Investigation of Natural Moral Law
The roots natural law can be found in the ancient Greek and Roman
world. In this essay Thomas Aquinas and moral law theory will be
St Thomas Aquinas (1224-1274), was an important Christian philosopher
and theologian who’s ethical theory is absolutist and deontological,
which means that it is focused on the ethicacy of actions. In his
work, summa theologica, Aquinas described natural law as a moral code
existing within the purpose of nature, created by God: ‘Law is nothing
else than an ordinary of reason for the common good promulgated by the
one who is in charge of the community’
Primary and secondary precepts
Whether or not an act leads towards God depends upon whether the
action fits the purpose that humans were made for. We have seen that
the main purposes and these are called primary precepts. Acts that
accord with the main human purpose are good. Acts not in accordance
with human purpose are bad. Secondary precepts are rulings about
things that we should or shouldn’t do because they uphold, or fail to
uphold the primary precept.
This natural law exists to assist humans to direct their actions in
such a way that they may reach their eternal destiny with God.
Reason and human purpose
The eternal law of divine reason is perceived through revelation. A
moral life is lived according to and in accordance with reason and an
immoral life is a life lived according to the odd with the reason.
Reason determines that the ultimate purpose and destiny of human life
is fellowship with God. Humans naturally tended towards this destiny
and should live according to their design.
Real and apparent goods.
Aquinas believed that human nature was essentially good, as natural
law is within everyone. He maintained that humans were orientated
towards the achievement of perfection and that they could never
knowingly pursue evil. Sin consists of Gods intention for humans. To
choose an apparent good is an error, because it isn’t really good for
us. E.g. an adulterer commits adultery because he believes it is good.
This is an error of reason,...