Charles Taliaferro on the Scope of Natural Theology

Natural theology is the practice of philosophically reflecting on the existence and nature of God independent of real or apparent divine revelation or scripture. Traditionally, natural theology involves weighing arguments for and against God’s existence, and it is contrasted with revealed theology, which may be carried out within the context of ostensible revelation or scripture. For example, revealed theology may take as authoritative certain New Testament claims about Jesus and then construct a philosophical or theological model for understanding how Jesus may be human and divine.

Natural theology, on the other hand, develops arguments about God based on the existence of the cosmos, such as it is ostensible order and value. Natural theology is often practiced in the West and the Near East with respect to the theistic view of God, and thus the God of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. But natural theology has also been carried out by those who reject such religious traditions [ … ], and philosophers have employed natural theology to argue that God has attributes and a character that is either slightly or radically different than orthodox, religious concepts of God.

Charles Taliaferro, “The Project of Natural Theology” in The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology, ed. J.P. Moreland and William Lane Craig (Wiley-Blackwell: 2009) p. 1

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