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Natural Law and its Origins
· Natural Law is an absolute and deontological theory
which was developed by Thomas Aquinas,
· It revolves around the idea that it is our purpose and
human nature to strive to achieve happiness and a
sense of fulfilment, `good is that which all things seek
after' (of the Natural Law II.i 94, Article 2)
· It was believed by Aquinas that by using our reasoning
we can deduce our purpose given to us by God and work
out how to achieve it, Aquinas likens it to `the light of
understanding placed in us by God' (St Thomas
Aquinas, Dec. Praec. 1)…read more

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The earliest Natural Law theory has been found
among the Stoics who believed God was in
everyone and everything and that we have a divine
spark in all of us which helps us live according to
God
· Aquinas' theory was heavily influenced by Aristotle.
This can be seen as Aristotle believed everything
has a purpose and function; for humans this final
cause is eudaimonia which is roughly translated to
mean `happiness'. Additionally Aristotle saw reason
as the highest of all human activity, `Reason is the
true self of every man' (Nichomachean Ethics)…read more

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The Purpose of Human Beings
· Aquinas did not believe eudaimonia was the ultimate
goal for humans he believed that as humans were made
in the image of God that therefore our goal must come
from God's perfection
· It was also believed by Aquinas that this perfection
could not be fully achieved in this lifetime but would
continue into our next life
· Aquinas tried to figure out how this ultimate goal could
be achieved by looking at the reflections of Natural
Moral Law that is revealed to us through: Human Law,
Natural Law, Divine Law and Eternal Law…read more

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Eternal Law: The principles made by God that
controls the universe. The Law is only known in its
entirety by God and we can only ever have a partial
understanding of it.
Divine Law: This is told to us through scripture in the bible and
mirrors God's Eternal Law; however it can only be revealed to
those who choose to accept it and if it is God's will allow us to
see it.
Natural Law: The moral law of God which is present in our nature as
humans, it influences our conscience and can lead us to the best
outcome if we use our logic and reason.
Human Law: Every day rules that we must follow such as the legal system.…read more

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Natural Inclinations
· Aquinas thought that humans were inclined to behave in a
manner that would lead to achieve good and not evil as we
are designed for perfection and would never pursue evil
knowingly
· But humans do not always get things right this is because we
sometimes follow apparent good, which is something that
seems to be the right thing to do at the time but does not fit
in with the perfect human ideal. In order to distinguish real
good from apparent good we need to use our reasoning and
then choose the right thing to do.
· When we act in a way that will achieve our true nature we
act in a way that will lead to us gaining our end purpose.…read more

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