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Natural law

Is there any such thing?

Natural law is found in human reason. Human reason discovers natural law. Natural laws are those first principles, the self- evident principles that require no proof. They demand the assent of the human mind unless it wishes to risk insanity. The natural law theorist recognizes the rules of human conduct are based on the rule of reason and therefore are not arbitrary. They are immediately evident to the human intellect when it is acting rationally. Consequently, they are not invented by the human mind or posited – placed into being – by human will. They need no other authority other than the simple recognition of their truth.

Our own American Revolution was based on the natural law. The first words of our Declaration of Independence are, “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these, are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

We appealed to God, to “Nature’s God,” in order to free ourselves from English tyranny. Thirteen years later, the French Revolution appealed for its justification to Man –  freed from God. Human rights were thought to be found in the human will alone. The result was the Jacobin reign of terror and the guillotine, to be followed later by nihilistic existentialism and impotency.

Natural laws are immediately known by all; they are known not through revelation, but through reason unaided by faith. That which all men and women know to be wrong are such things as slavery, apartheid, rape, sexual abuse, larceny, murder, arson, abortion, infanticide, lying, cheating, stealing, fraud, burglary, robbery, child abuse, perjury and kidnapping, among other things.

The first two chapters of St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans present the case to us. I urge you to read them. St. Paul is telling us that God doesn’t play dirty tricks on those who have never heard of Jesus Christ or his teaching. Nor does God play dirty tricks on those who have never read the Bible. If we listen to that “still, small voice” within us, if we use our powers of reasoning, the natural law will reveal God’s law to us.