Re: [asa] Natural theology

From: <>
Date: Wed Oct 31 2007 - 18:02:26 EDT

 Jeez, Gary, I just read em and I still don't think that's what Romans 1:20 says at all.
1:20 says that God is evident in all things and that men can clearly see that evidence.  In fact
it says that the evidence of God in all things is what makes idolatry inexcusable, NOT that
seeking the evidence of God in all things is itself idolatry. 

The next 20 verses are all about how stupid, sinful men and women ignore the source
of that beauty and recreate false images of God, and lie down with one another and all
manner of unsavory idiocy that has zero to do with seeking God in nature.

Surely my relationship to money is in some measure tainted with such idolatry,  But my
relationship to science is in no way thus unencumbered.  I, like so many of us, see the
immanence of God as the study of science and the study of science as a beautiful, eternal
devotion of men seeking the truth of which God is the ultimate bearer and Creation the
ultimate vessel. 

When you say "the human response to that revelation (God in nature), apart from faith in
Christ, is idolatry, I strongly disagree.  Just because the practice of science does not require
faith in Christ does not automatically make it idolatry any more than practicing football outside
of faith in Christ is idolatry.  

-Mike (Friend of ASA)



-----Original Message-----
From: Terry M. Gray <>
To: AmericanScientificAffiliation <>
Sent: Wed, 31 Oct 2007 10:08 am
Subject: [asa] Natural theology

John, Mike, 

The idea of idolatry that George is talking about comes out in the next few verses (21-25) of Romans 1. The sinful human heart takes the revelation of God in nature and worships and serves created things. This is, indeed, the whole context of Romans 1:20-3:20. God is truly revealed in creation, but the human response to that revelation, apart from faith in Christ, is idolatry. "There is no one righteous, not even one." Thus, a "natural theology" apart from Christ and scripture will reflect that sinful condition. To make Romans 1:20 a proof-text for a revelation independent natural theology is to take it out of context. 


On Oct 30, 2007, at 11:49 PM, wrote: 

> It was I who brought up Romans 1:20 in the thread and I have to go > with John 

> on this one, George. I see Romans 1:20 as saying that God is > reflected in his creation 

> (What has been made). 

> -Mike (Friend of ASA) 

> -----Original Message----- 

> From: John Walley <> 

> To: 'George Murphy' <>; 

> Sent: Tue, 30 Oct 2007 11:01 pm 

> Subject: RE: [asa] D'Souza vs. Hitchens - Surrending the debate > epistemologically by subjecting revealed knowledge to science 

> George, 

> Sorry for the delay in the response but I wanted to get back to you > on this. I remember your email on 23 October but then as now I am > not sure I am in agreement with you on the interpretation of Rom > 1:20. That is an interesting perspective but I don’t see that as > being consistent with the rest of scripture. 

> There are many other scriptures that seem to imply this same > “idolatry” of natural theology. For instance, “The fool has said in > his heart there is no God”, “The heavens declare the Glory of God” > and God reveals His wrath against those “who suppress the truth in > unrighteousness” etc., etc.. To me, these all make clear that God’s > perspective on the default conclusion of natural revelation is that > it leads to Him. I don’t know where you get this idolatry twist. 

> This I would consider valid knowledge and truth and therefore > impertinent to surrender that in any debate with atheists. I will > concede that this is knowledge from a spiritual source ultimately > but as the above scriptures indicate, all the evidence leads to it > and the only way to avoid this conclusion is to willfully reject it > and live in denial of it. But however, keep in mind that the source > of truth or knowledge in no way disqualifies it from being so. For > instance, a good example from the ID literature is the discovery of > the benzene ring which was the result of a dream. 

> John 

> -----Original Message----- 

> From: [mailto:asa->] On Behalf Of George Murphy 

> Sent: Sunday, October 28, 2007 4:15 PM 

> To: John Walley; 

> Subject: Re: [asa] D'Souza vs. Hitchens - Surrending the debate > epistemologically by subjecting revealed knowledge to science 

> John - 

> In a post of 23 October I pointed out some of the problems with the > type of appeal to Rom.1:20 that you keep trying to make. In the > real world in which all people are sinful, one can speak of > "knowledge" of God from creation only in an extremely limited sense > since the result of trying to develop such a knowledge from > observation of the world alone is inevitable idolatry. That is > Paul's whole point in that passage & it's a serious mistake to try > to make it into an argument for natural revelation. 

> & in fact "the project of natural theology" to which Groothuis > refers is simply the project of idolatry. An attempt to base the > claim that "there is a God" on observations of nature may be just > barely defensible, but any attempt to say who or what God (which is > what a "theology" will do) will always produce some false god. 

> Again, it's a quite different matter to look at the natural world > in the light of God's historical revelation which is centered on > Christ & to try to develop a "natural theology" as part of > explicitly Christian theology. But that doesn't seem to be what > either Groothuis or you are talking about. 

> Shalom 

> George 


> ----- Original Message ----- 

> From: John Walley 

> To: 

> Sent: Sunday, October 28, 2007 3:50 AM 

> Subject: [asa] D'Souza vs. Hitchens - Surrending the debate > epistemologically by subjecting revealed knowledge to science 

> Below is an excerpt of a blog posting of a review of a recent > debate between Dinesh D’Souza and Christopher Hitchens at King’s > College by philosopher and professor Douglas Groothuis. 

> I am curious to get any comments from the list on his observations > because he charges Dinesh with selling the farm ”epistemologically > and apologetically” because he concedes faith beliefs are not valid > knowledge and knowledge can only be what is empirically proven. > This is very similar to the recent discussion on the philosophical > foundation from Rom. 20 of God having revealed real knowledge (and > not just faith) in his creation. And in fact from this scripture > that says that those that reject this knowledge are “without > excuse”, it is clear God considers this revealed knowledge to be > valid and binding and manifest to all and not some subjective idea > that is subject to interpretation or the approval of science. 

> I think Groothius may have articulated it here better than I but I > think we are in agreement that as soon as we surrender this > revealed “knowledge” as not being valid and instead replacing it > with only “science” then we have already lost the debate. And this > does appear to be the strategy of atheists and therefore the danger > in siding with them too strongly in their marginalizing the > arguments from ID. 

> Thanks 

> John 

>> christianity-and-atheism.html 

> Debate: Christianity and Atheism 

> Dinesh D'Souza (author of What's So Great About Christianity) and > Christopher Hitchens(author of God is Not Great) recently debated > at King's College. I will not give a point by point commentary, but > limit myself to three comments, the first of which is the most > important. 

> 1. At 1.26 D'Souza completely sells the farm epistemologically and > apologetically--despite the many fine points he made throughout the > debate. He claims that his religious belief is not knowledge. He > does not know it to be true; he only believes it. In so doing, he > seems to restrict knowledge to what is empirically verifiable. But > there is no reason to do. We know many things apart from empirical > evidence (such as basic moral claims). Moreover, we can infer the > existence the supernatural from the natural (the project of natural > theology; seeIn Defense of Natural Theology, which I co-edited and > to which I contributed a chapter.)D'Souza goes on to say that while > he leaps toward God, Hitchens leaps toward atheism. I groaned > loudly to myself when I heard it (although my wife probably heard > me). Many in the crowd applauded. 

> This is tragic. We must enter the public square making knowledge > claims, not mere faith claims that are allowable, just as allowable > as theism or some other worldview. We need to try to out argue the > opposition by marshalling the strongest possible arguments for > Christianity and against atheism. In fact, D'Souza gave some strong > arguments notadequately rebutted by Hitchens by the time he sold > the farm. There was no need to do so; and in so doing, he sets a > terrible example for Christian persuasion in the public realm > (despite the virtues he exhibited in the debate). 

> 2. The form of the debate was poor. Neither speaker has enough time > for opening comments or for rebuttal. The supposed "cross > examination" devolved into haranguing at time, with the moderator > (Marvin O'laski) failing to intervene to keep order. Serious > debates should have strict rules. 

> 3. Both speakers issued cheap shots by insulting the other speaker > in ways not required by their arguments. This may get applause, but > makes no logical point. 

> Apparently, D'Souza has come to a more mature Christian conviction > recently. He is not known as a philosopher, but as a social critic > and political writer. I never detected an overt Christian worldview > in the several books I've read by him over the years. At that > crucial time of 1:26 this weakness showed. I have not yet finished > his book, however. Perhaps I'll say more then. 

> Email and AIM finally together. You've gotta check out free AOL Mail! 



Terry M. Gray, Ph.D. 

Computer Support Scientist 

Chemistry Department 

Colorado State University 

Fort Collins, CO 80523 

(o) 970-491-7003 (f) 970-491-1801 


To unsubscribe, send a message to with 

"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message. 


Email and AIM finally together. You've gotta check out free AOL Mail! -

To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Wed Oct 31 18:04:41 2007

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Wed Oct 31 2007 - 18:04:41 EDT