What Is The Divine Law?

What Is The Divine Law
Divine law is any body of law that is perceived as deriving from a transcendent source, such as the will of God or gods – in contrast to man-made law or to secular law.

What is divine law?

Definitions of divine law. a law that is believed to come directly from God. type of: law, natural law. a rule or body of rules of conduct inherent in human nature and essential to or binding upon human society.

What is divine law in Christianity?

Please help support the mission of New Advent and get the full contents of this website as an instant download. Includes the Catholic Encyclopedia, Church Fathers, Summa, Bible and more — all for only $19.99. Divine Law is that which is enacted by God and made known to man through revelation.

  • We distinguish between the Old Law, contained in the Pentateuch, and the New Law, which was revealed by Jesus Christ and is contained in the New Testament,
  • The Divine Law of the Old Testament, or the Mosaic Law, is commonly divided into civil, ceremonial, and moral precepts,
  • The civil legislation regulated the relations of the people of God among themselves and with their neighbours; the ceremonial regulated matters of religion and the worship of God ; the moral was a Divine code of ethics.

In this article we shall confine our attention exclusively to the moral precepts of the Divine Law. In the Old Testament it is contained for the most part and summed up in the Decalogue ( Exodus 20:2-17 ; Leviticus 19:3, 11-18 ; Deuteronomy 5:1-33 ). The Old and the New Testament, Christ and His Apostles, Jewish as well as Christian tradition, agree in asserting that Moses wrote down the Law at the direct inspiration of God,

God Himself, then, is the lawgiver, Moses merely acted as the intermediary between God and His people; he merely promulgated the Law which he had been inspired to write down. This is not the same as to say that the whole of the Old Law was revealed to Moses. There is abundant evidence in Scripture itself that many portions of the Mosaic legislation existed and were put in practice long before the time of Moses.

Circumcision is an instance of this. The religious observance of the seventh day is another, and this indeed, seems to be implied in the very form in which the Third Commandment is worded: ” Remember that thou keep holy the sabbath day.” If we except the merely positive determinations of time and manner in which religious worship was to be paid to God according to this commandment, and the prohibition of making images to represent God contained in the first commandment, all the precepts of the Decalogue are also precepts of the natural law, which can be gathered by reason from nature herself, and in fact they were known long before Moses wrote them down at the express command of God,

  • This is the teaching of St.
  • Paul — “For when the Gentiles, who have not the law, do by nature those things that are of the law ; these having not the law, are a law to themselves: who shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness to them” ( Romans 2:14, 15 ).
  • Although the substance of the Decalogue is thus both of natural and Divine law, yet its express promulgation by Moses at the command of God was not without its advantages.

The great moral code, the basis of all true civilization, in this manner became the clear, certain, and publicly recognized standard of moral conduct for the Jewish people, and through them for Christendom, Because the code of morality which we have in the Old Testament was inspired by God and imposed by Him on His people, it follows that there is nothing in it that is immoral or wrong.

It was indeed imperfect, if it be compared with the higher morality of the Gospel, but, for all that, it contained nothing that is blameworthy. It was suited to the low stage of civilization to which the Israelites had at the time attained; the severe punishments which it prescribed for transgressors were necessary to bend the stiff necks of a rude people; the temporal rewards held out to those who observed the law were adapted to an unspiritual and carnal race.

Still its imperfections must not be exaggerated. In its treatment of the poor, of strangers, of slaves, and of enemies, it was vastly superior to the civilly more advanced Code of Hammurabi and other celebrated codes of ancient law. It did not aim merely at regulating the external acts of the people of God, it curbed also licentious thoughts and covetous desires.

  1. The love of God and of one’s neighbour was the great precept of the Law, its summary and abridgment, that on which the whole Law and the Prophets depended.
  2. In spite of the undeniable superiority in this respect of the Mosaic Law to the other codes of antiquity, it has not escaped the adverse criticism of heretics in all ages and of Rationalists in our own day.

To meet this adverse criticism it will be sufficient to indicate a few general principles that should not be lost sight of, and then to treat a few points in greater detail. It has always been freely admitted by Christians that the Mosaic Law is an imperfect institution; still Christ came not to destroy it but to fulfil and perfect it.

  1. We must bear in mind that God, the Creator and Lord of all things, and the Supreme Judge of the world, can do and command things which man the creature is not authorized to do or command.
  2. On this principle we may account for and defend the command given by God to exterminate certain nations, and the permission given by Him to the Israelites to spoil the Egyptians.

The tribes of Chanaan richly deserved the fate to which they were condemned by God ; and if there were innocent people among the guilty, God is the absolute Lord of life and death, and He commits no injustice when He takes away what He has given. Besides, He can make up by gifts of a higher order in another life for sufferings which have been patiently endured in this life.

  • A great want of historical perspective is shown by those critics who judge the Mosaic Law by the humanitarian and sentimental canons of the twentieth century.
  • A recent writer (Keane, “The Moral Argument against the Inspiration of the Old Testament” in the Hibbert Journal, October, 1905, p.155) professes to be very much shocked by what is prescribed in Exodus 21:5-6,

It is there laid down that if a Hebrew slave who has a wife and children prefers to remain with his master rather than go out free when the sabbatical year comes round, he is to be taken to the door-post and have his ear bored through with an awl, and then he is to remain a slave for life.

  • It was a sign and mark by which he was known to be a lifelong slave.
  • The practice was doubtless already familiar to the Israelites of the time, as it was to their neighbours.
  • The slave himself probably thought no more of the operation than does a South African beauty, when her lip or ear is pierced for the lip-ring and the ear-ring, which in her estimation are to add to her charms.

It is really too much when a staid professor makes such a prescription the ground for a grave charge of inhumanity against the law of Moses, Nor should the institution of slavery be made a ground of attack against the Mosaic legislation, It existed everywhere and although in practice it is apt to lead to many abuses, still, in the mild form in which it was allowed among the Jews, and with the safeguards prescribed by the Law, it cannot be said with truth to be contrary to sound morality.

  1. Polygamy and divorce, though less insisted on by Rationalist critics, in reality constitute a more serious difficulty against the holiness of the Mosaic Law than any of those which have just been mentioned.
  2. The difficulty is one which has engaged the attention of the Fathers and theologians of the Church from the beginning.

To answer it they take their stand on the teaching of the Master in the nineteenth chapter of St. Matthew and the parallel passages of Holy Scripture, What is there said of divorce is applicable to plurality of wives. The strict law of marriage was made known to our first parents in Paradise : “They shall be two in one flesh” ( Genesis 2:24 ).

When the sacred text says two it excludes polygamy, when it says one flesh it excludes divorce, Amid the general laxity with regard to marriage which existed among the Semitic tribes, it would have been difficult to preserve the strict law. The importance of a rapid increase among the chosen people of God so as to enable them to defend themselves from their neighbours, and to fulfil their appointed destiny, seemed to favour relaxation.

The example of some of the chief of the ancient Patriarchs was taken by their descendants as being a sufficient indication of the dispensation granted by God, With special safeguards annexed to it Moses adopted the Divine dispensation on account of the hardness of heart of the Jewish people.

Neither polygamy nor divorce can be said to be contrary to the primary precepts of nature. The primary end of marriage is compatible with both. But at least they are against the secondary precepts of the natural law : contrary, that is, to what is required for the well-ordering of human life, In these secondary precepts, however, God can dispense for good reason if He sees fit to do so.

In so doing He uses His sovereign authority to diminish the right of absolute equality which naturally exists between man and woman with reference to marriage. In this way, without suffering any stain on His holiness, God could permit and sanction polygamy and divorce in the Old Law,

  1. Christ is the author of the New Law.
  2. He claimed and exercised supreme legislative authority in spiritual matters from the beginning of His public life until His Ascension into heaven,
  3. In Him the Old Law had its fulfilment and attained its chief purpose.
  4. The civil legislation of Moses had for its object to form and preserve a peculiar people for the worship of the one true God, and to prepare the way for the coming of the Messias who was to be born of the seed of Abraham.

The new Kingdom of God which Christ founded was not confined to a single nation, it embraced all the nations of the earth, and when the new Israel was constituted, the old Israel with its separatist law became antiquated; it had fulfilled its mission.

  1. The ceremonial laws of Moses were types and figures of the purer, more spiritual, and more efficacious sacrifice and sacraments of the New Law, and when these were instituted the former lost their meaning and value.
  2. By the death of Christ on the Cross the New Covenant was sealed, and the Old was abrogated, but until the Gospel had been preached and duly promulgated, out of deference to Jewish prejudices, and out of respect for ordinances, which after all were Divine, those who wished to do so were at liberty to conform to the practices of the Mosaic Law,

When the Gospel had been duly promulgated the civil and ceremonial precepts of the Law of Moses became not only useless, but false and superstitious, and thus forbidden. It was otherwise with the moral precepts of the Mosaic Law, The Master expressly taught that the observance of these, inasmuch as they are prescribed by nature herself, is necessary for salvation — “If thou wouldst enter into life keep the commandments”, — those well-known precepts of the Decalogue,

Of these commandments those words of His are especially true — “I came not to destroy the law but to fulfil it.” This Christ did by insisting anew on the great law of charity towards God and man, which He explained more fully and gave us new motives for practising. He corrected the false glosses with which the Scribes and Pharisees had obscured the law as revealed by God, and He brushed aside the heap of petty observances with which they had overloaded it, and made it an intolerable burden.

He denounced in unmeasured terms the externalism of Pharisaic observance of the Law, and insisted on its spirit being observed as well as the letter. As was suited to a law of love which replaced the Mosaic Law of fear, Christ wished to attract men to obey His precepts out of motives of charity and filial obedience, rather than compel submission by threats of punishment.

  • He promised spiritual blessings rather than temporal, and taught His followers to despise the goods of this world in order to fix their affections on the future joys of life eternal.
  • He was not content with a bare observance of the law, He boldly proposed to His disciples the infinite goodness and holiness of God for their model, and urged them to be perfect as their heavenly Father is perfect.

For such as were specially called, and who were not content to observe the commandments merely, He proposed counsels of consummate perfection. By observing these His specially chosen followers, not only conquered their vices, but destroyed the roots of them, by constantly denying their natural propensities to honours, riches, and earthly pleasures.

  • Still it is admitted by Catholic theologians that Christ added no new merely moral precepts to the natural law,
  • There is of course a moral obligation to believe the truths which the Master revealed concerning God, man’s destiny, and the Church,
  • Moral obligations, too, arise from the institution of the sacraments, some of which are necessary to salvation,

But even here nothing is added directly to the natural law ; given the revelation of truth by God, the obligation to believe it follows naturally for all to whom the revelation is made known; and given the institution of necessary means of grace and salvation, the obligation to use them also follows necessarily.

As we saw above, the Master abrogated the dispensations which made polygamy and divorce lawful for the Jews owing to the special circumstances in which they were placed. In this respect the natural law was restored to its primitive integrity. Somewhat similarly with regard to the love of enemies, Christ clearly explained the natural law of charity on the point, and urged it against the perverse interpretation of the Pharisees,

The Law of Moses had expressly enjoined the love of friends and fellow-citizens. But at the same time it forbade the Jews to make treaties with foreigners, to conclude peace with the Ammonites, Moabites, and other neighbouring tribes; the Jew was allowed to practise usury in dealing with foreigners; God promised that He would be an enemy to the enemies of His people.

  • From these and similar provisions the Jewish doctors seem to have drawn the conclusion that it was lawful to hate one’s enemies. Even St.
  • Augustine, as well as some other Fathers and Doctors of the Church, thought that hatred of enemies, like polygamy and divorce, was permitted to the Jews on account of their hardness of heart.

It is clear, however, that, since enemies share the same nature with us, and are children of the same common Father, they may not be excluded from the love which, by the law of nature, we owe to all men. This obligation Christ no less clearly than beautifully expounded, and taught us how to practise by His own noble example.

Where does the divine law come from?

Divine Law – Divine law is derived from eternal law as it appears historically to humans, especially through revelation, i.e., when it appears to human beings as divine commands. Divine law is divided into the Old Law and the New Law (q91, a5). The Old and New Law roughly corresponding to the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.

Is 10 Commandments a divine law?

The Ten Commandments, also called the Decalogue (Greek, “ten words”), were divine laws revealed to Moses by God on Mt. Sinai. Appearing in both Exodus (Ex.20: 2–17) and Deuteronomy (Deut.5:6–21), the commandments are numbered differently depending on whether they appear in a Catholic, Protestant, or Hebrew Bible.

  1. The following is the version given in the Revised Standard Version of the Bible.
  2. You shall have no other gods before me.
  3. You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your manservant, or your maidservant, or your cattle, or the sojourner who is within your gates; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.

  • Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which the Lord your God gives you.
  • You shall not kill.
  • You shall not commit adultery.
  • You shall not steal.
  • You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
  • You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor’s.

Source: Revised Standard Version of the Bible (Ex.20: 2–17). The Books of the Bible: Old & New Testament in Order Old Testament Names,com/ipa/0/1/9/3/6/2/A0193628.html

What is an example of divine law?

1 T. Aquinas, Romans, 2:15.

They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.1

2 T. Aquinas, Summa Theologica, I, I: 8, http://www.summatheologica.info/summa/parts/?p=1

Grace does not destroy nature but perfects it,2 1 Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) was an intellectual and religious revolutionary, living at a time of great philosophical, theological and scientific development. He was a member of the Dominican Friars, which at that time was considered to be a cult, and was taught by one of the greatest intellects of the age, Albert the Great (1208–1280).

In a nutshell Aquinas wanted to move away from Plato’s thinking, which was hugely influential at the time, and instead introduce Aristotelian ideas to science, nature and theology.2 Aquinas wrote an incredible amount — in fact one of the miracles accredited to him was the amount he wrote! His most famous work is Summa Theologica and this runs to some three and half thousand pages and contains many fascinating and profound insights, such as proofs for God’s existence.

The book remained a fundamental basis for Catholic thinking right up to the 1960s! But do not worry we will only be focusing on a few key ideas! Specifically books I–II, questions 93–95.3 The likely answer from a religious person as to why we should not steal, or commit adultery is: “because God forbids us”; or if we ask why we should love our neighbour or give money to charity then the answer is likely to be “because God commands it”.

  • Drawing this link between what is right and wrong and what God commands and forbids is what is called the Divine Command Theory (DCT).4 There is a powerful and influential challenge to such an account called the Euthyphro dilemma after the challenge was first raised in Plato’s Euthyphro,
  • The dilemma runs as follows: Either God commands something is right because it is, or it is right because God commands it.

If God commands something because it is right, then God’s commands do not make it right, His commands only tell us what is right. This means God simply drops out of the picture in terms of explaining why something is right.5 If on the other hand something is right because God commands it then anything at all could be right; killing children or setting fire to churches could be morally acceptable.

  • But if a moral theory says this then that looks as if the theory is wrong.6 Most theists reject the first option and opt for this second option — that God’s commands make something right.
  • But they then have to face the problem that it make morality haphazard.
  • This ” arbitrariness problem ” as it is sometimes called, is the reason that many, including Aquinas, give up on the Divine Command Theory.7 So for Aquinas what role, if any at all, does God have when it comes to morality? For him, God’s commands are there to help us to come to see what, as a matter of fact, is right and wrong rather than determine what is right and wrong.

That is, Aquinas opts for the first option in the Euthyphro dilemma as stated above. But then this raises the obvious question: if it is not God’s commands that make something right and wrong, then what does? Does not God just fall out of the picture? This is where his Natural Law Theory comes in.8 Aquinas’s Natural Law Theory contains four different types of law: Eternal Law, Natural Law, Human Law and Divine Law,

The way to understand these four laws and how they relate to one another is via the Eternal Law, so we’d better start there 9 By “Eternal Law'” Aquinas means God’s rational purpose and plan for all things. And because the Eternal Law is part of God’s mind then it has always, and will always, exist. The Eternal Law is not simply something that God decided at some point to write.10 Aquinas thinks that everything has a purpose and follows a plan.

He, like Aristotle, is a teleologist (the Greek term ” telos ” refers to what we might call a purpose, goal, end/or the true final function of an object) (see Chapter 3; not to be confused with a telelogical ethical theory such as Utilitarianism) and believes that every object has a telos ; the acorn has the telos of growing into an oak; the eye a telos of seeing; a rat of eating and reproducing etc.

  1. Notice this links to his view on sex, see Chapter 10).
  2. If something fulfils its purpose/plan then it is following the Eternal Law.11 Aquinas thinks that something is good in as far as it fulfils its purpose/plan.
  3. This fits with common sense.
  4. A ” good ” eye is one which sees well, an acorn is a good if it grows into a strong oak tree.12 But what about humans? Just as a good eye is to see, and a good acorn is to grow then a good human is to? Is to what? How are we going to finish this sentence? What do you think? 13 Aquinas thinks that the answer is reason and that it is this that makes us distinct from rats and rocks.

What is right for me and you as humans is to act according to reason. If we act according to reason then we are partaking in the Natural Law,14 If we all act according to reason, then we will all agree to some overarching general rules (what Aquinas calls primary precepts ).

These are absolute and binding on all rational agents and because of this Aquinas rejects relativism,15 The first primary precept is that good is to be pursued and done and evil avoided. He thinks that this is the guiding principle for all our decision making.16 Before unpacking this, it is worth clarifying something about what “law” means.

Imagine that we are playing Cluedo and we are trying to work out the identity of the murderer. There are certain rules about how to move around the board, how to deal out cards, how to reveal the murderer etc. These rules are all written down and can be consulted.17 However, in playing the game there are other rules that operate which are so obvious that they are neither written down nor spoken.

One such rule is that a claim made in the game cannot both be true and false; if it is Professor Plum who is the murderer then it cannot be true that it is not Professor Plum who is the murderer. These are internal rules which any rational person can come to recognize by simply thinking and are not external like the other rules — such as you can only have one guess as to the identity of the murderer.

When Aquinas talks of Natural Laws, he means internal rules and not external ones.18 Natural Law does not generate an external set of rules that are written down for us to consult but rather it generates general rules that any rational agent can come to recognize simply in virtue of being rational.

  1. Protect and preserve human life.
  2. Reproduce and educate one’s offspring.
  3. Know and worship God.
  4. Live in a society,

19 These precepts are primary because they are true for all people in all instances and are consistent with Natural Law.20 Aquinas also introduces what he calls the Human Law which gives rise to what he calls ” Secondary Precepts “. These might include such things as do not drive above 70mph on a motorway, do not kidnap people, always wear a helmet when riding a bike, do not hack into someone’s bank account.

  1. Secondary precepts are not generated by our reason but rather they are imposed by governments, groups, clubs, societies etc.21 It is not always morally acceptable to follow secondary precepts.
  2. It is only morally acceptable if they are consistent with the Natural Law.
  3. If they are, then we ought to follow them, if they are not, then we ought not.

To see why think through an example.22 Consider the secondary precept that ” if you are a woman and you live in Saudi Arabia then you are not allowed to drive “. Aquinas would argue that this secondary precept is practically irrational because it treats people differently based on an arbitrary difference (gender).

He would reason that if the men in power in Saudi actually really thought hard then they too would recognize that this law is morally wrong. This in turn means that Aquinas would think that this human law does not fit with the Natural Law. Hence, it is morally wrong to follow a law that says that men can, and women cannot, drive.

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So although it is presented as a secondary precept, because it is not in accordance with Natural Law, it is what Aquinas calls an apparent good, This is in contrast with those secondary precepts which are in accordance with the Natural Law and which he calls the real goods,23 Unlike primary precepts, Aquinas is not committed to there being only one set of secondary precepts for all people in all situations.

It is consistent with Aquinas’s thinking to have a law to drive on the right in the US and on the left in the UK as there is no practical reason to think that there is one correct side of the road on which to drive.24 It is clear that on our own we are not very good at discovering primary precepts and consequently Aquinas thinks that what we ought to do is talk and interact with people.

To discover our real goods — our secondary precepts which accord with Natural Law — we need to be part of a society. For example, we might think that “treat Christians as secondary citizens” is a good secondary precept until we talk and live with Christians.

The more we can think and talk with others in society the better and it is for this reason that “live in society” is itself a primary precept.25 But looking at what we have said already about Natural Laws and primary and secondary precepts, we might think that there is no need for God. If we can learn these primary precepts by rational reflection then God simply drops out of the story (recall the Euthyphro dilemma above).26 Just to recap as there a lots of moving parts to the story.

We now have Eternal Law (God’s plans/purpose for all things), Natural Laws (our partaking in the Eternal Law which leads to primary precepts), Human Laws (humans making specific laws to capture the truths of the Natural Laws which lead to secondary precepts) and now finally Aquinas introduces the Divine Law,27 The Divine Law, which is discovered through revelation, should be thought of as the Divine equivalent of the Human Law (those discovered through rational reflection and created by people).

Divine laws are those that God has, in His grace, seen fit to give us and are those “mysteries”, those rules given by God which we find in scripture; for example, the ten commandments. But why introduce the Divine Law at all? It certainly feels we have enough Laws. Here is a story to illustrate Aquinas’s answer.28 A number of years ago I was talking to a minister of a church.

He told me about an instance where a married man came to ask his advice about whether to finish an affair he was having. The man’s reasoning went as follows — “I am having an affair which just feels so right, we are both very much in love and surely God would want what is best for me! How could it be wrong if we are so happy?” 29 In response, the minister opened the Bible to the Ten Commandments and pointed out the commandment that it says that it is wrong to commit adultery.

  1. Case closed.
  2. The point of this story is simple.
  3. We can be confused and mistaken about what we think we have most reason to do and because of this we need someone who actually knows the mind of God to guide us, and who better to know this than God Himself.
  4. This then is precisely what is revealed in the Divine Law.30 Or consider another example.

We recognize that we find it hard to forgive our friends and nearly always impossible to forgive our enemies. We tell ourselves we have the right to be angry, to bear grudges, etc. Isn’t this just human? However, these human reasons are distortions of the Eternal Law.

We need some guidance when it comes to forgiveness and it is where the Divine Law which tells us that we should forgive others — including our enemies. Following the Human Laws and the Divine Laws will help us to fulfil our purposes and plans and be truly happy.31 For Aquinas everything has a function (a telos ) and the good thing (s) to do are those acts that fulfil that function.

Some things such as acorns, and eyes, just do that naturally. However, humans are free and hence need guidance to find the right path. That right path is found through reasoning and generates the “internal” Natural Law. By following the Natural Law we participate in God’s purpose for us in the Eternal Law.32 However, the primary precepts that derive from the Natural Law are quite general, such as, pursue good and shun evil,

So we need to create secondary precepts which can actually guide our day-to-day behaviour. But we are fallible so sometimes we get these secondary precepts wrong, sometimes we get them right. When they are wrong they only reflect our apparent goods. When they are right they reflect our real goods.33 Finally, however good we are because we are finite and sinful, we can only get so far with rational reflection.

We need some revealed guidance and this comes in the form of Divine Law. So to return to the Euthyphro dilemma. God’s commands through the Divine Law are ways of illuminating what is in fact morally acceptable and not what determines what is morally acceptable.

Aquinas rejects the Divine Command Theory.34 Let’s consider some examples to show that what we have said so far might actually work. Imagine someone considering suicide. Is this morally acceptable or not? Recall, it is part of the Natural Law to preserve and protect human life. Clearly suicide is not preserving and protecting human life.

It is therefore irrational to kill oneself and cannot be part of God’s plan for our life; hence it is morally unacceptable.35 Imagine that someone is considering having an abortion after becoming pregnant due to rape. The same reasoning is going to apply.

We ought to preserve and protect human life and hence an abortion in this case is morally wrong.36 However, as we will see, Aquinas thinks that there are some instances where it is morally acceptable to kill an innocent person and therefore there may be occasions when it is morally acceptable to kill a fœtus.

But how can this be correct? Will this not violate the primary precept about preserving life? The answer is to understand that for Aquinas, an action is not just about what we do externally but is also about what we do internally (i.e. our motivations).

  1. With this distinction he can show that, for example, killing an innocent can be morally acceptable.37 To make this clear, Aquinas introduces one of his most famous ideas: the ” Doctrine of Double Effect “.
  2. Let’s see how this works.
  3. Imagine a child brought up in a physically, sexually and emotionally abusive family.

He is frequently scared for his life and is locked in the house for days at a time. One day when his father is drunk and ready to abuse him again he quickly grabs a kitchen knife and slashes his father’s artery. His father bleeds out and dies in a matter of minutes.

  • Do you think the son did anything wrong? 38 Many people would say that he did nothing morally wrong and in fact, some might even go as far as to say that he should get a pat on the back for his actions.
  • What about Aquinas? What would he say? 39 We might think that given the Natural Law to “preserve and protect life” he would say that this action is morally wrong.

But, in fact, he would say the son’s action was not morally wrong (Aquinas discusses self-defence in the Summa Theologica (II–II, Qu.64)).40 So why is the son killing the father not in direct contradiction with the primary precept? Aquinas asks us to consider the difference between the external act — the fact that the father was killed, and the internal act — the motive.41 In our example, the action is one of self-defence because of the son’s internal action and because of this, Aquinas would think the killing is morally acceptable.

  1. The first principle is that the act must be a good one.
  2. The second principle is that the act must come about before the consequences.
  3. The third is that the intention must be good.
  4. The fourth, it must be for serious reasons.

42 This is abstract so let’s go back to our example. The act of the son was performed to save his own life so that is good — we can tick (1). Moreover, the act to save his life came about first — we can tick (2). The son did not first act to kill his father in order to save his own life.

That would be doing evil to bring about good and that is never morally acceptable. The intention of the son was to preserve and protect his life, so the intention was good — tick (3). Finally, the reasons were serious as it was his life or his father’s life — tick (4).43 So given that the act meets all four principles, it is in line with the DDE and hence the action is morally acceptable, even though it caused someone to die and hence seems contrary to the primary precept of preserving life.44 We can draw a contrasting case.

Imagine that instead of slashing his father in self-defence, the son plans the killing. He works out the best time, the best day and then sets up a trip wire causing his father to fall from his flat window to his death. Does this action meet the four criteria of the DDE? Well, no, because the son’s intention is to kill the father rather than save his own life — we must put a cross at (3).45 We have already seen that suicide is morally impermissible for Aquinas, so does that mean that any action you take that leads knowingly to your own death is morally wrong? No.

  • Because even though the external act of your own death is the same, the internal act — the intention — might be different.
  • An action is judged via the Natural Law both externally and internally,46 Imagine a case where a soldier sees a grenade thrown into her barracks.
  • Nowing that she does not have time to defuse it or throw it away, she throws herself on the grenade.

It blows up, killing her but saving other soldiers in her barracks. Is this wrong or right? Aquinas says this is morally acceptable given DDE. If we judge this act both internally and externally we’ll see why.47 The intention — the internal act — was not to kill herself even though she could foresee that this was certainly what was going to happen.

The act itself is good, to save her fellow soldiers (1). The order is right, she is not doing evil so good will happen (2). The intention is good, it is to save her fellow soldiers (3). The reason is serious, it concerns people’s lives (4).48 Contrast this with a soldier who decides to kill herself by blowing herself up.

The intention is not good and hence the DDE does not permit this suicidal action.49 Finally, imagine that a woman is pregnant and also has inoperable uterine cancer. The doctors have two choices; to take out the uterus and save the mother, but the fœtus will die; or leave the fœtus to develop and be born healthy, but the woman will die.

What would Aquinas say in this instance? Well using the DDE he would say that it is morally acceptable to remove the cancer.50 The action is to remove the cancer; it has the foreseeable consequences of the fœtus dying but that is not what is intended. The action — to remove the cancer — is good (1). The act of removing the cancer comes before the death of the fœtus (2).

The intention to save the woman’s life is also good (3). Finally, the reasons are serious as they are about the life and death of the woman and the fœtus (4).51 So even though this is a case where the doctor’s actions bring about the death of the fœtus it would be acceptable for Aquinas through his Natural Law Theory, as is shown via the DDE.52 There are many things we might consider when thinking through Aquinas’s Natural Law Theory.

There are some obvious problems we could raise, such as the problem about whether or not God exists. If God does not exist then the Eternal Law does not exist and therefore the whole theory comes tumbling down. However, as good philosophers we ought always to operate with a principle of charity and grant our opponent is rational and give the strongest possible interpretation of their argument.

So, let’s assume for the sake of argument that God exists. How plausible is Aquinas’s theory? There are a number of things that we can pick up on.53 Aquinas’s theory works on the idea that if something is “natural”, that is, if it fulfils its function, then it is morally acceptable, but there are a number of unanswered questions relating to natural,54 We might ask, why does “natural” matter? We can think of things that are not “natural” but which are perfectly acceptable, and things which are natural which are not.

For example, wearing clothes, taking medication and body piercing certainly are not natural, but we would not want to say such things are morally wrong.55 On the other hand we might consider that violence is a natural response to an unfaithful partner, but also think that such violence is morally unacceptable.

So it is not true that we can discover what is morally acceptable or not simply by discovering what is natural and what is not.56 Put this worry aside. Recall, Aquinas thinks that reproduction is natural and hence reproduction is morally acceptable. This means that sex that does not lead to reproduction is morally unacceptable.

Notice that Aquinas is not saying that if sex does not lead to pregnancy it is wrong. After all, sometimes the timing is not right. His claim is rather that if there is no potential for sex to lead to pregnancy then it is wrong. However, even with this qualification this would mean a whole host of things such as homosexuality and contraception are morally wrong.

We might take this as a reason to rethink Aquinas’s moral framework (we discuss these apparent problems in more detail in Chapter 10).57 There is, though, a more fundamental worry at the heart of this approach (and Aristotle’s) to ethics. Namely, they think that everything has a goal ( telos ).

  • Now, with some things this might be plausible.
  • Things such as the eye or an acorn have a clear function — to grow, to see — but what about humans? This seems a bit less obvious! Do humans (rather than our individual parts) really have a telos ? There are certainly some philosophers — such as the existentialists, for example Simone de Beauvoir (1908–1986) — who think that there is no such thing as human nature and no such thing as a human function or goal.

But if we are unconvinced that humans have a goal, then this whole approach to ethics seems flawed.58 Next we might raise questions about DDE. Go back to our example about abortion. For Aquinas it is morally acceptable to remove the uterus even if we know that in doing so the fœtus will die.

What is not morally acceptable is to intend to kill the fœtus by removing the uterus. On first reading this seems to makes sense; we have an intuitive feel for what DDE is getting at. However, when we consider it in more detail it is far from clear.59 Imagine two doctors who (apparently) do exactly the same thing, they both remove the uterus and the fœtus dies.

The one intends to take out the uterus — in full knowledge that the fœtus will die — the other intends to kill the fœtus. For the DDE to work in the way that Aquinas understands it, this difference in intention makes the moral difference between the two doctors.

However, is there really a moral difference? To put pressure on the answer that there is, ask yourself what you think it means to intend to do something. If the first doctor says “I did not intend to kill the fœtus” can we make sense of this? After all, if you asked her “did you know that in taking out the uterus the fœtus would die?” she would say “yes, of course”.

But if she did this and the fœtus died, did not she intend (in some sense) to kill the fœtus? So this issue raises some complex question about the nature of the mind, and how we might understand intentions.60 Finally, we might wonder how easy it is to work out what actually to do using the Natural Law.

  • We would hope our moral theory gives us direction in living our lives.
  • That, we might think, is precisely the role of a moral theory.
  • But how might it work in this case? 61 For Aquinas, if we rationally reflect then we arrive at the right way of proceeding.
  • If this is in line with the Natural Law and the Divine Law then it is morally acceptable.

If it is out of line, then it is not. The assumption is that the more we think, the more rational we become, the more convergence there will be. We’ll all start to have similar views on what is right and wrong. But is this too optimistic? Very often, even after extensive reflection and cool deliberation with friends and colleagues, it is not obvious to us what we as rational agents should do.

  1. We all know people we take to be rational, but we disagree with them on moral issues.
  2. And even in obviously rational areas such as mathematics, the best mathematicians are not able to agree.
  3. We might then be sceptical that as rational agents we will come to be in line with the Natural and Divine Laws.

SUMMARY Aquinas is an intellectual giant. He wrote an incredible amount covering a vast array of topics. His influence has been immense. His central idea is that humans are created by God to reason — that is our function. Humans do the morally right thing if we act in accordance with reason, and the morally wrong thing if we don’t.

  • Thinking that Aquinas is a Divine Command Theorist.
  • Thinking that Eternal Law is something that God decided to write.
  • Thinking that Natural Laws are laws of science — e.g. law of thermodynamics.
  • Thinking that all the “laws” are absolute.
  • Thinking that it is always morally required of us to follow secondary precepts.
  • Thinking that Aquinas is committed to there being only one set of secondary precepts for all people in all situations.
  1. If God exists then what — if anything — do you think that has to do with what is right and wrong?
  2. We might answer the “arbitrariness” dilemma by citing God’s nature. Why might this answer be problematic?
  3. What is the Eternal Law?
  4. What are Natural Laws and primary precepts?
  5. What are Human Laws and secondary precepts?
  6. What are Divine Laws?
  7. Just as a good eye is to see, and a good acorn is to grow then a good human is to? Is to what? How are we going to finish this sentence?
  8. People often talk about what is “natural”? What do you think they mean by this? How useful is the notion of “natural” in a moral theory?
  9. Think of a descriptive claim. Think of a prescriptive claim. Why might it be problematic moving from one to the other?
  10. If people thought long enough, do you think there would be convergence on what is morally right and wrong?
  11. What is the Doctrine of Double Effect?
  12. What is the difference — if anything — between intending to bring about some end and acting where you know your action will bring about that end?

KEY TERMINOLOGY Apparent goods A priori A posteriori Eternal Law External acts Natural Law Primary precepts Real goods Secondary precepts Internal acts Doctrine of Double Effect

Do we need divine law?

views of Spinoza –

What Is The Divine Law In Benedict de Spinoza: Tractatus Theologico-Politicus emerges in his discussion of divine law and scripture. According to Spinoza, divine law is necessary and eternal; it cannot be changed by any human or divine action. Hence, miracles, which by definition are violations of divinely created laws of nature, are impossible. Alleged miracles must have a rational, scientific

What are God’s Three laws?

Three Spiritual Laws God is a God of laws and order. All that he does is based on laws; spiritual laws.20 There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated- 20 There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated- 21 And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.

When we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated. I would like to share with you three spiritual laws that if understood and applied, will change your life forever. The three laws are; first fasting, second fast offerings, and third tithing. These laws come with promised blessings.

All three laws have nothing to do with money, but have everything to do with faith. What if there were a way to overcome any bad habit, addiction or burden that you have? What if there were a way to gain such confidence in the Lord that you could call down the powers of Heaven and know that He is there guiding your footsteps? There is a way.

A person who can discipline himself to fast on a regular basis in the way that God has designed can resist every temptation, overcome any burden, and be set free from any yoke that binds him. An omniscient Father in Heaven has provided “every needful thing” so that His children can call upon Him with confidence.

He provides tools to allow us to overcome every temptation and overcome “the natural man.” One of the most powerful and often neglected tools that God has given us is the law of the fast. In Isaiah 58:6-11 we are promised very specific blessings and powers if we will fast in the way that God has chosen: 6 not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? 6 not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? He will free us from the bands of wickedness.

  1. He will lift our heavy burdens, and He will let the oppressed go free.
  2. In fact He promises to empower us to break every yoke.
  3. Fasting allows us to avail ourselves of this cleansing and purifying power.
  4. Isaiah also teaches the principle of fast offerings.
  5. He teaches us that in order to receive the promised blessings, we must not only fast, we must also care for our poor and our needy.7 not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh ? 7 not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh Verse 10 teaches the same fast offering principle.10 “And thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness as the noonday: 10 “And thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness as the noonday: The Lord promises light, health, and righteousness in our lives.

And, just as with the children of Israel, He promises His glory will surround and protect us.8 “Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward.8 “Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward.

In verses nine and eleven, we receive the promise that He will hear our prayers. Our hunger will be satisfied with the bread of life. Our thirst will be quenched with the living water that never fails.9 Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I, thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I,11 And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.11 And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.

The third and final spiritual law is the payment of an honest tithe. Tithing is not a new law. In Malachi 3, God asks this sobering question.8 ¶ Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.

  • Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.8 ¶ Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me.
  • But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
  • Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.
  • In verse 10 we find that obedience to God’s laws will result in specific promises based on that specific spiritual law.10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that shall not be room enough to receive it. In verse 11 we have the added promises of having the devourer rebuked for our sakes.” 11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts.

  • And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts.
  • These three laws are spiritual, they are eternal, they come from God.
  • Each has specific promises and blessings.
See also:  What Does Per Se Mean In Law?

If we do not obey the law, God will not and cannot offer the blessing. It has nothing to do with money. It has everything to do with faith. I invite each of you to pay a full tithe. I invite each of you to fast each month. I invite each of you to pay a generous fast offering each month.

What is the difference between divine law and law of God?

What is Divine Law – Divine law is any law or rule that is believed to come directly from God. It is the law of God. Also, humans typically see divine law as superior to natural law or secular law. Those who believe in divine law are of the view that divine law has greater authority than other laws.

  • Moreover, they believe that it cannot be changed by humans or human authorities.
  • Therefore, the main characteristics of divine law are 1) it is universal and permeant, 2) created by a supreme being, 3) and guides people to become good.
  • Belief in the divine in law is not common to one religion.
  • Almost all the religions in the world have this type of law.

According to Thomas Aquinas’s Treatise on Law, divine law comes only from revelation or scripture; hence, Christians may call it biblical law. In addition, we also call it the ‘Word of God’. Other religions also have their own divine law; the Holy Quran and the Code of Hammurabi are two such examples.

What are the 4 spiritual laws in the Bible?

Obey God moment by moment (John 14:21). Witness for Christ by your life and words (Matthew 4:19; John 15:8). Trust God for every detail of your life (1 Peter 5:7). Holy Spirit – allow Him to control and empower your daily life and witness (Galatians 5:16,17; Acts 1:8).

Who believed in divine law?

In religious and legal philosophy, divine law is any law believed to have been revealed directly to humans by a higher power. Some experts view this concept as related to that of natural law, the belief that there are universal ideas of right and wrong inherent to the human condition.

  • Belief in divinely-revealed law can be found in many cultures.
  • Some religions have extensive bodies of this type of law, including Orthodox Judaism, which attributes many of its rules directly to divine revelation.
  • Others may have a smaller set of laws or principles, but they may be no less influential: the secular laws of a culture may be influenced by citizens’ beliefs in divine law.

The ideas of divine law and natural law are philosophically connected. Natural law is an eternal law, inherent in the nature of the world and humanity, which can be discovered by human reason. Religious philosophers, then, may view natural law as divinely revealed, while secularists locate the origins of natural law in the human consciousness, rather than in a deity. What Is The Divine Law A Bible. Although many cultures consider natural law to be divine, not all divine law is natural law. Divine law can change over time because of new revelations or new interpretations, or according to some divine purpose. The Catholic Church, for example, considers the numerous ritual and dietary laws laid down in the Old Testament to be superseded by the teachings of Christ. What Is The Divine Law Members of the Jewish faith believe that the Ten Commandments handed down by Moses are divine law. Belief in divine law can sometimes lead to clashes with temporal or secular law. Believers have argued that since such laws are the work of a divine power — whereas secular law is the product of human reason — the human construct is invalidated if it conflicts with revelation. What Is The Divine Law For many people, the Ten Commandments are believed to be divine law. Not all cultures treat divine law and human law as necessarily contradictory. In some societies, religious law and secular law are separate. Throughout much of the medieval period in Europe, the church was governed by its own set of laws, with the right to have its own courts and to carry out its own sentences.

Who made divine law?

Early formulations of the concept of natural law – There have been several disagreements over the meaning of natural law and its relation to positive law. Aristotle (384–322 bce ) held that what was “just by nature” was not always the same as what was “just by law,” that there was a natural justice valid everywhere with the same force and “not existing by people’s thinking this or that,” and that appeal could be made to it from positive law.

  • However, he drew his examples of natural law primarily from his observation of the Greeks in their city-states, who subordinated women to men, slaves to citizens, and “barbarians” to Hellenes.
  • In contrast, the Stoics conceived of an entirely egalitarian law of nature in conformity with the logos (reason) inherent in the human mind,

Roman jurists paid lip service to this notion, which was reflected in the writings of St. Paul (c.10–67 ce ), who described a law “written in the hearts” of the Gentiles (Romans 2:14–15). St. Augustine of Hippo (354–430) embraced Paul’s notion and developed the idea of man’s having lived freely under natural law before his fall and subsequent bondage under sin and positive law.

  1. In the 12th century Gratian, an Italian monk and father of the study of canon law, equated natural law with divine law—that is, with the revealed law of the Old and New Testaments, in particular the Christian version of the Golden Rule, St.
  2. Thomas Aquinas (c.1224/25–1274) propounded an influential systematization, maintaining that, though the eternal law of divine reason is unknowable to us in its perfection as it exists in God’s mind, it is known to us in part not only by revelation but also by the operations of our reason.

The law of nature, which is “nothing else than the participation of the eternal law in the rational creature,” thus comprises those precepts that humankind is able to formulate—namely, the preservation of one’s own good, the fulfillment of “those inclinations which nature has taught to all animals,” and the pursuit of the knowledge of God.

What are the characteristics of divine law?

Furthermore all particular legislations cannot be considered to be divine for divine/natural law, according to Spinoza, has the following traits: (1) it is universal; (2) it is not dependent upon historical narrative; (3) it does not command ritual; (4) ultimate reward is integral to its fulfillment, that is to say it

What is the difference between eternal law and divine law?

Photo by Giammarco Boscaro on Unsplash “Law is an ordinance of reason for the common good, promulgated by the one who is in charge of the community” (St. Thomas Aquinas, STh I-II, 90, 4; CCC 1976). Law is primarily a reasonable plan of action, “a certain rule and measure of acts whereby man is induced to act or is restrained from acting” (S.t., 1–2, q.90, aa.1, 3; S.c.g., 3, 114).

  1. Eternal Law is the Divine Wisdom of God which oversees the common good and governs everything.
  2. Eternal law is God’s plan to lead all creation towards God’s eternal salvific plan to be holy and blameless before Him through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:4–5),
  3. God, as “Being-itself”, is able to promulgate such a law as God the Creator’s reason is also perfect wisdom.

Everything in nature reflects the Eternal Law in their own natures (S.T. I-IIae, 91, 2), Things act according to their nature, so they derive their proper ends (final cause) according to the law written into their nature. Divine Law is the historical laws of Scripture given to us through God’s self-revelation.

  • Divine law is divided into the Old Law and the New Law, which correspond to the Old and New Testaments of the Bible (q91, a5).
  • The Old Law, revealed by God to Moses, “is the first stage of revealed Law.
  • Its moral prescriptions are summed up in the Ten Commandments” (CCC 1962).
  • It has an extrinsic focus — motivated by fear — and promises earthly rewards (such as social peace).

It expresses immediate conclusions of the natural moral law. The New Law perfects the Old Law. The New Law, through the teachings of Jesus — commands internal conduct — and reaches us by divine love — promising love and heavenly reward, The New Law “is the Holy Spirit given through faith in Christ, which heals and is expressed through love.” It gives interior strength to achieve what it teaches.

  • It is also a written law found in Christ’s teachings (in the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, etc.) and in the moral catechesis of the apostles, summed up in the commandment of love.
  • Natural Law is “the rational creature’s participation in the eternal law” (ST I-II, Q.91, A.2.).
  • The highest norm of human life is the divine law — eternal, objective, and universal — whereby God governs us according to His wisdom and love.

God makes Man a sharer in His law so Man can recognize the unchanging truth” (DH 3), The natural law “hinges upon the desire for God and submission to Him, as well as upon the sense that the other is one’s equal” (CCC 1955). It is “natural” as it consists of Reason given to us by the “higher reason” of the divine Lawgiver.

  1. They are natural as they are objective principles which originate in human nature (GS 16; DH 14).
  2. The natural law is universal because it encompasses every person, of every epoch (cf.
  3. CCC 1956): “it is immutable and permanent throughout history; the rules that express it remain substantially valid” (CCC 1958).

Every man is bound to live by his rational nature, guided by reason, The natural law expresses the dignity of the person and determines the basis for his fundamental rights and duties (CCC 1956, 1978). The first principle of the natural law is “good is to be done and pursued, and evil avoided” (q94, a2, p.47; CCC 1954).

  1. All other precepts of natural law rest upon this.
  2. The Church, through its Magisterium, is the authentic interpreter of the natural law (cf.
  3. CCC 2036).
  4. Since mankind is subject to sin, grace and Revelation are necessary for moral truths to be known “by everyone with facility, with certainty and no error.” Human Law is the interpretation of natural law in different contexts (ST II.I.95–97).

Natural law is a foundation for moral and civil law. Government laws are dictates of practical reason from the precepts of Natural Law, Law is not about individual morality. Individual vices should be legislated against when they threaten harm to others.

  1. Rulers of the State should take the general moral precepts of nature and specify them into State laws, e.g., the repugnance of murder is legislated into punishments,
  2. Hierarchy of Law For Aquinas, human laws are derived from natural law which is a participation in the eternal law.
  3. Therefore, eternal law is at the top, followed by natural law, and then human law.

Divine law is the revealed law of God to man, while natural law is the imprint of eternal law on the hearts of men, http://opusdei.org/en-us/article/topic-26-freedom-law-and-conscience/ http://www.aquinasonline.com/Topics/natlaw.html https://people.wku.edu/jan.garrett/302/aquinlaw.htm https://people.wku.edu/jan.garrett/302/aquinlaw.htm Cf.

  1. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, I-II, q.108, a.1.
  2. Http://opusdei.org/en-us/article/topic-26-freedom-law-and-conscience/#_ftn11 http://www.twotlj.org/G-1-7-A.html John Paul II, Enc Veritatis splendor, 44.
  3. Http://www.twotlj.org/G-1-7-A.html http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09076a.htm https://people.wku.edu/jan.garrett/302/aquinlaw.htm Pius XII, Enc.

Humani generis : DZ 3876. Cf. Catechism, 1960. https://stpeterslist.com/think-like-a-catholic-7-questions-on-the-four-laws https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2012/mar/05/thomas-aquinas-natural-law https://stpeterslist.com/think-like-a-catholic-7-questions-on-the-four-laws https://scholarship.law.stjohns.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1903&context=tcl https://people.wku.edu/jan.garrett/302/aquinlaw.htm

What is the difference between natural law and divine law?

I. The Good for Human Beings: Christian Perspective A. Augustine: Platonic Themes Transformed B. Aquinas: Aristotelian Themes Transformed II. Law According to St. Thomas A. What is Law? B. Eternal Law C. Natural Law and Divine Law D. Human Law III. The Good and the Obligatory: Intrinsic and Extrinsic Teleology in Morals A.

The Goal

Repose in God (or friendship with God as Triune) as the satistfaction of all that human beings seek in their free actions ( Confessions 1.1 and 2.6) This repose results from an ascent to (or return to) God Anything short of this leaves us “restless” and in despair and slaves to our own disordered self-love

The Obstacles

Original Sin: Effects of original sin: ignorance, disordered affections, weakness and malice of will ( Confessions 1.7: digging deeper for a cause of what Plato already saw clearly) Cultural Distortions: Inculcation of disordered values and the glamorization of finite goods ( Confessions 1.18) Personal Sin: Disordered pursuit of temporal goods and perverse attempts to imitate God ( Confessions 1.12 and 2.1-2) Result : The darkness of the cave and the seeming “hiddenness of God” ( Confessions 2.3)

The Remedy

Purification and justification through the grace merited for us by Jesus Christ, who opens up for us (i) a new and ineffable vision of beatitude as genuine and perfect filial friendship with our transcendent Creator, now revealed to us as our loving and gracious Dad ( Abba ) and (ii) the hope of attaining this beatitude, with the help of God’s grace, by “losing our lives” in supernatural love of God and neighbor. By contrast, all the “world” has to offer is one or another form of despair. Contrast with the Platonists :

Faith vs. understanding Obedience and humility vs. self-sufficiency and pride ( Confessions 6.11 and 7.9 and 7.21) Dangers of intellectual prowess vs. flourishing available only to the gifted (Gnosticism)

IB. Aquinas: Aristotelian Themes Transformed The structure of St. Thomas’s General Moral Theory ( Summa Theologiae 1-2):

I. The ultimate end of human action ( ST 1-2.1-5) II. The means to the ultimate end-human acts and their principles: ( ST 1-2.6-114)

A. Human acts in themselves

1. Properly human acts ( ST 1-2.6-21) 2. Passions ( ST 1-2.22-48)

B. The principles of human action

1. Intrinsic principles of action :

a. Habits ( ST 1-2.49-54) b. Virtues ( ST 1-2.55-70)) c. Vice and Sin ( ST 1-2.71-89)

2. Extrinsic principles of action:

a. Law ( ST 1-2.90-108) b. Grace ( ST 1-2.109-114)

The ultimate end: human happiness, felicity, flourishing, beatitude:

Question : Which good (or collection of goods) satisfies Aristotle’s definition of the good for human beings, viz., the good such that possession of it in the appropriate way fulfills all well-ordered human desires? Possible Answers (either by themselves or in combination with each other) :

External goods : wealth, honor (good reputation), glory (fame), power, friendship Internal goods :

Goods of the body : longevity, health, good looks, physical strength, athletic prowess, food and drink, clothing, housing, high level of physical comfort, various sorts of sensual pleasure (including sexual pleasure), etc. Goods of the soul : intellectual and artistic ability and accomplishment, moral and intellectual virtue, recreation, religious faith, etc.

St. Thomas’s Conclusions

No created (finite) good or collection of such goods can give us complete (perfect) happiness in Aristotle’s sense. (Note the distinction between perfect (complete) and imperfect (incomplete) happiness.) Only the ‘face-to-face’ knowledge, love, and enjoyment of God can give us complete happiness. We can attain complete happiness, but,

not in this life not by our own natural powers not without rectitude of the will acting in accord with ‘right reason’ not without supernatural grace, which gives us an accurate intellectual understanding of our ultimate good and the hope of attaining it by God’s help through sacrificial love of the persons of the Godhead and of everyone and everything else in our love of God.

IIA. What is Law?

Law =

Dictates of practical reason made for the common good by one who has care of the community and promulgated

The effects of law:

command prohibition permission punishment (sanctions) Note : Commands and prohibitions impose obligations

IIB. Eternal Law

Eternal Law = The divine wisdom insofar as it directs and governs all the actions and movements of creatures, “moving all things to their due end”.

So Eternal Law = the order of divine providence

All things participate in eternal law by the natural tendencies by which they are moved to their ends Rational beings also participate in eternal law by their ‘connatural’ knowledge of those positive and negative moral precepts, conformity to which leads us toward the end built into us by nature. These precepts constitute what is called natural law, Hence, this law is promulgated through our connatural knowledge, and it is called ‘natural’ because obedience to it leads us toward the good that we desire by nature.

IIC. Natural Law and Divine (Revealed) Law

Similarities:

Natural law and divine law are both proper parts of eternal law Natural law and divine law are both concerned with the direction of human beings toward true human happiness (fulfillment, perfection, flourishing) Natural law and divine law are both ‘participated in’ through knowledge and understanding

Differences:

In promulgation:

Natural law is promulgated by means of our connatural knowledge of the goods to which we are naturally inclined and of their contrary evils Divine law is promulgated through revelation, i.e., through Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Church

In content:

Natural law consists of ordinances that obligate us to act in accord with right reason, i.e., in accord with those dictates of practical reason that lead us to genuine human flourishing or happiness. St. Thomas divides natural law into levels of precepts according to (i) their evidentness to reason (whether in general or to the wise) and (ii) the ease with which they can be “blotted out of our hearts” by culpable ignorance. The first level consists of the two great commandments to love God above all things and our neighbor as ourselves. The second level consists of the specification of the two great commandments in precepts like those which are revealed in the Ten Commandments even though they can be known without revelation. The third level consists of the further specifications which are evident to those who have practical wisdom. (Note on conscience.) Divine law consists of ordinances, (i) some of which pertain to the order of nature and are thus in principle accessible to natural (practical) reason, and (ii) some of which pertain to the supernatural order of grace and are thus in principle inaccessible to natural (practical) reason. St. Thomas divides divine law into (i) the Old Law, whose primary motive is the fear of punishment and (ii) the New Law, whose primary motive is sacrificial love of God and neighbor.

IID. Human Law

Usefulness: Human law is useful mainly as a way to compel outward conformity to virtue on the part of those who have not been made virtuous by good upbringing. Legitimacy: Human laws are legitimate to the extent that they are “derived from,” either as implications of or specifications of, natural law

IIIA. The Problem of the Origin of Moral Obligation

The following two theses appear to be in tension with one another:

(T1) What human beings ought morally to do and not to do is determined by the standards of flourishing that are intrinsic to human nature and dictated by right reason. (T2) What human beings ought morally to do and not to do is determined by the obligations and prohibitions imposed by natural and divine law.

Question : Suppose that God either (i) did not exist or (ii) issued no commands and prohibitions or (iii) commanded me to torture you for fun: Would it still be wrong for me to torture you for fun?

IIIB. Three Positions

STRONG DIVINE COMMAND THEORY:

(T2) is true and (T1) is false So God’s decrees alone determine what human beings ought morally to do and not to do, and it is only contingently true that God’s law is in part a natural law, i.e., a law that directs us to happiness as defined by our nature. Comments :

Answer to the above question: NO!! What we see here is the severance of moral theory from the classical model, where the basic moral motive is happiness. Two senses of ‘ought’: intrinsic and extrinsic Conformity to God’s will is the only moral motivation for action. Whether it leads to happiness of any sort in this world is immaterial. Heavenly reward is extrinsically and not instrinsically related to moral rectitude (doing what God commands) in this life. It’s more like getting ice cream for cleaning your room. Cleaning your room doesn’t turn you into the sort of person who wants ice cream.

Protagonists : William of Ockham, Gabriel Biel, various 16th and 17th century theologians, mainly Protestant

SIMPLE NATURALISM:

(T1) is true and (T2) is false The intrinsic standards of human flourishing determine, by themselves, what human beings ought morally to and not to do. Natural ‘law’ is merely descriptive and not prescriptive ; we need it for epistemic reasons alone. Comments :

Answer to the above question: YES!! Problem cases: murder, theft, adultery (see Scripture references below) Obligation and the lawgiver (See Miss Anscombe’s “Modern Moral Philosophy” )

Protagonists : Gregory of Rimini

NATURALISTIC DIVINE COMMAND THEORY:

(T1) and (T2) are both true.

The dictates of right reason reveal what we ought to do and not to do in order to attain human happiness, and so they reveal what is good and bad in itself for us to do. Natural and divine law impose a further obligation on us to act in accord with right reason, since if God creates us, He necessarily promulgates a law that, if obeyed, leads us to happiness. So natural law is prescriptive and not merely descriptive, Comments :

Answer to the above question: We wouldn’t have any obligations imposed upon us by God through law, but, God couldn’t create us without issuing the relevant prohibition and, further, there would still be an intrinsic badness in the act of torturing you for fun. This position may still allow for rather striking differences in moral epistemology, depending on whether one is relatively optimistic (Thomists) or pessimistic (Scotists) about the ability of natural reason to see moral truth. Moral rectitude is necessary because it transforms you intrinsically into the sort of person who wants the beatific vision.

Protagonists : St. Thomas and virtually all the Scholastics (including Suarez)

IIIC. Three Test Cases

The cases: Each involves a divine command that appears to conflict with the dictates of right reason as articulated by Aristotle ( Ethics 2.6 (1107a10)) and Christ himself (Mark 7:21):

Murder : Abraham and Isaac (Genesis 22) Adultery : Osee and a ‘wife of fornications’ (Osee 1) Theft : The despoiling of the Egyptians (Exodus 12)

The replies:

Strong Divine Command Theory : There is no deep difference between these cases and normal cases. Simple Naturalism : Divine commands do not have prescriptive force. Naturalistic Divine Command Theory : The divine command constitutes a morally relevant circumstance that renders virtuous an action that under normal circumstances would be vicious. And God has the standing to issue such commands as the (i) author and Lord of human life and the dispenser of divine justice, (ii) the author of the marriage contract, and (iii) the owner of all property.

IIID. Intrinsic and Extrinsic Teleology

The Big Claim:

Natural and divine law prescribe nothing that conflicts with genuine human happiness-perfect or imperfect. That is, the extrinsic ‘ought’ of moral obligation is perfectly consonant with the intrinsic ‘ought’ of the dictates of right reason. Hence, obedience to natural and divine law liberates us from slavery to sin and vice and hence from ultimate despair of attaining happiness.

The importance of models: The saints

FINIS

Is there only one divine law?

But the whole human race is related to God as to a single king—this according to Psalm 46:8 (‘God is king of all the earth’). Therefore, there is just a single divine law.

What is positive divine law?

Lex humana versus lex posita – Thomas Aquinas conflated man-made law ( lex humana ) and positive law ( lex posita or ius positivum ). However, there is a subtle distinction between them. Whereas human-made law regards law from the position of its origins (i.e.

  1. Who it was that posited it), positive law regards law from the position of its legitimacy.
  2. Positive law is law by the will of whoever made it, and thus there can equally be divine positive law as there is man-made positive law.
  3. Positive Law theory stems from the powers that have enacted it.
  4. This type of law is necessary as it is manmade or enacted by the state to protect the rights of the individuals, the governed, to resolve civil disputes and lastly to maintain order and safety in the society.

More literally translated, lex posita is posit ed rather than posit ive law. In the Summa contra Gentiles Thomas himself writes of divine positive law where he says ” Si autem lex sit divinitus posita, auctoritate divina dispensatio fieri potest (if the law be divinely given, dispensation can be granted by divine authority)” and ” Lex autem a Deo posita est (But the Law was established by God)”.

  1. Martin Luther also acknowledged the idea of divine positive law, as did Juan de Torquemada,
  2. Thomas Mackenzie divided the law into four parts, with two types of positive law: divine positive law, natural law, the positive law of independent states, and the law of nations,
  3. The first, divine positive law, “concerns the duties of religion” and is derived from revelation.

He contrasted it with divine natural law, which is “recognized by reason alone, without the aid of revelation”. The third, the positive law of independent states, is the law posited by “the supreme power in the state”. It is, in other words, man-made positive law.

The fourth, the law of nations, regulates “independent states in their intercourse with each other”. Thomas Aquinas has little difficulty with the idea of both divine positive law and human positive law, since he places no requirements upon the person who posits law that exclude either humans or the divine.

However, for other philosophers the idea of both divine and human positive law has proven to be a stumbling block. Thomas Hobbes and John Austin both espoused the notion of an ultimate sovereign. Where Thomism (and indeed Mackenzie) divided sovereignty into the spiritual (God) and the temporal (Mackenzie’s “supreme power in the state”), both Hobbes and Austin sought a single, undivided, sovereign as the ultimate source of the law.

  1. The problem that this causes is that a temporal sovereign cannot exist if humans are subject to a divine positive law, but if divine positive law does not apply to all humans then God cannot be sovereign either.
  2. Hobbes and Austin’s answer to this is to deny the existence of divine positive law, and to invest sovereignty in humans, who are, however, subject to divine natural law.

The temporal authority is sovereign, and responsible for translating divine natural law into human positive law. James Bernard Murphy explains: “although our philosophers often seek to use the term positive to demarcate specifically human law, the term and concept are not well suited to do so.

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Is church law based on divine law?

The Natural Law There are many different types of laws that help to guide and inform the decisions we make. The Church recognizes many levels of law, including the eternal law, divine law, the natural law, and human law. Eternal law is found only in God himself, who is the source of all order and being.

Divine Law is what God has revealed to us through Scripture and Tradition, such as the Ten Commandments. Human law consists of laws in our society, like speed limits, and ecclesiastical laws, such as abstaining from meat on Fridays. The natural law is one that is not spoken of as much in our civil discourse today.

Natural law is written into the very fabric of living things, and it is our ability to instinctively know right from wrong and to seek good instead of evil. The natural law is not an invention of the Catholic Church or of any religion in history. In fact, the Catechism quotes Cicero in describing the natural law.

  • He once wrote, “For there is a true law: right reason.
  • It is in conformity with nature, is diffused among all men, and is immutable and eternal; its orders summon to duty; its prohibitions turn away from offense,
  • To replace it with a contrary law is a sacrilege; failure to apply even one of its provisions is forbidden; no one can abrogate it entirely” (CCC 1956).

Cicero certainly was not a Christian, yet he spoke about eternal truth and the duty we have as human beings to obey this law. The natural law is written on our hearts, and we can follow it by using right reason. However, it is possible to ignore the natural law and act contrary to it.

  • Some of the most basic moral laws that all societies enforce are known even to the smallest of children: stealing and murder are evil actions.
  • These principles were not invented out of someone’s imagination and imposed on the rest of society.
  • Rather, we all know within ourselves that these actions are evil, and we also know that legitimate authority should punish people who go against the natural law and disrupt the order of society through murder or theft.

It is hard to have a conversation about what is right and wrong without a sense of natural law. The Catholic Church has long been the most outspoken institution against the legal protection of abortion. Some of her critics say that the Church should not impose her religious beliefs on others.

But the problem with this criticism is that our belief that abortion is wrong is not, at its core, a religious belief. Any person with a clear-thinking mind can know that abortion is an evil action and should not be allowed (or promoted) in human society. It goes against the common good of society by devaluing human life and disrespecting the order of human nature, which has the impulse to grow, thrive, and pass life on to the next generation.

Natural Law should be the basis for the civil laws which govern human society. Otherwise, what would laws be based on? Without an understanding of the natural law, people who happen to be in power can impose their arbitrary will with no reference to anything higher than themselves.

The Catechism again says, “The natural law, the Creator’s very good work, provides the solid foundation on which man can build the structure of moral rules to guide his choices. It also provides the indispensable moral foundation for building the human community. Finally, it provides the necessary basis for the civil law with which it is connected, whether by a reflection that draws conclusions from its principles, or by additions of a positive and juridical nature” (CCC 1959).

The natural law is written on our hearts and guides the human race to goodness and happiness. This is not a specifically Christian teaching, but one that even pagans such as Cicero have recognized as a sure moral guide and pathway to flourishing in society.

Is divine law a positive law?

The law given by God to man in addition to the natural law. Whereas the natural law is promulgated in the very structure of his being and is discernible by natural reason alone, the existence and content of divine positive law is known only by revelation.

Is there a law of God?

As I address this vast audience in this historic Tabernacle on Temple Square this beautiful Sabbath morning and visualize the great numbers listening in elsewhere, I humbly pray that the Spirit and blessings of the Lord will attend us. As we observe the bicentennial of this great United States of America, I am reminded of two significant statements made by the Lord through his prophets: “Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ.” ( Ether 2:12,) He also said, “And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose.” ( D&C 101:80,) I wish to join wholeheartedly with the millions of people who appreciate this country in which we live and are determined to do what they can to maintain and strengthen the principles of democracy established by our Founding Fathers.

To do this, it is most important that we be loyal and law-abiding citizens. Some time ago a young man said to me, “Why do we have so many laws and rules and regulations? Why can’t we just be free to do what we want to do? The Church teaches that man is that he might have joy, and that the greatest gift of God to man is free agency.” I tried to explain to him that everything in the universe, and the universe itself as organized by a divine Creator, is governed by laws, known as the laws of nature; and that we must have laws of the land, or of man, so that we might have order and protect the rights of mankind and punish those who infringe on the rights of others.

I gave him several examples of what I was referring to. Then we talked at some length about the laws of God and how important it is that we keep his commandments. Without going further into the details of our conversation, I should like today to deal with the majesty of law as it affects mankind.

For the sake of this discussion let us divide it into three subheadings: First, the laws of nature; second, the laws of man, or the laws of the land; third, the laws of God as they pertain to our salvation and exaltation. Speaking first of the laws of nature, have you ever stopped to think what would happen if we could not depend on the sun rising at a certain time each morning? Or if the earth failed to rotate on its axis for only one day, or for just a few minutes? Or if the law of gravity were suspended? In a very short time, the earth and all mankind would be destroyed.

All bodies of the universe are controlled in space and move according to law. If iron, when heated, were to expand one day and contract the next, it would be impossible for anyone in the world to operate a machine shop or produce implements of any kind.

  • These laws are immutable and must be such that we can depend upon them at all times and under all circumstances.
  • It would be interesting to review in our minds all the things we do every day and see how totally we depend on the laws of nature and how they must be followed to the very letter in order to accomplish our purposes.

We have seen men walk on the moon, and we have marveled that man and spacecraft from different countries could have a rendezvous in space. We have watched the Viking leave on a mission to Mars in search for evidence of life. If any of the natural laws had been ignored or had failed to operate, the space missions would have been complete failures and lives would have been lost.

We are awed when we read of the predictions of astronomers who can foretell so accurately the appearance of comets and eclipses. All of this is possible only because through the laws of nature, the Creator keeps creation in its course. Law is simply the application of truth. Let me draw your attention to some statements taken from the writings of great thinkers: Frank Crane: “Truth is the logic of the universe.

It is the reasoning of destiny; it is the mind of God. And nothing that man can devise or discover can take its place.” (Quoted by Leo J. Muir, Flashes from the Eternal Semaphore, Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1928, p.100.) W. Radcliffe said, “There is no progress in fundamental truth.

We may grow in knowledge of its meaning, and in the modes of its application, but its great principles will forever be the same.” (Ibid., p.101.) In a revelation to Joseph Smith the Lord declared: “And again, very I say unto you, he hath given a law unto all things, by which they move in their times and their seasons; “And their courses are fixed, even the courses of the heavens and the earth, which comprehend the earth and all the planets.

“And they give light to each other in their times and in their seasons, in their minutes, in their hours, in their days, in their weeks, in their months, in their years. “The earth rolls upon her wings, and the sun giveth his light by day, and the moon giveth her light by night, and the stars also give their light, as they roll upon their wings in their glory, in the midst of the power of God.

  1. Behold, all these are kingdoms, and any man who hath seen any or the least of these hath seen God moving in his majesty and power.” ( D&C 88:42–45, 47,) So, regardless of whether or not we know or understand the laws of nature, they always operate the same.
  2. A child, though ignorant of the law, will get burned if he touches a hot stove.

If we disregard the law of gravity, we may get seriously hurt. If we know and understand the laws of nature and live by them, we benefit thereby and can be free of the hazards facing those who ignore these laws or go contrary to them. Now, regarding the laws of the land, or the laws of man, it is necessary that we be governed by laws, which are made not alone to curb the evildoer, but to protect the rights of all.

Let me quote from the Doctrine and Covenants: “We believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man; and that he holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them, both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society. “We believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life.

“We believe that all governments necessarily require civil officers and magistrates to enforce the laws of the same; and that such as will administer the law in equity and justice should be sought for and upheld by the voice of the people if a republic, or the will of the sovereign.” ( D&C 134:1–3,) Our Twelfth Article of Faith states: “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.” It is most important that all citizens be informed in matters of government; that they know and understand the laws of the land; and that they take an active part wherever possible in choosing and electing honest and wise men to administer the affairs of government.

There are many who question the constitutionality of certain acts passed by their respective governments, even though such laws have been established by the highest courts in the land as being constitutional, and they feel to defy and disobey the law. Abraham Lincoln once observed: “Bad laws, if they exist, should be repealed as soon as possible; still, while they continue in force, they should be religiously observed.” This is the attitude of the Church in regard to law observance.

Divine Law

We agree with the author of the following statement: “In reality the man who defies or flouts the law is like the proverbial fool who saws away the plank on which he sits, and a disrespect or disregard for law is always the first sign of a disintegrating society.

Respect for law is the most fundamental of all social virtues, for the alternative to the rule of law is that of violence and anarchy.” ( Case and Comment, March/April issue, 1965, p.20.) There is no reason or justification for men to disregard or break the law or try to take it into their own hands.

Christ gave us the great example of a law-abiding citizen when the Pharisees, trying to entangle him, as the scriptures say, asked him if it were lawful to give tribute money unto Caesar. After asking whose inscription was on the tribute money, and their acknowledgment that it was Caesar’s, he said: “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” ( Matt.22:21,) It is the duty of citizens of any country to remember that they have individual responsibilities, and that they must operate within the law of the country in which they have chosen to live.

I quote further from the Doctrine and Covenants: “We believe that all men are bound to sustain and uphold the respective governments in which they reside, while protected in their inherent and inalienable rights by the laws of such governments; and that sedition and rebellion are unbecoming every citizen thus protected, and should be punished accordingly; and that all governments have a right to enact such laws as in their own judgments are best calculated to secure the public interest; at the same time, however, holding sacred the freedom of conscience.” ( D&C 134:5,) Now regarding the laws of God.

They are as clear and as binding and as irrevocable as those of nature, and our success or failure, our happiness or unhappiness, depend on our knowledge and application of these laws in our lives. We are told: “There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated— “And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.” ( D&C 130:20–21,) We believe that the gospel contains the laws of life, pertaining to our human relations, to moral and spiritual living—laws that are just as valid in their field of operation as are the laws of nature in the world of natural phenomena.

The Prophet Joseph Smith recognized the importance of gaining knowledge and being obedient to the law. He instructed the Saints: “Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. “And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come.” ( D&C 130:18–19, italics added.) The word of the Lord is so clear to us, and his laws so plainly designed for our happiness, that it is difficult to understand why some people feel their own judgment is superior, and disregard God’s laws and bring upon themselves misery and unhappiness by so doing.

The prophet Jacob counseled: “Wherefore, brethren, seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand. For behold, ye yourselves know that he counseleth in wisdom, and in justice, and in great mercy, over all his works.” ( Jacob 4:10,) And from the depth of his great wisdom, Solomon said, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

  1. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” ( Prov.3:5–6,) The road signs are clear in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
  2. We have the Ten Commandments, examples of which are: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
  3. Thou shalt not kill, steal, commit adultery, bear false witness.
  4. Thou shalt keep the Sabbath Day holy,” etc.

(See Ex.20,) We have the Sermon on the Mount, with which you should all be familiar. We have been told by Jesus which is the great commandment in the law: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

This is the first and great commandment. “And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” ( Matt.22:37–39,) It is impossible to estimate or overemphasize the great effect the keeping of these two commandments would have on the whole world. Peace and righteousness would reign.

We also have as a guide other scriptures which contain the word of the Lord as it has been given by revelation direct from God through his chosen prophets, including our own President and Prophet, Spencer W. Kimball, through whom the Lord speaks today; and it is by accepting and living these teachings that we can gain eternal life.

Let us all have the courage to feel and say, with Paul: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.” ( Rom.1:16,) The Lord said, “This is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” ( Moses 1:39,) This was so important to him that he gave his life, and through his atoning sacrifice made it possible for us to be resurrected, and to enjoy immortality and exaltation.

How fortunate we are to have the great privilege, blessing, and opportunity as missionaries to help him achieve his great purpose. We have this binding contract: “I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.” ( D&C 82:10,) And we also have this warning: “He that receiveth my law and doeth it, the same is my disciple; and he that saith he receiveth it and doeth it not, the same is not my disciple, and shall be cast out from among you.” ( D&C 41:5,) So it should be clear to all that there is no conflict, as my young friend seemed to feel, between the teachings of the Church that “man is that he might have joy,” and that “the greatest gift of God to man is his free agency,” and the fact that we must have laws.

  • We have the freedom to choose to obey the laws upon which blessings are predicated, and enjoy those blessings; or we can choose to disobey the law, with the result that we will never enjoy the fulness of joy which was intended for us.
  • I conclude with this glorious promise of the Lord: “Behold, blessed, saith the Lord, are they who have come up unto this land with an eye single to my glory, according to my commandments.

“For those that live shall inherit the earth, and those that die shall rest from all their labors, and their works shall follow them; and they shall receive a crown in the mansions of my Father, which I have prepared for them. “Yea, blessed are they whose feet stand upon the land of Zion, who have obeyed my gospel; for they shall receive for their reward the good things of the earth, and it shall bring forth in its strength.

  • And they shall also be crowned with blessings from above, yea, and with commandments not a few, and with revelations in their time—they that are faithful and diligent before me.
  • Wherefore, I give unto them a commandment, saying thus: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy might, mind, and strength; and in the name of Jesus Christ thou shalt serve him.” ( D&C 59:1–5,) I testify that these things are true, in the name of Jesus Christ.

Amen.

What is the difference between divine law and law of God?

What is Divine Law – Divine law is any law or rule that is believed to come directly from God. It is the law of God. Also, humans typically see divine law as superior to natural law or secular law. Those who believe in divine law are of the view that divine law has greater authority than other laws.

Moreover, they believe that it cannot be changed by humans or human authorities. Therefore, the main characteristics of divine law are 1) it is universal and permeant, 2) created by a supreme being, 3) and guides people to become good. Belief in the divine in law is not common to one religion. Almost all the religions in the world have this type of law.

According to Thomas Aquinas’s Treatise on Law, divine law comes only from revelation or scripture; hence, Christians may call it biblical law. In addition, we also call it the ‘Word of God’. Other religions also have their own divine law; the Holy Quran and the Code of Hammurabi are two such examples.

What is the other name of divine law?

Alternate Synonyms for ‘divine law’: law; natural law.

What is difference between divine law & positive law?

Lex humana versus lex posita – Thomas Aquinas conflated man-made law ( lex humana ) and positive law ( lex posita or ius positivum ). However, there is a subtle distinction between them. Whereas human-made law regards law from the position of its origins (i.e.

  1. Who it was that posited it), positive law regards law from the position of its legitimacy.
  2. Positive law is law by the will of whoever made it, and thus there can equally be divine positive law as there is man-made positive law.
  3. Positive Law theory stems from the powers that have enacted it.
  4. This type of law is necessary as it is manmade or enacted by the state to protect the rights of the individuals, the governed, to resolve civil disputes and lastly to maintain order and safety in the society.

More literally translated, lex posita is posit ed rather than posit ive law. In the Summa contra Gentiles Thomas himself writes of divine positive law where he says ” Si autem lex sit divinitus posita, auctoritate divina dispensatio fieri potest (if the law be divinely given, dispensation can be granted by divine authority)” and ” Lex autem a Deo posita est (But the Law was established by God)”.

  1. Martin Luther also acknowledged the idea of divine positive law, as did Juan de Torquemada,
  2. Thomas Mackenzie divided the law into four parts, with two types of positive law: divine positive law, natural law, the positive law of independent states, and the law of nations,
  3. The first, divine positive law, “concerns the duties of religion” and is derived from revelation.

He contrasted it with divine natural law, which is “recognized by reason alone, without the aid of revelation”. The third, the positive law of independent states, is the law posited by “the supreme power in the state”. It is, in other words, man-made positive law.

The fourth, the law of nations, regulates “independent states in their intercourse with each other”. Thomas Aquinas has little difficulty with the idea of both divine positive law and human positive law, since he places no requirements upon the person who posits law that exclude either humans or the divine.

However, for other philosophers the idea of both divine and human positive law has proven to be a stumbling block. Thomas Hobbes and John Austin both espoused the notion of an ultimate sovereign. Where Thomism (and indeed Mackenzie) divided sovereignty into the spiritual (God) and the temporal (Mackenzie’s “supreme power in the state”), both Hobbes and Austin sought a single, undivided, sovereign as the ultimate source of the law.

  1. The problem that this causes is that a temporal sovereign cannot exist if humans are subject to a divine positive law, but if divine positive law does not apply to all humans then God cannot be sovereign either.
  2. Hobbes and Austin’s answer to this is to deny the existence of divine positive law, and to invest sovereignty in humans, who are, however, subject to divine natural law.

The temporal authority is sovereign, and responsible for translating divine natural law into human positive law. James Bernard Murphy explains: “although our philosophers often seek to use the term positive to demarcate specifically human law, the term and concept are not well suited to do so.

Who believed in divine law?

In religious and legal philosophy, divine law is any law believed to have been revealed directly to humans by a higher power. Some experts view this concept as related to that of natural law, the belief that there are universal ideas of right and wrong inherent to the human condition.

  1. Belief in divinely-revealed law can be found in many cultures.
  2. Some religions have extensive bodies of this type of law, including Orthodox Judaism, which attributes many of its rules directly to divine revelation.
  3. Others may have a smaller set of laws or principles, but they may be no less influential: the secular laws of a culture may be influenced by citizens’ beliefs in divine law.

The ideas of divine law and natural law are philosophically connected. Natural law is an eternal law, inherent in the nature of the world and humanity, which can be discovered by human reason. Religious philosophers, then, may view natural law as divinely revealed, while secularists locate the origins of natural law in the human consciousness, rather than in a deity. What Is The Divine Law A Bible. Although many cultures consider natural law to be divine, not all divine law is natural law. Divine law can change over time because of new revelations or new interpretations, or according to some divine purpose. The Catholic Church, for example, considers the numerous ritual and dietary laws laid down in the Old Testament to be superseded by the teachings of Christ. What Is The Divine Law Members of the Jewish faith believe that the Ten Commandments handed down by Moses are divine law. Belief in divine law can sometimes lead to clashes with temporal or secular law. Believers have argued that since such laws are the work of a divine power — whereas secular law is the product of human reason — the human construct is invalidated if it conflicts with revelation. What Is The Divine Law For many people, the Ten Commandments are believed to be divine law. Not all cultures treat divine law and human law as necessarily contradictory. In some societies, religious law and secular law are separate. Throughout much of the medieval period in Europe, the church was governed by its own set of laws, with the right to have its own courts and to carry out its own sentences.