Biblical Natural Law: A Theocentric and Teleological Approach

Overview

Natural law theory is controversial today because it presumes that there is a stable 'human nature' that is subject to a 'law'. How do we know that 'human nature' is stable and not ever-evolving? How can we expect 'law' not to constrict human freedom and potential? Furthermore if there is a 'law,' there must be a lawgiver. Matthew Levering argues that natural law theory makes sense only within a broader worldview, and that the Bible sketches both such a persuasive worldview and an account of natural law that ...
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Biblical Natural Law: A Theocentric and Teleological Approach

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Overview

Natural law theory is controversial today because it presumes that there is a stable 'human nature' that is subject to a 'law'. How do we know that 'human nature' is stable and not ever-evolving? How can we expect 'law' not to constrict human freedom and potential? Furthermore if there is a 'law,' there must be a lawgiver. Matthew Levering argues that natural law theory makes sense only within a broader worldview, and that the Bible sketches both such a persuasive worldview and an account of natural law that offers an exciting portrait of the moral life.

To establish the relevance of biblical readings to the wider philosophical debate on natural law, this study offers an overview of modern natural law theories from Descartes to Nietzsche, which reverse the biblical portrait by placing human beings at the center of the moral universe. Whereas the biblical portrait of natural law is other-directed, ordered to self-giving love, the modern accounts turn inward upon the self. Drawing on the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas, Levering employs theological and philosophical investigation to achieve a contemporary doctrine of natural law that accords with the biblical witness to a loving Creator who draws human beings to share in the divine life. Biblical Natural Law provides both an introduction to natural law theory and a compelling challenge to re-think current scholarship on the topic.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Matthew Levering brings his customary high level of research and insight to an entangled and prickly topic...a clearly thought-out consideration of an important, practical subject that will serve its readers well." - Mark McDowell, Themelios
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199654116
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 7/15/2012
  • Pages: 270
  • Sales rank: 1,278,367
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Matthew Levering is Professor of Theology at the University of Dayton, Ohio

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 The Bible and Natural Law 22

2 Anthropocentric Natural Law 69

3 Natural Law and Natural Inclinations 140

4 Natural Law and the Order of Charity 189

Conclusion 224

Works Cited 235

Index 255

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