Published online by Cambridge University Press: 24 September 2020
Locke regarded the Law of Nature as divinely given and, hence, inherently rational, universally binding, and eternally valid. This view of the Law of Nature informs his natural law theory, which presents both biblical and natural theological arguments. Yet, he believed in the superiority of the Law of Faith, delivered by Christ, over both the Law of Nature and the Law of Moses. To Locke, Christ not only affirmed the Law of Nature completely and unambiguously, but also assured humanity of otherworldly rewards and sanctions and of God’s forgiveness of the repentant faithful. Thus, the Law of Faith effectively promotes the practice of morality and the development of moral character and enables human beings to pursue salvation. Maintaining the necessity both of good works and of acceptance of God’s assisting grace for salvation, Locke rejected predestination, denied original sin, and excluded the satisfaction theory of atonement, which he described as a disputed doctrine, from his account of Christianity in his public writings. However, some of his manuscripts demonstrate his dislike for the satisfaction theory, to which he preferred the Arminians’ governmental theory of atonement.