hold of…. He will meet us where we are and is willing to save us from our sins.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top