My notes on Thomistic Philosophy

30th November 2019
16th November 2019


Nathanael 16th March 2020 at 6:35pm

Thomism is the philosophical school that arose as a legacy of the work and thought of Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274), philosopher, theologian, and Doctor of the Church. In philosophy, his disputed questions and commentaries on Aristotle are perhaps his most well-known works. In theology, his Summa Theologica is one of the most influential documents in medieval theology and continues to be the central point of reference for the philosophy and theology of the Catholic Church. (Infogalactic)

[See here for a collection of Thomistic articles; of special interest to me is Thomistic discussions from The Thomist of various philosophic considerations raised by quantum physics.]

Also check out The Quantum Thomist.




Aquinas: A Beginners’ Guide

The Summa Theologiae: An Introductory Overview

The Summa in a Year

The works of Aquinas

Mathoma: A Defense of Classical Theology


Thomas says that the fundamental axioms of ontology are the principle of non-contradiction and the principle of causality. Therefore, any being that does not contradict these two laws could theoretically exist, even if said being were incorporeal.


In his use of descriptive language, Thomas posited the following:


For Thomas, a definition consisted in two parts: first, the genus of the being, following by a distinguishing characteristic setting it apart from the genus itself. For instance, the Aristotelian definition of "man" is "rational animal"; its genus being animal, and what sets apart man from other animals is his rationality.


Thomas noted three forms of descriptive language when predicating: univocal, analogical, and equivocal.

  • Univocality is the use of a descriptor in the same sense when applied to two objects or groups of objects. For instance, when the word "milk" is applied both to milk produced by cows and by any other female mammal.
  • Analogy occurs when a descriptor changes some but not all of its meaning. For example, the word "healthy" is analogical in that it applies both to a healthy person or animal (those that enjoy of good health) and to some food or drink (if it is good for the health).
  • Equivocation is the complete change in meaning of the descriptor and is an informal fallacy. For example, when the word "bank" is applied to river banks and financial banks. Modern philosophers talk of ambiguity.


(See also: St. Thomas's "analogy of being") Existence is twofold: one is essential existence or the substantial existence of a thing, for example man exists, and this is existence simpliciter. The other is accidental existence, for example man is white, and this is existence secundum quid.

—  De Principiis Naturæ, 1. In Thomist philosophy, the definition of a being is "that which is," which is composed of two parts: "which" refers to its quiddity (literally "whatness"), and "is" refers to its esse (the Latin infinitive verb "to be"). "Quiddity" is synonymous with essence, form and nature; whereas "esse" refers to the principle of the being's existence. In other words, a being is "an essence that exists."

Being is divided in two ways: that which is in itself (substances), and that which is in another (accidents). Substances are things which exist per se or in their own right. Accidents are qualities that apply to other things, such as shape or color: "[A]ccidents must include in their definition a subject which is outside their genus." Because they only exist in other things, Thomas holds that metaphysics is primarily the study of substances, as they are the primary mode of being.

The Catholic Encyclopedia pinpoints Thomas's definition of quiddity as "that which is expressed by its definition." The quiddity or form of a thing is what makes the object what it is: "[T]hrough the form, which is the actuality of matter, matter becomes something actual and something individual," and also, "the form causes matter to be." Thus, it consists of two parts: "prime matter" (matter without form), and substantial form, which is what causes a substance to have its characteristics. For instance, an animal can be said to be a being whose matter is its body, and whose soul is its substantial form. Together, these consist of its quiddity/essence.

All real things have the transcendental properties of being: oneness, truth, goodness (that is, all things have a final cause and therefore a purpose), etc.


In his Metaphysics, Aristotle categorized causality into four subsets, which are an integral part of Thomism:

"In one sense the term cause means (a) that from which, as something intrinsic, a thing comes to be, as the bronze of a statue and the silver of a goblet, and the genera of these. In another sense it means (b) the form and pattern of a thing, i.e., the intelligible expression of the quiddity and its genera (for example, the ratio of 2: 1 and number in general are the cause of an octave chord) and the parts which are included in the intelligible expression. Again, (c) that from which the first beginning of change or of rest comes is a cause; for example, an adviser is a cause, and a father is the cause of a child, and in general a maker is a cause of the thing made, and a changer a cause of the thing changed. Further, a thing is a cause (d) inasmuch as it is an end, i.e., that for the sake of which something is done; for example, health is the cause of walking. For if we are asked why someone took a walk, we answer, "in order to be healthy"; and in saying this we think we have given the cause. And whatever occurs on the way to the end under the motion of something else is also a cause. For example, reducing, purging, drugs and instruments are causes of health; for all of these exist for the sake of the end, although they differ from each other inasmuch as some are instruments and others are processes."

— Metaphysics 1013a, trans. John P. Rowan, Chicago, 1961

  • (a) refers to the material cause, what a being's matter consists of (if applicable).
  • (b) refers to the formal cause, what a being's essence is.
  • (c) refers to the efficient cause, what brings about the beginning of, or change to, a being.
  • (d) refers to the final cause, what a being's purpose is.

Unlike many ancient Greeks, who thought that an infinite regress of causality is possible (and thus held that the universe is uncaused), Thomas argues that an infinite chain never accomplishes its objective and is thus impossible. Hence, a first cause is necessary for the existence of anything to be possible. Further, the First Cause must continuously be in action (similar to how there must always be a first chain in a chain link), otherwise the series collapses:

The Philosopher says (Metaph. ii, 2) that "to suppose a thing to be indefinite is to deny that it is good." But the good is that which has the nature of an end. Therefore it is contrary to the nature of an end to proceed indefinitely. Therefore it is necessary to fix one last end.

—  Summa, II-I, Q.1, art.4. Thus, both Aristotle and Thomas conclude that there must be an uncaused Primary Mover, because an infinite regress is impossible.

However, the First Cause does not necessarily have to be temporally the first. Thus, the question of whether or not the universe can be imagined as eternal was fiercely debated in the Middle Ages. The University of Paris's condemnation of 1270 denounced the belief that the world is eternal. Thomas's intellectual rival, St. Bonaventure, held that the temporality of the universe is demonstrable by reason. Thomas's position was that the temporality of the world is an article of faith, and not demonstrable by reason; though one could reasonably conclude either that the universe is temporal or eternal.

What is Law?

An introduction to Law and the Natural Law

The Thomistic Institute This lecture was given on 6 February 2020 at Georgetown Law School.

Fr. Gregory Pine, O.P.


00:00 a general sense of law that's somewhat 00:02 pervasive and current or contemporary 00:04 thoughts typically view it as somewhat 00:07 invasive and oftentimes as arbitrary we 00:10 find law discomforting especially when 00:13 it curtails our free expression or 00:15 prevents us from doing things which we 00:17 think manifestly obvious or otherwise 00:20 convenient and there can be a kind of 00:23 general exasperation with with law which 00:25 pervades contemporary culture and you 00:27 see this exasperation also when it 00:30 concerns ecclesiastical law right so 00:32 whether it be marriage law or family law 00:36 or things pertaining to human sexuality 00:38 the church will often be painted as 00:40 outdated authoritarian kind of 00:43 anachronistic almost and so a lot of 00:45 people approach law with the disposition 00:47 that it is a violence or that it is an 00:51 affront to my otherwise manifestly 00:53 reasonable sensibilities but there's a 00:56 tradition in the Western world that 00:59 speaks of law as the wise restraints 01:00 that make men free so we want to drill 01:04 down in the time that we have 01:05 specifically examining what about law is 01:07 binding and what about law is freeing 01:10 and then transition to a consideration 01:12 of what about law can be broken or in 01:15 under what circumstances so here a 01:18 theological overarching narrative will 01:21 be helpful preside for precising 01:23 precisely what we mean so I want to take 01:26 the story of the Exodus as a way of 01:29 orienting our conversation so the book 01:31 of Exodus you know it occurs in the 01:33 first five books of the Bible often 01:34 referred to as the Pentateuch or the 01:36 Torah or the law in the Jewish tradition 01:39 and the Exodus occurs as the second of 01:42 those five books so you recall that it 01:43 begins with Genesis Exodus Leviticus 01:45 numbers and Deuteronomy and within the 01:50 book of Exodus you have some of the most 01:52 significant events in the cultural and 01:54 national identity of the people of 01:56 Israel you see them formed in a kind of 01:58 principal way to be who they are 02:00 ultimately to be on the world on the 02:03 religious stage some key passages to 02:08 orient our thoughts about Exodus Exodus 02:10 3 the revelation of the name 02:12 you recall that an exodus one and two 02:14 Moses is sent down the river in a rush 02:17 basket he's picked up by Pharaoh's 02:19 daughter he's meant to kind of like he 02:22 grows up in that household but then 02:24 defending the rights of Hebrew he 02:26 eventually has to flee from Egypt and 02:27 then while serving his father-in-law 02:30 Jethro and Midian the Lord appears to 02:33 him in the shape of a burning bush 02:34 so Exodus is principally about the 02:36 revelation of the nature of God that's 02:37 what we take from Exodus 3 and at the 02:39 heart of that Exodus 3:14 is a 02:41 revelation of the name that God is he 02:44 who is and that's variously translated 02:46 in the tradition but st. Thomas Aquinas 02:48 focuses here especially on the 02:50 metaphysics of creation that God just is 02:52 subsisting to be God exhausts all that 02:55 there is of being so there's a sense of 02:58 over abounding life there's a sense of 03:02 divine vitality that all creation 03:05 participates in or has a share in and 03:08 then we go from there to the story of 03:10 the plagues and then the story of the 03:11 Passover which was recounted in Exodus 03:13 12 and 13 so you recall that at the end 03:16 of the book of Genesis the story of 03:18 Joseph chapters 30 37 through 50 Joseph 03:21 effectively helps Israel from you know 03:25 it's it's circumstances in which it's 03:27 being there's a famine in the land in 03:30 the promised land and so they eventually 03:31 come to Egypt so as to avail themselves 03:33 of the rich resources that Joseph has 03:35 stored up but then they fall into 03:37 slavery and so the story of the plagues 03:39 and specifically the story of the 03:40 Passover is about their deliverance or 03:42 their liberation from slavery and it's 03:46 in that where you hear some of the most 03:48 precious Jewish rights described namely 03:50 circumcision redemption of the firstborn 03:53 the Passover meal itself all of these 03:55 rites which are used to memorialize this 03:57 event signaling the fact that it is of 04:00 primary importance for Israel's national 04:02 consciousness are described here and 04:04 then so much strangely and paradoxically 04:07 at the heart of a story which were calls 04:09 an exodus a leading forth out of the way 04:11 a story of liberation is the 04:14 promulgation of the law so chapters 20 04:17 through 23 24 speak of the Mosaic 04:20 Covenant they speak of the Mosaic law 04:22 they they give the ten commands 04:23 and then they begin the enumeration of a 04:25 number of precepts which will be filled 04:28 out in Leviticus and in Deuteronomy the 04:30 total of which number 613 which some 04:32 exegetes say is the addition of 365 for 04:36 the days of the year and then 248 the 04:39 parts of the body so this is a law that 04:41 encompasses all of what it means to be 04:43 one in relation to God so here how could 04:47 it be the case that a story that 04:49 recounts a liberation narrative is so 04:51 preoccupied with law recall in our minds 04:54 often time we think about laws arbitrary 04:56 and invasive as something curtailing my 04:58 freedom and not in any way advancing it 05:00 or promoting it so how could this how 05:02 could this abide at the heart of Exodus 05:04 well here I think it's helpful to 05:07 consider what is being communicated 05:09 being communicated by the liberation 05:11 that the Lord affects in the book of 05:14 Exodus so it's sometimes shocking for 05:17 people to recognize the fact that God is 05:19 not so often identified as father in the 05:21 Old Testament so for instance by 05:22 comparison or by contrast in the New 05:25 Testament he's referred often to as 05:26 father so the from the lord's own lips 05:29 we hear god referred to as father a 05:30 hundred and nineteen times in the Gospel 05:32 of John alone but in the Old Testament 05:34 depending on how you parse some passages 05:36 guys referred to his father only a mere 05:38 11 times so this notion of God's 05:41 paternity is something that's 05:43 Christological we learn of it through 05:46 the only begotten Son incarnate and 05:47 human flesh pointing back to his eternal 05:50 origin from whom he proceeds on two ages 05:54 of Ages but already in the Old Testament 05:57 we have faint hints and shadows of God's 05:59 paternity of his fatherhood and he 06:01 communicates it through the exercise of 06:03 Providence and specifically by the 06:05 mihrab Iliad a the great deeds of God 06:07 which showed that he will provision for 06:10 Israel specifically in the giving of 06:12 covenants and in making himself known as 06:14 one faithful to those covenants so 06:17 though we'd be faithless yet he remains 06:19 faithful for he cannot deny himself so 06:22 God is a covenant God and he shows 06:24 himself paternal or he shows himself 06:26 fatherly by honoring his covenants or 06:30 being bound to his word and providing 06:33 for his rose welfare so this whole liver 06:37 raishin narrative is an extended 06:39 testimony to God's identity as a 06:41 covenant God and it communicates that in 06:44 especially acute or especially beautiful 06:47 form and what is it 06:49 that this is ultimately for we hear it 06:51 from Moses's own mouth what does he 06:53 request a pharaoh permit us to go out 06:55 into the desert so that we may worship 06:57 so that we may worship the Liberty that 07:00 Israel pines for or for widget Pines the 07:02 Liberty that it is in pursuit of is 07:04 ultimately a Liberty for something for a 07:07 deepening an intensification of their 07:09 relationship to the God by whom they 07:12 have been called forth from Egypt so 07:14 with this in the background let's talk a 07:16 little bit about rules define law and 07:18 then we're just going to give st. 07:19 Thomas's enumeration so st. Thomas's 07:21 treatise on law it comes in the Prima 07:23 sukoon day so the first part of the 07:25 second part which is that generally 07:27 concerned with fundamental moral 07:28 theology to use more modern terms but it 07:31 starts with considerations of the 07:32 attitude of happiness so the the end you 07:35 cannot proceed one step if you know not 07:37 where you are headed so he considers 07:40 happiness and then he passes on to a 07:42 consideration of human action so that's 07:44 like questions 6 through 17 of the prima 07:47 tsukune and then another 4 questions 07:49 concerning the fonts of morality so like 07:51 how do we evaluate and specify moral 07:53 acts like objects intentions 07:56 circumstances things of that nature and 07:57 then he talks about the passions so the 07:59 emotions which are a principle of action 08:02 both for man and for beasts and then he 08:05 gets into a description of habits and 08:06 then breaks it out into virtues and 08:08 vices and then he treats law and then he 08:10 treats Greece and when dividing up he 08:13 says we're gonna treat first those 08:14 interior principles for human action 08:16 there he treats you know intellect and 08:18 will he says we've already talked about 08:19 that in the Prima parse and then he 08:21 talked about habits virtues and vices 08:22 and then he says we're going to talk 08:24 about those extrinsic principles of 08:26 human actions and he says there are law 08:28 and grace whereby we are helped from 08:31 without to live a good life to live a 08:33 happy life so that's where we're going 08:37 so we need rules we need rules we I 08:40 think we realize this instinctively but 08:42 sometimes it's helpful to propose a 08:45 thought experiment so try to imagine 08:46 your favorite game try to imagine your 08:49 favorite game if you're from Michigan 08:50 it's 08:50 perhaps euchre okay if you're 08:53 from India or Pakistan perhaps you're 08:55 thinking of cricket who knows okay now 08:57 try to picture that game without rules 09:01 try to picture that game without rules 09:03 it's how most third graders conduct 09:05 themselves in the playground there are 09:07 rules until those rules need be revised 09:09 for my advantage 09:10 you know that's out of bounds no I said 09:12 out of bounds was further it's like oh 09:13 my gosh 09:14 this will never end so if we were to try 09:18 to conduct ourselves on the pitch or on 09:20 the field without rules it would be 09:22 chaotic and life would be a mess and 09:24 what is more it wouldn't be fun because 09:25 you would just be enslaved to the 09:28 demagogic win of your most like ordinary 09:32 friend right until such time as you 09:35 either caved or sunder the relationship 09:37 which just doesn't hold out much of a 09:39 prospect so rules are generally 09:43 conceived as something directing 09:45 discourse right or delimiting the bounds 09:47 of our enjoyment of life we are inclined 09:49 to the good but after the fall we we 09:52 find it difficult to achieve that good 09:54 and specifically to do so in an orderly 09:56 fashion or in a way that best represents 09:58 the hierarchy of goods on offer we're 10:00 typically trying to affirm lower goods 10:02 and in so doing supplanting higher Goods 10:04 which brings about a kind of interior 10:07 confusion and an exterior lack of 10:09 Concord so law in its kind of basic 10:13 sense is there to make known to us what 10:15 is good and to encourage us in the 10:17 pursuit thereof this is not a novel 10:19 claim but I'll repeat it because the 10:21 rest is just an exposition of this law 10:23 makes known to us what is good and 10:25 encourages us to pursue it this is a 10:28 kind of classical notion some would say 10:30 an antiquated notion but laws meant for 10:32 the advancement of or the cultivation of 10:35 virtue this is in the Christian 10:37 tradition the Christian intellectual 10:39 tradition and again specifically the 10:40 thought proper to st. Thomas Aquinas st. 10:43 Thomas defines a law and he identifies 10:46 four main criteria whereby something is 10:49 something qualifies as a law or 10:51 something can be named a law so he says 10:53 it's an ordinance of reason or a dictate 10:55 of reason that it's for the common good 10:58 that it's given by one with competent 11:00 authority and that it's promulgated 11:03 so it's an ordinance or a dictate of 11:06 reason for the common good by one 11:08 competent and promulgated here already 11:12 the first word should strike us as novel 11:16 or at least running a sort of the 11:18 tendency of a lot of jurisprudential 11:21 musings so it's an ordinance of reason 11:23 already here we have the faint echo of 11:26 what it means for law to be described as 11:28 a wise restraint that makes men free 11:30 so it's an ordinance of reason so it's 11:34 not principally it to be understood as 11:36 an ordinance of will mm-hmm 11:38 it's an ordinance of reason so 11:39 specifically of reason conform to 11:41 reality and of making that vision or 11:44 understanding of reality more widely 11:46 known and observed it's for the common 11:50 good this I mean the words common good 11:53 have lost all purchase in the 21st 11:55 century I don't think that many people 11:56 could conceive of a good that falls 11:58 without the bounds of their own private 11:59 interest unless it's like a collection 12:02 of private goods right so father Aquinas 12:04 Guilbeau who's the prior and a professor 12:06 of moral theology at the Dominican 12:07 Houston studies he he is it pains and 12:10 describing the common good 12:11 to reduce a lot of very helpful examples 12:13 for showing what it is not so the common 12:15 good is not a particular good and a lot 12:17 of times the way that we describe the 12:19 common good is just an assemblage of 12:20 particular goods 12:21 he says picture a candy jar or a pension 12:24 or a reservoir when you go to a doctor's 12:27 office and you put your hand in the 12:28 candy jar and take out something for you 12:30 that is common in a sense in as much as 12:32 it is offered to all though those who 12:34 fear the germs that live within that 12:37 container would never or take thereof 12:39 but we can only have that good by 12:42 cashing out on that good so it is 12:43 diminished by our choosing or he says 12:46 picture a reservoir this seems almost 12:48 limitless boundless so my cashing out 12:51 can't really diminish the thing but 12:52 truth be told such as the case I 12:54 recently saw a documentary and it was 12:56 this big reservoir just north of 12:58 Johannesburg and even big reservoirs can 13:00 be exhausted and our partaking thereof 13:03 means that were depleting it okay and 13:05 then he says you know picture the 13:07 pension this is something into which we 13:09 have paid and when we choose to take 13:11 from it again it is depleted now 13:14 probably if it's an ordinary pension 13:16 it's 13:16 been depleted by your boss so you ought 13:19 not to have thought that it was there 13:20 when you came to take there from so we 13:23 we find it difficult to conceive of 13:25 common goods except as an assemblage of 13:27 particular goods but a common good is 13:28 something that's really good 13:29 truly common transcended and is not 13:31 diminished by common partaking therein 13:33 and so you can think about this with 13:35 respect to like the three great 13:36 societies so family polity and church 13:40 we're talking about an order that 13:42 obtains among the persons so it's it's a 13:44 kind of assemblage of relations right 13:47 that has an intrinsic order but also an 13:49 extrinsic order so these things are 13:51 ordered within themselves and then 13:53 ordered to hire common goods and are 13:55 participating in those things does not 13:57 diminish them but rather enriches them 13:59 so you think about the life of the 14:00 family by virtue of the fact that you 14:02 buy in and your spouse buys in and then 14:05 in your buying in you generate others 14:06 who buy in you don't diminish the good 14:09 of the family you find that it is 14:11 enriched like st. john paul ii preached 14:13 the greatest gift that you can give to 14:14 your children is siblings right and when 14:18 a man and a woman divorce it's not as if 14:21 one takes half of the marriage and the 14:22 other takes half of the marriage they 14:24 all take none of the marriage right and 14:27 they can adjudicate the ways in which 14:28 they spend time with their children and 14:31 the ways in which they disperse the 14:32 funds but there's no marriage to be 14:34 divided it's something that can only be 14:36 had in a common sharing therein so we 14:38 said it's an ordinance of reason it's 14:40 for the common good it's by one 14:42 competent that is to say one with 14:43 authority and we're not going to talk 14:45 about theories here of how authority is 14:47 vested or derived because that's 14:49 something else and then it's promulgated 14:51 that is to say it needs to be made known 14:53 it's addressed to an intelligence 14:54 because law is for an intelligence so 14:58 then now just in what remains a brief 15:01 description of the four main types of 15:03 law that st. Thomas describes a return 15:05 to our Exodus theme and that we'll open 15:06 up for questions so st. Thomas begins 15:09 and thus we said the treatise on law 15:11 occurs in the premise of couldnae 15:12 questions 90 through 108 93 92 or 15:16 frontmatter and the 93 is the eternal 15:18 law 94 is a natural law and the 95 15:20 through 108 are about human law and 15:22 divine law eternal law here's an image 15:25 st. Thomas says picture an artist 15:28 picture an artist before he paints he 15:31 has a sense of what he intends to paint 15:33 okay so if it's Bob Ross it's going to 15:35 involve heavy clouds and happy trees 15:37 that's another artist will involve 15:38 something else but he already has the 15:40 notion at work in his mind God he says 15:43 is a master artisan and before he paints 15:46 the masterpiece of creation the 15:48 masterpiece of redemption he has a 15:50 notion of what in his wisdom he intends 15:53 to carry out so we said with respect to 15:56 Exodus 3:14 that God is to be that God 16:00 is existence his very essence is to be 16:03 God exhausts all that there is of being 16:05 so there's no division in God that's not 16:08 to say well it's to say that that God is 16:10 his existence God is his intellect God 16:12 is his act of intellection God is the 16:15 object of his intellection so we're not 16:17 saying like God has a thought separate 16:18 from himself but then God's knowing and 16:20 loving of himself there is this pattern 16:23 whereby all that is without is already 16:26 foreseen and efficaciously willed this 16:30 is all that we mean by the eternal law 16:32 so it's not some like strange occult 16:35 thing at the working in the part of the 16:36 earth but it's rather God's notion of 16:38 the well ordering of creation now 16:42 natural law and we'll spend a little 16:43 time on this because from what I 16:44 understand this is your principle 16:46 interest 16:47 st. Thomas will say that different 16:49 creatures participate in the eternal law 16:51 in a variety of ways different creatures 16:53 participate in the eternal law in a 16:55 variety of ways so the general 16:57 distinction and the hierarchy of beings 16:59 is that you have inanimate you know so 17:01 you have rocks minerals then you have 17:03 the animate but non sensors you have 17:05 vegetative life and then you have animal 17:07 life and then you have men and women and 17:09 then you have angels okay so you have 17:10 these different ranks and each they look 17:13 like the lower touches the next higher 17:15 at its low points so the zenith touches 17:17 the nadir so there's a kind of 17:18 continuous spectrum of being to which 17:22 God weds his will and it is but each of 17:25 these things participates the eternal 17:27 law in a manner peculiar to its own 17:29 nature so nature just being the essence 17:33 of a thing or the wetness of a thing 17:36 what a thing is in its most interior 17:40 coherent and integral sense 17:42 and that on nature is not only a 17:44 principle of identity but it's also a 17:46 principle of unfolding so in nature sets 17:49 the terms for what a thing is but it 17:50 also sets the terms for how things to be 17:53 perfected that's all that we mean by a 17:55 nature in like the Aristotelian - mystic 17:57 tradition so because I am this type of 17:58 thing I ought to comport myself in this 18:00 type of way and that's not going from it 18:02 is to a nought so don't worry about that 18:04 at the outset but what I am saying is 18:05 that because I have teeth that are 18:07 covered with enamel it's good for me to 18:09 floss with you know Fixodent is that a 18:12 thing or is that like for keeping your 18:13 dentures on it's good for me to floss 18:15 with one kind of thing and not with 18:17 another kind of thing so if I were like 18:19 okay should I use dental floss or a 18:20 bandsaw it would be helpful to consult 18:22 the actual nature of my teeth so as to 18:25 treat them in a way that can ports with 18:27 their being 18:27 so it's a principle of identity and a 18:30 principle of unfolding and different 18:32 creatures proceed towards their ends 18:33 according to their natures but they do 18:35 so in different ways so rocks do so 18:38 Rockley this will be silly the adverbs 18:41 that will follow will somewhat 18:41 embarrassing but you're gonna have to 18:42 deal with it okay 18:43 so plants do so plant aliy animals do so 18:46 animal II and we do so humanely angels 18:49 do so angelically so rocks by virtue of 18:52 their material Constitution resists 18:54 being broken up such as their nature 18:56 unless it's a very soft rock ok plants 18:59 they proceed to their end without 19:03 cognition they do so without 19:05 deliberation they do so as plants so 19:07 they have these vital powers that issue 19:09 from their soul of self nutrition and 19:12 growth and reproduction and they don't 19:13 need to be taught to turn their leaves 19:15 to the Sun that they may better 19:16 photosynthesize nor to spread their 19:19 seeds by burrs or by very light whatever 19:22 things that dandelions do so as to 19:24 better replicate or multiply they just 19:26 do those things animals they proceed to 19:29 their end instinctually so you don't 19:31 need to teach a lamb that a wolf is bad 19:34 news it sees it it Bad's and then it 19:36 departs so animals haven't already 19:39 written into their nature what it means 19:41 for them to flourish and they proceed 19:43 accordingly we are unique among material 19:47 creation in that we do so as the fruit 19:49 of intellect and we'll so set apart from 19:52 the beasts we have a mind with which to 19:54 know 19:54 a heart with which to love and we can 19:56 conceive of our end and we can choose 19:58 whether or not to pursue it this is what 20:01 we mean by the natural law this is what 20:04 we mean by the natural law that in our 20:06 very members there is an impress of the 20:08 eternal law in our very members there is 20:12 an impressive the eternal law whereby we 20:14 can consciously whereby we can 20:16 intellectually and volitionally 20:18 participate in that movement whereby we 20:20 attain to our end so we can conceive of 20:22 it and choose whether or not we can 20:25 conceive of it and choose the type of 20:27 Prudential and moral life that helps us 20:29 to muse better thereupon and to pursue 20:32 it with greater alacrity or to choose 20:34 the type of moral life whereby that is 20:36 obscured from us and we end up at a 20:38 greater distance so we have this law 20:42 written within us through the 20:44 inclinations of our bodily and spiritual 20:46 life because we are set apart from the 20:49 beast by intellect and will and this is 20:51 what is most distinctly human it's also 20:54 not insignificant that where this is 20:55 where the Christian tradition 20:56 principally locates the image of God 20:58 this is what it means to be made Adie 20:59 Majin and de to the image of God that we 21:02 can participate in the divine life in 21:04 peculiar fashion okay so everything kind 21:09 of everything that's created has a kind 21:10 of trace or vestige of the divine life 21:12 in so much as it is but to certain 21:15 things is accorded a yet greater dignity 21:17 of living but to certain things is 21:19 accorded in yet greater dignity of 21:21 understanding so st. Thomas says it's 21:23 understanding of like si to be and then 21:25 fever wait to live and then until age 21:27 array to understand as a kind of 21:29 heightening or intensification of the 21:30 image of God which is perfected further 21:32 yet by grace and glory he says so God 21:36 who he will say you know Exodus 3:14 is 21:39 of an intellectual nature can be 21:40 participated in by creation and we can 21:42 do so intellectually so this is how the 21:45 natural law registers in our lives 21:47 registers in our members and it's got a 21:48 cognition 'old opponent it's got a an 21:51 intellectual component and it's got a 21:53 bodily component right so they you know 21:56 st. Thomas will talk about the precepts 21:58 of the natural law the first of which is 22:00 to do good and avoid evil but he thinks 22:02 that this can be teased out we can make 22:04 further determinations and this he says 22:07 is what we 22:07 by natural law so we'll talk about the 22:09 10 commandments in these terms that 22:10 these are kind of second-order precepts 22:13 of the natural law that have been teased 22:14 out to a greater degree of concretions 22:18 but it's not just something that's hyper 22:21 intellectual as if the natural law were 22:22 promulgated to our minds and we have to 22:24 assent to it in propositional terms 22:26 because he says it also operates at the 22:28 level of inclination so he says insofar 22:30 as we are a substance we want to 22:33 preserve our existence insofar as we are 22:36 animals we want to procreate and educate 22:38 our children insofar he says as we are 22:41 intellectual we want to know the truth 22:43 about God we want to live well in 22:46 society we want to spurn ignorant or 22:50 avoid ignorance and we want to avoid 22:51 avoiding excuse me avoid offending those 22:54 with whom we live these for him are not 22:55 exhaustive lists but by virtue of the 22:57 fact that you are this type of thing you 22:59 have this type of inclination and you're 23:01 flourishing is dependent upon your 23:03 attaining to the end of that inclination 23:05 as a substance as an animal as a human 23:08 being all ordered hierarchically so a 23:15 brief word then about human and divine 23:17 law to round out the discussion human 23:19 law is the concrete application or 23:21 extension of the natural law and a 23:22 particular time and place that is to say 23:25 that every aspect of human life needs a 23:28 little more determination or a little it 23:30 needs a little more concretions and some 23:32 of these things issue immediately from 23:34 the eternal law as natural law but we 23:37 also need to make further determinations 23:39 not arbitrarily but prudentially in 23:41 accord with our time in place so a 23:43 classic example that you often hear is 23:45 that whether you drive on the left side 23:46 of the road or on the right side of the 23:47 road doesn't matter now some of you 23:49 might be like so fiercely American are 23:51 so fiercely English that you're like no 23:53 there is a more weight attached to it um 23:55 first you drive on the left side of the 23:57 road and then you start killing people 23:59 you know crazy okay no um so in the 24:02 United States we drive on the right side 24:03 of the road but we've just determined 24:04 that before the purpose of good order 24:07 right it's not necessary that it be such 24:09 based on the fact that we're human 24:11 beings that we have this cognition 24:13 opponent that we have this embody 24:15 component it's just it was a choice so 24:18 this is not part of the natural law 24:19 strictly speaking but 24:21 within the lawmakers authority to govern 24:22 on such things for Public Safety and 24:24 then lastly divine law here we break 24:27 this out into the Mosaic law and the new 24:30 law of grace are the evangelical law the 24:32 Mosaic law are those precepts given to 24:34 Israel to safeguard their life and their 24:36 worship 24:37 st. Thomas categorizes them in under 24:39 three headings the moral precepts the 24:41 ceremonial precepts and the judicial 24:43 precepts so the moral precepts would be 24:45 like the Ten Commandments and the things 24:47 that issue from them the ceremonial 24:49 precepts governed their worship and it's 24:51 specifically a lot of them governed 24:53 their ritual purity and then the 24:55 judicial precepts about how to determine 24:57 court cases for lack of a better 24:59 description the thing that st. Thomas 25:02 describes with respect to the old laws 25:04 that it doesn't justify so it makes 25:05 known the bounds or the limits of right 25:08 relation with God but what it doesn't do 25:11 is give you the wherewithal to follow 25:14 that infallibly or efficaciously so 25:17 we'll talk about it as the law of sin or 25:19 I'll talk about it as yes the law like a 25:24 kind of dead law specifically with 25:27 respect to the new law then this is 25:29 something that's wrought in Jesus Christ 25:31 and st. Thomas will say something that's 25:33 that's pretty wild and revolutionary 25:34 he'll say that the new law just is the 25:37 grace of the Holy Spirit poured into 25:38 your hearts from a jurisprudential 25:41 standpoint that sounds a little bit wild 25:43 and woolly it's like how do I make 25:45 concrete determinations based on the 25:46 grace of the Holy Spirit poured into my 25:48 heart please help me okay well let's not 25:50 get concerned with that at least at the 25:51 outset like I said I don't know anything 25:53 about politics or about jurisprudence so 25:56 I'm just gonna go for it right but he 25:59 says there is a written component right 26:01 there is a written component in as much 26:02 as we have the Gospels and in as much as 26:04 the evangelical laws made known and kind 26:06 of intense form and Matthew five through 26:08 seven for instance and the Sermon on the 26:09 Mount but what is described is a new 26:11 life what is described as a new life and 26:14 that life pertains by right to God and 26:16 by a created participation to us who are 26:20 welcomed into the divine life by grace 26:22 and the thing that is different about 26:24 this law is that it actually does 26:25 justify so whereas the former does not 26:28 necessarily make men and women good the 26:30 latter does and so it gives us the 26:32 impetus to carry out the law as 26:34 described 26:35 so the Lord Jesus from his own mouth we 26:37 have the words I came not to abolish the 26:39 law but to fulfill it so he's not 26:41 setting aside the Old Covenant right 26:44 we're not supersession estill that 26:45 regard but he does say that certain 26:48 precepts that were particularly and it's 26:50 time in place namely the ceremonial 26:51 precepts and the judicial precepts they 26:53 are not to be observed further in the 26:54 life of the Christian Church right 26:57 because we're issuing or were kind of 26:59 bringing about a new thing here but the 27:02 moral law that's actually heightened and 27:04 intensified Matthew 5:27 through 28 you 27:07 have heard it said that you shall not 27:08 commit adultery but I say to you that 27:09 any man who has so much has looked at a 27:11 woman with lust in his heart has already 27:13 done so so it's an interior ization of 27:15 that law an intensification of it but by 27:18 giving us the grace it's not as if we're 27:20 just overburdened and like languishing 27:23 underneath the weight of further 27:24 precepts but it's something that's now 27:26 animated by the very life of God at work 27:28 in our members here I said the law of 27:32 grace is questions 90 through 108 what 27:34 is it followed by excuse me the treatise 27:36 on law is questions 90 through 108 what 27:38 is it followed by the treatise on grace 27:40 questions 109 through 114 the last 27:42 question that he asked in question one 27:44 away concerning the evangelical law 27:46 concludes with article 4 which is about 27:48 the council's right so poverty chastity 27:51 and obedience he says what's the deal 27:54 here he says these are an intense way of 27:56 living the precepts of living the law 27:58 but he says in doing so more intensely 28:01 right but it does tails you right into a 28:04 discussion of grace because the 28:05 evangelical law in a certain sense can 28:07 just be described as grace so let's 28:11 return to our first thought about the 28:13 wise restraints that make men free here 28:16 what we have described is something 28:18 that's educative something that's 28:20 liberating something that's content rich 28:22 and something that is interior right 28:24 that is said about to make men good now 28:27 that has to be applied analogically 28:29 depending on whether we're talking about 28:30 it turn a law natural law human law or 28:33 divine law but it's far richer than what 28:36 is often conveyed or portrayed in 28:38 jurisprudential discussions that's 28:40 because this is a conversation proper to 28:41 theology but I do think that it sheds 28:43 light on conversations proper to 28:45 jurisprudence and here a final word 28:47 about freedom 28:48 the notion that we have of law typically 28:51 speaks of freedom in minimalistic terms 28:53 right so my rights begin where your 28:56 rights end something along those lines 28:58 we think about it in terms of 28:59 non-violence or non coercion I am free 29:01 to the extent that I am NOT forced I'm 29:04 free to the extent that I can 29:05 sovereignly self define that I can 29:08 exercise a modicum of autonomy that is 29:10 you know coherent and fitting with just 29:13 civil order but the freedom for which we 29:15 are longing or the freedom towards which 29:17 we are gesturing in this picture is 29:19 beyond a mere freedom of indifference 29:21 but rather a freedom for excellence 29:23 recall that Israel asked to go out into 29:25 the desert to worship they do it for 29:27 something their freedom is poised for 29:30 flourishing it's poised for perfection 29:32 it's poised for a kind of expression of 29:35 their relationship with God so what 29:38 we're talking about here is just as 29:40 revelatory of human nature as it is of a 29:43 kind of supernatural claim or a 29:46 supernatural destiny 29:47 st. Thomas will talk about here in this 29:51 discussion the virtue of religion all 29:54 right the virtue of religion which he 29:55 thinks is something that is available to 29:57 us by reason we don't need to be 29:58 instructed catechetical II that it's 30:00 necessary for us to worship rather this 30:02 is something that is immediately 30:04 attendant upon the natural law and when 30:06 he talks about it 30:07 he has these cool false etymologies that 30:09 he entertains so I think it's like st. 30:12 Agustin says that religion comes from 30:14 really jaray to like choose again to 30:16 choose again to be in relationship with 30:17 God and Saint Isidore says it comes from 30:20 Rael a jury to read again the law at 30:22 work in our members and lactantius says 30:25 that it comes from regard to be rebound 30:26 to be rebound eventually st. Agustin 30:29 changes his mind and goes in for the 30:30 elect Antion definition but why what 30:33 does worship have to do with law well 30:35 worship is about this return to God it's 30:38 about reminding ourselves to God in such 30:41 a way that we are wholly free because 30:43 those persons are most free who are in 30:45 the immediate presence of God would 30:47 behold him face to face and cannot but 30:49 choose him so it's not about freedom 30:52 from coercion it's not about having a 30:53 variety of options among which we can 30:55 opt rather it's about being bound to the 30:59 good in which we delight and 31:01 which we are perfected so not a drag or 31:05 an imposition rather laws to be 31:07 conceived of construed as saving making 31:10 us virtuous helping us to secure the 31:13 common good and please God in the end 31:14 orienting us towards heaven now why is 31:40 that was that accurate to what you were 31:42 talking about there um is that is that 31:45 accurate so I I don't know what I said 31:50 because I forgotten entirely if I did 31:53 speak of lust I don't recall the context 31:54 in which I did so but I can cobble 31:56 together an answer which will hopefully 31:57 be clarified why do you get to pick and 32:07 choose the inclinations of procreation 32:09 and continued existence versus the 32:11 inclinations of like rage and lust oh 32:13 sure and you know like murder is an 32:16 inclination we have an inclination to to 32:18 be aggressive at some point so why are 32:20 certain inclinations you know considered 32:22 part of this natural law where is 32:23 whereas the other inclinations are you 32:26 know considered sin 32:29 so let's see st. Thomas has an 32:32 understanding of the human person right 32:36 so body and soul acting through certain 32:43 powers so if we were to build it up from 32:44 the bottom to top 32:45 you know self nutrition growth 32:48 reproduction locomotion sense appetite 32:52 sense cognition will and intellect so 32:55 one acts as a human person as an 32:57 embodied soul or as an insult body one 32:59 does so through the powers of the soul 33:01 which each are trained on certain 33:04 objects which kind of norm their 33:05 activities so when we're talking about 33:07 the human person we're talking about 33:08 someone with a nature order towards 33:12 certain good 33:13 which themselves are perfective and 33:18 these goods are also arranged in a 33:21 hierarchy okay so like there are certain 33:23 things which pertain more urgently and 33:25 immediately to the good life certain 33:27 things that need to know further 33:28 justification then that they are good so 33:31 I the top of which sometimes of 33:33 identified God and you know kind of 33:35 related things like contemplation or 33:37 worship and then you can kind of range 33:44 all the way down to like food drinking 33:47 sex right there there are a hierarchy of 33:56 goods and our nature is addressed to 33:59 those Goods and our specific powers the 34:02 ones that concern us most are 34:04 intellectual and sense appetite so by 34:08 intellect you know the mind immaterial 34:11 cognition will is the appetite attendant 34:13 upon a material cognition and then sense 34:14 appetite is what we would call like the 34:16 passions or the emotions so here we 34:18 would identify love desire joy hatred 34:21 aversion sorrow we would talk about fear 34:25 daring despair anger things like that 34:28 okay so this is kind of more instinctual 34:30 animal responses and we want to affirm 34:34 these codes in hierarchical order so 34:37 that what is true exteriorly 34:38 resonates interiorly and this is like 34:40 part of st. Thomas's whole theme with 34:42 respect to religion God just is creator 34:44 an end we issue from him and we return 34:46 to him and that we are good to the 34:49 extent that the microcosm accords with 34:51 the macrocosm because you can either 34:52 live in accord with reality or you can 34:54 live in contrast to it with some serious 34:55 cognitive dissonance and so how then do 34:58 we train these powers so that they 34:59 affirm these goods in right order and 35:01 then this he says is this is a space of 35:04 virtue 35:06 so virtue is the stable and permanent 35:09 disposition whereby one acts out of 35:11 intellect and will right for the good in 35:15 a way that's easy prompt and joyful so 35:17 virtue is the you know like an intrinsic 35:20 principle of moral melioration so that 35:21 way you can see the good and affirm it 35:24 accordingly 35:24 Aristotle often repeats with respect to 35:26 the 35:27 oh man that as he is so he sees so with 35:30 respect to your question our 35:31 inclinations cannot be trusted kind of 35:35 car plush or willy-nilly to affirm the 35:37 goods as they are because there is a 35:41 kind of disorder at work in our members 35:43 and in the Christian tradition we talk 35:44 about this as a result of the fall but 35:47 we were we were created with original 35:49 gifts and we are meant to be 35:50 reconstituted in those gifts 35:51 progressively by grace and virtue so 35:54 that we can affirm these things as they 35:55 are and so st. Thomas will say that 35:57 these goods are progressively clarified 35:59 over the course of a life something that 36:02 I read about this recently which I 36:03 thought was helpful is a lustrum 36:05 McIntyre's I think it's it's either an 36:07 after virtue or whose justice rat in 36:08 which rationality we talked about this 36:10 in terms of like Aristotelian dialectic 36:12 so he says what we have here isn't like 36:14 a demonstrative science it's rather like 36:17 a practical science and so we're 36:19 clarifying ends and principles as we go 36:22 which is why you know politics is the 36:25 art of the possible 36:26 and ethics is so vexing because there's 36:29 so much matter which is a principle of 36:31 unintelligibility so it's just like that 36:32 ok so what I'm saying can not be 36:34 immediately legislated right so it has 36:37 it has social dimensions and political 36:39 dimensions which are clarified in a 36:40 tradition and in as much as I've just 36:43 spoken for a while and probably left you 36:44 wildly unsatisfied I apologize ok yes 36:49 I've been working with an institute 36:52 trying to teach restore a natural law 36:53 among lawyers and judges and the thing 36:56 we get the concern we get from people 36:59 doing conservative Josephine's they see 37:01 the natural law as some will be some 37:03 theory hovering in the sky yeah in 37:05 contrast the American founders 37:07 identified 37:09 with those practical axioms that 37:11 underlie our judgments so let's say 37:13 Aquinas would say the divine law we know 37:15 through revelation of the natural law we 37:17 know everything accessible to human 37:19 beings 37:20 so the question of abortion exam yeah 37:22 the church doesn't appeal to faith it's 37:24 simply is a combination of embryology 37:27 plus principle reason just as they can 37:30 excite so one of the joke Joe Biden is I 37:32 don't want to impose upon the public by 37:36 quite possible views there's something 37:39 really personal about this stuff just to 37:43 just think that or any other example 37:44 what's the kind of thing you would say 37:46 you don't assume know why the natural 37:49 law here is indeed I think sure yeah um 37:58 so for those of you don't know this is 38:00 professor Hadley arcus who runs the 38:02 distance Wilson Society so yeah he's of 38:06 those in the room I pale by comparison 38:08 so if you have real questions for a real 38:10 person you might as well ask at the end 38:12 of the Thank You thanks for coming you 38:16 didn't come from you came for him so so 38:21 so st. Thomas like he actually 38:23 entertains this question in question 94 38:26 concerning the natural law because he 38:27 says wait KenKen the natural law be 38:30 blotted out from our hearts and he says 38:31 it can in the concrete but not 38:35 principally so you can never root it out 38:37 entirely but you can have it obscured 38:39 from you so he says like the Germans as 38:40 is noted in Caesar's Gallic Wars they 38:43 steal and they think it's fine 38:45 crazy I was once present at a colloquium 38:48 when a German once took this text 38:50 literally and then gave an apologetic I 38:52 was like this is wild that's great it 38:55 was it was just a Dominican meeting so 38:57 it wasn't scandalous but some so yeah 39:00 the natural law can be blotted out from 39:01 our hearts so how is it that we can make 39:04 arguments from reason that have 39:06 purchased in the public square I think 39:08 this has been debated a lot unless a 39:10 quarter century so I would say a helpful 39:13 a helpful principle for orienting our 39:15 discussion is what st. Thomas identifies 39:17 as the first 39:17 as a practical reason so he identifies 39:20 in the speculative order first 39:21 principles of specular reason which he 39:23 just calls the habit of intellectus and 39:25 he says this is as close as we get to an 39:27 innate virtue it says you don't need 39:29 this type of thing infused rather you 39:32 just need the raw material on which to 39:34 reason and then it's immediately 39:36 attendant upon it 39:37 so just as soon as you know what a hole 39:38 is and just as soon as you know what a 39:39 part is you know that the whole is 39:41 greater than its parts he thinks that 39:44 the principle of non-contradiction is 39:45 like this you don't need to be taught 39:46 that you just know that it is what it is 39:49 and it isn't what it's not and any child 39:52 if you were to say like but but but but 39:53 is it they'd be like you're crazy like 39:55 pass the chick-fil-a so the principle of 39:58 identity the principle fine he thinks 40:00 that these types of things are 40:01 immediately attended upon reality but he 40:03 thinks that a similar thing is operative 40:04 in the practical order and he calls this 40:06 either the first principles of practical 40:08 reason or Cinda resis and there's a kind 40:12 of like connection here with 40:15 consciousness but we need not contain 40:17 ourselves of that synthesis and he says 40:20 that the first order is just do good and 40:22 avoid evil that to us sounds like a 40:31 propositional claim but it also operates 40:33 at the level of inclination in as much 40:35 as whatever we choose we choose under 40:37 the aspect of the good and we can never 40:39 be motivated by a pure evil we never can 40:41 affirm a metaphysical negation or 40:43 privation but he says you know this can 40:46 be teased out further in the way that we 40:48 describe with respect to the ten 40:49 commandments 40:56 and he'll talk of you know secondary 40:58 precepts and tertiary precepts but it's 41:00 all rooted in our nature and in so far 41:03 as our nature is ordered towards the 41:04 good and that in affirming anything or 41:06 in choosing anything we choose it under 41:07 the aspect of the good or apprehended as 41:09 good so how then can we can see with 41:12 this having been blotted out well here 41:14 just like from experience often times 41:16 obviously you know mechanic priests and 41:18 so most of the conversations that I have 41:19 about religion and I find that sometimes 41:22 people have doctrinal problems and this 41:24 I don't mean this to sound condescending 41:25 or patronizing but I find that what's at 41:27 the root of those doctrinal problems is 41:28 often practical problems right so 41:31 somebody will often throw up a smoke 41:32 screen and say I've problem with the 41:33 church's teaching about Mary or I 41:35 problem with the Church's teaching about 41:36 indulgences and then if you afford space 41:39 for that conversation to develop 41:41 oftentimes it's it's it's something 41:42 entirely different it's usually about 41:44 the Church's stance on family gender you 41:48 know sexuality things of that nature and 41:50 so I think that the reason why this 41:52 doesn't have very clear purchase in the 41:55 order of like practical reason is 41:57 because practical reason is so 41:59 inextricably bound up with like the 42:04 other virtues okay so it's so 42:06 inextricably bound up with practice and 42:08 sake Thomas well Aristotle makes this 42:09 observation with respect to Cruz so you 42:14 have the four cardinal virtues 42:27 and Aristotle says that the unity of the 42:30 virtues is really bound up with prudence 42:31 and you can't have the virtues unless 42:33 you have all of them because it can't be 42:36 prudent unless you're just courageous 42:38 and temperate and you can't be just 42:39 courageous and tempered unless you're 42:40 prudent because this you know this is a 42:43 an intellectual virtue this he hears in 42:46 the will and these and here in the 42:47 appetites but these furnish the ends 42:49 right these furnish the ends of a 42:52 practical reason so as we're going to 42:54 you know keep us Apple Goods as we're 42:57 ordered to irascible goods as we're 42:58 ordered you know to a peddle Goods and 43:01 the you know rationally a peddle Goods 43:02 but we can only see them insofar as we 43:04 you know engage with them provincially 43:07 so I'm um I suppose I'm not especially 43:11 sanguine about the prospects of natural 43:13 law argumentation having immediate 43:16 success but I think the natural law 43:18 argumentation done in this way like as 43:22 you know like ever go gay like as not 43:25 not demonstrative like in the 43:27 speculative order but rather as more 43:29 broadly practical that we've done within 43:32 the context of a life or done within the 43:34 context of a practice its claims become 43:37 more intelligible and so I think that 43:40 the best hope for natural argumentation 43:41 is a coherent mode of life both 43:43 individually and societally but I don't 43:46 know if you have follow-up thought on 43:47 that back like you 44:07 - because the law itself is considered 44:27 not a moral law so I'm just trying to 44:29 see what other examples fit into this 44:34 sure so we talked about eternal law 44:39 natural law divine law sorry 44:47 yeah divine law and human law so we 44:54 talking about is it ever right to break 44:55 the law we're specifically talking about 44:57 human law and it's my my reading of st. 45:00 Thomas Aquinas he doesn't think the 45:01 eternal in natural law can never be 45:03 broken he doesn't think that it's ever 45:04 right to break those so he'll even read 45:06 these dark passages in the scripture in 45:08 a way that's it's it's kind of 45:10 staggering to hear it explained as he 45:12 does because he just he does not think 45:14 that these laws can be transgressed so 45:16 with respect to God's interaction with 45:19 man he cites having Hosea married Gomer 45:22 right so a known harlot which would be 45:24 an impediment to marriage in as much as 45:28 fidelity could not be presumed upon so 45:30 how could God command this and then he 45:32 talks about his instruction for Abraham 45:34 to sacrifice Isaac and then he talks 45:37 about the despoiling of the Egyptians so 45:40 Exodus 12 and 13 before the Egyptians 45:42 crossed the Red Sea in Exodus 14 they're 45:45 told to borrow a bunch of stuff from the 45:46 Egyptians and then make off with them so 45:48 his hats he says how is this not God 45:50 committing adultery murder and theft and 45:54 he has an explanation for each and that 45:57 explanation is intellectualist by 45:59 comparison to some of his contemporaries 46:01 who would do so more voluntarily saying 46:03 like God can will whatever he darn wills 46:05 because st. Thomas has this notion that 46:07 ordinance of 46:08 and God is subsisting reason so God 46:10 cannot command anything that does not 46:12 accord with his nature and so like with 46:14 respect to his command for Abraham to 46:16 sacrifice Isaac he says that by virtue 46:18 of original sin we all stand before God 46:20 as condemned and so I mean he can he can 46:24 command that and to like kind of do so 46:27 in a way that's that's just which to us 46:28 like when I first read that passage I 46:30 drew a little smiley face but one with 46:31 an open mouth like you know whoa all 46:34 right so he's not talking about eternal 46:36 law or natural law because that would 46:37 seem to discord with the very nature of 46:39 God he is talking about human law here I 46:42 think a helpful way to understand this 46:45 would be so you have the Augustinian 46:47 principle that an unjust law is no law 46:51 so that's one way another way is to talk 46:58 about in terms of epic ayah so if you're 47:02 interested in this 47:03 sometimes there's a long treatise on 47:04 justice and the secundus takunda I think 47:06 it's questions 57 through 122 and at the 47:08 end he gets to epic ayah 47:09 and when epic I really says is that the 47:12 law as it's conceived did not foresee 47:14 this it did not precede the circumstance 47:17 and so it's not enforced because to 47:19 enforce it in this circumstance would be 47:20 contrary to the nature of be contrary to 47:23 the intention of the law maker himself 47:25 right and you can multiply examples of 47:27 how that would be the case where if you 47:28 were to follow the letter of the law you 47:30 would actually run a you know run afoul 47:32 of the spirit of the law so I think 47:35 these these are two things that come up 47:37 in the Christian tradition that are 47:41 helpful resources for considering this 47:42 question with respect to human law so I 47:46 told you I'd liberate you so um thank 47:48 you so much for your attention and thank 47:49 you for having come if you have further 47:50 questions and you like to ask him I'll 47:52 be here for some minutes thank you 47:55 [Applause]