” ” God of the OT could command things that violate the commands of Christ? “
They wouldn’t “violate” them as they were never under the law of Christ…”
So, I got that we have an absolute law or law of conscience. A sort of innate idea of the Absolute law. We have the Law of Moses which is done away with completely. But we have trans covenantal laws that are repeated because they are laws that reflect the nature of God. Yet so does the Absolute law. Which just further expands and much fuller explanation and expansion on the character of God. My question should be reformulated, God can command contrary to his nature in the OT? If so, how do you avoid Theological voluntarism?
” ” To answer your question about decree we are not to ponder the secret things but to obey the revealed.”
So, do we have any reason to think that Castro has turned to the truth of God? ”
No, but your desire shouldn’t be to act like you know either way is my point.”
Is anyone ever warranted in thinking someone is not saved?
” Why would that be hyper Calvinism? Should we not condemn Muhammad a false prophet because the nearly implausible situation in which he might have repented? ”
Condemning the teaching and being happy they are going to hell are two very different things. ”
So, we condemn the doctrine and not those spreading such doctrine?
Did God do his greater desire, while also willing that Christ crawls back to the cross to die for Castro? If so, what does it mean for God to desire something he made impossible to occur? Does God live in any sense of regret?
If God doesn’t have any pleasure in the death of Castro, why did he die? Was God able to prolong his life, but unwilling or willing to prolong his life, but unable?
“And yes we would subscribe to a different interpretation of Romans 2… totally down to debate that passage too 😛”
Very, Which I’ll elaborate in a minute what my position is.
” What text connects being in the image of God with the law being on our hearts?”
Romans 1 into Romans too, knowing God exists and our duty to him, then ending in Romans 3 falling short of the glory of God… IE being perfect image bearers.”
I don’t find anywhere where the image of God is brought into the text. Seems like you’re reading that in. I see ungodliness being revealed from heaven and suppression of the truth (culminating in the exchange for a lie). Romans 3 builds off that theme which both Jew and Greek stand condemned by God and goes on to explain justification. I don’t find a Christian ethic compatible with the claim the ceremonial law is the moral law. For if it is, then it is eternally normative.
Tom Schreiner has good comments on it.
12 For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law;
“13 for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified. 14 For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, 15 in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them,”
I don’t believe unbelievers have a Law of consciousness. I don’t think he has innate ideas of the Law. I think that God personally and purposely reveals it to them and doesn’t grant them the Grace to do right.
12 is where some commentators think Paul starts a new paragraph and that’s why I’m starting there. We realize from the first 3 verses of chapter 2 he is speaking of the OT law because it is the basis of the Jews knew of the Law he criticizes the Gentile. Which ends up pointing out it isn’t knowledge of the Law that does anything but doing the Law. Even if your interpretation was correct this is the OT law and goes contrary to the NCT position. Furthermore, in verses, 17 to 29 testify to this being the Law of Moses bringing up adultery and circumcision.
In verse 12
“For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law; ”
The emphasis is on the second half of the sentence. I also agree with others that it is referring to the Mosaic law. What other Law would the Jews have been using to show their superiority? Even later in the same chapter, he discusses circumcision and other mosaic laws.
“13 for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified.”
This is to criticize the hypocritical Jews who wield the Law, yet don’t do the things in it. Which is why he is building off the preceding verse ending. The obvious opposites are between hearing and doing.
It is the one doing the commands of God that will be justified and not the merely the one who is hearing of it. This isn’t also intending to say that there are some doers of the law in the sense that they are earning God’s justification. Instead, it is Paul’s thinking that this is the beginning of the obedience of a Christian. It doesn’t merit justification, but just God granting us the grace to follow his commandments.
“14 For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves,”
“14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:”
I think the Gentiles to be Christian Gentiles at this point. I think the phrase “by nature” could be modifying “which have not the law”. Which the phrase “by nature” tends (in the Pauline epistles) to mean in regards or virtue of one’s birth. So, the Gentile Christians wouldn’t have the law in regards to their birth. We see this usage of “by nature” in Galatians 2:15 ” We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles,”
In Ephesians 2:3 “Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. ”
Even in the same chapter Romans 2:27 “And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfill the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law? ”
” are a Law unto themselves”
This was a common phrase used by Greek writers with reference to the man of superior virtue who does not need the guidance or sanctions of external law. This wouldn’t affect the Gentile Christian much because he has been granted the New Covenant promise and the desire to strive for God. This is the response to the Jewish critic.
“15 in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them”
In verse 15 we have “in that they show the work of the Law ( ἔργων τοῦ νόμου or ergōn tou nomou)”
This is undoubtedly referring to the mosaic law. From all the contextual clues and that ergōn nomou is used in chapter 3:28 to say we are not justified by works of the Law.
” written in their hearts”
It’s hard not to think Paul is echoing the New covenant promises of Jeremiah 31:33. Others think it is an allusion to Isaiah 51:7 “Listen to Me, you who know righteousness, A people in whose heart is My law; Do not fear the reproach of man, Nor be dismayed at their revilings.”
It is clear throughout Romans that Paul believed that God’s eschatological promises were coming to fruition.
C. E. B. Cranfield argues this should be understood not in a stoic or English “bad conscious” but rather “suneidesis ” (the word for conscious) should be used in the sense that the expression “conveys the idea of knowledge shared with oneself of having done wrong or (less frequently) a knowledge of one’s innocence”. ( Page 52 and 53 of his shorter commentary on Romans)
“bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them”
When we stand before God each man Will give an account and see how far short we all have fallen (1Cor. 4:5). This is the vindication of verse 11 “For there is partiality with God”
This isn’t the majority view about this text. Here are a scholars thoughts about these 3 verses:
■ 13* Divine impartiality is proven by the lack of privilege accorded to οἱ ἀκροαταὶ νόμου (“the hearers of law,”) a unique Pauline expression that resonated with references to the Jewish people as those who heard God’s law read aloud. Although the precise expression is not found in Deuteronomy, Israel’s encounter with God was viewed as an acoustic phenomenon. For example, Moses reports that Yahweh commanded him, “Gather the people to me and let them hear my words (ἀκουσάτωσαν τὰ ῥήματά μου)” (Deut 4:10*). Israel receives the command, “Draw near and hear all that the Lord our God shall say” (Deut 5:27*). The famous Shema repeated on a daily basis by loyal Jews186 begins with the words, “Hear, O Israel (ἄκουε Ἰσραήλ), the Lord our God is one” (Deut 6:4*). In Sirach’s words, “an attentive ear (οὖς ἀκροατοῦ) is the desire of a wise man.” Attentive hearing of the law was a cultural feature of Jews, about which they were justifiably proud, so that “hearers of the law” naturally refers to Jewish worshipers who participate in public readings on the Sabbath. In contrast, Sib. Or. 3.70 refers to Gentiles as “the lawless ones who have never heard God’s Word,” and Josephus (Ant. 5.107, 132) refers to sinners as those who fail to hear God’s law. The problem that Paul addresses here is that religious exercise such as hearing the Torah read easily expands into a claim of an assured status with God, expressed for example in Bar 4:3–4*: “Do not give your glory to another, or your advantages to an alien people. Happy are we, O Israel, for we know what is pleasing to God.” That Israel enjoys a permanently favored status is proclaimed by Bar 5:1–4* in terms that appear to be directly countered by Paul’s wording:
Take off the garment of your sorrow and affliction, O Jerusalem,
and put on for ever the beauty of the glory from God.
Put on the robe of the righteousness that comes from God;
put on your head the diadem of the glory of the Everlasting;
for God will show your splendor everywhere under heaven.
For God will give you evermore the name,
“Righteous Peace, Godly Glory.”
Dunn suggests that the distinction between hearing and doing the law drives “a wedge between the interconnected elements of Jewish self-understanding,” but this is performed with rhetorical finesse. As far as the listeners of Rom 2 are concerned, the bigot who knows God’s will but fails to perform it is under attack here. Paul’s assertion that hearing the law does not make one “righteous before God” counters the claim of superior status made by the bigot, and would have been supported by some important rabbis. Wilckens reports that Rabbi Johannai (30 B.C.E.) taught his disciples, “Make the study of Torah into something solid: speak little but do much.… The main thing is not studying but doing.” Paul’s denial is categorical: participation in synagogue worship or reciting the Shema provides the religious bigot no guarantee of assured status before God.
Paul’s antithesis is that only “the doers of the law” will be accounted righteous. The future tense of δικαιωθήσονται (“they shall be set right”) is probably eschatological rather than gnomic;192 at the last judgment each person’s status before God will be assessed, and no exceptionalism of any kind will be allowed, as v. 11* had made plain. This verse reiterates the point of v. 7*, that those who actually accomplish good works will gain eternal life. At first glance this appears to contradict the main argument of Romans, that no flesh will be set right by works of the law and that salvation comes only through faith in God’s grace (3:20–24*). However, the underlying issue is that actions motivated by the desire for superior honor, in Paul’s view, pervert obedience and frustrate the purpose of divine law. Only those who abandon claims of superiority can fulfill the law, which required both Jews and Gentiles to change their motivational systems.193 In the formulation of Klyne Snodgrass, “‘Works righteousness’ is excluded, but saving obedience in response to God’s grace is not.” Garlington maintains that “Paul has in mind a different kind of ‘doing the law,’ a doing … commensurate with ‘the obedience of faith.’ ”
■ 14* The seeming contradiction with Paul’s main thesis about the universal failure to attain salvation by lawful obedience has led to a wide variety of approaches to the last three verses in this pericope. Most exegetes take the Gentiles embodying the law to be pagans, arguing that (a) Paul wants to confirm their accountability when they are condemned at the last judgment,196 or (b) Paul wants to show that there are righteous Gentiles who even without having responded to the gospel “stand a better chance of acquittal at the final judgment than many Jews,” or (c) Paul refers to pre-Christian Gentiles whose later conversion confirms that God’s law had indeed been inscribed on their hearts.198 A minority view is that Paul refers here to previously converted Gentile Christians whose fulfillment of the law will be confirmed at the last judgment. While some allow the seeming discrepancy to stand as an example of Pauline inconsistency,200 others vitiate the problem by asserting that these verses are a parenthetical aside or a hypothetical argument as if the gospel had not yet come202 or as if such Gentiles actually existed. The most likely of these views from a rhetorical point of view is that Paul is here describing the status of converted Gentiles. Having assented that wrath is already evident among unconverted Gentiles (1:18–31*) and that Jews are not exempt from God’s impartial judgment (2:1–13*), the audience consisting mainly of converted Gentiles would assume that their current situation is described in these verses, which provide a preliminary form of Paul’s strategy of touting Gentile conversion in order to provoke Jewish conversion through jealousy (11:11–14*). The alleged contradiction between these verses and chap. 3 is removed if one takes the latter as claiming that all unconverted Gentiles and Jews have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and that salvation is by grace alone for Jews as well as Gentiles.
The γάρ (“for”) of v. 14* indicates an argumentative connection with the foregoing thesis concerning the impartial judgment of God in v. 11*.204 It is significant that Paul refers here to ἔθνη (“Gentiles”) without the article, implying that some but not all Gentiles are in view. The expression τὰ μὴ νόμον ἔχοντα (“those that do not have the law”) refers to the absence of the Jewish Torah within the cultural tradition of Gentiles, whereby the word φύσις should be taken as qualifying their identity rather than their behavior.207 It refers to Gentiles whose birthright lacked exposure to the Torah. Yet they do the “deeds of the law,” a claim that in the experience of the Roman audience could only have referred to converted Gentiles.
That those Christian Gentiles who fulfill the law “are a law” expands the moral tradition of Aristotle, who argued that suicide is a criminal act because it willingly does harm “against the law” (παρὰ τὸν νόμον βλάπτῃ). The Stoics developed this theme in the direction of a common law (νόμος κοινός) embedded in nature and in enlightened humans, as claimed in Diogenes Laertius Vitae philos. 7.87–89. But, as John Martens points out, only the enlightened sage was considered capable of following such a law by choosing the right course of action in complex situations.210 In contrast to the philosopher-kings of Aristotle and the elite sages who embody Stoic ideals, Paul boldly claims that the rank and file of Gentile converts have so internalized the law of God that its performance is instinctive. Their renewed nature is so infused by the divine Spirit that the gap between knowing and doing has been overcome. In other writings Paul formulates this idea with language such as “we have the mind of Christ” or “the spirit that you have.” As the following verse documents, this embodiment of law through conversion fulfills the prophetic hope that had initially been articulated concerning the future transformation of Israel itself.
■ 15* Paul’s explanation of the phenomenon of the righteous Gentiles continues with οἵτινες (“such people”), which, as in 1:25* and 32*, is a relative pronoun with a mildly confirmatory sense that picks up the thread from the preceding sentence.211 The converted Gentiles’ behavior of doing by nature the things of the law “demonstrates” the condition of their heart. The verb ἐνδείκνυμι is employed here in the sense to “cause something to become known, show, demonstrate,” and may have a “forensic sense”213 that is close to the classical expression used by Antiphon 5.2, κακοῦργος ἐνδεδειγμένος (“informed crime,” i.e., a crime identified by an informer). The context in Romans fits best with the sense of public demonstration, as in Isocrates’ advice, “Demonstrate good will towards me in works rather than in words (τὴν εὔνοιαν τὴν πρὸς ἡμᾶς ἐν τοῖς ἔργοις ἐνδείκνυσθε ἢ ἐν τοῖς λόγοις).”
The phrase “work of the law” (τὸ ἔργον τοῦ νόμου) is a collective expression as in v. 7*216 that avoids the negative connotation of “works of the law,” used elsewhere by Paul in polemical contexts (Rom 3:20*, 28*; Gal 2:16*; 3:2*, 5*, 10*).217 Bornkamm and Heiligenthal insist that this expression implies that in different forms both Jews and Gentiles possess a fundamental awareness and obligation to God’s law. The content of this “work” remains undefined at this point, although the subsequent reference to what God has “written” on the hearts of converted Gentiles points toward the theme developed in 13:10*, that “the love” is law’s fulfillment. That such work is “written in their hearts” (γραπτὸν ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις αὐτῶν) is a deliberate echo of LXX Jer 38:33*, to which Paul also appears to have alluded in 1 Cor 11:25*; 2 Cor 3:2*, 3*, 6*, 14*: “For this is my covenant which I will make with the house of Israel; after those days, says the Lord, I will put my laws into their mind and write them on their heart (καὶ ἐπὶ καρδίας αὐτῶν γράψω αὐτούς); and I will be to them a God and they shall be to me a people.”
Some scholars reject this echo on grounds that the eschatological fulfillment scheme associated with the Jeremiah prophecy seems to be missing here and that Paul speaks of the “work of the law” rather than the plural “laws” as in Jeremiah. The first objection is viable only if the Gentiles in this passage are not Christian, and the second falsely presupposes that Paul is polemicizing against Jewish legalists. Paul is implying that the Jeremiah prophecy has been fulfilled in an unexpected manner as the gospel recruits Gentiles to become the heirs of the divine promise who perform the “work of the law” in their love feasts. The rhetorical impact of this allusion to Jeremiah is to cement the contrast between the seeming target of Paul’s polemic, the legalistic bigot, and the audience consisting predominately of Gentile Christians who consider themselves the recipients of Jeremiah’s eschatological promise of a new covenant. This detail also brings the Gentile Christians into close proximity to the Jewish Christians, in that both have a law written on their hearts, though in differing manners.
The next two clauses are usually taken as if v. 15b* (“their conscience bearing witness”) were explained by v. 15c* (“their thoughts condemning or even defending”), even though the latter contains plural participles and the former is a singular genitive absolute.222 This approach requires that the καί (“and”) between the two clauses has an explicative connotation, which requires an inappropriate definition of conscience as consisting of competing thoughts.224 The simple solution of two separate genitive abstract constructions connected by “and” was developed by Godet and is increasingly accepted today.226 This allows the word “conscience” to carry its ordinary connotation of an autonomous witness as to whether a particular action is consistent with the internalized standard. In contrast to modern usage that is shaped by the Stoic view of conscience as the guiding voice of God, Paul views συνείδησις as an anthropological phenomenon of the knowledge one has “with oneself” that “marks any transgression against the individual’s accepted code.” This correlates with C. A. Pierce’s discovery of the “moral bad” and “moral bad absolute” connotations of συνείδησις in popular usage, in which the very presence of conscience was considered painful, because it marked a transgression against an internalized standard. Only in a secondary sense, therefore, was conscience thought to be “guiding,” because one’s advanced knowledge of which actions to avoid could lead one to act in such a way as to avoid such painful knowledge of transgression. Thus in this passage the conscience of the Gentiles “bears witness with” (συμμαρτυρέω) them to confirm that they have a law within.232 The function of conscience as an autonomous witness, an irrepressible knowledge about whether an act is consistent with one’s norm, explains why it can be employed here as the subject of the verb συμμαρτυρέω (“bears witness”) as if it were somehow separate from the person.
The autonomous function of conscience is confirmed by the following clause that refers to the rational process of conflicting thoughts: καὶ μεταξὺ ἀλλήλων τῶν λογισμῶν κατηγορούντων ἢ καὶ ἀπολογουμένων (“and the thoughts between them condemning or even defending”). The expression μεταξὺ ἀλλήλων (“among/between themselves”) could refer to debate between different Gentiles or conflicting thoughts within an individual.235 The contradistinction between ἀλλήλων (“themselves”) and the preceding αὐτῶν in the expression “their conscience” understood as belonging to each one individually, along with the use of μεταξύ in biblical and secular texts, leads me to prefer the more public alternative. Typical examples of μεταξύ occur in Matt 18:15*, “between you and him”; Acts 12:6*, “between two soldiers”; Acts 15:9*, “between us and them”; and P.Rein. 44.16, “between him and Isidoros.” The most graceful translation of this public alternative in English was proposed by Barrett, “their inward thoughts in mutual debate accuse or else excuse them.”238 The word λογισμοί refers to thoughts, plans, or rational reflections that were typical features of Greco-Roman life, including business calculations, political debate, formal argumentation, and diatribe.
The negative potential of such reasoning is visible in the only other occurrence in the Pauline letters, “for the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly but have divine power to destroy strongholds, destroying thoughts (λογισμοὺς καταιροῦντες) and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God” (2 Cor 10:4–5*). The background to this negative appraisal of human thoughts is visible in biblical writings that castigate “self-glorious reason apart from God.”241 The verbal combativeness of Greco-Roman culture is captured by Paul’s reference to those whose reasoning leads them to “condemning” (κατηγορούντων) “or also defending” (ἢ καὶ ἀπολογουμένων) one another. These terms were used in a variety of contexts, including interpersonal arguments, the courtroom, or God’s tribunal. This public discourse that is shaped by a constant controversy between condemnation and defense is employed by Paul to prove something that at first glance would seem to remove all ambiguity, that is, the law written on the heart.
The full implications of this depiction become clear later in the letter, when the controversies between the “weak” and the “strong” are discussed more openly. At that point it will become clear that this depiction of moral ambiguity even for those whose righteous behavior demonstrates a law written on the heart provides the basis for mutual understanding and sympathy. While both sides in the Roman churches are acting as if they have access to total truth and that their competitors must be “judged” or “held in contempt,” they are all subject to human ambiguity. The insight of 1 Cor 13 is evident here, that believers continue to see through a glass darkly, and that all human knowledge, even that of prophets and charismatics, is partial. Paul’s rhetorical strategy requires, however, that no hint of disapprobation is struck in Rom 2:15*. Paul knows that he cannot achieve his rhetorical purpose by attacking either camp in a direct manner, so he constructs a rhetorical trap that by the end of the letter will “wound from behind,” to employ Kierkegaard’s famous expression.
■ 16* This verse brings to conclusion the sentence that began in v. 14*, but does so in a manner that has given rise to unending controversy. The present tense of the verb ἐκδείκνυνται (“they demonstrate”) in the previous verse seems inconsistent with the reference to the day of judgment in v. 16*243 and the tense of the verb κρίνει (“he judges”) is present, which also seems odd in reference to the final judgment. Scholars have observed that a seemingly more logical place for this reference to the day of judgment would be after v. 13*, 245 or even v. 10*.246 Others argue that vv. 14–15* constitute a parenthesis247 or a gloss, while Bultmann argued that v. 16* is itself a gloss.249 Sanday and Headlam note that the thought of this verse “goes back to δικαιωθήσονται in ver. 13*, ”250 while Michel and others supply “all this will be made plain on the day of judgment.” That Paul himself supplied no such verb at the beginning of v. 16* indicates that he wanted to convey the idea that the final assessment of behavior, conscience, and reasoning belongs to God alone.252 The idea that God is able to expose the secrets of the heart was widely affirmed in Scripture. Ps. Sol. 14.8 follows this line in declaring that God “knows the secrets of the heart before they happen.” In the expression “the secrets of humans” Paul employs the term ἄνθρωπος that appeared in 2:1* and 3* to address the legalistic bigot, in contradistinction to Paul’s audience. This conveys a hint that along with the bigot the audience might find its own secrets exposed. The hint is elaborated in 14:4* and 10* that neither the “weak” nor the “strong” should presume upon God’s right to judge. It is perhaps for this reason that ἡμέρα (“day”) appears here as in 2:5* without the article, referring to God’s judgment that can occur at any time, in the present as well as in the final judgment.255
The significance of the final prepositional phrases has been particularly difficult to define, in part because κατὰ τὸ εὐαγγέλιόν μου (“according to my gospel”) appears elsewhere only in 2 Tim 2:8* and in the deutero-Pauline benediction of Rom 16:25*. That Paul’s gospel is the “criterion” of divine judgment256 seems to claim too much, and since it was widely believed that God judges secretive thoughts and behavior, this could not be presented as a distinctive aspect of Paul’s gospel. That the distinctive feature of his gospel was criticism of Jewish self-righteousness258 is an outmoded expression of anti-Judaism that is particularly distant from this discussion of the behavior of Gentiles. It seems evasive to contend that the “my” in this phrase refers simply to “the gospel which he preached together with other Christian preachers.” Some feature of Paul’s preaching appears to be in view here. It is frequently asserted that the phrase κατὰ τὸ εὐαγγέλιόν μου (“according to my gospel”) should be attached to the verb “judge,” thereby indicating that Christ is the agency of final judgment, as in 1 Cor 4:4* and 2 Cor 5:10*.260 However, the word order of the prepositional phrases suggests that “through Christ Jesus” defines Paul’s gospel. None of these suggestions that are oriented to the construction of a consistent theology takes account of the peculiar rhetorical situation in this passage, and indeed, in the letter as a whole. The two prepositional phrases seem intended to raise nagging doubts in the minds of Paul’s audience concerning divine assessment of the heart, thus opening the door to the later argument of the letter. If God will judge the secrets of every heart, what is peculiar about Paul’s gospel? In what way is Paul’s approach to divine judgment consistent with Christ Jesus? Not until the hearer of Romans comes to 14:1–15:13* do these questions receive a direct answer, in a distinctively Pauline advocacy of cooperative coexistence between formerly competitive house and tenement churches based on Christ’s acceptance of them all.
Jewett, R., & Kotansky, R. D. (2006). Romans: A commentary. (E. J. Epp, Ed.) (pp. 211–218). Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press.
Furthermore, we know that pagan Gentiles of the Romans 1:18-32 were given over to a depraved mind. Romans 8:5-8 shows that these pagan Gentiles couldn’t be called “doers of the law”. How could one Who cannot subject itself to the law of God be a doer of the law as well? How could Paul say the “doer of the law” will be justified and that not be because the doer of the law has faith in Christ and now have fulfilled it because they have the righteousness of Christ? It’s not as if they could merit it for themselves.
“If therefore the apostle, when he mentioned that the Gentiles do by nature the things contained in the law, and have the work of the law written in their hearts, intended those to be understood who believed in Christ,—who do not come to the faith like the Jews, through a precedent law,—there is no good reason why we should endeavour to distinguish them from those to whom the Lord by the prophet promises the new covenant, telling them that He will write His laws in their hearts, inasmuch as they too, by the grafting which he says had been made of the wild olive, belong to the self-same olive-tree,—in other words, to the same people of God. There is therefore a good agreement of this passage of the apostle with the words of the prophet so that belonging to the new testament means having the law of God not written on tables, but on the heart,—that is, embracing the righteousness of the law with innermost affection, where faith works by love. Because it is by faith that God justifies the Gentiles; and the Scripture foreseeing this, preached the gospel before to Abraham, saying, “In thy seed shall all nations be blessed,” in order that by this grace of promise the wild olive might be grafted into the good olive, and believing Gentiles might be made children of Abraham, “in Abraham’s seed, which is Christ,”by following the faith of him who, without receiving the law written on tables, and not yet possessing even circumcision, “believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness.” Now what the apostle attributed to Gentiles of this character,—how that “they have the work of the law written in their hearts;”must be some such thing as what he says to the Corinthians: “not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.” For thus do they become of the house of Israel, when their uncircumcision is accounted circumcision, by the fact that they do not exhibit the righteousness of the law by the excision of the flesh, but keep it by the charity of the heart. “If,” says he, “the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision?” And therefore in the house of the true Israel, in which is no guile, they are partakers of the new testament, since God puts His laws into their mind, and writes them in their hearts with his own finger, the Holy Ghost, by whom is shed abroad in them the love which is the” fulfilling of the law.” Augustine
“Incest and the moral law”
If incest is condemned in the NT , then you have that being a trans covenantal law based on God’s glorious unchanging nature. If that is the case you must (as i argue earlier,) maintain it was always wrong as well.
But, I think we both have an explanation from Christian perspective on ethics.
Ethics comes in perspectives.
1. Normative perspective- focusing on the moral commands of the Bible to give society it’s transcendent norms for human conduct
2. The attitudinal perspective- focuses on the internal state of man and how he should feel.
3. Situational perspective- which focuses on the best action for each circumstances.
Incest was fine in the situation of Adam and Eve’s offspring. But when God gave this command because the situation changed, it continues to be fine for each of Adam’s kids , but for you and me in our state is wrong. These both are always the case and shall always be. It is fine for the being which is a better state, than its degenerate descendants offspring.
“The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.”