Natural Theology and the Immediate Knowledge of God

The idea of natural theology has been much debated. One’s understanding regarding the project of natural theology will inevitably impact substantially one’s apologetic methodology and epistemology.

K. Scott Oliphint and James Dolezal visit the Reformed Forum studio to discuss natural theology. Michael Sudduth’s book The Reformed Objection to Natural Theology (Burlington: Ashgate, 2009) will act as the foil of the discussion. The book is in the Ashgate “Philosophy of Religion” series edited by Paul Helm and Linda Zagzebski.

In The Reformed Objection to Natural Theology Sudduth identifies three main categories in the world of Reformed objections to natural theology: objections from the immediacy of our knowledge of God, the noetic effects of sin, and the logic of theistic arguments. While recognizing various forms of natural theology, Sudduth argues that none of the main Reformed objections are successful against the project of natural theology itself.

The foundation for Sudduth’s book was laid in his 1996 D.Phil. dissertation at the University of Oxford. In that work, Sudduth attempted “to synthesize the Reformed epistemology of Alvin Plantinga and features of the evidentialist tradition with its emphasis on natural theology – rational arguments for the existence and nature of God.” (Sudduth, Preface) The book is even titled after Plantinga’s 1980 paper of the same title.


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