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NML.pdf - III. THE DESIRE FOR HAPPINESS AND THE MORAL LIFE...

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III. THE DESIRE FOR HAPPINESS AND THE MORAL LIFETheme 7. The parameters of the moral orderWhen man does not recognize that he has been created and tries to live in anabsolutely autonomous way, without depending on anyone, he loses the senseof his moral obligations, and he cannot understand the existence of objectivemoral norms.In this situation, man thinks that he can invent his own final goal and thatthings are good or bad according to his own ideas and will.As a consequence, man can deny that the final goal we seek is God, PerfectGoodness, and he will not accept the fact that the moral norms help us to useour freedom correctly, so as to achieve that final goal.Over the centuries, Philosophy has shown that there are two main referencepoints, according to which a human act may be considered to be morallygood or morally evil.These are the Eternal Law, and what is called, upright human reason (rightreason).We will now study these two reference points for judging the morality of ouractions.The eternal law and natural lawThe concept called Eternal Law forms part of philosophical thought downthrough the centuries. We can find many references to it in philosophical andliterary works. Some examples:Heraclitus: “All human laws rely on one law which is the divine law.”Sophocles, in his work calledAntigona, refers to unwritten and unchangeablelaws.Epictetus: “We must do good and avoid evil” (IV, 3, 30).Cicero: “the law is the supreme reason inherent in nature, that commands usto do what we ought and prohibits that we do the opposite” (De Legibus,I,18).Cicero: “Certainly there exists a true law, according to nature, known byeveryone, constant and everlasting…We cannot add nor take anything awayfrom this law, neither can we eliminate it completely…There is not one lawfor Rome, another for Athens, another now, another for the future; rather,10
there is only one law which is always the same, eternal, unchangeable, for allmen of all times and there is only one God, common master and Lord of allwho is the author, sanctions and promulgates this law. He who does not obeythis Law betrays himself and offends human nature, and because of that,suffers the maximum penalty, even though he thinks that he can escape fromthe pain” (De Republica,I, III, cc. 22-23).St Thomas Aquinas explains: “through his wisdom, God is the author of allthings and he can be compared to the inventor and his inventions. So, if theoutline traced by divine wisdom in creation is like a project, model or idea ofall things, this same outline, in as much as is directs all things to their properend, is like a law. So we can say that the Eternal Law is the rule establishedby divine wisdom that directs all acts and operations” (Summa Theologiae, I-II, q. 93, a. 1).

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Term
Summer
Professor
DR. AMULEGA
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