Eternal Law and Human Law

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Eternal Law and Human Law

As humans live in this world, laws and regulations are strictly enforced for the justice, safety, and rights of the humans. Whether those laws are eternal or temporal, all laws require standards. Saint Augustine’s On the Free Choice of the Will discusses these standards and defines what each laws mean. Most importantly, Augustine argues that eternal law is necessary for temporal law to exist and for the nation to function properly. I agree with Augustine’s argument on the necessity of both eternal law and human law and the belief of how temporal law is based on eternal law.

According to Augustine, eternal law is a law that is just, unchanging, and follows the proper ordering and reasoning. This eternal law is also what the ordering of everything is based on. He also believes that when one pursues his or her life based on eternal things, such as truth, knowledge, and love, then they are living a life under eternal law. However, if one decides to live a life of desire for temporal things, such as money, possessions, and physical appearances, then they are living under a temporal law where their happiness will not last long. This law, which is interchangeable with human law, makes a nation well ordered, where the people are allowed to designate officials with their own choices and obtain many other rights.

Eternal and human laws proposed by Augustine are essential to society; though both essential, Augustine differentiates the two. Augustine explains that eternal law bases its standards on God and He is the ruler of this law; this law is the law by which God rules all creation. It can also be characterized as the “divine reason or the will of God, a will which enjoins the natural order” (Fitzgerald & Cavadini, 583). On the other hand, temporal law is subject to change in such instances as the election of a new president, or institution of new laws. While eternal law both regulates human affairs and governs eternal things, human...
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