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Explain What Is Meant By Natural Law

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Introduction

Explain what is meant by Natural Law (25) Aristotle believed that we were able to learn the correct way to act by looking at this world. He saw that rules and beliefs varied from place to place. However, when looking at nature, he saw that the laws never changed. From this, Aristotle came to the conclusion that if people followed the example of how nature works, they would understand how to behave and become Good. This is known as Natural Law, and it is Absolute and Deontological, meaning it is rule-based. "If that is what nature's purpose is, then that's what we ought to do". An example of this is in a play written by Sophocles; the scene between Antigone and King Cleon. The King forbids Antigone from burying her dead brother. Antigone, however, goes against this, and buries her brother. When asked, she responded by saying the laws of nature cannot be overruled, and command her to bury her brother. Aristotle's idea of Natural Law can be used with examples of modern society; we understand that different countries abide by different rules, such as how to deal with criminal offenses. ...read more.

Middle

When Aquinas saw these, however, he used Aristotle's theories for his research, and came to the conclusion that the Prime Mover could be seen as God. By doing this, Aquinas was able to merge the theory of Natural Law Christianity; mainly, the Roman Catholic Church. He combined Aristotle's works with Christianity by stating that the God of Classical Theism created certain laws, such as the Ten Commandments, which can be found in the Old Testament. Where as some people questioned these, as well as the existence of God, everyone believed the laws of nature were absolute. Aquinas presented the argument that God created nature, and the laws of nature are the same as the laws created by God. This, therefore, illustrates the existence of a God of Classical Theism, as well as showing how both faith and reason could combine to present how humans should behave. Just like Aristotle, Aquinas believed that humans were guided towards perfection (known in the Christian teachings as the God of Classical Theism), and that this is explained as an Apparent Good; something which is morally wrong and doesn't fit the standards desired by God, but is sought indirectly. ...read more.

Conclusion

Aquinas also taught these in his works, but he also believed there to be three additional virtues; Faith (in God), Hope (for the next life) and Charity; love for others. These are used in the Roman Catholic Church as Catechisms, or teachings. With this, he believed the laws of God could be categorised into four groups, each dependant on the one above; Eternal Law is the order in God's thought process, and therefore creates the structure of the universe, Divine Law, which is delivered to worshippers through God, his teachings and the teachings of the Church, Natural Law, which uses our senses and conscience to determine right and wrong, and Human Law, which helps keep order in the societies of the World. As shown, Natural Law depends on both Divine Law and Eternal Law. Empirical evidence for this is in the teachings of the Old Testament, stating that there is no greater than God, and he created nature and the laws that it abides by. The hierarchy of Laws is also shown in Sophocles' play, in which Human Law is broken, as Natural Law has greater power over it. ...read more.

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