Monday, February 3, 2014

Natural Law...OR...New Covenant in Rom. 2:14-15 - What "Law" is written on the heart?

This is somewhat of a Part 2 to my previous post, "Imputed Righteousness in the New Covenant?"

For this post I want to share a fascinating find regarding a fascinating text of Scripture that is often glossed over when reading Romans 2. Embedded within the context of Paul's claim that "the doers of the law will be justified" (2:13) is a curious statement that the Gentiles "who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires" (2:14) and so reveal that "the law is written on their hearts" (2:15). This text can play a key role in Protestant-Catholic discussions because the way it uses the term "law," which is a crucial term to understand when reading Paul. It is my contention, as well as that of a growing number of Protestant scholars, that the term "law" (Greek: nomos) specifically refers to the Mosaic Law, and not to some more generic eternal law of God. Recognizing the serious negative implications of this for Sola Fide, some Protestants are fond of turning to Romans 2:14-15, thinking that this text provides an escape. In this post I will show that this text doesn't help this Protestant objection at all, and in fact opens an avenue to prove the Catholic position.