Since the late 17th century, two physical concepts of space exist. Isaac Newton's theory of an immovable ‘absolute space’ made it possible to explain motion and force by the quality of material elements. Less influential was Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz's concept of space as an ‘order of coexistence’, which focuses, contrary to Newton, on the relationship between material bodies. The author argues that both concepts not only concern physical notions, but also include general models to explain cause, effect and relation. In an analogy to Newton's ‘absolute space’, theories of natural law employ the state of nature to explain society according to the anthropological quality of human beings. Leibniz's concept, in contrast, is used to elaborate theories of complex dynamic interactions and relationships. This essay attempts to illustrate the application of Leibniz's concept with examples of 18th century natural history, demography, economic theory and Charles Bonnet's natural law.