So there we have it!!
Our moral sense, in so many ways, is revealed to us by God
Our moral sense, in so many ways, has human nature, and the dignity of human nature as our basis for moral decisions
There is also divine nature that becomes a basis for moral decisions
Human dignity is the foundation
Because we have freedom, we have responsibility for our own actions
We are also responsible for the common good and the people around us
What is the good?
Paragraph 1949 says, “Called to beatitude but wounded by sin, man stands in need of salvation from God. Divine help comes to him in Christ through the law that guides him and the grace that sustains him: Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
If anyone ever tells you that you do not need the Law or grace, that is false
We need BOTH law and grace
The law that guides us
The grace that sustains us
The grace that gives us the power to do what we cannot do on our own
Why are we working?
Because God is at work
God is working so that we can choose and act for His good pleasure
We need salvation that comes from Him
So we have to cooperate with that
All of morality is connected
Paragraph 1952 says, “There are different expressions of the moral law, all of them interrelated: eternal law-the source, in God, of all law; natural law; revealed law, compromising the Old Law and the New Law, or Law of the Gospel; finally, civil and ecclesiastical laws.”
God reveals Himself as being good
It’s not just that God does good
God is the source of all good
Is something good because God decrees it?
Does God decree it because it is good?
In some ways, it is will to power
Right? (whatever you say, Fr. Mike…I’m just writing this down…doesn’t mean I understand hahah 😉)
That is good, only because God says it
So God says that life is good
He could easily say that death is good
Something is good because God decrees it
That is irrational
How about murder?
Murder is good
If it simply is good because God decrees it, then there is a problem there and it goes against reason
At the same time, does God declare something good because it is good?
That would imply there is a law above God
The Lord God who says that faithfulness is good because faithfulness is good
Do ANY OF YOU know what Fr. Mike is saying???????
God decrees it to be good simply because it already is good
In that case, here is God who is beneath a law
There is a law that is above Him
So how do you figure that out?
Is something good because God decrees it, or does God decree it because it is good?
So here is the answer (Because I am so dizzy now and my brain hurts)
God is good
God is truth
God is reason
God is love
This is not a will to power situation where God simply decrees something to be good but He could arbitrarily say it is not good
Love, live, goodness, beauty, truth, all of this is part of the character of God
So when God decrees it, it is not a law above Him and it is not merely the law because He said so
It is because God is the SOURCE of all good
So He commands goodness
God is the SOURCE of all life
So He commands life
God is the source of all these things
God is reason itself
Therefore, God makes this world in accordance with reason
Not because reason is a law above God
Because God is reason
Therefore, everything He commands is connected
Moral laws are interrelated
The eternal law, the source in God of all law
THAT is what Fr. Mike has been talking about for the past 5 minutes or so
Then we have natural law
Then we have revealed law through the Old Covenant and New Covenant
Finally we have civil and ecclesiastical laws
All of them are meant to be connected, coherent, and consistent
The eternal law is consistent with the natural law that we find in our hearts
That is consistent with the Old Covenant laws
Those are consistent with the New Covenant laws
And hopefully they are consistent with our civil and ecclesiastical laws
Can Fr. Mike give an example?
Where do we get the idea that human beings are equal?
This comes from the very Law of God
This is not something that is immediately obvious
We often notice our differences with each other and do not notice the equality and dignity
If you read Genesis Chs 1-2 what do you get?
“GOD MADE MAN IN HIS OWN IMAGE AND LIKENESS. MALE AND FEMALE HE CREATED THEM.”
If every human being, male and female, are created in God’s image and likeness, our Church laws, civil laws, how we interact with each other, should reflect that truth
They are all meant to be connected
When civil laws or Church laws do not reflect the truth, then there is an inconsistency and that would be a lack of justice
That would be evil
That would be unjust
Tertullian says in Paragraph 1951, “Alone among all animate beings, man can boast of having been counted worthy to receive a law from God: as an animal endowed with reason, capable of understanding and discernment, he is to govern his conduct by using his freedom and reason, in obedience to the One who has entrusted everything to him.”
God made us free
God gave us an intellect
So we have an obligation to OBEY the law that we find in our hearts
We have an obligation to OBEY the law that is revealed through Scripture and Tradition
We have an obligation to OBEY civil and ecclesiastical laws
Paragraph 1954 says, “Man participates in the wisdom and goodness of the Creator who gives him mastery over his acts and the ability to govern himself with a view to the true and the good. The natural law expresses the original moral sense which enables man to discern by reason the good and the evil, the truth and the lie: The natural law is written and engraved in the soul of each and every man, because it is human reason ordaining him to do good and forbidding him to sin…But this command of human reason would not have the force of law if it were not the voice and interpreter of a higher reason to which our spirit and our freedom must be submitted.”
The very basis of natural law is that it is deep in our hearts
We have the sense that we have an obligation to do good and an obligation to avoid evil
C.S. Lewis talked about moral law as proof of God’s existence in Mere Christianity
“We don’t simply fight. We argue.”
An argument is that YOU have done something wrong, that we all agree is wrong
You did not do the thing that we all agree is right
When it comes to some of these arguments, we appeal to a greater law that all of us find in our hearts
C.S. Lewis said, “This doesn’t even have to be something that hurts me or something that I don’t like. We can still argue or be upset with someone, even if they simply try to step on our toe, even if they don’t succeed at it. They don’t hurt us at all. But the fact that they tried to step on our toes, tried to step on our foot, right we can say, ‘That’s wrong. You shouldn’t have done that.’ And again it’s such a small…
What just happened?
Did Fr. Mike finish C.S. Lewis’s quote??
Ok….where was I?
Um…”wait, you shouldn’t do that.”
“But I didn’t do anything wrong.”
“Well, you didn’t. There was no result. My toe is not hurt. My foot is not damaged. But the very fact that you wanted to, the fact that you attempted to step on my foot, there is something wrong about that.”
This is clearly a pedestrian example (PARDON THE PUN!!!!)
There is something in the human heart that says, “This is good and must be done. This is evil and must be avoided.”
Paragraph 1955 says, “The ‘divine and natural’ law shows man the way to follow so as to practice the good and attain his end. The natural law states the first and essential precepts which govern the moral life. It hinges upon the desire for God and submission to him, who is the source and judge of all that is good, as well as upon the sense that the other is one’s equal. Its principal precepts are expressed in the Decalogue. This law is called ‘natural,’ not in reference to the nature of irrational beings, but because reason which decrees it properly belongs to human nature: Where then are these rules written, if not in the book of that light we call the truth? In it is written every just law; from it the law passes into the heart of the man who does justice, not that it migrates into it, but that it places its imprint on it, like a seal on a ring that passes onto wax, without leaving the ring. The natural law is nothing other than the light of understanding placed in us by God; through it we know what we must do and what we must avoid. God has given this light or law at the creation.”
The Decalogue is the Ten Commandments
Some people say that plenty of other religions and cultures had something similar to the Ten Commandments and will use that as an argument against Christianity
Wouldn’t those same people want harmony between Judaism, Christianity, and many other people throughout the world?
This points to the fact that there is a commonality in the human heart
We find a lot of things in nature that, as human beings, we think are not good or right
For example, a number of creatures in the wild have mothers who eat their young
Just because this is found in nature does not make it part of the natural law
The natural law is not the same thing as the law of nature
Everyone must follow the natural law
There is application of that law that can vary over times and civilizations and can be all over the place
Nevertheless, it still binds us together
We still have a common thread in the human heart
“You must do good and must avoid evil.”
It is immutable and it is permanent
Paragraph 1960 says, “The precepts of natural law are not perceived by everyone clearly and immediately. In the present situation sinful man needs grace and revelation so moral and religious truths may be known ‘by everyone with facility, with firm certainty and with no admixture of error.’ The natural law provides revealed law and grace with a foundation prepared by God and in accordance with the work of the Spirit.”
One of the consequences of Original Sin is darkening of the intellect
Yes, we can grasp truth
But we may only see truth dimly and not fully understand it
Let’s listen to Fr. Mike talk about Greek philosophers…
There are some people among us who perceive more clearly and more immediately the natural law than others
Some of us are a little bit slower (ME!!)
In this world where there is natural moral law that is in the human heart, God speaks even more clearly
He confirms what we find in our human heart and He builds on it when it comes to the Old Law and then He fully builds on it when it comes to the New Law or the Law of the Gospel
Fr. Mike is praying FOR YOU!!
Please pray for Fr. Mike and FOR ME and for each other!!