Natural law is the divine imprint of morality impressed into every person’s conscience.
The great thinkers of the past affirmed the natural law, including people as diverse as Confucius, Aristotle, Cicero, Augustine, Aquinas, Calvin, Luther, and Kant. America’s founding fathers considered natural law to be beyond question. The English political philosopher John Locke wrote, in his Second Treatise on Government (1690), that people have natural rights to life, liberty, and property. Thomas Jefferson, in the Declaration of Independence (1776), similarly affirmed that all people are “created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights ... life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
From Jefferson through Lincoln, America’s leaders were educated with William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England (1st ed., 1765). Blackstone emphasized that natural law is the appropriate foundation for civil law, and that no man-made law that violates natural law has legitimacy. Put simply, natural law defines justice.
Natural law is the objective basis for social order; without it, no society can long endure. The most significant transformation in American thought since the time of Lincoln is the decline of the society’s adherence to natural law. Moral skepticism now saturates the culture, glorifying personal preference at the expense of a genuine respect for the divine design of the human person.
From the courtroom to the sitcom, time-tested standards have been abandoned for passing fashions in an unbridled celebration of individuality. Meanwhile, spurious notions of the public good have arisen without any basis in human nature. The result is self-alienation on a massive scale, leading to the destabilization of our society’s most basic institutions.
The future of this nation depends upon a recovery of natural law. So does the future of America’s families. The salvation of individuals will require something much greater—the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But concerning natural law, Christians can and should build a consensus with others in order to foster a society in which ordered liberty protects the God-given rights of all people.
Into Your Hands LLC strives to assist in this endeavor through research, consulting, publishing, training, and advocacy. Some of our products and services may endorse a specifically Christian message, but much of what we do focuses more broadly on the natural law principles that are essential for any civilized society. With the Hausvater Project, we affirm the following:
- that the natural family consists of one man and one woman united in marriage for life—and their children, whether begotten or adopted
- that society originates from natural families serving one another (society does not create and cannot redefine the natural family)
- that civil governments’ proper authority should be recognized as a divinely established derivative from the office of parenthood
- that civil governments properly exist to promote peace and justice—protecting citizens’ rights to life, property, and liberty (especially religious liberty)
- that civil governments’ promotion of the common good should serve as a supplement to, not a replacement for, similar work performed by families, and ultimately aim to strengthen the ability of families to perform such tasks on their own
- that family law, including provisions concerning marriage, procreation, adoption, and child custody, should be founded upon principles of natural law