Liberty University Law Review Volume 2Issue 3 Article 8 March 2008 The Nature in Natural Law The Nature in Natural Law Donald R. McConnell Follow this and additional works at: Recommended Citation Recommended Citation McConnell, Donald R. (2008) "The Nature in Natural Law," Liberty University Law Review: Vol. 2 : Iss. 3 , Article 8. Available at: This Article is brought to you for free and open access by the Liberty University School of Law at Scholars Crossing. It has been accepted for inclusion in Liberty University Law Review by an authorized editor of Scholars Crossing. For more information, please contact [email protected].
THE NATURE IN NATURAL LAWDonald R. McConnellAbstractIn the Tolkien classic and recent motion picture epic The Lord of the Ringsthere is a compelling portrayal of the struggle between good and evil as it ismanifested between empires, cultures, peoples, and in the hearts of individuals.It is a portrayal that resonates deeply in the human heart. It reveals somethingof what we know at a deep level. One could say it speaks indirectly of theNatural Law. Why do we call Natural Law "Natural"? If Natural Law isnatural because it comes from the nature of human beings, as Finnis, andmany other contemporary Natural Law advocates appear to say, then why arethere not different rules for different natures? No one partaking of the mythicstruggle for Middle Earth would say that murder, torture and oppression ofothers are right for Sauron and the orcs because theyflowfrom their nature.Indeed, if as Francis Fukuyama fears human nature can be changed, just asthe dark powers turned captive elves into orcs in Tolkien 'spast of legend, whywould there not be some other morality flowing from that new nature. TheNatural Law must have something to do with a more fixed and transcendentnature. Looking at the ancient stoics we can see that at the dawning ofsystematic thought about Natural Law they had an insight into why they calledthis objective law above human law "natural. " When the stoic's aberrantpantheism is sorted out, we can see that the real nature of Natural Law isGod's nature. An examination of the other historical views of what is meant bynature in regard to Natural Law discloses that all of the theories borrow oneor more of the strands unifying view ofNatural Law held by the stoics. No oneof the views, except perhaps Augustine of Hippo, directly links the nature ofGod with the use of nature in the descriptive phrase "Natural Law." But manyof the historic views are not far from, or incompatible with focusing on God'snature and primary. There are some disadvantages to the historic natures usedin various theories. There are practical and Biblical reasons why it makessense to re-adopt the view that the relevant nature ofNatural Law is the natureof God himselft Academic Dean of Trinity Law School and assistant professor of Law. J.D., Universityof