St. Thomas Aquinas: the Human Law and Natural Law Debate

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The Human Law and Natural Law Debate
Heather Saunders
250583261
Thomistic Philosophy 2214
Dr. Fox
March 21, 2012

The Human Law and Natural Law Debate
Are we naturally moral creatures? Do we always act towards the common good of others? I am positive that we do not, and in fact, as much as society wants to, we go against our morals and lead with our ‘feelings’. These feelings may feel right, but it doesn’t mean they will lead you in the right path to fulfil your ultimate end, true happiness. Hitler was a passionate man driven by feelings, but what he felt and did during the World War Two era was not for the sake of the common good, and was not morally right. In today’s society we often struggle between what is legally right and what is morally right. “Law is nothing other than a certain promulgated ordinance of reason to the common good by one who has charge of the community.” (McInerny, 617). In this respect there are many instances where human laws, and more specifically Canadian laws, are derived from natural law. The idea of natural law, according to St. Thomas Aquinas is that these laws are presented to enable a person to act towards the common good, in order to connect with their Summum Bonum, in other words their ultimate end. Aquinas believes that every person’s ultimate end is to commune with Jesus Christ and God Almighty. Natural law itself reflects what is morally right for the common good; while human laws are the written rules and regulations that look to preserve order, while, in most cases, staying true to natural law. I would, however, like to make the argument that not all human laws are derived or are based on natural law. In fact I would like to pull instances directly from the Criminal Code of Canada and exhibit how do they not only create chaos, but that they contradict natural law. What is natural law? According to St. Thomas Aquinas that natural law is “nothing other than the participation in eternal law on the part of the...
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