The Natural Law by Thomas Aquinas

1682 Words7 Pages
In every man there is an innate sense of right and wrong buried within him. This sense guides people, culture, and even whole countries to act in certain ways. Thomas Aquinas called this innate sense the natural law. The natural law is established by God in order to make men more virtuous. When examined closely it is found that the natural law contains the precept of all law and, is at odds with certain laws that exist today, specifically abortion. The “natural law is appointed by reason” (Aquinas IV, 94, 1) and given to everyone. This is very contrary to popular belief that right and wrong are relative; however, the idea of an absolute right makes sense. For instance, it is naturally understood that it is wrong to murder. This fact does not need to be argued over; it is innate to everyone. Furthermore, reason does not oppose the claim that murder is wrong. In fact, reason supports it. If murder were to be socially acceptable than all of a sudden, you have to be extremely cautious in every activity. At any time your life could be in danger and there would be nothing to do about it. Such a system would be utter chaos. Furthermore, if murder were to be legal, many people who may make great contributions to society could be killed and there is nothing to prevent it. Now, the problems with this system are not merely selfish but also social ones. So, we would reject such a system. However, we do not need to think through why murder is bad to know that it is. There is no veil hiding the truth of the natural law. That is because the basic principle of the natural law is that it is natural. The natural law is the law that makes sense according to nature. There are certain things that people do not need to be taught. Think of a small ch... ... middle of paper ... ...Hitler, than that is not terrible (actually it would be a greater respect for life because of all those saved), but no one can know the future and therefore no one can act on it reasonably. The only being who could reasonable prevent a life is God, and He does not need abortion to do that. The natural law was given to man so that he might know virtue. While the natural law is vague, and hard to understand it always points in the right direction. Human law derives its precepts from the natural law. However, human law often misinterprets what the highest good is and creates laws that disagree with the natural law. One case where the natural law conflicts with human law is abortion, which is directly opposed to the natural law of God. Bibliography St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, trans. Fathers of the English Dominican Province (New York: Benziger Bros., 1922).
Open Document