Angilbert (fl. ca. 840/50), On the Battle Which was Fought at Fontenoy

The Law of Christians is broken,
Blood by the hands of hell profusely shed like rain,
And the throat of Cerberus bellows songs of joy.

Angelbertus, Versus de Bella que fuit acta Fontaneto

Fracta est lex christianorum
Sanguinis proluvio, unde manus inferorum,
gaudet gula Cerberi.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Schubert on St. Augustine's Teaching on the Eternal Law, Part 10

Augustine's Lex Aeterna Teaching
Its Content and its Source

by: P. Alois Schubert, S.V.D.

Sculpture of the Philosopher Plotinus

Part II
What Sources Inform St. Augustine's Teaching on the Eternal Law?

2. Attributes of the World Order.

Plotinus calls the order in the All eternal, in that the world is, to Plotinus, eternal.(20) The Nous brought forth the All. It is in the Mind of the enlightening Logos. That which is emitted by the Nous is the Logos. It emanates constantly forth. The eternal Logos determines the eternal order and harmony.(21)

The order is further measured by reason; in that the world soul conducts and administers the All following the laws of the Logos.(22) The order in the Cosmos is ultimately universal. It binds all things. Providence is the great guide beneath which all things stand. What could be disordered and draw away from the well-designed hanging together of all things?(23) There exists a Providence that sees all things through, from the beginning to the end, and which advances, not in numerical precision, but in a certain proportion. The evil themselves operate within this order. The evil act out their ways, their ways lacking good,(25) absent of good. "The difficulties associated with order are only possible because order exists. But it is not because of disorder that order exists, or because of unlawfulness that law exists. Rather, it is because of order that disorder exists, and because of law that reason exists, and from this there is lack of abiding in law and lack of reason.(26) According to Plotinus, order is not disturbed as a result of evil, as evil brings out in the view of the whole something useful, in that it can lend itself to be a pattern of lawfulness and something useful.(27) Yes, it is evidence of the highest power that from evil good can also be derived.(28) Providence demands that that which is evil be placed within the confines of the boundaries of order. It is with this that Dike (Δίκη), the Adrasteia (Ἀδράστεια) are concerned. Every bad action is followed by the judgment in the world, because it is not otherwise allowed. Right (Gerechtigkeit) triumphs in the All, because the Cosmos is ruled by the order and power of the highest governor.(29) The law of Providence is concerned with that: that the good are recompensed, and the evil are punished.(30). This order is in truth Adrasteia (the inescapable), in true justice and wonderful wisdom.(31) So is the order of the world according to Plotinus eternal, rational, and all-encompassing. Even the evil are dragged long under its influence, as it knows how to use it all for good.

Plotinus places therefore the same attributes upon the eternal law as Augustine.

Augustine calls this law a lex aeterna, sempiterna, ineffabilis. S. 6, Anm. 1 and 2. universalis S.7, Anm. 8; S. 8, Anm. 10
Plotinus says about the Logos: λόγος, καὶ ἀεὶ ἀπορρεῖ. S. 42, Anm. 21. πρόνοια ἐξ ἀρχῆς εἰς τέλος κατιοῦσα. S. 42, Anm. 24.
Augustine defines evil as the absence of good: malum non est nisi privatio boni. Aug. PL 46, col. 411. Mali causa est defectus boni. Aug. PL 46, col. 411.
Plotinus defines evil in the same manner: κακὸν είναι ἔλλειψις τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ στέρησις, απουσία ἀγαθοῦ. S. 42, Anm. 25.
The good and evil stand under the divine order of the world according to Augustine. Bona et mal ordine regi. S. 7, Anm. 8.ἡ δὲ κακία . . . παράδειγμα δίκης γενομένη. S. 43, Anm. 27.


(20) Enn. III [2], 1. Ἐπεὶ δὲ τὸ ἀεὶ [καὶ τὸ οὔποτε μὴ τῶι κόσμωι] τῶιδέ φαμεν παρεῖναι. [E.N. corrected in brackets]
(21) Enn. III, 2, 2. Νοῦς . . . τὰ πάντα εἰργάζετο· οὗτος δὲ ὁ λόγος ἐκ νοῦ ῥυείς. Τὸ γὰρ ἀπορρέον ἐκ νοῦ λόγος, καὶ ἀεὶ ἀπορρεῖ . . . τοῦ δὲ λόγου ἐπ᾽ αὐτοῖς τὴν ἁρμονίαν καὶ μίαν τὴν σύνταξιν εἰς τὰ ὅλα ποιουμένου.
(22) Enn. II 3, 13. ψυχῆς δὴ τὸ πᾶν τόδε διοικούσης κατὰ λόγον . . .
(23) Enn. III 3, 2. εἰ δὲ δὴ (= ἡ προνοίαι)ὁ μέγας ἡγεμὼν εἴη, ὑφ᾽ ὧι πάντα, τί ἂν ἀσύντακτον, τί δὲ οὐκ ἂν συνηρμοσμένον εἴη
(24) Enn. III, 3, 5. Γίνεται τοίνυν ἡ πρόνοια ἐξ ἀρχῆς εἰς τέλος κατιοῦσα ἄνωθεν οὐκ ἴση οἷον κατ᾽ ἀριθμόν, ἀλλὰ κατ᾽ ἀναλογίαν ἄλλη ἐν ἄλλωι [τόπωι]. [E.N. word replaced in brackets]
(25) Enn. I 8, 5. [[ἔλλειψις]] τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ [στέρησις, απουσία ἀγαθοῦ]. [E.N. replaced quote in double brackets; single brackets in original, but not in my copy of Enneads]
(26) Enn. III, 2, 4. οὐ γὰρ μήποτε ἐκφύγηι μηδὲν τὸ ταχθὲν ἐν τῶι τοῦ παντὸς νόμωι. Ἔστι δὲ οὐ διὰ τὴν ἀταξίαν τάξις οὐδὲ διὰ τὴν ἀνομίαν νόμος . . . ἀλλὰ διὰ τὴν τάξιν ἐπακτὸν οὖσαν· καὶ ὅτι τάξις, ἀταξία, καὶ διὰ τὸν νόμον καὶ τὸν λόγον καὶ ὅτι λόγος, παρανομία καὶ ἄνο[μ]ια. [E.N. bracketed letter in original]
(27) Enn. III, 2, 5. ἡ δὲ κακία εἰργάσατό τι χρήσιμον εἰς τὸ ὅλον παράδειγμα δίκης γενομένη καὶ πολλὰ ἐξ αὐτῆς χρήσιμα παρασχομένη.
(28) Enn. III, 2, 5. Τοῦτο δὲ δυνάμεως μεγίστης, καλῶς καὶ τοῖς κακοῖς χρῆσθαι δύνασθαι.
(29) Enn. II, 3, 8. καὶ [ἕπεται] τοῖς δρωμένοις ἐν τῶι παντὶ δίκη, εἴπερ μὴ [λυθήσεται] (= τὸ πᾶν). Μένει δ᾽ ἀεὶ (Δίκη) ὀρθουμένου τοῦ ὅλου τάξει καὶ δυνάμει τοῦ κρατοῦντος . . . [E.N. word replaced from original]
(30) Enn. III 2, 9. (νόμος προνοίας) λέγει δὲ τοῖς μὲν ἀγαθοῖς γενομένοις ἀγαθὸν βίον ἔσεσθαι καὶ . . . τοῖς δὲ κακοῖς τὰ ἐναντία . . .
(31) Enn. III 2, 13. αὕτη γὰρ ἡ διάταξις Ἀδράστεια ὄντως καὶ ὄντως Δίκη καὶ σοφία θαυμαστή.


  1. First off, I want to thank you for your blog "Lex Christianorum". You are doing a wonderful service. For once, somewhere, someone, You, are doing a public service by enunciating the Natural Law as conceived by Catholics. Thank you.

    As this is continuing, my eyes are being opened and I am seeing things and now am I able to comprehend and understand the mixup and the different trajectories that the Natural Law has undertaken.

    These posts of yours is enlightening. The first being that St. Albert changed the meaning of the Natural Law when he categorically renounced Ulpians definition. How the Catholic opinion of the Natural Law was divorced from its original meaning and intent.

    With these series of posts on Schubert's dissertation on Augustine, more revelations on how this is even more discombobulated.

    I'm a Catholic/Greek Orthodox (I live that unity of Christianity that Christ spoke of). But my take of the Natural Law is from its origins, the Doric Greeks. When the Norbertine priest mentioned the "Natural Law", I automatically thought "Nature" which is NOT what the Norbetine priest or any Catholic has in mind! I thought one thing--and Catholics think another. As a boy scout and then as a farm laborer, I got into contact with the real Natural Law and now I see how even St. Augustine has screwed this up.

    Here is the rub: From PART V

    Here is the key to this whole mess,

    "When nature supplies the reason, writes Cicero, then does it supply right reason, therefore also the law, which right reason would command or forbid. But when law, so also is it just."(11)

    See this is the grand difference between what the Ancients meant by the Natural Law and what the Catholic Church preaches about "reason being the Natural Law"!

    This is the key::: What does Cicero say----"Nature SUPPLIES" the reason". What I get from reading Catholic literature is "pure reason", human reasoning is the Natural Law. That is NOT the case. Nowhere in Catholic Literature is this that "Nature supplies the reason"!!!! I believe you are all missing the most important part, The Natural Law is that which "NATURE SUPPLIES THE REASON". That is what is meant by the natural law and this is what I see, is that the natural Law from the Catholic Perspective is that the Natural law springs FROM humans without any regard whatsoever from outside sources. That is what I have learned. Nowhere does the Catholic Academia and Clergy go to Nature anywhere and "get supplied" with reason, they make it up as they go along!

    "This law is neither thought up in the minds of men, nor fixed by the customs of men.

    This is totally opposite of what I think the Catholic Church teaches by its "Natural Moral Law". They don't have the sense of Cicero has!!! This is key. Why would normal Catholics say "we have the Natural law, not to be confused with the Laws of Nature"! What I gather from reading Catholic writing on their style of the natural law is the art of pure reason from the minds of men. Nothing of their so-called Natural Law comes, or is based on Nature!

    "From this law is every other law predicated,

    Again, this is the key. This is NOT said by RC Natural Law writers! There is not this said, "predicated" This word does NOT appear in Catholic Natural Law writings. They have "pure human reasoning" divorced from the laws of Nature.

    This is the big difference, Human reasoning MUST BE PREDICATED upon the Natural Law and Divine Revelation. The Natural Law is NOT human reasoning.

    There are slight modifications going on that are changing the meaning of the term "Natural Law".

  2. In Post VIII of this series, you wrote that a "commonweath (a democracy)". No. Cicero writes in De Republica, that it is mixed government! A democracy is NOT a commonwealth. The first thing a democracy does is get rid of aristocracy and the king---how is that a "common wealth"?

    I wrote a whole article supplied with a wealth of references that (A) the word "commonwealth" is synonymous with the word "republic" (B) A republic is Mixed Government, many castes are involved in government (C) the Ancient meaning of a republic is not the modern meaning of republic. A commonwealth is NOT a democracy.

    Here is the correct meaning of a commonwealth The Classical definition of a republic

  3. In the beginning of the this series, one of the headings was The Eternal Law as the Basic Norm of Temporal Laws: The Natural Law

    It is intimated that the Natural Law is under and part of the Temporal Law.

    The Natural Law is not part of the Temporal Law. God incorporates the whole of the Natural Law in Himself, does He not? God is not Temporal! This earth is temporary but the Natural Law that made the earth is not temporary! When God remakes the heavens and the earth---will not the same Natural Law be used? If the Natural law is part of the Wisdom of God, how can it be temporal?

  4. The Natural Law is supposed to be a science and in the 21st century, the field of the natural law is much like the field of political science which I call "political schietz", all scatter-brained.

    No Romans were ever "philosophical". They were not original thinkers. Let it be known that Cicero had extensive Greek training and was a philodorian, or a laconophile. He personally visited Sparta. He was schooled in Athens and he was probably taught in the peripatitic school (the school of Aristotle). Cicero was heavily influenced by Dicaearchus of Messana. He read a lot of his works and Dicaearchus was of the Aristotelian school and much of his work was based on the Spartans. Michael Grant, the American classicist, thinks that Cicero plagarized Dicaearchus's Tripoliticus which was based on Spartan government, for his book De Republica.

    And so, in Part I, you have Cicero saying, "For that reason, only the orderly measure is beautiful. The concept of order is in this manner inextricably intertwined with the concept of beauty."

    Well, Duh, the Greek word "cosmos" means "ordered beauty". It is a Greek thing. It was Pythagoras that brought that term out into the intellectual field and Pythagoras was trained on Doric Crete and in Sparta! Cicero is just passing on Greek knowledge and philosophy.

    And here comes another problem with the Natural Law. You keep on mentioning that Augustine writes of the Eternal Law which is ONLY another word for Divine wisdom!

    Well, what is "Philosophia"? Didn't Pythagoras coin the word "philosophy" for his studies? Was it not about "Love of Wisdom"? Did you know that the upper body of the Doric Cretans on Crete were known as the "Cosmi"? That their form of government, a classical republic, is their imitation of that divine Wisdom? Is this not what philosophy is?

    Is not then the Natural law bleeding over into what Philosophy is? The Doric Greeks "discovered" the Cosmos with its natural law and then invented the term "philosophy". That Pythagoras, which in turn Plato admired, was copying the Dorians? That St. Augustine and Cicero are developing a whole new set of words for what was already covered under the term "philosophy"? Is not Philosophy, this Loving of wisdom that built the Natural Order?

    Lines are being crossed, things are being mangled, and words are being divorced from their original meaning. Philosophy comes from the Natural Law. Philosophy is this reason that is pulled from the Natural Order. And this term Philosophy is based on what St. Augustine and Cicero renames the "Eternal Law".

    Again, the Doric lesson is that Humans do not reason, but that human reason must be PREDICATED upon the Natural Law, the Wisdom, and we love it. The proper term is Wisdom. Wisdom includes Divine Revelation and the Natural Law. Man does NOT invent any of this and because he is damaged by Original Sin, his reasoning must be based upon, supplied by Divine Revelation and the Natural Law.

    What is happening is that no one goes to the SOURCE of the Natural Law in Western Culture! All the info is of secondary tier. The Stoics mess it up and so on down the line. It is the Dorians that came up with it and their term "philosophy" is how the Natural Law works. Their reasoning was supplied by nature and what they did was predicated upon the rules/Laws/principles of Nature.

  5. "On occasion, the bishop uses the word order in an ethical sense. "That is no right order, indeed, it is no order at all, when one subordinates the better to the worse."(7)

    That's Greek, Aristotle on many occasions. Aristotle passes on an old Greek proverb, "Tis meet that Greek rule barbarian". Is this not of the better ruling the worse? So why did millions of Catholics vote for a Negroe to rule over Europeans? Why is Obama president thru much of the Catholic vote? Why did Catholics march in support of Civil Rights when it should be the "better" to rule over the worse?

    What I get is that Catholics give lip service to the Natural Law when it gets too ugly for their tastes.

    "Augustine defines the eternal law as that law through which all is completely in accordance with order and is therefore right.(16) The eternal law is that legal foundation(Rechtsgrund) of the inner ordering of things.

    That is interesting due to the fact that the whole of American Catholics promote democracy which is about breaking order! How can that be? Democracy has nothing to do with "order". Order presupposes Inequality---not equality. If everything is equal---there would be no need to have "order". In a democracy, does not the vulgar class rule? Does that not break "order"?

    "The bishop shows further that the eternal law as the Wisdom of God,(17) the divine reason or divine will,(18) the command to keep the natural order and prohibit the violation of it,(19)

    Explain this to me why are Roman Catholics attacking Southern Protestant Christians when it is the Southern Protestant Christians trying to MAINTAIN RACIAL ORDER--while Catholics and the whole of the episcopacy are on the Marxist bandwagon denouncing these people as racist? uh? What about Miscegenation? Where is the Catholic Church? Here you have "to KEEP the Natural Order"? Where in God's name is the Catholic church defending that?

    Obama is a barbarian, yet, where is the precisous Natural Law. And anybody who is righteous would """feel""" that the Obama presidency is the greatest travesty against the Natural Law!

    And what is the Catholic Church doing with "Altar girls" and women at the Altar passing the eucharist? Is that part of the Natural Law? (not to mention Holy Tradition)?

    If Leadership is male, taught by the Scripture and the Natural Law, why is the Catholic Church promoting "women's rights" for?

    It is clear to me, that the Catholic Church really does NOT know anything of the real original Natural Law and it doesn't care for it.