The main difference between divine law and natural law is that divine law comes directly from God, while natural law is inherent in human beings.
Divine law and natural law are ancient concepts and stem from the time of the medieval age. Both are unchanging bodies of law that govern human behavior.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Divine Law
– Definition, Features
2. What is Natural Law
– Definition, Features
3. Similarities – Divine Law and Natural Law
– Outline of Common Features
4. Difference Between Divine Law and Natural Law
– Comparison of Key Differences
Divine Law, Natural Law
What is Divine Law
Divine law is any law or rule that is believed to come directly from God. It is the law of God. Also, humans typically see divine law as superior to natural law or secular law. Those who believe in divine law are of the view that divine law has greater authority than other laws. Moreover, they believe that it cannot be changed by humans or human authorities. Therefore, the main characteristics of divine law are 1) it is universal and permeant, 2) created by a supreme being, 3) and guides people to become good.
Belief in the divine in law is not common to one religion. Almost all the religions in the world have this type of law. According to Thomas Aquinas’s Treatise on Law, divine law comes only from revelation or scripture; hence, Christians may call it biblical law. In addition, we also call it the ‘Word of God’. Other religions also have their own divine law; the Holy Quran and the Code of Hammurabi are two such examples.
What is Natural Law
Natural law is a theory that suggests there is a set of rights inherent to existence and quite different from the human created legal systems. It also suggests that humans possess intrinsic values that control their reasoning and behavior. According to natural law, the rules determining the rightness or wrongness of action are inherent in human beings. These are not created by society or a court of law. Moreover, this theory opposes the view that laws are created by people or socially constructed.
The concept of natural law is not a modern one. In fact, it stems from the times of Aristotle and Plato. Since natural law is based on human nature and not on culture or traditions, it is constant across the globe. For example, all societies consider murder to be morally wrong, regardless of how it’s viewed by religion or law of court.
Similarities Between Divine Law and Natural Law
- Both divine law and natural law govern human behavior.
- Moreover, they are unchanging bodies of law.
Difference Between Divine Law and Natural Law
Divine law is any law or rule that is believed to come directly from God, while natural law is a theory that suggests there is a set of rights inherent to existence.
Moreover, divine law comes only from God, while natural law is a set of intrinsic values in humans.
Divine law may differ from religion to religion, but natural law is constant across the globe as it is based on human nature.
Natural law involves reasoning and intrinsic values whereas divine law involves devotion.
Divine law and natural law are ancient concepts and stem from the time of the medieval ages. The main difference between divine law and natural law is that divine law comes directly from God while natural law is inherent in human beings.
1. “Natural Law Definition.” Investopedia, 21 Sept. 2021, 2.
2. Werner, Marc. “Theory of Divine Law.” The Lawyers & Jurists, 10 Jan. 1970.
3. “Divine Law.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 27 Mar. 2022.
1. “Right, wrong, right-or-wrong, choose” (CC0) via Pixabay