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11 Jan

JURISPRUDENCE 2.2 NATURAL LAW II (THE SCHOLASTIC ERA)

THE SCHOLASTIC ERA: by this time, the catholic church had already become very great in Rome. The challenge here was how to synthesise philosophy with religion. To marry the secular with the spiritual.

Saint Paul rejected Natural Law. He believed in spiritual discernment. That the will of God can only be discerned in the spirit. He Preached the law of God. That we are dead to the law in order that we might live unto God-Romans 7:1-13. Romans Chapter 6:14 where he noted; “you are no longer under the law but under the Grace of God”. Gal 5:18 “but if you are led by the spirit, you are not under the law”.

Saint Augustine of Hippo: 354-430 AD. A North African. He was not yet called in his youth as he was said to have uttered his famous prayer “grant me chastity and continence, but not yet”. However he was converted to Catholicism when he allegedly heard the voice of an unseen child telling him “tolle lege (take up and read). He grabbed the nearest text to him which read; let us walk honestly… put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires[1]”. He sold his property and started seeking for Christian Converts. He shunned temptations of the flesh and disciplined himself. He framed the concept of Original Sin and Just War[2]. in his Quetas Dei 413 AD. He noted that our existence (in the city of man) has been tainted with sin (the original sin of Adam) but by God’s Grace we can get to the City of God. In the city of man, we live according to the flesh while in the City of God, we live according to the Spirit. He said; “what are kingdoms but great robberies?”. This shows that he believed that the state is illegitimate. He conceived the great trichotomy viz:

  • Lex temporalis: temporal law. Likened to positive and man-made law. It is limited by time, culture and geography.
  • Lex naturales: Natural Law. It is inborn in man’s soul. Our conscience.
  • Lex aeterna: eternal law. The will of God which man cannot comprehend.

The temporal law must conform with the eternal law. An unjust law is not law. He also sought to explain why God gives humans freewill that can be used for evil. Augustine was of the belief that God existed outside time. He believed in divine predestination that God had foreordained those who will be saved. Although we have freewill, God already knows how humans would choose their destinies. He argued that the Biblical Texts should not be interpreted literally. That it is a matter of faith.

He was against abortion. Although he posited that leeway could be given if the foetus has not reached 40 days for men and 90 days for females. This this concession has been used by the pro-choice school to argue[3]

Anselm of Canterbury: he tried to understand the Christian doctrine through reason and develop an intelligible explanation of faith. He argues that God is the absolute truth and if we can conceive of God, he must exist.

SAINT THOMAS ACQUINAS. 1225-1274: In his Summa Theologica, he sought to reconcile pagan theories of Hellenism with Christian theology for the evolving Roman Empire. To synthesise theology and philosophy. “Acquinas” refers to his place of residence rather than his surnameTo accommodate the needs of both the spiritual and temporal. To him, Natural Law originates from the eternal reason of God. He combined reason with faith. He was of the opinion that truth is revealed through reason and faith. In his work he noted that God is the Author and Finisher of our faith. He said there is Eternal Law, Natural Law (conscience in us… the small god) human law and divine law (which to him is an aspect of eternal law revealed in the scripture). Man is not bound to obey an unjust law. This is what justifies civil disobedience.

 

[1] This was Paul’s Epistle to the Romans Chapter 13.

[2] That war should be for a good and just cause rather than for self-gain.

[3] As done by the Speaker fo the US House of Representative Nancy Pelosi. Although she has been vehemently contradicted by leading thologians, American Bishops, Pope John Paul, and so on noting that abortion is mortal sin.

Isochukwu

Quite eccentric really

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