Natural Law– “All humans have impressed upon them from the beginning of creation the principles of Natural Law…”
by Bill Lockwood
Sir William Blackstone was an English jurist, judge and politician of eighteenth century England. His Commentaries on the Laws of England were a profound study of natural law and the founders of our nation carried Blackstone with them as a reference and guide. Even Abraham Lincoln loved Blackstone and studied him copiously.
One paramount principle which our founders loved was Blackstone’s explanation of Natural Law. Blackstone wrote in 1765:
This natural law, being as old as mankind and dictated by God himself, is of course superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over all the globe, in all countries, and at all times: no human laws are of any validity, if contrary to this; and such of them as are valid derive all their force, and all their authority, from this original.
Note the following: (1) These laws are dictated by God himself. (2) They are binding to all men everywhere. (3) No human law that violates natural law is of any validity. One can hear echoes of this in the Declaration of Independence. Again, from Blackstone:
Thus when the Supreme Being formed the universe, and created matter out of nothing, He impressed certain principles upon that matter, from which it can never depart, and without which it would cease to be. When He put the matter into motion, He established certain laws of motion, to which all movable bodies must conform. And, to descend from the greatest operations to the smallest, when a workman forms a clock, or other piece of mechanism, he establishes at his own pleasure certain arbitrary laws for its direction; as that the hand shall describe a given space in a given time; to which law as long as the work conforms, so long it continues in perfection, and answers the end of its formation.
All humans have impressed upon them from the beginning of creation the principles of Natural Law—reasoning ability concerning right and wrong.
Even Cicero, whose full name was Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 B.C.), the greatest orator of the ancient Roman Republic, and was raised in a pagan society, recognized true law imbedded within the heart of each person to which each is responsible.
True law is right reason in agreement with nature; it is of universal application, unchanging and everlasting; it summons to duty by its commands, and averts from wrongdoing by its prohibitions….It is a sin to try to alter this law, nor is it allowable to repeal any part of it, and it is impossible to abolish it entirely. We cannot be freed from its obligations by senate or people, and we need not look outside ourselves for an expounder or interpreter of it. And there will not be different laws at Rome and at Athens, or different laws now and in the future, but one eternal and unchangeable law will be valid for all nations and all times, and there will be one master and ruler, that is God, over us all, for he is the author of this law, its promulgator, and its enforcing judge. Whoever is disobedient is fleeing from himself and denying his human nature, and by reason of this very fact he will suffer the worst punishment.
One can hear in this echoes of Jefferson’s famous lines “the laws of nature and nature’s God.” Based upon this clear principle of natural law our founders disobeyed the unjust laws of King George.
Paul writes essentially the same thing in Romans 2:14-16, except Paul was inspired of God.
For when the Gentiles, that have not the law, do by nature the things of the law [OT revealed law, bl], these, not having the law, are a law unto themselves, in that they show the work of the law written in their hearts, their thoughts, one with another, accusing or else excusing them …
Here the apostle shows clearly that those without God’s written law have knowledge of the existence of a law within themselves. All humans instinctively have within them the understanding that some things will always be right and other things wrong.
For example, ABORTION. The forcible taking of innocent human life is wrong. The Roe v. Wade (1973) decision at the Supreme Court does not change this and one-half of our nation rightly continues to recognize it as murder. The depth of America’s sin can easily be gauged by this horrific transgression. Because our nation has been adrift for at least fifty to a hundred years or more does not mitigate our guilt.
Another illustration is, HOMOSEXUALITY. It matters not that the Supreme Court Obergefell (2015) decision dictates to states that same-sex couples may marry—it is still sinful activity and godly Americans will not simply accept it and move along. Nor should we. As Blackstone rightly said, these types of human laws “have no validity” before God nor with those who honor Him.