Rendering to Caesar and God: St Paul, the Natural Law Tradition, and the Authority of Law
The question of the authority of law has occupied and vexed the literature and philosophy of law for centuries. Law is something that characteristically implies obedience, but the precise nature of law's authority remains contentious. The return to the writings of the Apostle Paul in contemporary philosophy, theology and jurisprudence begs attention in relation to the authority of law, and so this article will consider his analysis and critique of law with a focus on his Epistle to the Romans. It argues that Paul's conception of the authority of law is explained on the basis that the law is from God, it externally sanctions obedience by virtue of the civil authorities, and it convicts internally in conscience. This triad is justified by the law of love (''love your neighbor as yourself''), and will be explained in relation to the natural law tradition as well as converse ideas in positivism. Hence, considering the reasoning of Paul in relation to traditional jurisprudential themes and the law of love provides a useful alternative analysis and basis for further investigation regarding the authority of law and the need for its obedience.
Law, Culture and the Humanities
Legal Theory, Jurisprudence and Legal Interpretation