The idea of the Natural Law Argument focuses on the claim that all natural laws that apply to our world must have been created by some sort of law-giver. That is, if there are certain laws that the world must abide by, someone must have created these laws, therefore there must be a law-giver, who we call God. As the universe works, things must either be random or law-governed. The Natural Law Argument states that things are not random, so they must be law-governed, and if things are law-governed, there must be a law-giver, therefore God exists. For example, the planets move in a certain fashion, and “people observed the planets going around the sun according to the law of gravitation, and they thought that God had given a behest to these planets to move in that particular fashion, and that is why they did so” (Russell). Everything in the universe behaves in a certain way, and if that happens to be true, then these things MUST have to behave in those certain ways, and there must be someone or something that makes them do it. The things that we cannot explain in this universe lead us to believe that God exists. One claim stated in this argument is that natural laws lack explanation, therefore God does indeed exist.
Bertrand Russell structures these arguments in a simple, matter-of-fact manner. He writes simply that many people have followed and agreed with this Natural Law Argument and that the answer to these claims of inexplicable laws that apply to the universe and nature is ultimately that God exists as a law-giver to formulate them.
However, Russell states that “we now find that a great many things we thought were natural laws are really human conventions” (Russell). This suggests that what we may have thought to be created by an all-powerful god may actually all turn out to be of human construct. “There is, as we all know, a law that if you throw a dice you will get double sixes only about once in thirty-six times, and we do not regard that as evidence that the fall of the dice is regulated by design; on the contrary, if the double sixes came every time we should think that there was design. The laws of nature are of that sort as regards a great many of them” (Russell). Russell explains that the fact that we associate natural laws with a law-giver and assume that “natural laws imply a law-giver” is actually a misunderstanding of the interpretation of natural vs human laws. “Human laws are behests commanding you to behave a certain way, in which you may choose to behave, or you may choose not to behave; but natural laws are a description of how things do in fact behave, and being a mere description of what they in fact do, you cannot argue that there must be somebody who told them to do that” (Russell). If we do assume that to be valid, we must consider the question “Why did God issue just those natural laws and no others?” and if we give God the credit of simply formulating these laws for no specific reason, then we can conclude that there are some things that are not subject to laws, or at least any of these law-governed systems in the universe, then we must dismiss the argument for the validity of natural laws. Now thinking about the prospect of reasons of the application of these laws, we must question whether there is reason, and “if there were a reason for the laws which God gave, then God himself was subject to law, and therefore you do not get any advantage by introducing God as an intermediary” (Russell).
Russell’s dismissal of the Natural Law Argument is structured through claims that combat the original statements proposed. He takes frequent stabs at the questions regarding the argument, quickly disproving the theories without even needing to specify of go into extreme depth to support his refutes.
Although I agree with many of Russell’s arguments against the theory of natural laws governed by an all-powerful law-giver (God), and his suggestion that natural laws and well as the theory of God in general is a human construct, the way in which he explains these rebuttals is somewhat vague, in the sense that he does not delve into the obvious fact that we as humans do not have the capability to challenge or support these proposed prospects with clear answers. My standpoint on the whole ordeal is simply put; if we cannot support the existence of God and his position as the ultimate law-giver with the knowledge that we possess, and we cannot due to our limited human perspectives, then we cannot approach a reasonable answer derived from the suggestions that God is in fact the law-giver and these laws are in fact governed by some ethereal force or entity.
To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below: