St. Aquinas: Eternal Law And Natural Law

1259 Words 6 Pages
Aristotle, like many other classic philosophers, emphasized the vitality and viability of reason, one can conclude that this exposure played an important role in Aquinas’s belief of human reason. Consequently, Aquinas rejected Augustine’s view of human reason and argued that God himself granted people this virtue as a way of engaging them to participate in his “eternal plan” (Aquinas 18). To present his argument, St. Augustine defined two kinds of laws: eternal law and natural law. Eternal law is God’s “eternal plan” in which he controls the course of the universe based on his own perspective (Aquinas 18). Human beings take part in this plan through natural law, which is essentially the use of reason as a means of fulfilling humanity’s role …show more content…
Through these ideas, Augustine and Aquinas both helped influence people’s political thought during their time. Augustine’s rejection of human reason nurtured a state in which religion (the catholic church) was accepted as the supreme authority of the state. On the contrary, the ideas of Aquinas ignited a revolutionary shift in political thought that diminished the long-held acceptance of the authority concentrated in the catholic church, and gradually ignited political thought that considered the return of political authority back to secular hands. In order to track down how the restored belief in human reason changed political thought during the medieval period, one can distinguish the different positions that Aquinas and Augustine took on fundamental aspects of politics. In particular, Aquinas created vital changes to people’s general sentiment towards government, their judgement on the structure of government, and their conception of …show more content…
Aquinas defied Augustine’s negative view of government, and developed a more positive view of its role in politics. By rejecting human reason, St. Augustine implied that politics was divorced from moral truths because without reason, it is impossible to establish true virtues. Since people lacked the ability to establish true virtue within a government, Augustine argued that just state on earth could never be achievable. Therefore, due to the absence of virtuous states, St. Augustine suggested that the government’s role in politics was solely to keep people in line- to prevent total chaos. Nevertheless, this basically implied that the state was to enforce Christian orthodoxy as Christianity was vital to the restriction of sin. He further explains his negative perception of government by establishing a connection between government and criminal gangs. To Aquinas, both government and gangs merely embark the association of people who come together to seek common interests, not to seek justice (Augustine 139). Evidently, Augustin aimed to devaluate the worth of the state, and he was able to assert this view of government through the atrocious condition of society in medieval times and by convincing people that this condition was a result of human’s sinful nature- a result of acting without reason. Once people became convinced that their sins and ignorance were the sources of all the bad things that were going on in the world, they viewed the role of government the

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