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Natural Theology

  Natural theology is the attempt to understand God by means of rational reflection without the use of relevation, such as the Scriptures. In the 13th century, Thomas Aquinas formulated the distinction between natural and revealed theology, as opposed to older Augustinian view that there is no knowledge of God without revelation. There are four different types of argument: (a) the ontological argument which tries to show the logical necessity of God by pure reason; (b) the cosmological argument, that God was the first cause; (c) the teleological argument, that God is the last end of the Word. (These last two were developed in the ‘Five Ways’ of Thomas Aquinas: see Thomism); (d) the moral argument that people of different cultures have the same basic moral values. A contemporary form of natural theology, process theology, has recently been taken up by Roman Catholic feminist theologians, and derives from the view of A.N. Whitehead and others, that God was a factor in the evolution of the universe. EMJ

Further reading F.H. Cleobury, A Return to Natural Theology.



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