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Archive Civic Polity Economics Natural Law Nota Bene Steven Wedgeworth

Calvin’s Natural Law Theology of Work

Commenting on Genesis 2:15, John Calvin offers a general philosophy of the goodness of labor and the duties of cultivating the earth. He says that this is a “natural” duty for all men, and he includes the themes of activity, frugality, and legacy. This is often summarized simply as “stewardship.” Calvin explains: And the Lord […]

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Andrew Fulford Archive Authors Civic Polity

Marsilius on When to Correct the Prince

Elsewhere I have written about Protestant resistance theory, and how the cases of justified opposition to magistrates are limited in scope: Calvin also wanted to preserve a relatively just and peaceful social order, believing that such was natural good of human beings. As an implication of this principle, he upheld the basic principles of just […]

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Archive Civic Polity Lily Cherney Natural Law Reformed Irenicism The Natural Family

Are Women Real?: Towards a Comprehensive Complementarianism

I. Complementarianism For Real “If gender is just a term in grammar, how can I ever find my way/ When I’m a stranger here myself?” –Kurt Weill, One Touch of Venus What follows is a kind of prolegomena to any future complementarian squabbling, or possibly a groundwork for the metaphysics of tango. It’s very incomplete […]

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Archive Authors Civic Polity E.J. Hutchinson Natural Law Nota Bene

Obedience and Unjust Laws (5)

I said yesterday that I would return to the passage of Augustine that Aquinas quotes, so let me do that here. In De libero arbitrio (“On the Free Choice of the Will”) 1.5, Augustine says, ironically: Non ergo lex iusta est, quae dat potestatem vel viatori ut latronem, ne ab eo ipse occidatur, occidat; vel cuipiam […]

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Archive Authors Civic Polity E.J. Hutchinson Natural Law Nota Bene

Obedience and Unjust Laws (4)

(Parts 1, 2, and 3) Aquinas, too, holds that unjust laws (that is, laws that do not accord with or derive from the law of nature) do not have the force of law; they are, rather, corruptiones legis–corruptions of the law. In response to objections concerning the seemingly adiaphorous nature of some human legislation, the diversity […]

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Archive Authors Civic Polity E.J. Hutchinson Natural Law Nota Bene

Obedience and Unjust Laws (3)

The basic point of the passage from Cicero’s Laws cited here the other day reappears in the Westminster Confession of Faith (of all places) in the chapter on–coincidentally enough–marriage. Treating incestuous marriages, the Divines say: IV. Marriage ought not to be within the degrees of consanguinity or affinity forbidden by the Word. Nor can such incestuous marriages ever be […]

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Archive Authors Civic Polity E.J. Hutchinson Natural Law Nota Bene Philosophy

Obedience and Unjust Laws (2)

Today we go back in time to Cicero’s Laws 1.42-5. There he elucidates the necessary foundation for positive law, which is justice. Without it, there is merely opinion and power. Laws are not ultimately “established” by will and the decisions of the powerful. If they were, one could say that there is a “right” to theft, […]

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Archive Civic Polity E.J. Hutchinson Natural Law Reformed Irenicism Sacred Doctrine The Two Kingdoms

Obedience and Unjust Laws

It is a commonplace of the classical and Christian traditions of natural law that unjust laws do not have the force of law and therefore do not compel obedience from subjects, and perhaps at the present time this old locus communis is worth revisiting. When philosophers and theologians make statements like the one I just made, […]

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Archive Natural Law Nota Bene Reformed Irenicism Simon Kennedy

The Eschatological Purpose of the Natural Law

In his comments on Romans 8:20, John Calvin makes a profound observation about the natural order in creation pointing to the redemption of the cosmos. What Calvin points us to is the eschatological end of creation, and the way in which the natural law, set in motion and sustained by God, points to a future […]

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Archive E.J. Hutchinson Natural Law Nota Bene The Two Kingdoms

Religion a Part of Justice

For Niels Hemmingsen in the De lege naturae, as for the classical tradition in general, “religion” is one part of the more general, and chief, virtue of justice. Without it, he says, there is no trust between men, no fellowship between men–indeed, no justice at all.  “No justice, no peace” is a popular protest saying; […]