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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Let's blow up natural theolgy!

I was reflecting on Paul in Romans 1 lately:

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,

19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.

20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

22Professing to be wise, they became fools,

23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures


And got to thinking about the idea of Natural Theology. I wonder if the idea itself (noting the SAD uninterest in the whole creation project) is a pagan (I mean godless) idea; more in line with Paul's observation in v.23, than anything else.

I am not suggesting, by the way, that we should retreat from looking at the world to see God (noting v.20, which by the way seems to say that Paul thinks there were people doing some perceiving from the time of the creation); but we must not do it in the way of Bacon, thinking that there are 'two books': one of revelation, and one of nature.

It's all revelation, I think. To sever the action of God into 'revelation' and 'nature' sets up 'nature' as somehow independent of God. Which is the very thing that materialism does in spades (it is so independent that we can't see God at all). I wonder if the SADs do it too, in identifying anything that connects the creation with the creator, and his words to us, as a hayseed exercise, somehow not worthy of their mighty minds.

That is; do they in contra-postively denying the creation is effectivly and concretely from the hand of the creator; or that his words can make this link in a realist mode, deny that there is any real link between God and his creation; making the creation not a creation: that is from the mindful action of person, but merely 'nature' that is, just a bunch of atoms thrown together because God sent them on their way (by...wait for it, 'natural' laws).

Obviously, this idea stands against a major tradition in Christian theology, but nowhere in the Bible do I see the creation being dealt with either as one of two books, or in the way that 'natural theologians' deal with it. Paul links the creation and the creator with an intimacy and active connection that the naturalists do not make.

So I read a lot of John's and other's posts on this blog and wonder, are they natural theologians? No, I don't think so; its only that the long tradition of natural theology has given as a language and presumptions; are the SAD's counter-natural theologians? Yes; in the 'bad' sense of natural theology, and in so doing have become themselves paganised natural theologians, much like Hugh Ross, Kel Richards (from what I heard at a talk at St Clements a few years ago), and a bunch of the SAD luminaries with whom this blog exchanges. They have split God from his creation, annointed it nature, and done the very thing that Paul counsels against in v. 23.

2 comments:

Ktisophilos said...

There is also a natural theology about the Flood in 2 Peter 3:3–7

‘First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But they deliberately ignore this fact that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and with water. By water also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.’

However, compromisers like Hugh Ross and SAD deny a global flood, and believe that if there were any flood, it left no traces. So how can the ‘scoffers’ be held culpable for ‘deliberately ignoring’ the fact of the Flood if there is no evidence.

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