On Creation and Ethics

John Finnis

in Religion and Public Reasons

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199580095
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729416 | DOI:
On Creation and Ethics

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This chapter explores a number of ways in which the ethics implicit in practical reason bear on, illuminate, and are illuminated by the truth that everything of which we have experience (including the whole set of first principles of practical reason) is the result of a transcendent act of creation by a reality that, unlike all other realities, needs no explanation. Since that transcendent act cannot have been other than intelligent, free, and thus personal, there is a basic human good of religio as a harmony between human persons and that transcendent personal reality, and every human choice should be regarded as involving (coherently or incoherently) a willingness to cooperate with the Creator (the fundamental natural love of God). We are each an imago Dei by a freedom of will more radical than that affirmed by modern philosophers or non-Biblical religions. Proportionalist moral theology is incompatible with divine providence and replaces a sound understanding of the significance of intention in Creation and in ethics with a concept (incompatible with divine holiness) of undifferentiated responsibility by causation.

Keywords: practical reason; creation; free will; good of religion; imago Dei; proportionalism; providence

Chapter.  4777 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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