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Author Topic: Natural Law in the Abstract  (Read 2395 times) Average Rating: 0
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ialmisry
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« on: December 07, 2012, 10:28:29 AM »

Since it didn't really deal with contraception (the focus of the OP of the parent thread), I thought this should have its own thread, on the theory of Natural Law, rather than a specific application.

Natural Law theory does not work at all in an atheistic framework.
au contraire, Darwinism, for instance, works quite fine in it.
Thomistic Natural Law presupposes both a Divine Law and an Eternal Law, neither of which could exist without a deity. How could atheistic Darwinism establish a Divine or Eternal Law? Huh
Exactly.
Not really.  The Darwinists claim eternal laws which they claim apply before, during and after the Big Bang.  They claim to discover these laws by their observations, "The rational creatures participation in the Eternal Law."

One of Thomas' authorities on the issue of the eternity of Creation, Ibn Sina (or Avicenna)
http://www.academia.edu/2172880/Thomas_Avicenna_and_the_Philosophial_Idea_of_Creation
taught that creation was co-eternal with the Creator, a theistic adaptation of the pagan idea of the eternity of matter.

Of course, as I state, Natural Law theory doesn't work in the Christian context, falling apart as it does upon scrutiny.  However, it can operate at the lower, unquestioning, level.  Just the same level that it can-and does-operate in an atheistic framework, and has ever since Grotius helped it along its natural path
http://books.google.com/books?id=8MMRZQA1rVsC&pg=PA318&lpg=PA318&dq=etiamsi+daremus+(non+esse+Deum)&source=bl&ots=Tfu7jh4S5m&sig=r097lDsU08qvJhr0u6_TWxrtojw&hl=en&sa=X&ei=vfbBUIHoCe-WyAGnzoHQAw&ved=0CE0Q6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=etiamsi%20daremus%20(non%20esse%20Deum)&f=false
and set it free from God's will:  "even the will of an omnipotent being cannot change or abrogate" natural law (he tells us in his founding work of international law-i.e. the expansion of the European system imposed by its hegemony on the rest of the world) which "would maintain its objective validity even if we should assume the impossible, that there is no God or that he does not care for human affairs." (De iure belli ac pacis, Prolegomeni XI)
http://oll.libertyfund.org/index.php?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=1877&Itemid=99999999

Marx was quite convinced, for instance, that his rational creation (at least in his mind) of the vanguard party of the Communists participated "in the Eternal Law," and had to do so without "opiate of the people," i.e. in an atheistic framework.
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« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2012, 10:49:05 AM »

Except a Darwinistic set of "eternal laws" is not the same thing as a Thomistic "Eternal Law." The former would have to be eternal laws of nature (so to speak), with the latter being the created order and plan for all of creation - coming out of the unknowable Divine Law.

The Divine Law is within God, and does not exist apart from him. If God didn't exist then there wouldn't be a Divine Law, and therefore no Eternal Law and Natural Law for their existence is predicated on the Divine Law.
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« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2012, 11:44:46 AM »

Except a Darwinistic set of "eternal laws" is not the same thing as a Thomistic "Eternal Law." The former would have to be eternal laws of nature (so to speak), with the latter being the created order and plan for all of creation - coming out of the unknowable Divine Law.

The Divine Law is within God, and does not exist apart from him. If God didn't exist then there wouldn't be a Divine Law, and therefore no Eternal Law and Natural Law for their existence is predicated on the Divine Law.
Also, because the Natural Law is from God, it has moral content. Any so called "Natural Law" that is separated from the will and purpose fo God is not morally binding. That is why a Natural Law theory of ethics does not work in an atheistic frame work. If there is no God, then to whom are we morally responsible? In fact, if there is no God, then Sartre is right, and we should do whatever the heck we want.
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« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2012, 02:17:16 PM »

Except a Darwinistic set of "eternal laws" is not the same thing as a Thomistic "Eternal Law."
I did not equate the two.  I just pointed out the error of denying their similarity, given Thomistic rationalism/intellectualism.

Btw, it is interesting that on this point, Aquinas almost has to resort to voluntarism, rationalism/intellectualism's opponent:
Quote
I answer that, Nothing except God can be eternal. And this statement is far from impossible to uphold: for it has been shown above (Question 19, Article 4) that the will of God is the cause of things. Therefore things are necessary, according as it is necessary for God to will them, since the necessity of the effect depends on the necessity of the cause (Metaph. v, text 6). Now it was shown above (Question 19, Article 3), that, absolutely speaking, it is not necessary that God should will anything except Himself. It is not therefore necessary for God to will that the world should always exist; but the world exists forasmuch as God wills it to exist, since the being of the world depends on the will of God, as on its cause. It is not therefore necessary for the world to be always; and hence it cannot be proved by demonstration.
http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1046.htm

The former would have to be eternal laws of nature (so to speak), with the latter being the created order and plan for all of creation - coming out of the unknowable Divine Law.
And this would differ from the Deists how?  And to what extent can one distinguish between a Darwinist and a Deist in this area?

The Divine Law is within God, and does not exist apart from him. If God didn't exist then there wouldn't be a Divine Law, and therefore no Eternal Law and Natural Law for their existence is predicated on the Divine Law.
back to the debate between Voluntarism and Intellectualism/Rationalism.  God lies beyond reason, and hence it does not bind him, as you (and Grotius) would like.

There have been many gods of nature. On this issue they do not differ much from the God Who Created the universe (except that He is I AM).
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« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2012, 02:23:10 PM »

Except a Darwinistic set of "eternal laws" is not the same thing as a Thomistic "Eternal Law." The former would have to be eternal laws of nature (so to speak), with the latter being the created order and plan for all of creation - coming out of the unknowable Divine Law.

The Divine Law is within God, and does not exist apart from him. If God didn't exist then there wouldn't be a Divine Law, and therefore no Eternal Law and Natural Law for their existence is predicated on the Divine Law.
Also, because the Natural Law is from God, it has moral content. Any so called "Natural Law" that is separated from the will and purpose fo God is not morally binding. That is why a Natural Law theory of ethics does not work in an atheistic frame work. If there is no God, then to whom are we morally responsible? In fact, if there is no God, then Sartre is right, and we should do whatever the heck we want.
That was Dostoevsky. I doubt Sartre could manage the consistency to argue it.

Darwinistic Natural Law has its moral content.  Hence "Social Darwinists."  Not the moral content of what the Creator revealed in His Word, but moral content nonetheless. As Papist put it:
The Natural Law is not distinct from the Eternal Law in its essence, only in its consideration. Aquinas defines the Natural Law as the "rational creature's participation in the Eternal Law." The Natural Law is what we know of God's Eternal Law, insofar as it is revealed in creation.

You assume that "Any so called "Natural Law" that is separated from the will and purpose fo God is not morally binding," and I would agree-if Natural Law existed in reality.  Since it doesn't, Aquinas' "Natural Law" remains as "not morally binding" as the Darwinists'.
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« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2012, 02:49:38 PM »

The Darwinists claim eternal laws which they claim apply before, during and after the Big Bang.  

Not really...  Cool
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ialmisry
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« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2012, 03:03:40 PM »

The Darwinists claim eternal laws which they claim apply before, during and after the Big Bang.  

Not really...  Cool
yes, really.
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« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2012, 03:23:51 PM »


That was Dostoevsky. I doubt Sartre could manage the consistency to argue it.
I'm suprised to see you criticize Sartre, becaus he is the thinker who formalized the existentialism to which you adhere.
However, that being said, Satre actually said the same thing as Dostoevsky on this point. He argued that because there is no God, man has no "nature," and hence, no moral purpose. Man can simply be and do whatever he wants.
Darwinistic Natural Law has its moral content.  Hence "Social Darwinists."  Not the moral content of what the Creator revealed in His Word, but moral content nonetheless.
An atheistic Natural Law does not have any moral content in the objective sense, since there is no objective foundation on which to establish it. Ultimately, in an atheistic context, I don't see how one cannot avoid adopting Satre's position.
You assume that "Any so called "Natural Law" that is separated from the will and purpose fo God is not morally binding," and I would agree-if Natural Law existed in reality.  Since it doesn't, Aquinas' "Natural Law" remains as "not morally binding" as the Darwinists'.
Unfortunately for you, the scriptures and the Fathers are at odds with you on this matter.
"For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse." Romans 1:20 Clearly, everyone can know that God exists, and that we have moral obligations, just by reasoning from "The creation of the world." That is why even those who have not had divine revelation are without excuse for immoral behavior. This is the essence of Natural Law.
Later in this passage, St. Paul makes it clear that he is speaking of some kind of Natural Law theory, when he mentions those who exchange "natural relations" for "unnatrual ones." In speaking thus, recognizes a natural purpose to sex, which is violated by homosexual activity.
Since the bible was inspired by the Holy Spirit, it is the third person of the Blessed Trinity with whom you are disagreeing when you rage against Natural Law.
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« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2012, 03:24:48 PM »

The Darwinists claim eternal laws which they claim apply before, during and after the Big Bang.  

Not really...  Cool
yes, really.
But because there is no purpose behind this, and because there no one to whom beings are rationally accountable, you alleged "materialist natural law" is not really an objective moral theory.
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« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2012, 04:01:03 PM »

Interestingly enough, this artricle on the Greek Orthodox website seems to suggest that Eastern Orthodox Christians accept the reality of Natural Law.

Here the author states:
"Based on the above, ethical reasoning in Orthodoxy is a balanced combination of law, motive, and intent. Moral law is based in large part on the donatum of human nature. For Eastern Orthodoxy, natural law refers primarily to the elementary relationships that are necessary for the constitution and maintenance of human society. For the Fathers of the Church, the Decalogue is an excellent expression of the natural law common to all men (Harakas, 1964). In a similar yet more flexible pattern, there are modes of behavior that are either prescribed or proscribed for the lives of Christians growing in the image and likeness of God toward theosis or full humanity. These positive and negative injunctions are found in the Holy Scriptures, in the writings of the Fathers and in the canons of the Church. For the Orthodox these statements are normative in the sense that they embody the mind of the Church and reflect standards of behavior that are appropriate and fitting for the members of the Church and, potentially, for all human beings growing in the image and likeness of God -for the full realization of personhood."

Source: http://www.goarch.org/ourfaith/ourfaith8076
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« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2012, 05:06:03 PM »

Except a Darwinistic set of "eternal laws" is not the same thing as a Thomistic "Eternal Law."
I did not equate the two.  I just pointed out the error of denying their similarity, given Thomistic rationalism/intellectualism.

Btw, it is interesting that on this point, Aquinas almost has to resort to voluntarism, rationalism/intellectualism's opponent:
Quote
I answer that, Nothing except God can be eternal. And this statement is far from impossible to uphold: for it has been shown above (Question 19, Article 4) that the will of God is the cause of things. Therefore things are necessary, according as it is necessary for God to will them, since the necessity of the effect depends on the necessity of the cause (Metaph. v, text 6). Now it was shown above (Question 19, Article 3), that, absolutely speaking, it is not necessary that God should will anything except Himself. It is not therefore necessary for God to will that the world should always exist; but the world exists forasmuch as God wills it to exist, since the being of the world depends on the will of God, as on its cause. It is not therefore necessary for the world to be always; and hence it cannot be proved by demonstration.
http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1046.htm


The former would have to be eternal laws of nature (so to speak), with the latter being the created order and plan for all of creation - coming out of the unknowable Divine Law.
And this would differ from the Deists how?  And to what extent can one distinguish between a Darwinist and a Deist in this area?
None of that is relevant to Thomistic Natural Law's compatibility with atheism, or atheistic Darwinism.

God lies beyond reason, and hence it does not bind him, as you (and Grotius) would like.

Did I ever say that God is bound by reason? I don't recall doing so.
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ialmisry
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« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2012, 05:18:07 PM »

Interestingly enough, this artricle on the Greek Orthodox website seems to suggest that Eastern Orthodox Christians accept the reality of Natural Law.

Here the author states:
"Based on the above, ethical reasoning in Orthodoxy is a balanced combination of law, motive, and intent. Moral law is based in large part on the donatum of human nature. For Eastern Orthodoxy, natural law refers primarily to the elementary relationships that are necessary for the constitution and maintenance of human society. For the Fathers of the Church, the Decalogue is an excellent expression of the natural law common to all men (Harakas, 1964). In a similar yet more flexible pattern, there are modes of behavior that are either prescribed or proscribed for the lives of Christians growing in the image and likeness of God toward theosis or full humanity. These positive and negative injunctions are found in the Holy Scriptures, in the writings of the Fathers and in the canons of the Church. For the Orthodox these statements are normative in the sense that they embody the mind of the Church and reflect standards of behavior that are appropriate and fitting for the members of the Church and, potentially, for all human beings growing in the image and likeness of God -for the full realization of personhood."

Source: http://www.goarch.org/ourfaith/ourfaith8076
Did you confuse what is revealed (the Decalogue) and what it calls "the donatum of human nature," and you call "Natural Law"?
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« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2012, 05:20:28 PM »

Interestingly enough, this artricle on the Greek Orthodox website seems to suggest that Eastern Orthodox Christians accept the reality of Natural Law.

Here the author states:
"Based on the above, ethical reasoning in Orthodoxy is a balanced combination of law, motive, and intent. Moral law is based in large part on the donatum of human nature. For Eastern Orthodoxy, natural law refers primarily to the elementary relationships that are necessary for the constitution and maintenance of human society. For the Fathers of the Church, the Decalogue is an excellent expression of the natural law common to all men (Harakas, 1964). In a similar yet more flexible pattern, there are modes of behavior that are either prescribed or proscribed for the lives of Christians growing in the image and likeness of God toward theosis or full humanity. These positive and negative injunctions are found in the Holy Scriptures, in the writings of the Fathers and in the canons of the Church. For the Orthodox these statements are normative in the sense that they embody the mind of the Church and reflect standards of behavior that are appropriate and fitting for the members of the Church and, potentially, for all human beings growing in the image and likeness of God -for the full realization of personhood."

Source: http://www.goarch.org/ourfaith/ourfaith8076
Did you confuse what is revealed (the Decalogue) and what it calls "the donatum of human nature," and you call "Natural Law"?
Yes they are. God want's man to be a certain way, and that is man's nature. If man chooses to depart from this, then man is acting immorally. St. Paul says that even the Pagan is without exuse, because the law is written on his heart. God makes the Natural Law even more eplicit by inscribing some of its precepts into the tablets of stone which Moses brings down from the mountain.
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« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2012, 05:32:17 PM »

The Darwinists claim eternal laws which they claim apply before, during and after the Big Bang.  

Not really...  Cool
yes, really.
But because there is no purpose behind this, and because there no one to whom beings are rationally accountable, you alleged "materialist natural law" is not really an objective moral theory.
LOL. Thomist natural law is not really an objective moral theory either.

As for the allegation that the materialists don't think they have a purpose behind this and no one to whom beings are rationally accountable, an inconvenient truth: they think they do.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXMarwAusY4

Read what its devotees say after an earthquake or hurricane, on what "Mother Nature" is trying to tell us.
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« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2012, 07:22:31 PM »

The Darwinists claim eternal laws which they claim apply before, during and after the Big Bang.  

Not really...  Cool
yes, really.
But because there is no purpose behind this, and because there no one to whom beings are rationally accountable, you alleged "materialist natural law" is not really an objective moral theory.
LOL. Thomist natural law is not really an objective moral theory either.

As for the allegation that the materialists don't think they have a purpose behind this and no one to whom beings are rationally accountable, an inconvenient truth: they think they do.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXMarwAusY4

Read what its devotees say after an earthquake or hurricane, on what "Mother Nature" is trying to tell us.

Oh geesh. When say say things like "What is mother nature trying to tell us with hurricane's?" I must conclude that you either have no idea what you are talking about or you are being purposely dishonest. For the purpose of charity, I'll assume that you are just being ignorant.
I hope this is the last time I have to explain this to you, so listen carefully. By "Nature" Thomas does not mean whatever happens to happen out there in the world. What he means by "nature" is essence, form, quiddity, and specifically the essence of the human person. Once you stop equivicating on the word nature, perhaps we can have a real conversation. But I think it's just too convenient for you to attack a straw man.
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« Reply #15 on: December 12, 2012, 01:32:00 PM »


That was Dostoevsky. I doubt Sartre could manage the consistency to argue it.
I'm suprised to see you criticize Sartre, becaus he is the thinker who formalized the existentialism to which you adhere.

He was also an atheist and communist, and thus ipso facto didn't get everything right.

I had once gone through his "Existentialism is a Humanism" from the Christian perspective, in response to this:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,33496.msg535659.html#msg535659
but it got lost somewhere when the computer crashed.  I might find it some day, or redo it, Lord willing.
However, that being said, Satre actually said the same thing as Dostoevsky on this point. He argued that because there is no God, man has no "nature," and hence, no moral purpose. Man can simply be and do whatever he wants.

just proving how Dostoevsky was right on more scores than one.

Darwinistic Natural Law has its moral content.  Hence "Social Darwinists."  Not the moral content of what the Creator revealed in His Word, but moral content nonetheless.
An atheistic Natural Law does not have any moral content in the objective sense, since there is no objective foundation on which to establish it. Ultimately, in an atheistic context, I don't see how one cannot avoid adopting Satre's position.
They would argue cause and effect (which resembles the karma of the moral theology of the dharmic religions, which deny being), which wouldn't distinguish them from your Natural Law, as I have seen it argued that "Natural Law" is nothing more than the law of cause and effect.  Humanae Vitae seems to argue so, and I could swear you have so argued somewhere.
You assume that "Any so called "Natural Law" that is separated from the will and purpose fo God is not morally binding," and I would agree-if Natural Law existed in reality.  Since it doesn't, Aquinas' "Natural Law" remains as "not morally binding" as the Darwinists'.
Unfortunately for you, the scriptures and the Fathers are at odds with you on this matter.
"For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse." Romans 1:20 Clearly, everyone can know that God exists, and that we have moral obligations, just by reasoning from "The creation of the world." That is why even those who have not had divine revelation are without excuse for immoral behavior. This is the essence of Natural Law.
As I have pointed out before, the Natural Lawyers using Romans 1:20 resembles Luther's use of Romans 1:17: a keyhole through which to cram the whole of Christian teaching through, no matter how much that makes the camel going through the eye of a needle look like child's play.

Saint Paul is speaking of Natural Theology, not Natural Law (though the latter can be derived from the former, but that has no bearing on Christians, who have the Gospel Truth), i.e. "His Eternal Power and divinity" "clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made."

Abp. St. John Chrysostom makes clear this folly of elevating philosophical speculation to the revealed Truth:
Quote
The first charge is, that they did not find God; the second was, that it was while they had great and clear (Sav. marg. wise) means to do it; the third, that withal they said they were wise; the fourth, that they not only did not find that Reverend Being, but even lowered Him to devils and to stones and stocks. Now he takes down their haughtiness also in the Epistle to the Corinthians, but not in the same way there as here. For there it is from the Cross he gives them the blow, saying, The foolishness of God is wiser than men. 1 Corinthians 1:25 But here, without any comparison, he holds their wisdom by itself up to ridicule, showing it to be folly and a mere display of vain boasting. Then, that you may learn that when they had the knowledge of God they gave it up thus treacherously, they changed, he says. Now he that changes, has something to change. For they wished to find out more, and not bear with the limits given them, and so they were banished from these also. For they were lusters after new devices, for such is all that is Grecian. And this is why they stood against one another and Aristotle rose up against Plato, and the Stoics blustered (ἐ φρυάξαντο 6 manuscripts fenced themselves, ἐ φράξαντο: which Field inclines to prefer) against him, and one has become hostile to one, another to another. So that one should not so much marvel at them for their wisdom, as turn away from them indignant and hate them, because through this very thing they have become fools. For had they not trusted what they have to reasonings, and syllogisms, and sophistries, they would not have suffered what they did suffer. Then, to strengthen the accusation against them he holds the whole of their idolatry up to ridicule. For in the first place the changing even were a very fit subject of scorn. But to change to such things too, is beyond all excuse. For what then did they change it, and what was it which they invested with His Glory? Some conceptions they ought to have had about Him, as, for instance, that He is God, that He is Lord of all, that He made them, which were not, that He exercises a Providence, that He cares for them. For these things are the Glory of God. To whom then did they ascribe it? Not even to men, but to an image made like to corruptible man. Neither did they stop here, but even dropped down to the brutes, or rather to the images of these. But consider, I pray, the wisdom of Paul, how he has taken the two extremes, God the Highest, and creeping things the lowest: or rather, not the creeping things, but the images of these; that he might clearly show their evident madness. For what knowledge they ought to have had concerning Him Who is incomparably more excellent than all, with that they invested what was incomparably more worthless than all. But what has this to do with the philosophers? A man may say. To these belongs most of all what I have said to do with them. For they have the Egyptians who were the inventors of these things to their masters. And Plato, who is thought more reverend than the rest of them, glories in these masters. (Plat. Tim. 21. B. etc.) And his master is in a stupid awe of these idols, for he it is that bids them sacrifice the cock to Æsculapius (his last words, Phædo), where (i.e. in his temple. So Field from manuscripts.) are the images of these beasts, and creeping things. And one may see Apollo and Bacchus worshipped along with these creeping things. And some of the philosophers even lifted up to Heaven bulls, and scorpions, and dragons, and all the rest of that vanity. For in all parts did the devil zealously strive to bring men down before the images of creeping things, and to range beneath the most senseless of all things, him whom God has willed to lift up above the heavens. And it is not from this only, but also from other grounds, that you will see their chief man to come under the remarks now made. For having made a collection of the poets, and having said that we should believe them upon matters relating to God, as having accurate knowledge, he has nothing else to bring forward but the linked sweetness of these absurdities, and then says, that this utterly ludicrous trifling is to be held for true.
http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/210203.htm
Later in this passage, St. Paul makes it clear that he is speaking of some kind of Natural Law theory, when he mentions those who exchange "natural relations" for "unnatrual ones." In speaking thus, recognizes a natural purpose to sex, which is violated by homosexual activity.
Yes, this purpose:
Quote
Consider then. It was meet, that the two should be one, I mean the woman and the man. For the two, it says, shall be one flesh. Genesis 2:24 But this the desire of intercourse effected, and united the sexes to one another. This desire the devil having taken away, and having turned the course thereof into another fashion, he thus sundered the sexes from one another, and made the one to become two parts in opposition to the law of God. For it says, the two shall be one flesh; but he divided the one flesh into two: here then is one war. Again, these same two parts he provoked to war both against themselves and against one another. For even women again abused women, and not men only. And the men stood against one another, and against the female sex, as happens in a battle by night. You see a second and third war, and a fourth and fifth; there is also another, for beside what have been mentioned they also behaved lawlessly against nature itself. For when the Devil saw that this desire it is, principally, which draws the sexes together, he was bent on cutting through the tie, so as to destroy the race, not only by their not copulating lawfully, but also by their being stirred up to war, and in sedition against one another.
http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/210204.htm

St. Paul uses the same expression, "contrary to nature" later in Romans in 11:24 "For if you have been cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these natural branches be grafted back into their own olive tree."  Not as black and white a distinction as Natural Law would require.

Btw, I often wonder that Natural Lawyers try to make much about Romans 1:20, not so much Romans 2:14.
Since the bible was inspired by the Holy Spirit, it is the third person of the Blessed Trinity with whom you are disagreeing when you rage against Natural Law.
He Whom the filioque blasphemes?  No, He favors His revelations over man's speculations.  As He said, His foolishness is wiser than the wisdom of man.

Btw, to get His statements down:
Quote
STRONGS NT 5449: φύσις

φύσις, φύσεως, ἡ (from φύω, which see, as Latin nature from nascor, ingenium from geno, gigno), from Homer, Odyssey 10, 303 down; nature, i. e.

a. the nature of things, the force, laws, order, of nature; as opposed to what is monstrous, abnormal, perverse: ὁ, ἡ, τό παρά φύσιν, that which is contrary to nature's laws, against nature, Romans 1:26 (οἱ παρά φύσιν τῇ Ἀφροδιτη χρώμενοι, Athen. 13, p. 605; ὁ παιδεραστής ... τήν παρά φύσιν ἡδονήν διώκει, Philo de spec. legg. i., § 7); as opposed to what has been produced by the art of man: οἱ κατά φύσιν κλάδοι, the natural branches, i. e. branches by the operation of nature, Romans 11:21, 24 (Winer's Grammar, 193 (182)), contrasted with οἱ ἐγκεντρισθεντες παρά φύσιν, contrary to the plan of nature, cf. 24; ἡ κατά φύσιν ἀγριέλαιος, ibid.; as opposed to what is imaginary or fictitious: οἱ μή φύσει ὄντες θεοί, who are gods not by nature, but according to the mistaken opinion of the Gentiles (λεγόμενοι θεοί, 1 Corinthians 8:5), Galatians 4:8; nature, i. e. natural sense, native conviction or knowledge, as opposed to what is learned by instruction and accomplished by training or prescribed by law: ἡ φύσις (i. e. the native sense of propriety) διδάσκει τί, 1 Corinthians 11:14; φύσει ποιεῖν τά τοῦ ναμου, natura magistra, guided by their natural sense of what is right and proper, Romans 2:14.

b. birth, physical origin: ἡμεῖς φύσει Ἰουδαῖοι, we so far as our origin is considered, i. e. by birth, are Jews, Galatians 2:15 (φύσει νεώτερος, Sophocles O. C. 1295; τῷ μέν φύσει πατρίς, τόν δέ νόμῳ πολίτην ἐπεποιηντο, Isocrates Evagr. 21; φύσει βάρβαροι ὄντες, νόμῳ δέ Ἕλληνες, Plato, Menex., p. 245 d.; cf. Grimm on Wis. 13:1); ἡ ἐκ φύσεως ἀκροβυστία, who by birth is uncircumcised or a Gentile (opposed to one who, although circumcised, has made himself a Gentile by his iniquity and spiritual perversity), Romans 2:27.

c. a mode of feeling and acting which by long habit has become nature: ἦμεν φύσει τέκνα ὀργῆς, by (our depraved) nature we were exposed to the wrath of God, Ephesians 2:3 (this meaning is evident from the preceding context, and stands in contrast with the change of heart and life wrought through Christ by the blessing of divine grace; φύσει πρός τάς κολασεις ἐπιεικῶς ἔχουσιν οἱ Φαρισαῖοι, Josephus, Antiquities 13, 10, 6. (Others (see Meyer) would lay more stress here upon the constitution in which this 'habitual course of evil' has its origin, whether that constitution be regarded (with some) as already developed at birth, or (better) as undeveloped; cf. Aristotle, pol. 1, 2, p. 1252{b}, 32f οἷον ἕκαστον ἐστι τῆς γενέσεως τελεσθεισης, ταύτην φαμέν τήν φύσιν εἶναι ἑκάστου, ὥσπερ ἀνθρώπου, etc.; see the examples in Bonitz's index under the word. Cf. Winers Grammar, § 31, 6a.)).

d. the sum of innate properties and powers by which one person differs from others, distinctive native peculiarities, natural characteristics: φύσις θηρίων (the natural strength, ferocity and intractability of beasts (A. V. (every) kind of beasts)), ἡ φύσις ἡ ἀνθρωπίνῃ (the ability, art, skill, of men, the qualities which are proper to their nature and necessarily emanate from it), James 3:7 (cf. Winer's Grammar, § 31, 10); θείας κοινωνοί φύσεως, (the holiness distinctive of the divine nature is specially referred to), 2 Peter 1:4 (Ἀμενωφει ... θείας δοκουντι μετεσχηκεναι φύσεως κατά τέ σοφίαν καί πρόγνωσιν τῶν, ἐσομενων, Josephus, contra Apion 1, 26).
http://biblesuite.com/greek/5449.htm
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« Reply #16 on: December 12, 2012, 01:50:31 PM »

The Darwinists claim eternal laws which they claim apply before, during and after the Big Bang.  

Not really...  Cool
yes, really.
But because there is no purpose behind this, and because there no one to whom beings are rationally accountable, you alleged "materialist natural law" is not really an objective moral theory.
Like the moral theories of the dharmic religions and Taoism-the latter in particular making the Thomists look as pikers at "Natural Law Theory"?  They might be non-deist and therefore wrong, but they can't be said to be non-objective, nor immoral.

Aristotle demands you have an end, IOW purpose, not reason.  Nor does reason require someone (note someone, not something) to whom beings are rationally accountable: the Stoics didn't have one, and you got your "Natural Law" from them.
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« Reply #17 on: December 12, 2012, 02:13:23 PM »

Interestingly enough, this artricle on the Greek Orthodox website seems to suggest that Eastern Orthodox Christians accept the reality of Natural Law.

Here the author states:
"Based on the above, ethical reasoning in Orthodoxy is a balanced combination of law, motive, and intent. Moral law is based in large part on the donatum of human nature. For Eastern Orthodoxy, natural law refers primarily to the elementary relationships that are necessary for the constitution and maintenance of human society. For the Fathers of the Church, the Decalogue is an excellent expression of the natural law common to all men (Harakas, 1964). In a similar yet more flexible pattern, there are modes of behavior that are either prescribed or proscribed for the lives of Christians growing in the image and likeness of God toward theosis or full humanity. These positive and negative injunctions are found in the Holy Scriptures, in the writings of the Fathers and in the canons of the Church. For the Orthodox these statements are normative in the sense that they embody the mind of the Church and reflect standards of behavior that are appropriate and fitting for the members of the Church and, potentially, for all human beings growing in the image and likeness of God -for the full realization of personhood."

Source: http://www.goarch.org/ourfaith/ourfaith8076
Did you confuse what is revealed (the Decalogue) and what it calls "the donatum of human nature," and you call "Natural Law"?
Yes they are.
confused?  Yes, I pointed that out.
God want's man to be a certain way

careful! Your voluntarism is showing. They might revoke your Thomist membership card.
and that is man's nature. If man chooses to depart from this, then man is acting immorally. St. Paul says that even the Pagan is without exuse, because the law is written on his heart. God makes the Natural Law even more eplicit by inscribing some of its precepts into the tablets of stone which Moses brings down from the mountain.
I wonder, can Volutarism come up with a Natural Law of its own?

Anyway, God's will for man's nature is not as deterministic as Natural Law would have it, being as he is in the Image and Likeness of God.

We dealt with the issue of revelation being reduced to the servant of Natural Law, the former merely making the latter "more eplicit":
So the Natural Law is superior to the Old Law, as it "is immutable, permanent throughout history. The rules that express it remain substantially valid," while on the Old Law, the New Law "In speaking of a new covenant he treats the first as obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away" (Heb. 8:13).  But this contradicts Scripture, i.e. Revelation, the New Law, which says  "For the form of this world is passing away" (I Cor. 7:31)

So "The natural law is a participation in God's wisdom and goodness by man formed in the image of his Creator. It expresses the dignity of the human person and forms the basis of his fundamental rights and duties," and thus surpasses the Old Law "For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never....make perfect those who draw near" (Heb. 10:1). Yet that contradicts the words of the Word of the New Law, "the end of the law": "For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished" (Mat. 5:18).

So "The natural law is a participation in God's wisdom and goodness by man formed in the image of his Creator. It expresses the dignity of the human person and forms the basis of his fundamental rights and duties" and so of more value than than the Old Law, "For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed be every one who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, and do them." (Gal. 3:10)  But when Scripture consisted only of the Old Law, the New Law stated "All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (II Tim. 3:16-7).

So your magisterium clings to Natural Law while disgarding the Old Law as merely "the first stage of revealed law," and "a preparation for the Gospel," as "The Law of the Gospel fulfills and surpasses the Old Law and brings it to perfection," without, evidently (given your magisterium dependenc on it for theology), surpassing or perfecting the Natural Law as "a necessary foundation for the erection of moral rules and civil law." So the Graeco-Roman philosophers as the vehicle of Natural Law outdo the the prophets of the Jews.  But we'll stick with the assessment of the Apostle of the New Law "Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision?  Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews are entrusted with the oracles of God." (Rom. 3:1-2), and the "end of the law": "You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews." (John 4:22)

This claimed supremacy of "Natural Law" merely makes Deism theistic, favoring a evolutionary view of Christianity, Unitarian-Universalism, with a side order of Trinitarianism and Incarnation for the Thomists.

Btw, you are conflating St. Paul: you ought to add Romans 3:1-2 to that mix.
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« Reply #18 on: December 12, 2012, 02:21:21 PM »

For any that might be interested, Cicero the Roman philosopher taught a form of Natural Law:

Quote
The animal that we call man, endowed with foresight and quick intelligence, complex, keen, possessing memory, full of reason and prudence, has been given a certain distinguished status by the supreme God who created him.
[...]
Therefore, since there is nothing better than reason, and since it exists both in man and God, the first common possession of man and God is reason. But those who have reason in common must also have right reason in common. And since right reason is law, we must believe that men also have law in common with the gods. Further, those who share law must also share justice; and those who share these are to be regarded as members of the same commonwealth. If indeed they obey the same authoritites and powers, this is true in a far greater degree. But as a matter of fact they do obey this celestial system, the divine mind, and the God of transcendent power. Hence we must now conceive of this whole universe as one commonwealth, of which both gods and men are members.
From Clinton Walker Keys' translation of Cicero's On Laws, emphasis mine.

While Cicero obviously elevates right reason to a high level, it is never higher than God for it is the supreme God that rules over all. This interestingly contrasts with the "unmoved mover," for Cicero's God actively rules over both men and gods.
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« Reply #19 on: December 12, 2012, 02:34:19 PM »

The Darwinists claim eternal laws which they claim apply before, during and after the Big Bang.  

Not really...  Cool
yes, really.
But because there is no purpose behind this, and because there no one to whom beings are rationally accountable, you alleged "materialist natural law" is not really an objective moral theory.
LOL. Thomist natural law is not really an objective moral theory either.

As for the allegation that the materialists don't think they have a purpose behind this and no one to whom beings are rationally accountable, an inconvenient truth: they think they do.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXMarwAusY4

Read what its devotees say after an earthquake or hurricane, on what "Mother Nature" is trying to tell us.

Oh geesh. When say say things like "What is mother nature trying to tell us with hurricane's?" I must conclude that you either have no idea what you are talking about or you are being purposely dishonest. For the purpose of charity, I'll assume that you are just being ignorant.
I notice how you don't assUme that the "Inconvenient Truth" ilk are not just being ignorant.

Their views are not so different from your forebears, the Stoics, the godfathers of your "Natural Law."

I hope this is the last time I have to explain this to you, so listen carefully. By "Nature" Thomas does not mean whatever happens to happen out there in the world. What he means by "nature" is essence, form, quiddity, and specifically the essence of the human person.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idealism
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solipsism

Odd that you claim the status of "objective moral theory" for your Natural Law theory which, according to you, does not have as its object what happens to be out there in the world.

Sorry, Plato got it wrong. He created the World of Forms in his own head, it does not exist in reality.

Once you stop equivicating on the word nature, perhaps we can have a real conversation. But I think it's just too convenient for you to attack a straw man.
not my fault that taking Thomism to its natural end and logical conclusion leaves a pile of straw. Can't help but agree with Aquinas that "all that I have written seems like straw to me."
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« Reply #20 on: December 12, 2012, 02:44:44 PM »

I never thought I would say this but on this issue I agree with Papist over ialmisry.

PS: There's no need to insult Plato Sad
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« Reply #21 on: December 12, 2012, 03:56:03 PM »

The Darwinists claim eternal laws which they claim apply before, during and after the Big Bang.  

Not really...  Cool
yes, really.
But because there is no purpose behind this, and because there no one to whom beings are rationally accountable, you alleged "materialist natural law" is not really an objective moral theory.
LOL. Thomist natural law is not really an objective moral theory either.

As for the allegation that the materialists don't think they have a purpose behind this and no one to whom beings are rationally accountable, an inconvenient truth: they think they do.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXMarwAusY4

Read what its devotees say after an earthquake or hurricane, on what "Mother Nature" is trying to tell us.

Oh geesh. When say say things like "What is mother nature trying to tell us with hurricane's?" I must conclude that you either have no idea what you are talking about or you are being purposely dishonest. For the purpose of charity, I'll assume that you are just being ignorant.
I notice how you don't assUme that the "Inconvenient Truth" ilk are not just being ignorant.

Their views are not so different from your forebears, the Stoics, the godfathers of your "Natural Law."

I hope this is the last time I have to explain this to you, so listen carefully. By "Nature" Thomas does not mean whatever happens to happen out there in the world. What he means by "nature" is essence, form, quiddity, and specifically the essence of the human person.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idealism
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solipsism

Odd that you claim the status of "objective moral theory" for your Natural Law theory which, according to you, does not have as its object what happens to be out there in the world.

Sorry, Plato got it wrong. He created the World of Forms in his own head, it does not exist in reality.

Once you stop equivicating on the word nature, perhaps we can have a real conversation. But I think it's just too convenient for you to attack a straw man.
not my fault that taking Thomism to its natural end and logical conclusion leaves a pile of straw. Can't help but agree with Aquinas that "all that I have written seems like straw to me."
Again, we are not Platonists. Aristotle does not believe that the forms exist out there but only exist in real being themselves. Human nature does not exist out there in the sky. Human nature exists in two places: 1. Human persons, as individuals exist as substances, and 2) in the Mind of God, insofar as he is the creator of human beings.
The existence of the plan for human beings in the mind of God grounds natural law in objectivity.
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« Reply #22 on: December 12, 2012, 04:03:26 PM »

I never thought I would say this but on this issue I agree with Papist over ialmisry.

PS: There's no need to insult Plato Sad

Agreed, and agreed.
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« Reply #23 on: December 14, 2012, 11:18:46 AM »

I was reminded of this Theotokion (Canon St. Andrew, Tone 6, Canticle Three)
Quote
As a virgin you gave birth, and a virgin you remained by nature, your womb giving birth painlessly for He Who was born of you renewed the laws of nature, since when God wills its order is overthrown.
http://cnyorthodoxchurch.org/files/ANDRTHU.pdf
Besides a good statement of Voluntarism, it raises a question: how would "Natural Law" handle the Incarnation, as it violates "the laws of nature"?
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« Reply #24 on: December 14, 2012, 11:32:16 AM »

I never thought I would say this but on this issue I agree with Papist over ialmisry.

PS: There's no need to insult Plato Sad

Agreed, and agreed.
I didn't insult him.  Just told the Truth: he didn't get his facts straight.
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« Reply #25 on: December 14, 2012, 11:56:14 AM »

I was reminded of this Theotokion (Canon St. Andrew, Tone 6, Canticle Three)
Quote
As a virgin you gave birth, and a virgin you remained by nature, your womb giving birth painlessly for He Who was born of you renewed the laws of nature, since when God wills its order is overthrown.
http://cnyorthodoxchurch.org/files/ANDRTHU.pdf
Besides a good statement of Voluntarism, it raises a question: how would "Natural Law" handle the Incarnation, as it violates "the laws of nature"?

I'm pretty sure that means "law of nature" as St. Athanasius meant it - in reference to the law of death, and its dominion over us, which reigns as the result of our corruption.

But not as a reference to God's created order as he intended it to be.
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« Reply #26 on: December 14, 2012, 12:08:32 PM »

I was reminded of this Theotokion (Canon St. Andrew, Tone 6, Canticle Three)
Quote
As a virgin you gave birth, and a virgin you remained by nature, your womb giving birth painlessly for He Who was born of you renewed the laws of nature, since when God wills its order is overthrown.
http://cnyorthodoxchurch.org/files/ANDRTHU.pdf
Besides a good statement of Voluntarism, it raises a question: how would "Natural Law" handle the Incarnation, as it violates "the laws of nature"?

I'm pretty sure that means "law of nature" as St. Athanasius meant it - in reference to the law of death, and its dominion over us, which reigns as the result of our corruption.

But not as a reference to God's created order as he intended it to be.
That is, if birthgiving is seen as not part of God's created order as He intended it to be, as St. Maximos argues:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,41306.msg850150.html#msg850150
« Last Edit: December 14, 2012, 12:09:27 PM by ialmisry » Logged

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« Reply #27 on: December 14, 2012, 12:17:04 PM »

I never thought I would say this but on this issue I agree with Papist over ialmisry.

PS: There's no need to insult Plato Sad

Agreed, and agreed.
I didn't insult him.  Just told the Truth: he didn't get his facts straight.

What's wrong with Plato?
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« Reply #28 on: December 14, 2012, 12:27:04 PM »

I never thought I would say this but on this issue I agree with Papist over ialmisry.

PS: There's no need to insult Plato Sad

Agreed, and agreed.
I didn't insult him.  Just told the Truth: he didn't get his facts straight.

What's wrong with Plato?
Depends on what you mean by "wrong."  On the present topic, his idea of the eternity of the universe, the idea that essence precedes existence, and the identification of the human person with the soul.
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« Reply #29 on: December 14, 2012, 01:59:43 PM »

I never thought I would say this but on this issue I agree with Papist over ialmisry.

PS: There's no need to insult Plato Sad

Agreed, and agreed.
I didn't insult him.  Just told the Truth: he didn't get his facts straight.

What's wrong with Plato?
Depends on what you mean by "wrong."  On the present topic, his idea of the eternity of the universe, the idea that essence precedes existence, and the identification of the human person with the soul.

I always get a kick when people criticize Plato while using the word idea.
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« Reply #30 on: December 14, 2012, 10:23:00 PM »

I never thought I would say this but on this issue I agree with Papist over ialmisry.

PS: There's no need to insult Plato Sad

Agreed, and agreed.
I didn't insult him.  Just told the Truth: he didn't get his facts straight.

What's wrong with Plato?
Depends on what you mean by "wrong."  On the present topic, his idea of the eternity of the universe, the idea that essence precedes existence, and the identification of the human person with the soul.

I always get a kick when people criticize Plato while using the word idea.
That's the idea.
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« Reply #31 on: December 15, 2012, 12:19:26 AM »

I think someone needs to create another thread about natural law. We are far too deficient right now.
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« Reply #32 on: December 15, 2012, 12:21:50 AM »

I think someone needs to create another thread about natural law. We are far too deficient right now.
Do we have natural law and homosexuality yet?
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« Reply #33 on: May 07, 2013, 09:35:54 PM »

I just stumbled on an argument on Natural Law from a former poster's present blog.

It starts with the argument of the Orthdoox Hart:
Quote
Classical natural law theory, after all, begins from the recognition that the movement of the human will is never purely spontaneous, and that all volition is evoked by and directed toward an object beyond itself. It presupposes, moreover, that beyond the immediate objects of desire lies the ultimate end of all willing, the Good as such, which in its absolute priority makes it possible for any finite object to appear to the will as desirable. It asserts that nature is governed by final causes. And, finally, it takes as given that the proper ends of the human will and the final causes of creation are inalienably analogous to one another, because at some ultimate level they coincide (for believers, because God is the one source in which both participate). Thus, in knowing the causal ends of nature, we should be able to know many of the proper moral ends of the will, and even their relative priority in regard to one another.

So far, so good. But insuperable problems arise when—in part out of a commendable desire to speak to secular society in ways it can understand, in part out of some tacit quasi-Kantian notion that moral philosophy must yield clear and universally binding imperatives—the natural law theorist insists that the moral meaning of nature should be perfectly evident to any properly reasoning mind, regardless of religious belief or cultural formation.

Thus, allegedly, the testimony of nature should inform any rightly attentive intellect that abortion is murder, that lying is wrong, that marriage should be monogamous, that we should value charity above personal profit, and that it is wicked (as well as extremely discourteous) to eat members of that tribe that lives over in the next valley. “Nature,” however, tells us nothing of the sort, at least not in the form of clear commands; neither does it supply us with hypotaxes of moral obligation. In neither an absolute nor a dependent sense—neither as categorical nor as hypothetical imperatives, to use the Kantian terms—can our common knowledge of our nature or of the nature of the universe at large instruct us clearly in the content of true morality.
http://www.firstthings.com/article/2013/02/is-ought-and-natures-laws-1

To which Edward Feser replies:
Quote
What we might call the classical (or “old”) natural law theory is the sort grounded in a specifically Aristotelian metaphysics of formal and final causes—that is to say, in the idea that things have immanent natures or substantial forms and that in virtue of those natures they are inherently directed toward certain natural ends, the realization of which constitutes the good for them. Accordingly, this approach firmly rejects the so-called “fact/value dichotomy” associated with modern philosophers like Hume.

Classical natural law theory’s most prominent historical defender is Aquinas, and it was standard in Neo-Scholastic manuals of ethics and moral theology in the pre-Vatican II period. In more recent decades it has been defended by writers like Ralph McInerny, Henry Veatch, Russell Hittinger, David Oderberg, and Anthony Lisska. (In the interests of full disclosure—of which, regrettably, self-promotion is a foreseen but unintended byproduct, justifiable under the principle of double effect—I suppose I should mention that I have also defended classical natural law theory in several places, such as my book Aquinas.)

What has come to be called the “new natural law theory” eschews any specifically Aristotelian metaphysical foundation, and in particular any appeal to formal and final causes and thus any appeal to human nature (at least as “old natural law” theorists would understand it). It is a very recent development—going back only to the 1960s, when it was invented by Germain Grisez—and its aim is to reconstruct natural law in terms that could be accepted by someone who affirms the Humean fact/value dichotomy.

In addition to Grisez, new natural law theory is associated with writers like John Finnis, Joseph Boyle, William May, Robert P. George, and Christopher Tollefsen. (Once again in the interests of full disclosure, I should note that like other classical natural law theorists, I have been very critical of the so-called “new natural lawyers.” But it is also only fair to point out that Hart’s argument has no more force against the “new” natural law theory than it does against the “old” or classical version.)
http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2013/03/a-christian-hart-a-humean-head
and then goes on to its assertion:
Quote
What the two approaches have in common is the view that objectively true moral conclusions can be derived from premises that in no way presuppose any purported divine revelation, any body of scriptural writings, or any particular religious tradition. Rather, they can in principle be known via purely philosophical arguments.
(the comments are also interesting).

Another response comes from R.J. Snell:
Quote
First, despite its centrality to Hart’s rejection, in no way does natural law theory derive what ought to be from what is; if anything, contemporary theorists are often criticized precisely for refusing to ground practical reason on theoretical anthropology or metaphysical claims about nature...Unlike the Hart/Potemra version, Finnis and Rhonheimer never consider reading ethics off human nature but rather develop their anthropologies and metaphysics of human nature from their account of practical reason. Finnis, for instance, suggests in Fundamentals of Ethics that “epistemologically . . . human nature is not ‘the basis of ethics’; rather, ethics is an indispensable preliminary to a full and soundly based knowledge of human nature.” Likewise Rhonheimer, for whom knowledge of one’s own nature “cannot be derived from metaphysics or anthropology,” but rather “metaphysics and anthropology . . . are not even possible without” practical reason’s reflection on its purposes and inclinations. Hart and Potemra have it precisely backwards.
He also responds to a like mind of Hart, Michael Potemra
http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/340579/bracing-challenge-conservative-natural-law-theorists-michael-potemra

Snell continues:
Quote
As I explained yesterday, natural-law theorists do not hold that moral knowledge is innate, intuitive, or easy. Even self-evident principles require acts of understanding by the intellect. And these principles do not let us leap over the reasoning necessary for morally upright choices in concrete actions. Natural-law thinking still requires thinking that can go wrong or be misunderstood in any number of ways...The objectivity proper to the first-personal standpoint explains, I suggest, why natural law is neither obvious nor provable, but also why it cannot coherently be denied. Just as the principle of non-contradiction cannot be proven but cannot be denied without depending on the principle of non-contradiction, so too is the denial of the basic human goods operationally or performatively contradictory.

Hart retorts:
Quote
There is an old argument here, admittedly. Somewhere behind Feser’s argument slouches the specter of what is often called “two-tier Thomism”: a philosophical sect notable in part for the particularly impermeable partitions it erects between nature and grace, or nature and supernature, or natural reason and revelation, or philosophy and theology (and so on). To its adherents, it is the solution to the contradictions of modernity. To those of a more “integralist” bent (like me), it is a neo-scholastic deformation of Christian metaphysics that, far from offering an alternative to secular reason, is one of its chief theological accomplices. It also produces an approach to moral philosophy that must ultimately fail...First. Finality’s fortuity. Most traditional accounts of natural law require a picture of nature as governed by final causality: For every substance, there are logically prior ends—proximate, remote, or transcendent—that guide its existence and unite it to the greater totality of a single cosmic, physical, moral, social continuum embraced within the providential finality of the divine. They assume, then, that from the “is” of a thing legitimate conclusions regarding its “ought” can be discerned, because nature herself—through her evident forms—instructs us in the elements of moral fulfillment. In our age, however, final causality is a concept confined within an ever more beleaguered and porous intellectual redoubt. One can easily enough demonstrate the reality of finality within nature, but modern scientific culture refuses to view it as in any sense a cause rather than the accidental consequence of an immanent material process. Within any organic system, for instance, ontogeny is fruitfully determined by strict formal constraints, but these are seen as the results of an incalculably vast series of fortuitous mutations and attritions, and therefore only the residue of an entirely stochastic phylogeny. Hence nature’s finality indicates no morally consequential ends (much less the supereminent finality of the Love that moves the stars), but is rather merely the emergent result of intrinsically meaningless brute events...Assume, however, that we can establish the existence of a moral imperative implicit in the orderliness of the world, as perceived by a rational will that, for itself, must seek the good: Does that assure that we can prove what hierarchy of values follows from this, or how we should calculate the relative preponderance of diverse moral ends? Yes, we may all agree that murder is worse than rudeness; but beyond the most rudimentary level of ethical deliberation, pure logic proves insufficient as a guide to which ends truly command our primary obedience, and our arguments become ever more dependent upon prior evaluations and preferences that, as far as philosophy can discern, are culturally or psychologically contingent. Consistent natural law cases can be made for or against slavery, for example, or for or against capital punishment, depending on which values one has privileged at a level too elementary for philosophy to adjudicate. At some crucial point, natural law argument, pressed to disclose its principles, dissolves into sheer assertion.
http://www.firstthings.com/article/2013/05/nature-loves-to-hide

and Feser tries to come back:
Quote
First, natural law theorists make a very limited, but very important claim—that there is common ground among all human beings, and particularly between religious believers and non-believers, on which moral disagreements can be rationally adjudicated. For there are, the natural law theorist claims, objective moral conclusions that can be derived via purely philosophical arguments from premises that in no way presuppose any special divine revelation, religious tradition, or scriptural or ecclesiastical authority...Perhaps the most glaring of Hart’s fallacies is equivocation. As I noted in my initial reply to Hart, two crucially different approaches today bear the “natural law” label. There is, first, the traditional or “old” natural law theory, which grounds ethics in an Aristotelian metaphysics of formal and final causes and rejects David Hume’s fact/value dichotomy (where one supposedly can’t derive an “ought” from an “is”).

And there is, second, the “new” natural law theory, which doesn’t appeal to a specifically Aristotelian metaphysics and accepts the modern Humean dichotomy. To which approach does Hart object? The old? The new? Both?
http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2013/04/9978/
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« Reply #34 on: May 08, 2013, 10:33:36 AM »

Horrible writing. No wonder why people think philosophy is boring. And I think Hart needs someone to send him the list of words he uses in an attempt to not sound as boring as he is.

If whatever is written by these guys could be considered philosophy in any sense to begin with.

When someone is explicitly confusing the ontological with the ethical (or even worse, the moral) after 1850 or so, it is time to stop reading.
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« Reply #35 on: May 08, 2013, 01:33:38 PM »

Isa, do you not believe in the "law written on their hearts" to which St. Paul refers?
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« Reply #36 on: May 08, 2013, 01:33:38 PM »

Meh. Not a fan of the "New Natural Law" theory.
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« Reply #37 on: May 08, 2013, 11:05:27 PM »

Isa, do you not believe in the "law written on their hearts" to which St. Paul refers?
Not what the Scholastics read into it, no.

As for what the Church has to say, e.g. St. John Chrysostom:
Quote
See how he again puts that day before them, and brings it close to them, battering down their conceit, and showing, that those were to be the rather honored who without the Law strove earnestly to fulfil the things of the Law. But what is most to be marvelled at in the discretion of the Apostle, it is worth while to mention now. For having shown, from the grounds given, that the Gentile is greater than the Jew; in the inference, and the conclusion of his reasoning, he does not state it, in order not to exasperate the Jew. But to make what I have said clearer, I will give the very words of the Apostle. For after saying, that it is not the hearers of the Law, but the doers of the Law, that shall be justified, it followed to say, For when the Gentiles, which have not the Law, do by nature the things contained in the Law, they are much better than those who are instructed by the Law. But this he does not say, but he stays at the encomium of the Gentiles, and does not yet awhile carry on his discourse by way of comparison, that so at least the Jew may receive what is said. And so he does not word it as I was doing, but how? For when the Gentiles, which have not the Law, do by nature the things contained in the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law unto themselves; which show the work of the Law, written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness. For the conscience and reason does suffice in the Law's stead. By this he showed, first, that God made man independent, so as to be able to choose virtue and to avoid vice. And be not surprised that he proves this point, not once or twice, but several times. For this topic was very needful for him to prove owing to those who say, Why ever is it, that Christ came but now? And where in times before was the (most manuscripts this mighty) scheme of Providence? Now it is these that he is at present beating off by the way, when he shows that even in former times, and before the Law was given, the human race (Gr. nature) fully enjoyed the care of Providence. For that which may be known of God was manifest in them, and they knew what was good, and what bad; by means whereof they judged others, which he reproaches them with, when he says, wherein you judge another, you condemn yourself. But in the case of the Jews, besides what has been mentioned, there was the Law, and not reason or conscience only. And why does he put the words accusing or else excusing?— for, if they have a Law written, and show the work of it in them, how comes reason to be able to accuse them still? But he is not any longer speaking of those only who do well, but also of mankind (Gr. the nature) universally. For then our reasonings stand up, some accusing and some excusing. And at that tribunal a man needs no other accuser. Then to add to their fear, he does not say the sins of men, but the secrets of men. For since he said, Do you think, that judgest them that do such things, and doest the same, that you shall escape the judgment of God; that you may not expect such a sentence as you pass yourself, but may know, that that of God is far more exact than your own, he brings in, the secrets of men, and adds, through Jesus Christ according to my Gospel. For men sit in judgment upon overt acts alone. And above too he spoke of the Father alone, but as soon as he had crushed them with fear, he brought in the mention of Christ also. But he does not do barely this, but even here, after having made mention of the Father, he so introduces Him. And by the same things he raises the dignity of his preaching. For this preaching, he means, openly speaks out what nature taught by anticipation. Do you see with what wisdom he has bound them both to the Gospel and to Christ, and demonstrated that our affairs come not here to a stand, but travel further. And this he made good before also, when he said, you store up to yourself wrath against the day of wrath: and here again, God shall judge the secrets of men.
http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/210205.htm
and St. Irenaeus:
Quote
As I have heard from a certain presbyter, who had heard it from those who had seen the apostles, and from those who had been their disciples, the punishment [declared] in Scripture was sufficient for the ancients in regard to what they did without the Spirit's guidance...The Scripture has thus sufficiently reproved him, as the presbyter remarked, in order that no flesh may glory in the sight of the Lord.  It was for this reason, too, that the Lord descended into the regions beneath the earth, preaching His advent there also, and [declaring] the remission of sins received by those who believe in Him. 1 Peter 3:19-20. Now all those believed in Him who had hope towards Him, that is, those who proclaimed His advent, and submitted to His dispensations, the righteous men, the prophets, and the patriarchs, to whom He remitted sins in the same way as He did to us, which sins we should not lay to their charge, if we would not despise the grace of God. For as these men did not impute unto us (the Gentiles) our transgressions, which we wrought before Christ was manifested among us, so also it is not right that we should lay blame upon those who sinned before Christ's coming. For all men come short of the glory of God, and are not justified of themselves, but by the advent of the Lord,— they who earnestly direct their eyes towards His light. And it is for our instruction that their actions have been committed to writing, that we might know, in the first place, that our God and theirs is one, and that sins do not please Him although committed by men of renown; and in the second place, that we should keep from wickedness. For if these men of old time, who preceded us in the gifts [bestowed upon them], and for whom the Son of God had not yet suffered, when they committed any sin and served fleshly lusts, were rendered objects of such disgrace, what shall the men of the present day suffer, who have despised the Lord's coming, and become the slaves of their own lusts? And truly the death of the Lord became [the means of] healing and remission of sins to the former, but Christ shall not die again in behalf of those who now commit sin, for death shall no more have dominion over Him; but the Son shall come in the glory of the Father, requiring from His stewards and dispensers the money which He had entrusted to them, with usury; and from those to whom He had given most shall He demand most. We ought not, therefore, as that presbyter remarks, to be puffed up, nor be severe upon those of old time, but ought ourselves to fear, lest perchance, after [we have come to] the knowledge of Christ, if we do things displeasing to God, we obtain no further forgiveness of sins, but be shut out from His kingdom. And therefore it was that Paul said, For if [God] spared not the natural branches, [take heed] lest He also spare not you, who, when you were a wild olive tree, were grafted into the fatness of the olive tree, and were made a partaker of its fatness.
Since therefore, beyond all doubt and contradiction, the apostle shows that there is one and the same God, who did both enter into judgment with these former things, and who does inquire into those of the present time, and points out why these things have been committed to writing; all these men are found to be unlearned and presumptuous, nay, even destitute of common sense, who, because of the transgressions of them of old time, and because of the disobedience of a vast number of them, do allege that there was indeed one God of these men, and that He was the maker of the world, and existed in a state of degeneracy; but that there was another Father declared by Christ, and that this Being is He who has been conceived by the mind of each of them; not understanding that as, in the former case, God showed Himself not well pleased in many instances towards those who sinned, so also in the latter, many are called, but few are chosen. Matthew 20:16 As then the unrighteous, the idolaters, and fornicators perished, so also is it now: for both the Lord declares, that such persons are sent into eternal fire; Matthew 25:41 and the apostle says, Do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, not effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 And as it was not to those who are without that he said these things, but to us, lest we should be cast forth from the kingdom of God, by doing any such thing, he proceeds to say, And such indeed were you; but you are washed, but you are sanctified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by the Spirit of our God. And just as then, those who led vicious lives, and put other people astray, were condemned and cast out, so also even now the offending eye is plucked out, and the foot and the hand, lest the rest of the body perish in like manner. Matthew 18:8-9 And we have the precept: If any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner, with such an one go not to eat. 1 Corinthians 5:11 And again does the apostle say, Let no man deceive you with vain words; for because of these things comes the wrath of God upon the sons of mistrust. Be not therefore partakers with them. Ephesians 5:6-7 And as then the condemnation of sinners extended to others who approved of them, and joined in their society; so also is it the case at present, that a little leaven leavens the whole lump. 1 Corinthians 5:6 And as the wrath of God did then descend upon the unrighteous, here also does the apostle likewise say: For the wrath of God shall be revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of those men who hold back the truth in unrighteousness. Romans 1:18
http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103427.htm
St. Clement of Alexandria:
Quote

He that judged the goddesses,
As the myth of the Argives has it, having come from Phrygia
To Lacedæmon, arrayed in flowery vestments,
Glittering with gold and barbaric luxury,
Loving, departed, carrying away her he loved,
Helen, to the folds of Ida, having found that
Menelaus was away from home.
O adulterous beauty! Barbarian finery and effeminate luxury overthrew Greece; Lacedæmonian chastity was corrupted by clothes, and luxury, and graceful beauty; barbaric display proved Jove's daughter a courtesan.

They had no instructor to restrain their lusts, nor one to say, Do not commit adultery; nor, Lust not; or, Travel not by lust into adultery; or further, Influence not your passions by desire of adornment.

What an end was it that ensued to them, and what woes they endured, who would not restrain their self-will! Two continents were convulsed by unrestrained pleasures, and all was thrown into confusion by a barbarian boy. The whole of Hellas puts to sea; the ocean is burdened with the weight of continents; a protracted war breaks out, and fierce battles are waged, and the plains are crowded with dead: the barbarian assails the fleet with outrage; wickedness prevails, and the eye of that poetic Jove looks on the Thracians:—

The barbarian plains drink noble blood,
And the streams of the rivers are choked with dead bodies.

Breasts are beaten in lamentations, and grief desolates the land; and all the feet, and the summits of many-fountained Ida, and the cities of the Trojans, and the ships of the Achæans, shake.

Where, O Homer, shall we flee and stand? Show us a spot of ground that is not shaken!—

Touch not the reins, inexperienced boy,
Nor mount the seat, not having learned to drive.
Heaven delights in two charioteers, by whom alone the chariot of fire is guided. For the mind is carried away by pleasure; and the unsullied principle of reason, when not instructed by the Word, slides down into licentiousness, and gets a fall as the due reward of its transgression. An example of this are the angels, who renounced the beauty of God for a beauty which fades, and so fell from heaven to earth.
The Shechemites, too, were punished by an overthrow for dishonouring the holy virgin. The grave was their punishment, and the monument of their ignominy leads to salvation.
http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/02093.htm
Quote
Since, then, the Greeks are testified to have laid down some true opinions, we may from this point take a glance at the testimonies. Paul, in the Acts of the Apostles, is recorded to have said to the Areopagites, I perceive that you are more than ordinarily religious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with the inscription, To The Unknown God. Whom therefore you ignorantly worship, Him declare I unto you. God, that made the world and all things therein, seeing that He is Lord of heaven and earth, dwells not in temples made with hands; neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though He needed anything, seeing He gives to all life, and breath, and all things; and has made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek God, if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him; though He be not far from every one of us: for in Him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we also are His offspring. Acts 17:22-28 Whence it is evident that the apostle, by availing himself of poetical examples from the Phenomena of Aratus, approves of what had been well spoken by the Greeks; and intimates that, by the unknown God, God the Creator was in a roundabout way worshipped by the Greeks; but that it was necessary by positive knowledge to apprehend and learn Him by the Son. Wherefore, then, I send you to the Gentiles, it is said, to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God; that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them that are sanctified by faith which is in Me. Acts 26:17-18 Such, then, are the eyes of the blind which are opened. The knowledge of the Father by the Son is the comprehension of the Greek circumlocution; and to turn from the power of Satan is to change from sin, through which bondage was produced. We do not, indeed, receive absolutely all philosophy, but that of which Socrates speaks in Plato. For there are (as they say) in the mysteries many bearers of the thyrsus, but few bacchanals; meaning, that many are called, but few chosen. He accordingly plainly adds: These, in my opinion, are none else than those who have philosophized right; to belong to whose number, I myself have left nothing undone in life, as far as I could, but have endeavoured in every way. Whether we have endeavoured rightly and achieved anything, we shall know when we have gone there, if God will, a little afterwards. Does he not then seem to declare from the Hebrew Scriptures the righteous man's hope, through faith, after death? And in Demodocus (if that is really the work of Plato): And do not imagine that I call it philosophizing to spend life pottering about the arts, or learning many things, but something different; since I, at least, would consider this a disgrace. For he knew, I reckon, that the knowledge of many things does not educate the mind, according to Heraclitus. And in the fifth book of the Republic, he says, 'Shall we then call all these, and the others which study such things, and those who apply themselves to the meaner arts, philosophers?' 'By no means,' I said, 'but like philosophers.' 'And whom,' said he, 'do you call true?' 'Those,' said I, 'who delight in the contemplation of truth. For philosophy is not in geometry, with its postulates and hypotheses; nor in music, which is conjectural; nor in astronomy, crammed full of physical, fluid, and probable causes. But the knowledge of the good and truth itself are requisite—what is good being one thing, and the ways to the good another.' So that he does not allow that the curriculum of training suffices for the good, but co-operates in rousing and training the soul to intellectual objects. Whether, then, they say that the Greeks gave forth some utterances of the true philosophy by accident, it is the accident of a divine administration (for no one will, for the sake of the present argument with us, deify chance); or by good fortune, good fortune is not unforeseen. Or were one, on the other hand, to say that the Greeks possessed a natural conception of these things, we know the one Creator of nature; just as we also call righteousness natural; or that they had a common intellect, let us reflect who is its father, and what righteousness is in the mental economy. For were one to name prediction, and assign as its cause combined utterance, he specifies forms of prophecy. Further, others will have it that some truths were uttered by the philosophers, in appearance.

The divine apostle writes accordingly respecting us: For now we see as through a glass; 1 Corinthians 12:12 knowing ourselves in it by reflection, and simultaneously contemplating, as we can, the efficient cause, from that, which, in us, is divine. For it is said, Having seen your brother, you have seen your God: methinks that now the Saviour God is declared to us. But after the laying aside of the flesh, face to face,— then definitely and comprehensively, when the heart becomes pure. And by reflection and direct vision, those among the Greeks who have philosophized accurately, see God. For such, through our weakness, are our true views, as images are seen in the water, and as we see things through pellucid and transparent bodies. Excellently therefore Solomon says: He who sows righteousness, works faith. Proverbs 11:21 And there are those who, sewing their own, make increase. Proverbs 11:24 And again: Take care of the verdure on the plain, and you shall cut grass and gather ripe hay, that you may have sheep for clothing. Proverbs 27:25-26 You see how care must be taken for external clothing and for keeping. And you shall intelligently know the souls of your flock. Proverbs 27:23 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves; uncircumcision observing the precepts of the law, Romans 2:14-15 according to the apostle, both before the law and before the advent. As if making comparison of those addicted to philosophy with those called heretics, the Word most clearly says: Better is a friend that is near, than a brother that dwells afar off. Proverbs 27:10 And he who relies on falsehoods, feeds on the winds, and pursues winged birds. Proverbs 9:12 I do not think that philosophy directly declares the Word, although in many instances philosophy attempts and persuasively teaches us probable arguments; but it assails the sects. Accordingly it is added: For he has forsaken the ways of his own vineyard, and wandered in the tracks of his own husbandry. Such are the sects which deserted the primitive Church. Now he who has fallen into heresy passes through an arid wilderness, abandoning the only true God, destitute of God, seeking waterless water, reaching an uninhabited and thirsty land, collecting sterility with his hands. And those destitute of prudence, that is, those involved in heresies, I enjoin, remarks Wisdom, saying, Touch sweetly stolen bread and the sweet water of theft; Proverbs 9:17 the Scripture manifestly applying the terms bread and water to nothing else but to those heresies, which employ bread and water in the oblation, not according to the canon of the Church. For there are those who celebrate the Eucharist with mere water. But begone, stay not in her place: place is the synagogue, not the Church. He calls it by the equivocal name, place. Then He subjoins: For so shall you pass through the water of another; reckoning heretical baptism not proper and true water. And you shall pass over another's river, that rushes along and sweeps down to the sea; into which he is cast who, having diverged from the stability which is according to truth, rushes back into the heathenish and tumultous waves of life.
http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/02101.htm

St. Cyril of Jerusalem:
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Let us dread then, brethren, lest God condemn us; who needs not examination or proofs, to condemn. Say not, In the night I committed fornication, or wrought sorcery, or did any other thing, and there was no man by. Out of your own conscience shall you be judged, your thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing, in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men Romans 2:15-16 . The terrible countenance of the Judge will force you to speak the truth; or rather, even though thou speak not, it will convict you. For you shall rise clothed with your own sins, or else with your righteous deeds. And this has the Judge Himself declared— for it is Christ who judges— for neither does the Father judge any man, but he has given all judgment unto the Son John 5:22, not divesting Himself of His power, but judging through the Son; the Son therefore judges by the will of the Father; for the wills of the Father and of the Son are not different, but one and the same. What then says the Judge, as to whether you shall bear your works, or no? And before Him shall they gather all nations Matthew 25:32: (for in the presence of Christ every knee must bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth Philippians 2:10:) and He shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. How does the shepherd make the separation? Does he examine out of a book which is a sheep and which a goat? Or does he distinguish by their evident marks? Does not the wool show the sheep, and the hairy and rough skin the goat? In like manner, if you have been just now cleansed from your sins, your deeds shall be henceforth as pure wool; and your robe shall remain unstained, and you shall ever say, I have put off my coat, how shall I put it on ? By your vesture shall you be known for a sheep. But if you be found hairy, like Esau, who was rough with hair, and wicked in mind, who for food lost his birthright and sold his privilege, you shall be one of those on the left hand. But God forbid that any here present should be cast out from grace, or for evil deeds be found among the ranks of the sinners on the left hand!
http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/310115.htm
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« Reply #38 on: May 08, 2013, 11:25:26 PM »

 The Darwinists claim eternal laws which they claim apply before, during and after the Big Bang.  They claim to discover these laws by their observations, "The rational creatures participation in the Eternal Law."
I don't see how you would be able to observe anything before the Big Bang.
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« Reply #39 on: May 08, 2013, 11:32:41 PM »


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Thus, allegedly, the testimony of nature should inform any rightly attentive intellect that abortion is murder, that lying is wrong, that marriage should be monogamous, that we should value charity above personal profit, and that it is wicked (as well as extremely discourteous) to eat members of that tribe that lives over in the next valley. “Nature,” however, tells us nothing of the sort, at least not in the form of clear commands; neither does it supply us with hypotaxes of moral obligation.
In some sense lying is wrong, but you would never know it if you take a look at criminal prosecutions, even in the case where clergy are prosecuted. More often than not, these criminals will lie and say that they are not guilty, even though they know that they have committed a crime and are in fact guilty of all the charges. They generally do so on the advice of their attorney who tells them to plead not guilty.
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« Reply #40 on: May 09, 2013, 09:16:17 AM »

Isa, do you not believe in the "law written on their hearts" to which St. Paul refers?
I'm not Isa but I think the point of all this critique of "natural law" is that the concept is inherently religious ad not at all "neutral" or whatever other quasi-synonymous term its apologists use. Like there is no  big and obvious "natural" case against the use of a condom by a married couple somehow written in the physical structure of the universe that physicists can can observe in the same way as the law of gravity or whatever.
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« Reply #41 on: May 09, 2013, 10:27:46 AM »

Isa, do you not believe in the "law written on their hearts" to which St. Paul refers?
I'm not Isa but I think the point of all this critique of "natural law" is that the concept is inherently religious ad not at all "neutral" or whatever other quasi-synonymous term its apologists use. Like there is no  big and obvious "natural" case against the use of a condom by a married couple somehow written in the physical structure of the universe that physicists can can observe in the same way as the law of gravity or whatever.
I wouldn't say it is religious, but it does presuppose the existence of God. For Aquinas, God's existence can be demonstrated by reason. I realize that that is not a popular view on this forum, but at least in Aquinas' mind, (and St. Paul's for that matter), one does not have to belong to a particular religion to have knowldge of good and evil. That doesn't mean that that knowledge comes easy.

That being said, Aquinas argues that because it is easy to make errors in our moral reasoning, God gave us divine revelation of the moral law in the scriptures, particularly in the ten commandments.
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« Reply #42 on: May 09, 2013, 12:19:34 PM »

Isa, do you not believe in the "law written on their hearts" to which St. Paul refers?
I'm not Isa but I think the point of all this critique of "natural law" is that the concept is inherently religious ad not at all "neutral" or whatever other quasi-synonymous term its apologists use. Like there is no  big and obvious "natural" case against the use of a condom by a married couple somehow written in the physical structure of the universe that physicists can can observe in the same way as the law of gravity or whatever.

Not so much that it's inherently religious, but that in practice people see different things, even when looking at scripture. The creations of God do not as a rule have one single immediate purpose in the scheme of things: to use an illustration I got from John Krumm, one cannot even give the purpose of a single acorn. Scripture itself says that the union of man and woman has two purposes.

Paul's appeal to natural law in this passage isn't really to a system of judgement at all, but simply to an impulse of repugnance. Once that repugnance is no longer widely felt, the appeal to it loses force, and one is reduced to arguing why someone should feel repugnance.
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« Reply #43 on: May 09, 2013, 06:18:23 PM »

Isa, do you not believe in the "law written on their hearts" to which St. Paul refers?
I'm not Isa but I think the point of all this critique of "natural law" is that the concept is inherently religious ad not at all "neutral" or whatever other quasi-synonymous term its apologists use. Like there is no  big and obvious "natural" case against the use of a condom by a married couple somehow written in the physical structure of the universe that physicists can can observe in the same way as the law of gravity or whatever.
depends on what you mean by "religious."  There are atheist believers in Natural Law, but then Atheism is also a religion.
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Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
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if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth
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« Reply #44 on: May 09, 2013, 06:21:09 PM »

Isa, do you not believe in the "law written on their hearts" to which St. Paul refers?
I'm not Isa but I think the point of all this critique of "natural law" is that the concept is inherently religious ad not at all "neutral" or whatever other quasi-synonymous term its apologists use. Like there is no  big and obvious "natural" case against the use of a condom by a married couple somehow written in the physical structure of the universe that physicists can can observe in the same way as the law of gravity or whatever.
I wouldn't say it is religious, but it does presuppose the existence of God.
No, it does not.  The Stoics, from whom you got it, worked without one.
For Aquinas, God's existence can be demonstrated by reason. I realize that that is not a popular view on this forum, but at least in Aquinas' mind, (and St. Paul's for that matter), one does not have to belong to a particular religion to have knowldge of good and evil. That doesn't mean that that knowledge comes easy.

That being said, Aquinas argues that because it is easy to make errors in our moral reasoning, God gave us divine revelation of the moral law in the scriptures, particularly in the ten commandments.
hence those of us who have the Law and the Gospel have no use for it, as the Fathers indicate above.
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Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth
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