Review - 2 Books on Reformed Natural Law / Theology

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MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Here's a link to a review on my blog of Stephen Grabill, Rediscovering the Natural Law in Reformed Theological Ethics and Michael Sudduth, The Reformed Objection to Natural Theology.

Thankyou for the analysis. You write, "Together, these two books provide a firm basis for Reformed thinkers to engage in natural theology and natural law from within their own tradition." I think the history of natural theology must take into account "their own tradition" with more consistency. There is something lacking in an historical analysis which does not give credit to the distinctive Christian framework within which natural theology has been conducted. The fact is, the theologians presented in Grabill's work provide us with a natural theology which presupposes a Christian and Protestant worldview. Times have changed, and that worldview is no longer a dominant one. Hence the rise of presuppositionalism and antithetical apologetics and ethics. Seeing things the way they are rather than the way we would like them to be, we must be aware that different systems of thought take "natural law" in different directions and develop it accordingly.
 

ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate
Here's a link to a review on my blog of Stephen Grabill, Rediscovering the Natural Law in Reformed Theological Ethics and Michael Sudduth, The Reformed Objection to Natural Theology.

Thankyou for the analysis. You write, "Together, these two books provide a firm basis for Reformed thinkers to engage in natural theology and natural law from within their own tradition." I think the history of natural theology must take into account "their own tradition" with more consistency. There is something lacking in an historical analysis which does not give credit to the distinctive Christian framework within which natural theology has been conducted. The fact is, the theologians presented in Grabill's work provide us with a natural theology which presupposes a Christian and Protestant worldview. Times have changed, and that worldview is no longer a dominant one. Hence the rise of presuppositionalism and antithetical apologetics and ethics. Seeing things the way they are rather than the way we would like them to be, we must be aware that different systems of thought take "natural law" in different directions and develop it accordingly.

Doesn't your comments cash out as one must now defend why one sees natural law as saying X vs. Y instead of simply saying that natural law says X?

CT
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Doesn't your comments cash out as one must now defend why one sees natural law as saying X vs. Y instead of simply saying that natural law says X?

I don't think so. The very term "nature" will mean different things to each system of thought. For the Christian it will refer to what God has created. To another, an impersonal development. To yet another, a cultural norm. To yet another, a spiritual bond. As the machine itself differs in each system its output is bound to be different.
 

ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate
Doesn't your comments cash out as one must now defend why one sees natural law as saying X vs. Y instead of simply saying that natural law says X?

I don't think so. The very term "nature" will mean different things to each system of thought. For the Christian it will refer to what God has created. To another, an impersonal development. To yet another, a cultural norm. To yet another, a spiritual bond. As the machine itself differs in each system its output is bound to be different.

I agree but once one sees the landscape in such a fashion, one must then go at the others meanings of nature as not being coherent/consistent with reality.

CT
 

CharlieJ

Puritan Board Junior
One example of a theologian attempting a natural theology from within the Christian tradition is Alister McGrath's 3-volume A Scientific Theology. A lot of serious thought went into that project.
 
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