Professor: Father O’neil
April 27, 2013
What is natural law? Natural Law comes to us from Saint Thomas Aquinas who calls it right reason. When one reasons rightly one will make judgments which are consistent with one’s human nature and which will promote human flourishing. Natural law, our tradition holds is written within our hearts by our creator and is our ability to grasp in some way the mind of the creator for us. We have spoken earlier, when addressing the virtues, about humanity’s tending towards the good. Natural Law theory begins with a focus on how we have been created to tend toward the good.
There is primary law of natural law. Enough of abstract theory for the moment, for we have not answered the first question posed, namely what are these natural inclinations in the human mind and heart? The natural law is nothing other than the light of understanding placed in us by god; through it we know what we must do and what we are must avoid. God has given this light or law at the creation Saint Thomas. All humans have this primary law within them. Second humans can willingly go against the inclination to do the good and embrace it. In Christian theology, we call this sin. A decision to run against the grain of the basic inclination of the human heart and mind is very possible as we discussed in our treatment of sin. Despite sin and despite mistakes, the great theologians tell us that this natural spark of knowledge to do the good and avoid the evil, cannot ever fully extinguished, although it can be seriously dimmed.
Human also have a natural desire to find a spouse to have children,…