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Natural Law

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1) Explain Natural Law Theory.
Natural Law refers to the laws of nature; it is also the basis of all science, observing what happened in nature, it is also a law that stretches across all cultures and ways of life. It is based on the religious idea of a God who creates everything with a purpose and end in the mind.
Natural Law ethics is part of natural theology that tells us how God wants us to live here and now. To live according to natural law is to live by Gods intentions ethical direction can be found in what is common to all humans. If we follow these common dispositions then we act as God intended= we act in a good way. If we investigate carefully and reason correctly our search will lead to God. This is the basic of natural Theology.
Natural law becomes more specific when we move towards secondary principles such as the 10 commandments (secondary law). They are always valid but we should not act upon them.
Natural law is split up into 4 channels which are:
Eternal Law- Is the mind of God which humans cannot know. Contained within it are the laws which govern the creation of the universe and cannot control the life cycle of everything in existence. Although humans cannot fully know the Eternal law, they can occasionally glimpse reflection of it, for example, through scientific knowledge of aspects of natural law. This shows that God is the starting point, his idea, his rules. He reveals himself threw divine law. God is also thinking about creating a world. We will never be able to know his law.
Divine Law- Is the law of God revealed to people through the bible which Christians call the ‘word of God’. Jesus Christ, as the son of God, also brought Divine law with him and the teachings of the church transmit law to people, Divine law explains that in this universe this is how God wants people to treat each other, how to behave and what to do.
Natural Law- Everyone has a natural sense ‘that good is to be done and evil avoided’ which some call human nature. It is what directs our conscience and if applied with reason to a situation will lead to the right outcome. This shows that instinctively you know what you should be doing, because God created you a certain way.
Human Law- These are every day rules that govern our lives, from the legal system at one end right down to notices saying ‘don’t walk on the grass. On the human law they have picked up on the 10 commandments and have made illegal systems it helps to make it a little clearer, and shows that we are going to have to create our own punishments so creating a system to stop those who break the law/ protect human beings.
Aquinas believed that natural law theory could work in a structured way because we rational beings, who live in a world designed by a rational purposeful creator. “A certain order is to be found in those things that are apprehended universally”.
The constitution sets out 3 rights that are self evident and given by god which are. The right to life/ freedom/ pursuit of happiness.
Natural law had primary principles which was well explained by a quote ‘Good should be done and evil avoided’ however it does not give much practical guidance for actual cases. Natural law refers to how things ought to be when something functions in the way it was designed to do, it is functioning naturally.
Natural means the right or good.
Aquinas similarities are to be expected all people inhabit the same world and process information from it through the same rational function.
Aquinas believed that the world was created by God and that everything should therefore have God’s ultimate purpose as its final ‘end’ or ‘good’. Each individual thing had a design and purpose (in other words its final cause) and to understand Gods will for it, and therefore what is ‘right’ for it, you only have to look at the purpose for which it has been made.
Aquinas set out five primary precepts which each of the primary precepts can be developed into secondary precepts, which are practical human rules that govern our daily behaviour. Whilst primary precepts are set in stone these secondary precepts vary from the law of the land to accepted codes of behaviour with in our own family. Aquinas regarded each precept as part of a path towards the ultimate purpose in life.
The five primary precepts essential for this:
• Preservation of life
• Reproduction
• Educate the young
• Living in a society
• Worshipping God
Strength and weakness of natural law: There are many weaknesses of Natural law theory; the weaknesses being that not everyone believes in God, so this means not everyone will follow his rules, we are nit guided to which precepts takes priority, different situations could mean you might not be able to follow primary precepts, everyone can use their reason but can reason get us to divine truth. Karl Barth says we are searching for God and form ideas about what God is, he says that they tell us nothing about God, what is found by human reason will be a human intervention, he says we do not discover a God we create one.
Also there are many strengths of Natural law theory; the strengths being; it helps you to make good decisions, you are also pleasing God by following his rules, by following natural law you are avoiding getting yourself into trouble, natural law offers insight into the balance of our various aspirations, natural law does not compartmentalise life and reason applied to science is good, but it is even better in the pursuit of higher aspirations.

2).Natural Law is not the best approach to abortion “discuss”. Natural law does not take into account the rights of the mother having an abortion, focusing just mainly on the rights of the foetus/child. But surely the rights of the mother would be more important than that of something that is developing and cannot yet necessarily be considered a person. Another problem that my be is that the mother may be really ill or she may not be well enough to have the baby or carry the baby so the best solution would be a abortion as its not only is she putting herself at risk but can also put the baby at risk of problems accruing too. It states that abortion is wrong in all kind of ways but does not take account of other factors that other Christians thinkers would allow for example rape or if the most loving thing to be done is abortion as the person may not feel comfortable to carry someone’s else’s baby and if they have the baby it will just remind them of what happen to them so the best approach is to have abortion.
It is therefore clear that Natural law is not the best approach to abortion as a foetus is not necessarily a person, and if it is not it should not have the same rights as a child which it is given under natural law. It does not take into account the mother’s right to have an abortion or other factors such as mental issues on the mother.
However, Natural law is not seen as the best approach to abortion because you are breaking one of the primary precepts which are reproduction. By having an abortion this would then mean you would stop reproduction and this would be immoral. Not only would you break 1 precept but you would be breaking the right to preserve innocent life would also be broke, which this means that depending on the embryo-foetus is classified as a person. If the embryo/foetus is classified as a person then this will mean that the precept would be broke. As in natural law the theory of primary precepts are absolute and cannot be broken, and these then will then allow the right of the child to be fully appreciated, making natural law theory to abortion a good approach.
In my opinion I think the best approach would be to not consider natural law with abortion as it doesn’t really focus on the mother like for example the mother may have its specific reason for why they want an abortion for example they could have been raped and they might not want to carry a strangers baby and if they have the baby it will just recap them of what happen, and women should have rights for what they want to do. Secondly the women might be at high risk for example she or the baby could die so the women should think of the best possible thing to do which could be abortion as then she won’t be putting her or the baby’s life at risk. The woman’s rights should also be focused on too as there could be a lot of side effect of being pregnant like she could be in great pain, or she could have had problems before becoming pregnant. Therefore natural law is not the best approach to abortion as the woman’s needs should be focused on to and she should have a say to what she wants to do.

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