on defining the conscience (Thurman Wisdom)

A little bit of a break to read today. In my new book by Dr. Wisdom, I discovered this description of human conscience, as good as any I have seen anywhere. Can we really add much to this definition?

The word conscience appears over thirty times in the New Testament, but the inspired writers never explained it. They did not have to. They correctly assumed that all people, in all cultures, were painfully aware of this inflexible judge. In fact, perhaps the best way to think of conscience is to personify it as an internal judge who holds court in the soul of man. Written indelibly on the walls of man’s soul is the divine law, and our internal, impartial judge rules in accordance with this law.

This judge will also make rulings based on other laws imposed upon it; but these laws — whatever temporary power they may have — can never supersede or erase the divine law written in the heart. A man’s conscience maybe weak because the principles of the law of God are not well ingrained and enforced in his soul (1 Cor 8.12). It may become defiled and — as a judge who has been bribed — become temporarily unclear in its judgments. And a man’s conscience may also be “seared with a hot iron” (1 Tim 4.2) — that is, so branded by Satan that it becomes insensitive to truth and judgment. But in none of these cases can Satan make conscience “wholly his.” The ancient laws of God are still embedded indelibly on man’s soul. Conscience still “remembers” these laws, and it rules in accordance with their standards.

[Thurman Wisdom, a Royal Destiny, Bob Jones University Press, 2006, p. xviii.]

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3