Huldrych Zwingli (1484-1531) on the Law as the eternal will of God


“The Law is nothing else than the eternal will of God. For I shall say nothing here of civil laws or ceremonial laws, because they have to do with the outer man, and I am now talking of the inner man. Besides, these laws vary according to the exigencies of the times, as we often see in the case of civil laws; and ceremonial laws were abolished altogether by Christ, for they were made to be amended at some time, as was also done at the proper time, Heb. 9:10. But the divine laws, which have to do with the inner man, are eternal. The law will never be abrogated that you are to love your neighbour as yourself; and theft, false witness, murder, etc., will always be regarded as crimes. And that the Law is the eternal or permanent will of God is proved by what is written in Rom. 2:14 of those without the Law: namely, that they show the law has been published in their hearts, in that they do the things which the law commands, though the tablets of the law have not been set up before them. But none writes in the heart save God alone. Likewise, through the Law comes the knowledge of sin, Rom. 7:7, and, ‘where no law is, there is no transgression,’ Rom. 4:15. We are forced to admit, therefore, that the Law proceeded from God; for of ourselves we should not know what sin was unless God had manifested in His word what should be done and what not done. The Law, therefore, is nothing else than teachings as to the will of God, through which we understand what He wills, what He wills not, what He demands, what He forbids.”

– Huldrych Zwingli (1484-1531), Commentary on True and False Religion, Works, 3:137


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