Catholic Dictionary




Also called divine positive law, it is the sum total of all the prescriptions that God has communicated to the human race by way of supernatural revelation. It is, therefore, revealed law as distinct from the knowledge of God's will attainable by human reason alone.

Humankind needs a revealed law in addition to the divine natural law because the secondary precepts of the natural law can be obscured by evil passion, bad custom, and the allurement of sinful example. Another and higher reason why God revealed his will supernaturally is that he has elevated human nature to a higher than natural destiny. This heavenly destiny cannot be attained without the observance of correspondingly supernatural laws, which are in the character of divine graces with which human beings must co-operate in order to reach the beatific vision.

Three periods may be distinguished in the history of God's revealed will: from the dawn of creation to the time of Moses; the Mosaic period, which spans the whole history of ancient Israel; and in New Testament time from the coming of Christ to the end of the apostolic age.