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Divine law is any body of
law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its bounda ...
that is perceived as deriving from a transcendent source, such as the
will of God The will of God or divine will is the concept of a God having a Will (philosophy), will (i.e. particular desire) for humanity. Ascribing a Volition (psychology), volition or a plan to a God generally implies a personal God (God regarded as a pers ...
or
gods A deity or god is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena or entities that are not subject to the . This term is attributed to , such as s, s, , and . It also includes claimed abilities embodied in or provided by suc ...

gods
in contrast to
man-made lawMan-made law is law that is made by humans, usually considered in opposition to concepts like natural law Natural law ( la, ius naturale, ''lex naturalis'') is a system of law based on a close observation of human nature Human nature is a concept ...
or to
secular law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its boundari ...
. According to
Angelos Chaniotis Angelos Chaniotis ( el, Άγγελος Χανιώτης, born November 8, 1959) is a Greek historian and Classics scholar, known for original and wide-ranging research in the cultural, religious, legal and economic history of the Hellenistic peri ...
and
Rudolph F. Peters Rudolph "Ruud" F. Peters (born 16 September 1943, The Hague) is a scholar of Islam at the University of Amsterdam. He has written works on Islam. Selected publications * ''Islam and Colonialism'' * ''Jihad in Classical and Modern Islam: A Reader''< ...
, divine laws are typically perceived as superior to man-made laws, sometimes due to an assumption that their source has resources beyond human knowledge and human reason. Believers in divine laws might accord them greater
authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture that surrounds everyday life. It is a social science that uses various methods of Empiric ...

authority
than other laws, for example by assuming that divine law cannot be changed by human authorities. According to Chaniotis, Divine laws are noted for their apparent inflexibility. The introduction of interpretation into divine law is a controversial issue, since believers place high significance on adhering to the law precisely. Opponents to the application of divine law typically deny that it is purely divine and point out human influences in the law. These opponents characterize such laws as belonging to a particular cultural
tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psychology) In psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of conscious ...

tradition
. Conversely, adherents of divine law are sometimes reluctant to adapt inflexible divine laws to cultural contexts.
Medieval Christianity Christianity in the Middle Ages covers the history of Christianity The history of Christianity concerns the Christian religion, Christian countries, and the Church with its various denominations, from the 1st century to the present. ...
assumed the existence of three kinds of laws: divine law,
natural law Natural law ( la, ius naturale, ''lex naturalis'') is a system of law based on a close observation of human nature Human nature is a concept that denotes the fundamental disposition A disposition is a quality of character, a habit A habit (or ...
, and man-made law.
Theologians Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the Divinity, divine and, more broadly, of religious belief. It is taught as an Discipline (academia), academic discipline, typically in universities and seminaries. It occupies itself with the un ...
have substantially debated the scope of natural law, with the
Enlightenment Enlightenment, enlighten or enlightened may refer to: Age of Enlightenment * Age of Enlightenment, period in Western intellectual history from the late 17th to late 18th century, centered in France but also encompassing: ** Midlands Enlightenment ...
encouraging greater use of
reason Reason is the capacity of consciously applying logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth and reasoning Reason is the capacity of consciously making sense of things, applying logic Logic (from Ancient Greek, Greek ...
and expanding the scope of natural law and marginalizing divine law in a process of
secularization In sociology Sociology is a social science Social science is the branch The branches and leaves of a tree. A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytolo ...
. Since the authority of divine law is rooted in its source, the origins and transmission-history of divine law are important. Conflicts frequently arise between
secular Secularity, also the secular or secularness (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through t ...

secular
understandings of
justice Justice, in its broadest sense, is the principle that people receive that which they deserve, with the interpretation of what then constitutes "deserving" being impacted upon by numerous fields, with many differing viewpoints and perspectives, ...

justice
or
morality Morality (from ) is the differentiation of intention Intentions are mental states in which the agent commits themselves to a course of action. Having the plan to visit the zoo tomorrow is an example of an intention. The action plan is the '' ...

morality
and divine law.
Religious law Religious law includes ethical Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that "involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong action (philosophy), behavior".''Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy'"Et ...
, such as
canon law Canon law (from grc, κανών, , a 'straight measuring rod, ruler A ruler, sometimes called a rule or line gauge, is a device used in geometry and technical drawing, as well as the engineering and construction industries, to measure dis ...
, includes both divine law and additional interpretations, logical extensions, and traditions.


Treatise on Law

In
Thomas Aquinas Thomas Aquinas (; it, Tommaso d'Aquino, lit=Thomas of Aquino, Italy, Aquino; 1225 – 7 March 1274) was an Italian Dominican Order, Dominican friar, Philosophy, philosopher, Catholic priest, and Doctor of the Church. An immensely influential ...

Thomas Aquinas
's ''Treatise on Law'', divine law comes only from revelation or
scripture Religious texts, also known as scripture, scriptures, holy writ, or holy books, are the texts which various religious traditions consider to be sacred Sacred describes something that is dedicated or set apart for the service or worship of ...
, hence
biblical law Biblical law refers to the legal aspects of the Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was t ...
, and is necessary for human
salvation Salvation (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in re ...

salvation
. According to Aquinas, divine law must not be confused with natural law. Divine law is mainly and mostly natural law, but it can also be
positive law Positive laws ( la, links=no, ius positum) are human-made laws that oblige or specify an action. Positive law also describes the establishment of specific rights for an individual or group. Etymologically, the name derives from the verb ''to posit ...
.


See also

*
Biblical law in Christianity Biblical law refers to the legal aspects of the Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was t ...
*
Dharma Dharma (; sa, धर्म, dharma, ; pi, dhamma, italic=yes; ta, aṟam, italic=yes) is a key concept with multiple meanings in Indian religions Indian religions, sometimes also termed Dharmic religions or Indic religions, are the s ...
*
Halakha ''Halakha'' (; he, הֲלָכָה, ), also transliterated Transliteration is a type of conversion of a text from one script Script may refer to: Writing systems * Script, a distinctive writing system, based on a repertoire of specific ...
* *
Law and religionLaw and religion is the interdisciplinary study of relationships between law, especially public law, and religion. Vogue Magazine reports that during the late 1900, a new law and religion approach emerged that progressively built its own contribution ...
*
Mitzvah In its primary meaning, the Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Jud ...
*
Morality and religion Morality and religion involves the relationship between religious views and morals. Many religions have value frameworks regarding personal behavior meant to guide adherents in determining between right and wrong. These include the Triple Ge ...
*
Regulative principle of worship The regulative principle of worship is a Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Test ...
, debate over the scope of divine law in 17th-century English Christian practices *
Rule according to higher law The rule according to a higher law is a statement which expresses that no law may be enforced by the government unless it conforms with certain universal principles (written or unwritten) of fairness, morality, and justice. Thus, ''the rule accor ...
*
Sharia Sharia (; ar, شريعة, sharīʿa ) is a religious law Religious law includes ethical Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that "involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong action ...
, Islamic law *
Theocracy Theocracy is a form of government in which one or more deities A deity or god is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena or entities that are not subject to the laws of nature. This term is attributed to non-phys ...

Theocracy


Notes


Citations


References

* * * * *


Further reading

* Canosa, J. (2009). The Efficacy of the Divine Law in the Administrative Justice in the Church. Ius Canonicum, 49, 549. https://heinonline.org/HOL/P?h=hein.journals/iuscan49&i=555 * * McCall, B. M. (2011). Consulting the Architect When Problems Arise-The Divine Law. Geo. JL & Pub. Pol'y, 9, 103. * Rubin, A. P. (1992). International Law in the age of Columbus. Netherlands International Law Review, 39(1), 5-35. * Rumble, W. E. (1979). Divine Law, Utilitarian Ethics, and Positivist Jurisprudence: A Study of the Legal Philosophy of John Austin. Am. J. Juris., 24, 139.


External links


Catholic Encyclopedia: Moral Aspect of Divine Law
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Christian terminology Words or phrases used to refer to concepts associated with Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings o ...
Philosophy of law Religious ethics Religious law Theories of law