Lex naturalis

Natural law theory has been discussed throughout religions and philosophies for millennia. It’s essentially a code of ethics that humans intrinsically possess that are supplied by reason, or faith in god/a depending on one’s stance. Yet a universal moral standard cannot exist by default from human nature, or can it? Aristotle seemed to think so and claimed that it was virtue which influenced the moral actions we’ve acquired from nature, so it is a universal standard that isn’t influenced by politics, society, or faith in divinity. These natural values are governed by reason and it defines our actions. Thomas Aquinas believed it was guided by reason and virtue but these couldn’t exist without divine law as well. And that if you denied god, committed idolatry, atheism or polytheism then it was the ultimate sin and against the principles of natural law.

“Man is a product of nature, a part of the Universe. The Universe is operated under exact natural laws. Man is a product of millions of years of evolution. He adapts himself to the laws of nature or he perishes.” – James Hervey

Deism is a form of acceptance of natural law in which reason and observing the natural world gives sufficient evidence of a creator. Divine revelation and natural reason makes up a term known as natural theology‘ and the start of the 1776 Declaration of Independence acknowledges this. Deism literally believes that a divine creator made everything within the universe and once it was established he never observed his creation again, so the act of miracles, or praying wasn’t taken seriously. Biblical teachings were also not observed as they not only defied reason but wasn’t knowledgeable within the emerging scientific community during the Age of Enlightenment when Deism became popular.

If it wasn’t for the existence of prominent philosophers like Francis Bacon, and René Descartes, then who knows how science would have progressed. Deism encourages reason and whilst Bacon was an Anglican he was extremely liberal for his time and actively discouraged people to claim the Bible was either a source of scientific knowledge, or be used to question scientific findings. He said that to claim god as the first cause belonged to theology, and not science, and people should never combine the two.

“The inclination to goodness is imprinted deeply in the nature of man.” – Sir Francis Bacon

Natural Law theory claims that humans have a universal standard of knowing the difference between good and bad, or wrong or right. We inherently know when something is intentionally cruel, perverse or harmful to others, or is inhumane and is a direct violation against the rights a human has to exist in harmony. Yet try telling this to theists and they simply cannot accept that you can be good without a source of morality supplied by a divine power. I’d comfortably argue that without religious influence you’re more likely to reach the correct conclusion through reason rather than through faith.