Home » BLOG » Uncategorized

Category: Uncategorized

Paradoxes of Common Grace

Common Grace: the Law written on the heart of man

Let’s talk common grace again.

Van Til makes the point that common grace is the only explanation for many of the paradoxes of Scripture. How is it that the Bible can say that all men inherently know God while also saying that they don’t know God?:

ALL MEN KNOW GOD BUT DON’T KNOW GOD

All men know God. Every fact of the universe has God’s stamp of ownership indelibly and with large letters engraved upon it…

Yet these same men to whom we must testify that they know God, must also be told that they do not know God… (p. 150)

How is it that Scripture can say all men have God’s law written on their conscious yet say that only believers truly have the law written on their hearts?

THE LAW IS WRITTEN ON ALL MEN’S HEARTS YET IS NOT WRITTEN ON ALL MEN’S HEARTS

The requirement of God comes clearly home to the consciousness of man. In this sense the law of God is written in his heart… (p. 152).

At the same time the Bible says to these men that they do not have the law of God written on their hearts. According to the promise of God to Jeremiah (Jer. 31:31) he will write his law upon the hearts of his people (p. 153).

The answers to these questions come in the form of the doctrine of common grace.

God’s creation of Adam was an act of common grace, not saving grace. The law was written on his heart in the ‘common’ manner, not in the saving manner. The law is written on (unregenerate) man’s heart via his conscious and knowledge that there is a Creator. The law is written on the (regenerate) believer’s heart via his relationship with the Holy Spirit, who causes him to love the law of God in the inner man. He is not only aware of the law, he loves the law.

Adam knew God, but didn’t know God. He knew him as his creator but didn’t know the grace of regeneration. So it is with all men before God clothes them with the garment of the sacrifice.

All quotations from Cornelius Van Til, Common Grace and the Gospel

Insider Newsletter Drops This Week

Our first insider newsletter is going out this week. If you haven’t signed up, you can do so at the bottom of this post. Otherwise, you’ll miss out. Sign up by Wednesday.

What’s in the newsletter? This month’s email will include:

  1. Our thoughts on five things we’ve read or watched in the last month and how they’ve pointed us to Christ.
  2. BONUS: What we’re watching and reading to learn about writing, editing, building a platform, branding, and website design. I had an interesting conversation with a Christian digital marketing expert who pointed me to some good stuff. You’ll have to sign up to hear about it.
  3. An update on our forthcoming podcast.
  4. An update on the progress of our book manuscript for Seeing Christ in Fight Club (And Other Unexpected Places in Culture).

Sign up for the insider info and updates here:

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required