Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. I’ve been doing some reading lately on the topic of presuppositionalism and seeing the kinds of arguments that are used by presuppositionalists. Much of the discussion centers around natural theology and before going on, I’d like to have a good blog on what exactly natural theology is.
Theology comes from the Greek and it refers to the study of God. There are two ways usually seen that God can reveal Himself. All Christians agree in special revelation. This is revelation that is specific, propositional, and is not immediately accessible by all. The two main ones are Scripture and Christ. Of course, one could say the Old Testament prophets were also giving special revelation in their time that was written down for us.
General revelation is more tricky. There are some Christians who deny it and it’s not just presuppositionalists. Karl Barth for instance denied any knowledge of God through general revelation. General revelation is non-specific, being general, it is not propositional, but it is accessible to everyone.
The main texts for a belief in general revelation in Scripture are Psalm 19:1 and Romans 1:18-21. If any of these do teach general revelation, then we can say that Scripture affirms general revelation. Note that in saying this, the claim is not being made that general revelation is salvific.
Natural theology is the study of God based on general revelation alone. What can be known about God? Note that the object of study is the same. We are using our reason to study God and the main tools we are using are philosophical in nature. When a theologian studies God in Scripture, the subject is the same, but the means of study is different.
For instance, suppose you are studying man. You could study anatomy and get an understanding of the man’s body. You could study psychology and get an understanding of the man’s mind. You could study anthropology and get an understanding of man is in the category of human beings. All of these are studying man, but they are studying man using different means and in different ways.
Natural theology for our starting purposes could contradict Scripture hypothetically. I am not at the start assuming the truth of Scripture. However, let us keep in mind that it is important to us if natural theology does in fact agree with Scripture. The claim is that it is necessary that natural theology gives us a view of God that is like that of the one found in Scripture in that it does not contradict the God of Scripture, but it is not sufficient to establish that the God of Scripture is the true God.
So what all can be known through natural theology? What does the Bible really say about it? Is it really an important tool? These are questions that I plan to address as we continue our look at apologetic methodology and seeing if the classical approach is still valid or not.
We shall continue tomorrow.