Key Quotes: Natural Theology

June 11, 2018
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Key Quotes Revealed and Natural Theology

“Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason, because bad philosophy needs to be answered. The cool intellect must work … against the cool intellect on the other side. (CS Lewis, On Learning in Wartime in The Weight of Glory: And Other Addresses, ed. Walter Hooper, 1949; revised, New York: HarperOne, 1980, 47–63).

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” (CS Lewis, Is Theology Poetry?)

There cannot be design without a designer; contrivance without a contriver; order without choice; arrangement, without any thing capable of arranging; subserviency and relation to a purpose; means suitable to an end, and executing their office in accomplishing that end, without the end ever having been contemplated, or the means accommodated to it. Arrangement, disposition of parts, subserviency of means to an end, relation of instruments to use, imply the preference of intelligence and mind. (William Paley)

“I believe in design because I believe in God;not in God because I see design.” (John Henry Newman)

Faith is not something that goes against the evidence, it goes beyond it. The evidence is saying to us, ‘There is another country. There is something beyond mere reason’. (Alister McGrath)

The Christian faith allows us to see further and deeper, to appreciate that nature is studded with signs, radiant with reminders, and emblazoned with symbols of God, our creator and redeemer. (Alister McGrath)

Our present world contains clues…to another world-a world which we can begin to experience now, but will only know in all its fullness at the end of things. (Alister McGrath)

We live in a world of competing narratives. In the end, we have to decide for ourselves which is right. And having made that decision, we then need to inhabit the story we trust. (Alister McGrath)

“natural theology” typically refer to the project of using the cognitive faculties that are “natural” to human beings—reason, sense-perception, introspection—to investigate religious or theological matters” Stanford Encyclopaedia

“We are too weak to discover the truth by reason alone and for this reason need the authority of the sacred books” (Augustine, Confessions, 6.5.8).

“Heaven forbid, I say, that we should believe in such a way that we do not accept or seek a rational account” (Augustine, Letter to Consentius 120.3)

“Reason is by its dark and inveterate faults made unable not only to embrace and enjoy but even to bear His immutable light . . . And so it had first to be imbued with faith, and so purified” (Augustine, City of God 11.2).

“The existence of God, inasmuch as it is not self-evident to us, can be demonstrated through effects that are evident to us” (Aquinas ST Ia.2.2 c)

“The falsity of the opinion that the existence of God cannot be demonstrated but is held by faith alone is shown to us, first, from the art of demonstration which teaches us to arrive at causes from their effects. Then from the order of the sciences, and thirdly, from the pursuit of the philosophers. Finally, it is shown to us by the truth in the words of the Apostle Paul (Aquinas, Summa Contra Gentiles 1.12.6).

“What else do we study to be wise, except to concentrate our whole soul upon what we touch with our mind, and as it were place it there and fix it unshakeably; so that it
may no longer enjoy privately what has entangled it in passing things, but freed from all
influence of times or places may lay hold on that which is ever one and the same(Augustine, De Libero Arbitrio, II.41, 126).

“The intellectual mind is so formed as to see those things which, according to the disposition of the creator, are brought under intelligible things . . . in a sort of incorporeal light . . . as the eye of the flesh sees the things that lie about it in this corporeal light . . .That light is God Himself . And when the soul tries to fix its gaze upon that light, it
quivers in its weakness and is not quite able to do so’. (Augustine, De Trinitate, 12.15.24; 31.59).

“There are some truths about which the natural reason is able to reach. Such are that God exists, that he is one, and the like. In fact, such truths about God have been proved demonstratively by the philosophers, guided by the light of the natural reason” (Aquinas, SCG 1.3.2)


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