David VanDrunen: "Natural Law and Mosaic Law in the Theology of Paul: Their Relationship and Its Implications"

In this paper I argue that the Apostle Paul conceived of the law of nature and the law of Moses as bearing significant functional and substantive similarities, such that what the natural law did for other nations the Mosaic law did—in a more clear and explicit way—for Old Testament Israel, namely, to serve as a protological moral standard regulating life in this present age by manifesting the justice and righteousness of God, holding forth the prospect of blessing upon obedience, and threatening curse upon disobedience. I first describe the substantive and functional similarities between natural law and the Mosaic law that emerge in the Pauline epistles. Next I explore the implications for the status of natural law with respect to New Testament Christians. Here I argue that Christians, insofar as they are justified and made citizens of Christ’s eschatological kingdom, are not only freed from the protological Mosaic law but are also freed from the protological natural law. Finally, I reflect upon the implication of these conclusions for Christian political thought. I argue that Christians are called to participate in political life within the confines of this present age, and in this capacity continue to function according to the norm of the natural law, yet should not confuse this natural-law-bound political realm with the coming of Christ’s kingdom.