> At 07:50 AM 12/19/1997 -0500, George Murphy wrote, regarding Rom 1:19-20:
> > It is "plain" but unbelievers don't see it! That is precisely
> >what Paul says. Any attempt to get back to some primordial condition of
> >humans prior to Sin & then to find God in nature ignores the reality
> >of Sin, & results in the consequences Paul describes: Not atheism but
> >idolatry, worshipping the Philosopher God or the Clockmaker God or the
> >Intelligent Designer or something of the sort - a step above birds &
> >reptiles, but not the real God!
> I think it is more accurate to say that the unbelievers "see" what God
> "makes plain" to them, but refuse to acknowledge the truth of what they
> see. This refusal is a moral failure, rooted in sin (as George Murphy
> rightly points out), and not an epistemic failure.
But how does this deal with the resulting condition of reprobation? Is not a
reprobate, by definition, without hope of obtaining right knowledge, i.e.
knowledge of God as revealed through nature?
> But George has often expressed what I take to be a denial of the legitimacy
> of natural theology, and it is that which I want to comment on. I do not
> regard natural theology as in anyway capable of giving salvific knowledge
> of God--that is related to the special revelation delivered in the manger
> and culminating at the cross and the resurrection--but it is not valueless.
> Natural revelation can serve a distinct function in evangelism (call it
> pre-evangelism or apologetics, as is common). My aim is not to see people
> converted to theism but to Christ, but for many, they must first be willing
> to acknowledge the theistic hypothesis before they will consider the claims
> of Christ. That the Holy Spirit can use natural theology, producing a
> general theistic belief, as a stage in prevenient grace, seems clear from
> e.g. Paul's Mars Hill dialogue.
Perhaps Natural theology is problematic. If total depravity is not an accurate
descriptor of mankind's condition, then how about completely depraved in noetic
abilities to ascertain truth. Again, God condemns the wicked to reprobation.
That "the Holy Spirit can use natural theology" is epistemologically different
than the Holy Spirit using nature to reveal The Creator; for the former
involves human argumentation and reason while the latter is direct experience
with the blinders removed by grace. However, I agree strongly, that without The
Comforter, we all would be blind guides leading blind followers!
Do you really want to classify Paul's appeal to an alter to an unknown god as
Natural theology? If so. why so?
-- George Andrews Jr. Assistant Professor Physics LeTourneau University email@example.com