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JP2 - Splendour of Truth, Freedom and Law.docx

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Western University
Philosophy 4990A/B
Michael Fox

FREEDOM AND LAW  Human freedom finds its authentic and complete fulfillment precisely in the acceptance of that law  Some present-day cultural tendencies have given rise to several currents of thought in ethics which center upon an alleged conflict between freedom, and law. These doctrines would grant to individuals or social groups the right to determine what is good or evil  Certain moral theologians have introduced a sharp distinction, between an ethical order which would be human in origin and of value for his world alone, and an order of salvation for which only certain intentions and interior attitudes regarding God and neighbour would be significant  Man’s dominion extends in a certain sense over man himself  The exercise of dominion over the world represents a great and responsible task for man one which involves his freedom in obedience to the Creators command  God left man in the power of his own counsel that he might seek his creator and freely attain perfection. Attaining such perfection means personally building up that perfection in himself  Reason draws its own truth and authority from the eternal law, which is none other than divine wisdom itself  God gave this light and this law to man at creation. The rightful autonomy of the practical reason means that man possess in himself his own law, received from the creator  Of theonomy or participated theonomy, since man’s free obedience to God’s law effectively implies that human reason and human will participate in God’s wisdom and providence  God makes it clear that man doesn’t originally possess such knowledge as something properly his own, but only participates in it by the light of natural reason and of Divine Revelation  Law must therefore be considered an expression of divine wisdom  Man achieves such dignity when he frees himself from all subservience to his feelings  The second Vatican council points out that the surpreme rule of life is the divine law itself, the eternal, objective and universal law by which God out of his wisdom and love arranges, directs and governs the whole world and the paths of the human community  The council refers to the classic teaching on God’s eternal law  And God’s wisdom is providence, a love which cares  But God provides for man differently from the way in which he provides for beings which are not persons  The essential subordination of reason and human law to the Wisdom of God and to his law  The force of law consists in its authority to impose duties, to confer rights and to sanction certain behavior  Man is able to recognize good and evil thanks to that discernment of good from evil which he himself carries out by his reason  The different ways in which God, acting in history cares for the world and for mankind are not mutually exclusive; on the contrary they support eachother and intersect  God’s plan poses no threat to man’s genuine freedom on the contrary, the acceptance of god’
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