VanDrunen's Natural Law: Thomistic or Calvnistic?

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Puritan Board Freshman
Far from being a conduit of the Classical or Thomistic view of the lex naturalis Calvin made a very sophisticated revision of the concept of natural law by removing it from the Stoic and Thomistic corpus of “self-evident” truths and identifying it with the content of the Law revealed in the Garden and at Sinai and in the Sermon on the Mount…

Now recall VanDrunen:
I believe that my project, in many significant ways, stands in continuity with the perennially important natural law theory of Thomas Aquinas… natural law pertains to all things to which human beings are inclined by nature. Though again I develop these matters differently, the idea of natural law in terms of moral order rather than discrete rules is also important to the theology of natural law for which I argue in subsequent chapters.

VanDrunen’s multi-volume excursion into natural law is a rejection of reformed theology’s “very sophisticated revision of the concept of natural law.”

God the Benevolent Scientist | Reformed Libertarian



Puritanboard Amanuensis
For natural law to be "natural" it must be (1) according to the principles of human nature and its creaturely condition, and (2) be accessible to all people, whether they have received special revelation or not. There is no "Thomistic" or "Calvinistic" natural law per se. There are some basic principles of human life which are natural to every man. Once the concept is granted we are obliged to engage in a discursive examination of these basic principles in order to know the difference between good and evil.

On the other hand, natural law has to fit within a broader theological framework, especially where the authority of Scripture is concerned. This is where the terms "Thomistic" and "Calvinistic" become meaningful. Thomism argues that what is natural can lead us to special revelation, whereas Calvinism insists that special revelation is needed in order to understand the natural aright.

DVD is neither. He is separating the civil sphere and claiming that natural law functions apart from special revelation in this sphere. Neither Aquinas nor Calvin would have sympathised with this view. The issue is not with natural law but with the way it is made to function independently of special revelation in the civil sphere.
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