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Find Personal Perfection with Natural Law!

Updated on October 20, 2013

What's So Natural About Natural Law?

I have heard the challenge to the idea of a natural moral law many times. "It can't be against natural law - after all, animals do it all the time!" Anyone in dialogue about moral issues is bound to run across the concept of natural law. For the sake of honest dialogue it is important to know exactly what this term means. As a moral theology teacher, I also want people to know why the concept of natural law is good news!

Natural Law Is About Human Nature

Human fulfillment is the goal!

The truth is that natural law is not about "nature" as we commonly think of it. Natural law actually refers to human nature. Human beings are a composite of physical and spiritual faculties. We share the physical faculties with animals and we share the spiritual faculties with spiritual beings (i.e. angels). However, human beings are the only creatures that are a composite of physical and spiritual faculties.

Examples of Physical Faculties - Faculties that human beings share with animals

  • Senses
  • Physical desires
  • Emotions
  • Locomotion (the ability to get up an move)
  • Memory & problem solving

The Spiritual Faculties - Faculties that we share with the angels

  • Intellect: the ability to think about non-physical concepts, and ultimately to contemplate the very nature of a thing's existence.
  • Free Will: the ability to freely choose between various physical and spiritual goods, and ultimately to determine our own character and final destiny.

Learn More About the Natural Law

50 Questions on the Natural Law: What It Is and Why We Need It
50 Questions on the Natural Law: What It Is and Why We Need It

This is one of the best books to gain a good understanding of the natural law in understandable terms.

What We Can't Not Know: A Guide
What We Can't Not Know: A Guide

J. Budziszewski is one of the foremost authorities on natural law. This book explains in certain terms why natural law is so important.

Theology and Sanity
Theology and Sanity

I recommend this book to everyone. It is an EXCELLENT exposition on faith and reason. If you've ever felt foolish for believing in God, this book will remove your doubt.

Becoming the Best Version of Yourself
Becoming the Best Version of Yourself

Matthew Kelly explains the ideas behind natural law without theological language. He'll inspire you to live out God's plan for your life. Highly recommended!


What is Natural Law?

Natural Law is simply living true to human nature. For Christians, this means being who God created us to be.

Becoming Your Best Self

The good news of natural law

The purpose of the natural moral law is to guide us to become the best persons that we can be. The natural moral law guides us to fulfill our human nature by maximizing all of our human powers. It also encourages us to seek good and avoid evil so that we are able to develop spiritually as well as physically. Natural law guides us to protect the most important goods - the fundamental goods that are necessary for human fulfillment.

Following natural law isn't always easy. For example, we may be tempted to treat sexuality as a simple physical pleasure. Our biological drives for pleasure are very strong. However, by following natural law our sexuality becomes an intensely meaningful act that empowers human relationships to bring new life out of love and brings about a family. Our ability to control our sexual drive and the power of the intellect to understand the deeper meaning of sex give the act great beauty.

Who Wouldn't Want to Become Their Best?

The purpose of the natural moral law is to guide us to become the best persons that we can be. The natural moral law guides us to fulfill our human nature by maximizing all of our human powers. It encourages us to . . .

  1. Live thoughtful, reflective lives. The human intellect empowers us to understand what we are doing and to find meaning.
  2. Be free. The human will frees us from becoming slaves to our instincts, drives and desires and empowers us to choose who we want to be.
  3. Enjoy the best of both worlds! The physical appetites are not evil. Physical goods are meant to be enjoyed. However, we do not find happiness in overindulgence. Natural law teaches us balance so that we can enjoy both physical and spiritual goods.
  4. Do good and avoid evil. People often think of moral law as restricting our fun, but doing good means bringing goodness into our lives - just like exercising and eating healthy bring health into our lives.
  5. Protect the most cherished and fundamental human goods. These goods help us to live fully human lives and to find happiness. Everyone has a right to have access to these goods.

Role of Natural Law

Do good, avoid evil

Basic human goods

Become more human

Basic Human Goods - Derived from Christian Moral Principles by Germain Grisez

  • Life, health & safety
  • Religion
  • Procreation & education of children
  • Education (intellectual development)
  • Contribution to human society
  • Freedom (ability to choose the best possible good)
  • Appreciation of beauty
  • Justice & friendship
  • Creative work & play
  • Personal integrity

How does natural law affect the way you live? - Join the discussion!

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