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4: Aquinas’s Natural Law Theory

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  • Grace does not destroy nature but perfects it.1

    They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.2

    Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) was an intellectual and religious revolutionary, living at a time of great philosophical, theological and scientific development. He was a member of the Dominican Friars, which at that time was considered to be a cult, and was taught by one of the greatest intellects of the age, Albert the Great (1208–1280). In a nutshell Aquinas wanted to move away from Plato’s thinking, which was hugely influential at the time, and instead introduce Aristotelian ideas to science, nature and theology.

    Aquinas wrote an incredible amount — in fact one of the miracles accredited to him was the amount he wrote! His most famous work is Summa Theologica and this runs to some three and half thousand pages and contains many fascinating and profound insights, such as proofs for God’s existence. The book remained a fundamental basis for Catholic thinking right up to the 1960s! But do not worry we will only be focusing on a few key ideas! Specifically books I–II, questions 93–95.

    2 T. Aquinas, Romans, 2:15.

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