Will twenty natural laws suffice in place of eighty million that reportedly exist already? Is twenty an overkill? Some people argue that the Law of Heaven has only three rules: 1) Keep the peace. 2) Love others as you love yourself, aka the Golden Rule, and 3) Respect free will, causing no harm or trespass, aka the ‘non-aggression principle’ (NAP). These questions cannot answer without first answering whether ‘law’ entreats particular attitudes and actions, or commands them. Man-made laws are congressional or parliamentary rules, statutes or directives. Eighty-million laws stagger the imagination, suggesting that twenty natural laws could never cover the multitude of human actions.
Three so-called laws
Three Laws from Heaven, quoted above, are likewise insufficient. We are implored to do this, this and that, but no explanation is given, beyond Heaven said so, or perhaps, self-evidence commands honoring of natural laws. That’s the clue, isn’t it? Let me rephrase that idea as though written, Evidently, ‘self’ should honour those three natural laws, the difference being that honour is voluntary, but to obey is mandatory.
Three matters arise.
- Honour and respect are invited, not demanded. Laws backed by force cannot co-exist.
- Evidence for this condition of honour and respect is of natural origin; not man-made.
- Our task is to discover this source, understand its lessons and apply them.
What evidence of natural law is offered?
Two types of natural law theory have held sway, one for theists and another for atheists. Chief amongst theists is the Roman Catholic Church, whose stance that natural law is of nature, much derives from the influence of Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274 A.D.) This theory accepts that human beings consist of body and mind, inextricably linked to each other; the physical and the non-physical, and that our souls incline toward moral correctness. How this inclination or bias permits free will choices remains unanswered. Nonetheless, theists hold that a deity created nature and its laws, further that obedience to laws of God is the morally correct thing to do.
Atheists reject a deity, firm in their belief that we humans have reasoning ability from which we may discern the laws of nature. By this approach, the morally correct thing to do is to act according to nature’s laws. Such include for survival, and natural actions of living entities to sustain their life and reproduce.
Natural law and morality
At this point, theory loses traction. Who or what will determine what those natural laws are, and how they should apply to human actions and our societies?
What rationale exists in both those two (almost opposing) theories? It’s the word morality. Both claim different sources yet conclude that morality adjudicates all matters. So now the question is, who determines morality; God, society, or consensus opinion? The answer, I submit, is neither of those three. The nature of human life should accurately determine what will uphold it. All else is a diversion from the truth of who and what we are. To correctly sustain and live life, is to be moral.
Free will and morality
How does that equate with free will? Very simply, if Creator endowed us with free will, then we may use it or refuse it; that is to say, we choose what will uphold our life, or choose what will deny it. We, each, are the authors of our moral actions, or immoral actions. The vast majority will embrace joy, happiness, and fulfillment through moral actions. Rather than automatic inclination, or some biased tendency, learned behaviour is what facilitates morality. We perceive rewards, choose to pursue them, and learn how. We see a purpose in life, opportunities, adventure, mental challenges, artistic pursuits, musical careers, and we love them. Learned skills of this kind answer both the theist and atheist approach to natural law, in that morality is of our choosing. Choosing morality honours Creator, and our nature, also giving full reign to our reasoning ability to discern what the laws of nature are. We have a definitive benchmark in sight. Life, its sustenance, and maintenance are the foundation of ethics and morality.
Twenty natural laws
If ethical thoughts and moral actions are to have any credence, they must embrace life’s sustenance, maintenance, and spiritual growth. Likewise, for natural laws to be valid, each must uphold its counterparts without discrepancy, or they are fraudulent. This correspondence is good news for three reasons. First, life provides a reference base within itself, as endowed by Creator. Second, natural laws cannot expand beyond the nature of human life, which means beyond the lives of every individual in society. Morality checkmates every step. Third, no authority (government) can overrule natural law without violating it.
To discover these laws, we only have to look within. Any less than necessary will short-change moral life. Any more than necessary will distort moral authenticity and destroy it. In other words, the number of natural laws will self-determine according to authenticity and relevance to human life. ‘Law From Within’ describes twenty natural laws across four chapters.
Creator’s code of rational ethics and morality exists
Altogether, and based on ten tenets of natural law, these twenty natural laws establish a foundation while making allowance for infants, and those with disabilities. Abiding free will, they incentivise mental, emotional and spiritual development, and secure justice. None command because there is no need, yet at once they may reprimand or insist correction and remediation, including possible recompense.
These twenty natural laws are found within the body, mind, and soul of each man and woman, as Creator endowed. They beneficially reward those who elect to live to the fullest. Every virtue has a consequence, and every trespass of virtue has a consequence. Fortunately, all men and women have free choice to know in advance of any action, exactly what potential outcome will result. Our reasoning faculty and conscience exist for a good reason. Other laws may be described, but are only subsets of these twenty natural laws. Thus Creator’s code of rational ethics and morality is encrypted within each of us, ours to translate into a peaceful, cooperative, just society if we choose.
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