Calvinist natural law and the ultimate good

Lee, Constance Youngwon (2014) Calvinist natural law and the ultimate good. The Western Australian Jurist, 5 153-175.

Author Lee, Constance Youngwon
Title Calvinist natural law and the ultimate good
Journal name The Western Australian Jurist
ISSN 1839-1117
Publication date 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 5
Start page 153
End page 175
Total pages 23
Place of publication Murdoch, W.A. Australia
Publisher Western Australian Legal Theory Association
Language eng
Abstract Calvin’s natural law theory is premised on the sovereignty of God. In natural law terms, the ‘sovereignty of God’ doctrine prescribes that the normative standards for positive law originate from God alone. God is the sole measure of the ‘good’. This emphasis allows for a sharp separation between normative and descriptive dimensions. In this context, it would be a logical fallacy to maintain that anything humanly appointed can attain the status of selfevidence. However, in recent years, new natural law theorists have been guilty of conflating the normative and descriptive dimensions – a distinction that is critical to the discipline of natural law. This may stretch as far back to Aquinas who set human participation in the goods (‘practical reason’) as the rightful starting place for natural law. This paper explores Calvin’s natural law theory to show how his concept of ‘the ultimate good’ harnesses the potential to restore natural law theory to its proper order. By postulating a transcendent standard in terms of ‘the ultimate good’ – God Himself – Calvin’s natural law provides a philosophical framework for compelling positive laws in the pursuit of a higher morality.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: TC Beirne School of Law Publications
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Created: Tue, 09 Aug 2016, 08:03:43 EST by Carmen Buttery on behalf of T.C. Beirne School of Law