Hobbes, Locke and the State of Nature ..
Social Contract Theories of Hobbes, Locke, and …
Natural law is also distinct from divine law in that the latter, inthe Christian tradition, normally referred to those laws that God haddirectly revealed through prophets and other inspired writers. Naturallaw can be discovered by reason alone and applies to all people, whiledivine law can be discovered only through God's special revelation andapplies only to those to whom it is revealed and who God specificallyindicates are to be bound. Thus some seventeenth-century commentators,Locke included, held that not all of the 10 commandments, much lessthe rest of the Old Testament law, were binding on all people. The 10commandments begin “Hear O Israel” and thus are onlybinding on the people to whom they were addressed (Works6:37). As we will see below, even though Locke thought natural lawcould be known apart from special revelation, he saw no contradictionin God playing a part in the argument, so long as the relevant aspectsof God's character could be discovered by reason alone. In Locke'stheory, divine law and natural law are consistent and can overlap incontent, but they are not coextensive. Thus there is no problem forLocke if the Bible commands a moral code that is stricter than the onethat can be derived from natural law, but there is a real problem ifthe Bible teaches what is contrary to natural law. In practice, Lockeavoided this problem because consistency with natural law was one ofthe criteria he used when deciding the proper interpretation ofBiblical passages.
Hobbes & Locke | HARPER APUSH BLOG 3rd
In the century before Locke, the language of natural rights alsogained prominence through the writings of such thinkers as Grotius,Hobbes, and Pufendorf. Whereas natural law emphasized duties, naturalrights normally emphasized privileges or claims to which an individualwas entitled. There is considerable disagreement as to how thesefactors are to be understood in relation to each other in Locke'stheory. Leo Strauss, and many of his followers, take rights to beparamount, going so far as to portray Locke's position as essentiallysimilar to that of Hobbes. They point out that Locke defended ahedonist theory of human motivation (Essay 2.20) and claimthat he must agree with Hobbes about the essentially self-interestednature of human beings. Locke, they claim, recognizes natural lawobligations only in those situations where our own preservation is notin conflict, further emphasizing that our right to preserve ourselvestrumps any duties we may have.