An answer in another question makes reference to different categories of laws; specifically it references eternal law, divine law, natural law and human law.

This got me thinking... does the bible describe different types of laws, either directly or indirectly? If so, what are they? If applicable, by what authority is each category enacted? How do each of the categories relate to each other?

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    You mean like when Jesus said 'give to Cesar what belongs to Cesar'? Commented Jan 2, 2014 at 22:36
  • I mean like the question and answer I reference in my question.
    – Jeff
    Commented Jan 3, 2014 at 1:24
  • @PeterTurner answered the linked question from a Catholic point of view and the Catechism contains a discourse on the various distinctions of law. If you gave this question the [Catholicism] tag it would restrict answers to a relevant theological standpoint. Commented Jan 3, 2014 at 7:54

2 Answers 2


I don't think there is a definitive answer to your question as asked. You're not asking for an objective fact, like "what is the boiling point of hydrogen peroxide at sea level?" You're asking for a classification. Different people could classify the same things many different ways. Like suppose I asked you what different kinds of motor vehicle there are. If you are a car salesman thinking about what people ask for when they come shopping for a car, you might say that there are sedans, convertibles, pickup trucks, vans, and motorcycles. If you are an energy company, you might say there are gasoline powered, diesel, and electric. If you are a government official responsible for determining import fees, you would divide them by country of origin. Etc. None of these schemes is "right" and others "wrong". They are all just useful or not useful for a particular purpose.

Same thing for "types of laws". We could talk about human law versus divine law. We could talk about moral laws versus physical laws. We could talk about canon law versus secular law. Etc. You really need more context to get a definitive answer.


There is a good answer on the FAQ page for Grace Lutheran in Elgin, TX.

A number of times, for example in the February 19, 2006 Biblog post commenting on Leviticus 13-15, you have said that some aspects of the law no longer apply to us. Can you explain how we know which parts of the law do still apply and which parts do not?

A: A usual breakdown of Old Testament “law” is into three categories: ceremonial law, civil law, and moral law. The moral laws, such as the Ten Commandments, by all means do still apply to us. (For example, in Matthew 5:17 Jesus said He came not to abolish the moral law but to fulfill it.) The civil laws applied to the people of Israel as they lived under their Jewish kings, but such laws no longer apply to us, as we live under governments independent of God, even though they are established by God (Romans 13). We are bound to obey the laws of our civil governments, in so far as those laws do not contradict God’s moral law (Acts 5:29). The ceremonial laws, especially those pertaining to the sacrifices, pointed to Christ and ceased being in effect once He offered Himself as our once-for-all sacrifice. A key New Testament account regarding the abolition of the ceremonial law pertaining to clean and unclean animals is in Acts 10-11:18. Christians are generally free from the ceremonial law: they are free under Christian liberty to keep or not keep some aspects of it (see, for example, Romans 14, and note that Christian liberty may mean they keep some parts of the old law), though other aspects definitely do still apply (see, for example, the decision of the apostolic council in Acts 15 and how that council distinguished between what did and did not still apply). The New Testament and the Lutheran Confessions have much to say about these distinctions between the different categories of laws, as well as the distinction between the moral law and the Gospel.

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