What is Natural Law

Discussion in 'Philosophy, Truth, and Ethics' started by Spherelink, Oct 11, 2015.

  1. Spherelink

    Spherelink Active Member

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    It's an important concept in theology but I feel like we don't discuss it frequently enough. Apart from Scripture it is the other part of divine revelation, the general revelation in Nature as opposed to the special revelation in Scripture.

    Natural Law is the concept which was pioneered by the ancient Greeks and Romans and so isn't even a purview of Christianity, but of reason as such. As Saint Paul saith, it a law written on every man's heart.

    With this truth men in centuries past have been able to corroborate Christian (especially revealed) truth, such as the complementarity of the genders, objectivity of truth, the creator-creature distinction, and even elementary things, such as that God exists even if we don't read about Him in the Bible.

    Here is an example:
    http://ndpr.nd.edu/news/61520-knowi...precepts-and-inclinations-to-deriving-oughts/

    What are your guys thoughts about the matter?
     
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  2. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I've never read or thought much on the Natural Law. It seems to me that any sort of natural Law was obliterated in our hearts by the Fall -- at least by the way we all seem to naturally act towards each other! The existence of feral children surviving and being raised with minimal human contact (and their consequent non-human sense of morality) seems to make the idea of "natural" law in humans very difficult.

    C.S. Lewis, in "Mere Christianity", puts forward a simple & real argument for its existence. He mentions the sense of injustice we have when someone takes the place ahead of us in a checkout line at a grocer's. It isn't just a sort of petty selfishness, as we also try to respect other peoples' places in the line, despite it being to our advantage to overtake them. The deconstructivist sort would say that these motives are based on inculcations of our parents, teachers, society, and the rest of it.

    When it comes to things like contradiction, excluded middle, identity, objectivity, creator-creature distinction, and the existence of God, I guess we might say that the mere human logic used to set these principles is, in fact, humanity "drawing out" the natural law from the depths of our beings, like water previously hidden deep in a well.
     
  3. Aidan

    Aidan Well-Known Member

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    Toma, what do you mean by "excluded middle"?
     
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  4. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I was just listing off logical principles, to illustrate different laws and rules in rational thinking.

    The law of excluded middle is the law of non-contradiction wedded to the law of identity. It states that if something can only be A or B, there cannot be any third, or "middle" identity; the "middle" is "excluded" from the equation. The most famous example is that Socrates is either mortal or immortal. There is no such thing as quasi-mortal or quasi-immortal.

    I don't know how all this relates to Natural Law, but somehow I think it does. :p
     
  5. Aidan

    Aidan Well-Known Member

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    Eg, Jesus is either God or human? Would this be an example of excluded middle?
     
  6. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    In terms of absolute, strict, natural, human logic: yes, that is a good example of the excluded middle. He cannot be half-God & half-human. Our Faith says that He is 100% God while mysteriously 100% human without a mixture or total separation. It is a contradiction according to logic & reason - just like the Trinity - but if we are honest, we admit that many things are not understandable by reason & logic -- or even governable by "natural law".
     
  7. Spherelink

    Spherelink Active Member

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    The nature of Christ is not a contradiction but a paradox. That's a subtle distinction but bear with me here: nothing in the nature of being human or God precludes them from being conjoined. We just don't see or understand HOW that would be possible. Hence it is a mystery or a paradox. But it is not logically contradictory for that state of things to exist. Right now in Physics, Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity exist at the same time, and yet the two models of how nature works don't account for one another. Thus it is a paradox for how they exist both at once, and yet it isn't contradictory, because they do, in fact exist both at once.
     
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  8. Aidan

    Aidan Well-Known Member

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    It is the teaching of Trinitarianism and my rejection of it which ultimately led to my leaving the Christian Church ( I was formerly RC , practising over 40 years)
     
  9. zimkhitha

    zimkhitha Active Member

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    What exactly about the Trinity that bothers you, if I may ask?
     
  10. Aidan

    Aidan Well-Known Member

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    It's hard to put into words exactly, it's more like a knowledge from deep within, but I will try my best. The Lord Jesus is a manifestation of God , ie if you saw Gods reflection in a mirror it would look like Lord Jesus. Jesus possesses attributes of God, but he is not God. Lord Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary, and that which has been created, no matter how divine, is not God but very much of God. I don't believe that Lord Jesus died on the cross. When on the cross , he asked for a drink, early Gospel translations state that he was given a sponge soaked in gaul. Gaul was used for pain relief in ancient times as it had sedative properties. When his side was pierced, water and blood poured out. The water may have been serous fluid and blood does not pour out from a corpse. The cause of death in crucifixion is asphyxiation and the condemneds legs are broken to facilitate this. Jesus' legs were not broken. Pilate washed his hands of the crucifixion and there may have been Romans sympathetic to Jesus' cause who assisted in taking him down of the cross. Hope this helps you understand where I come from brother Zimkhitha
     
  11. zimkhitha

    zimkhitha Active Member

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    I won't lie and say I do brother Aidan, however I hear you. My question was really out of curiosity than anything else.
     
  12. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    How are you guys distinguishing natural law from natural revelation?
     
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  13. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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    C.S. Lewis covers natural law in his work "The Abolition of Man." He sometimes uses the Chinese word "Tao" to describe it. As he writes:

    “The Tao, which others may call Natural Law or Traditional Morality or the First Principles of Practical Reason or the First Platitudes, is not one among a series of possible systems of value. It is the sole source of all value judgments. If it is rejected, all value is rejected. If any value is retained, it is retained. The effort to refute it and raise a new system of value in its place is self-contradictory. There has never been, and never will be, a radically new judgment of value in the history of the world. What purport to be new systems or…ideologies…all consist of fragments from the Tao itself, arbitrarily wrenched from their context in the whole and then swollen to madness in their isolation, yet still owing to the Tao and to it alone such validity as they posses.”
     
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