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Philosophy of Religion by C. Stephen Evans

“There is also, however, the kind of theology called natural theology (sometimes calledphilosophical theology), in which the theologian attempts to say what can be known about God or things divine apart from any commitment to any particular religion, claims to special revelation and so on.” p.14.

McClintock and Strong, Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, And Ecclesiastical Literature, (Baker: 1981, VI:862f).

“Natural Theology…treats of the existence and attributes of God as revealed to us in thenatural world.”
Strong, Systematic Theology,

“God himself, in the last analysis, must be the only source of knowledge with regard to his own being and relations.  Theology is therefore a summary and explanation of the content of God’s self-revelation.  These are, first, the revelation of God in nature; secondly and supremely, the revelation of God in the Scriptures...We can know God only as far as he has revealed himself.” p.25

Ambrose: “To whom shall I give greater credit concerning God than to God himself?”

Von Baader: “To know God without God is impossible; there is no knowledge without him who is the prime source of knowledge.”

E. G. Robinson: “The first statement of the Bible is, not that there is a God, but that ‘In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth’ (Gen. 1:1).  The belief in God was not and never can be the result of logical argument, else the Bible would give us proofs.”

“Evidences of Christianity?” said Coleridge, “ I am weary of the word.”  The more Christianity was proved, the less it was believed.  The revival under Whitfield and Wesley did what all the apologists of the eighteenth century could not do.  (p.72)

Runes, Dictionary of Philosophy, “In general, natural theology is a term to distinguish any theology based upon the fundamental premise of the ability of man to construct his theory of God and of the world out of the framework of his own reason…During the 17th and 18thcenturies there were attempts to set up a “natural religion” to which men might easily give their assent…Traditional Catholicism, especially that of the late Middle Ages developed a kind of natural theology based upon the metaphysics of Aristotle.” p. 207
Gordon Lewis, Testing Christianity’s Truth Claims, (Moody),

“The inductive appeal to evidences fails, not only because of logical difficulties, but also because of moral problems.  As J. Gresham Machen said to the modernists of his day, “You cannot take into account all the facts if you ignore the fact of sin.”  Man is unitary personality, and man as a whole is depraved.  According to Scripture and Calvinism, sin affects every human function.  Although God reveals his glory in nature, men do not perceive it.  Sin “has so vitiated human powers that man can read neither the heavens nor his own heart aright.”  

But the more fully sin is pointed up, the harder becomes the empiricist’s case for a God all-wise, all good, and all-powerful.  If we start with a special revelation of God’s purposes in history, we may see His answer to evil.  But natural theology cannot handle the problem of evil, and candid Christians, Clark emphasizes, ought to admit it.”  p. 103
Schaff Herzog Encyclopedia: “About the salvation of man, nature can tell us nothing.”  (3:1068)

Bernard Ram, Varieties of Christian Apologetics, (Baker:1965, pgs. 14-16)

“We have found at least three major families among the various apologists…

(i) Some systems stress the uniqueness of the Christian experience of grace.  If a learned philosopher were to have a debate with a pious peasant, the pious peasant would consider his most trenchant proof for the truthfulness of Christianity to be his own personal experience.  Christianity is in his heart!  He was there when it happened.  It is the apologetic of one’s own personal testimony.  It is the kind of apologetic argued from the conversions of famous people or wicked sinners.  However, it is usually theologically and philosophically very na├»ve.

(ii) Some systems stress natural theology as the point at which apologetics begins.
At root his school has deep trust in the powers of human reason in the area of religious knowledge…As representatives of this school we have chosen Aquinas who builds from the empirical philosophy of Aristotle, Butler who works narrowly with the theory of probability and Locke’s empiricism, and Tennant who makes a tremendous attempt to put religious statements upon the same sort of empirical foundation as scientific ones.

The characteristics of this family are: (a) a robust faith in the rational powers of the mind to find the truth about religion; (b) an effort to ground faith in empirical foundations; (c) a belief that the imago Die (image of God in man) was weakened but not seriously damaged by the Fall and sin; and that (d) religious propositions enjoy the same kind of verification that scientific assertions do.  Therefore faith in God is just as rational and credible as faith in scientific law.

(iii) Other systems stress revelation as the foundation upon which apologetics must be built.
 …the revelation school believes that the first school is too subjectivistic.  Apologetics must have its principle anchorage in God’s truth and not man’s experience.  It criticizes the second school for not seriously evaluating man’s depravity.  If sin prevents general revelation from speaking the truth of God, then no natural theology is possible.  Apologetics must commence with God’s redemption and God’s word of special revelation.