What is Natural Law (Religious Studies A Level 30 Marks)

Authors Avatar by xxx786 (student)

What is Natural Law?

Natural Law can be seen from two different perspectives. The first being a deontological ethical theory, this is concerned with inherent worth of action. According to this theory, it is our duty to follow the law. It is when an action is wright or wrong regardless of the consequences. There is no flexibility for certain circumstances; moral duty has priority over moral value. The second perspective to Natural Law is the absolutist ethical theory; this perspective focuses on there being no exceptions or hesitations at all. It holds the moral value of actions and principles in account.

Natural Law originated from Ancient Greece and later the Stoics. The belief was that God is everywhere and in everyone. Also, humans have a divine spark inside them to find out how to live according to God’s will. “True Law is right reason in agreement with Nature…” According to Cicero Natural Law is what is morally right according to natural thinking.
Aristotle, an Ancient Greek philosopher, writing in approximately 350BCE had an ethical called the Virtue theory. It focused on people’s character rather than their actions. He believed that in order to be a good person we should aim to possess certain virtues and avoid bad qualities of a character. If we did this then we would flourish as humans and best the best we can be. He said the aim of human beings was to be happy, but not happy acquired by please or success, but happiness instead attained by living a virtuous life. Aristotle also concluded that there were three types of soul. The soul of plants is a Vegetive soul that is only capable of growth and reproduction. The soul of animals is a Sensitive soul which is capable of growth, reproduction and movement. But the third soul type was the human soul, known as the Rational soul which has all of the above, but also the ability to reason. It is the ability of reason that separates us from everyone else. He was also an empiricist and believed that the answers to all things lay in this world. He believed that nature had been organised in such a way that all things had a purpose. In other words, the belief in the clauses. According to Aristotle all things had four Causes. The Material Cause, what it is made of, the Formal Cause, the idea behind the design of it, the Efficient Cause, how it comes to be and the Final Cause, what it’s purpose is. He believes that all things in life are caused except the first cause of everything. He calls this the Uncaused Cause.

Join now!

Aquinas had similar beliefs to Aristotle because he fused his faith in God with Aristotle’s philosophy. He includes Christian virtues such as faith and charity. Like Aristotle’s belief of being all you can be. Aquinas though, that the goal of human existence was happiness also but it should be achieved through union and eternal fellowship with God. Specifically this goal would be achieved through the beatific vision, an event in which a person experiences perfect, unending happiness by comprehending the essence of God. Aquinas also believes in Aristotle’s uncaused cause, but in this case, Aquinas considers the uncaused cause as ...

This is a preview of the whole essay