Outline the Key Principles of Natural Law

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Jamshed Masjedi

Outline the key principles of Natural Law

Let’s start off with a definition of Natural Law: a moral code existing with a purpose of nature, created by God.Aristotle theory of purpose inspired St Thomas Aquinas to develop his idea of Natural Law to present a rational basis for Christian morality. Aquinas developed an absolute and deontological theory which states that certain acts are innately right or wrong. Natural Law directs people to their great purpose, and can be deduced through reason. Good acts are those which enable humans to fulfil their purpose, and are in unity with the primary precepts. Through Aristotle’s idea that everything has a purpose (theory of causality) and we have a purpose to do good and avoid evil and seek happiness and fulfilment in life (eudaimonia), Aquinas started by trying to work out what the purpose of human life was. Aquinas developed the primary precepts which follow from this idea. The Primary precepts are connected with preservation of life, reproduction, education, living in a society and worshipping God. These Primary precepts can then be developed into secondary precepts as practical human rules that govern our daily behaviour. For example from preservation of life, one could argue someone who is in desperate need of organs or bloods would be correct. This could lead to a secondary precept of you donating your organ(s) to saves lives of other. Another example is about reproduction linking it genetic engineering with Natural Law suggesting that humans have an essential nature and manipulating it, through genetic engineering, is conflicting to the natural order of things and so is wrong. Aquinas developed four kinds of law: eternal, natural, human, and divine. Eternal law is humans being not being able to know gods intention. Natural law is humans with a natural sense and the discovery of reason. Human law is some sort of man-made law with the natural law supplied by the government to the societies, and...
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