conscience

The modern understanding of conscience as a faculty by which past actions or dispositions are assessed or future actions evaluated, leading to experiences of guilt or of innocence, is not that of the Bible—though that is not to say that the Bible is unaware of these feelings (cf. 1 Sam. 24:5).
In the NT human beings are regarded as morally responsible and ‘conscience’ is the painful reaction felt when one's ordered human nature is violated. Conscience therefore is something from which a Christian should be free (Rom. 13:5); it comes into operation after a wrong deed has been initiated. If there is no such reaction (‘conscience’), then either the deed is not wrong, or habit or environment has so corrupted the subject that ‘conscience’ fails to be activated. ‘Because of conscience’ (Rom. 13:5) means ‘to avoid the pains of conscience’.
This conscience could lead to excessive scruples on the one hand, or be so insensitive on the other that weaker Christians are hurt (1 Cor. 10:28).

Dictionary of the Bible.

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  • Conscience — conscience …   Philosophy dictionary

  • CONSCIENCE — Le mot latin conscientia est naturellement décomposé en «cum scientia». Cette étymologie suggère non seulement la connaissance de l’objet par le sujet, mais que cet objet fait toujours référence au sujet lui même. Le terme allemand Bewusstsein… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Conscience — • The individual, as in him customary rules acquire ethical character by the recognition of distinct principles and ideals, all tending to a final unity or goal, which for the mere evolutionist is left very indeterminate, but for the Christian… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • conscience — CONSCIENCE. s. f. Lumière intérieure, sentiment intérieur par lequel l homme se rend témoignage à luimême du bien et du mal qu il fait. Conscience timorée. Conscience délicate. Conscience scrupuleuse. Conscience tendre. Bonne conscience.… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française 1798

  • conscience — Conscience. s. f. Lumiere interieure, sentiment interieur, par lequel l homme se rend tesmoignage à luy mesme du bien & du mal qu il fait. Conscience honorée conscience delicate. conscience scrupuleuse. conscience tendre. bonne conscience.… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • conscience — Conscience, Dire en sa conscience, Bona fide dicere. A ma conscience, Selon ce que je pense, Ex animi sententia. Homme de bonne conscience, Religiosus. Loyauté et bonne conscience, Religio et fides, B. Une exemplaire d une droite et bonne… …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

  • Conscience — Con science, n. [F. conscience, fr. L. conscientia, fr. consciens, p. pr. of conscire to know, to be conscious; con + scire to know. See {Science}.] 1. Knowledge of one s own thoughts or actions; consciousness. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] The sweetest… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • conscience — con·science adj: exempting persons whose religious beliefs forbid compliance conscience laws, which allow physicians...to refuse to participate in abortions W. J. Curran Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996 …   Law dictionary

  • CONSCIENCE (H.) — CONSCIENCE HENRI (1812 1883) Écrivain flamand. Épris de son pays, Conscience résolut d’écrire en une langue que la bourgeoisie francophone de l’époque considérait comme un patois destiné au vulgaire. Le romantisme nationaliste lui inspira Le Lion …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • conscience — early 13c., from O.Fr. conscience conscience, innermost thoughts, desires, intentions; feelings (12c.), from L. conscientia knowledge within oneself, sense of right, a moral sense, from conscientem (nom. consciens), prp. of conscire be (mutually) …   Etymology dictionary

  • conscience — [kän′shəns] n. [OFr < L conscientia, consciousness, moral sense < prp. of conscire < com , with + scire, to know (see SCIENCE): replacing ME inwit, knowledge within] 1. a knowledge or sense of right and wrong, with an urge to do right;… …   English World dictionary

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