Natural Theology

I saw this post on Facebook by Ricky Roldan, and this is worth sharing (posted here with permission). You can read more from the author in Urban Reformed Theology.

I cannot speak for everyone else I know who are Reformed Presuppositionalists but I for one do not reject Natural Theology as a doctrinal concept.
Natural revelation leads to some form of a natural theology. Natural revelation is the Triune God of Scripture revealing himself his invisible eternal and holy attributes through his creation. Natural Theology is what man does with this revelation.

There are only two versions of natural theology that is derived by natural/general revelation.

  1. The natural theology that the unregenerate mind and heart does which ultimately leads to a perversion of this general knowledge of God.
  2. The natural theology that the regenerated mind and heart does which is ultimately informed by God’s special revelation in his word.

This is basic reformed theology in regards to these distinctions. I learned all this NOT as a Presuppositionalists but as a Ligonier Sproulite Classical guy and from the systematics I have read from Berkhoff, Hodge, Turretin, Calvin, Reymond and WCF.

What us Presups reject is using Natural Theology as an ultimate starting principle for an apologetic method. Now let’s be honest and clear, all Presups agree with the basic premise of natural theology in that the true God of Scripture and his power is clearly seen and known from Gods natural revelation and all men are without excuse because of it.

When we tell atheists and pagan believers this in our discussions we are in fact telling them that some kind of theology can be done (good and bad) by observing nature and that the knowledge of God doesn’t escape us inwardly either since we are created in the image of God and all have that sensus divinitatis that John Calvin speaks about.

But the issue and at the heart of a Revelational Epistemology and Presuppositional Apologetics is that only the Triune God of Scripture is our ultimate starting point or ultimate presupposition for a consistent and complete justification for the preconditions of intelligibility both ontologically and epistemically that make reason and logic possible in the first place to even engage in any form of natural theology since God is the final reference point for all predication.

Van Til on two opposing views of Natural Theology (also posted by Ricky on his FB wall)

Coming now to the knowledge that man in paradise would have of God, we must notice first of all that there man would be able to reason correctly from nature to nature’s God. But the meaning of this fact should be taken in connection with what we have said when discussing the true theistic conception of physics. We may perhaps best bring out what we mean by saying that man could originally reason from nature to nature’s God by contrasting it to what has usually been meant by that statement. In the first place, when men say that we can reason from nature to nature’s God, they usually take for granted that nature as it exists today is normal, and that the human mind which contemplates it is normal. This is not true. Nature has had a veil cast over it on account of the sin of man, and the mind of man itself has been corrupted by sin. Accordingly, we must not, now that sin has entered into the world, separate natural theology from theological psychology.

After sin has entered the world, no one of himself knows nature aright, and no one knows the soul of man aright. How then could man reason from nature to nature’s God and get anything but a distorted notion of God? The sort of natural theology that the sinner, who does not recognize himself as a sinner, makes is portrayed to us in the first chapter of Romans. (Dr. Cornelius Van Til, An Introduction to Systematic Theology p.133)


Published by Jeff Chavez

Sinner saved by grace

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