St. Thomas Aquinas also uniquely addressed appropriate social behavior toward God. In so doing, he gave his ideas a contemporary—some would say timeless—everyday context. Thomas believed that the laws of the state were, in fact, a natural product of human nature, and were crucial to social welfare. By abiding by the social laws of the state, people could earn eternal salvation of their souls in the afterlife, he purported. St. Thomas Aquinas identified three types of laws: natural, positive and eternal. According to his treatise, natural law prompts man to act in accordance with achieving his goals and governs man's sense of right and wrong; positive law is the law of the state, or government, and should always be a manifestation of natural law; and eternal law, in the case of rational beings, depends on reason and is put into action through free will, which also works toward the accomplishment of man's spiritual goals.
Topics of Thomistic Interest