Writings by Germain Grisez and Peter Ryan, S.J.
Edited By Peter J. Weigel
Natural Law, God, Religion, and Human Fulfillment
This paper deals with matters that deserve book-length treatment. Since I do not expect to write that book, the paper is only a sketch for a work I hope others will undertake.1
Part one deals with the basic precepts of natural law, which are the primary principles of practical reason.2 Part two explains how those principles manifest God and give rise to religion. Part three treats the relationship between religion and moral life. Part four considers relevant aspects of the biblical worldview, and criticizes St. Thomas Aquinas’s account of ultimate human fulfillment.
I: The Basic Precepts of Natural Law
In thinking we can act or not, or do this or that, it seems to be up to us which option we shall choose: I must opt for one of the available possibilities, but only my choice will determine which. In choosing, we have the experience of doing so freely.
Determinists regard this experience as misleading or illusory, but since it is not obviously so, the burden rests on them to show that we should accept their view. In trying to do that, they must do more than call our attention to facts and present us with purely logical analyses, for neither facts nor logical analyses by themselves, nor both together, can establish the truth of determinism. Thus, determinists regularly try to show that their view offers the most reasonable account of all the relevant facts and...
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