Natural theology

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Natural Theology


Natural theology is the branch of philosophy and theology concerned with what can be known or rationally believed about God on the basis of human reason. It includes both the development and analysis of arguments for God's existence, as well as reflection on the nature and attributes of God.

Thomas Aquinas is the most famous classical proponent of natural theology.

Others throughout church history have rejected natural theology. For example, Karl Barth, one of the most influential Protestant theologians of the 20th century, sought to demonstrate that God can only be known through special revelation. Both he and Paul Tillich debated over this issue, Tillich arguing that revelation never runs counter to reason. Calvinists tend to reject natural theology on the basis that mankind is so bound by sin that they can know nothing of God except that which is revealed to them.

Supporters of natural theology, like Tillich and Aquinas (among others), have argued that the existence of God can be known through reason. Many "proofs" for the existence of God have been created, however, theologians have often rejected these proofs on the basis that they do not end up with the Christian God of the Bible.

Well-known natural theologians today are Alvin Plantinga, Richard Swinburne, and J.P. Moreland.



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