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Flashcards in Knowledge of God's existence Deck (9)
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1

Knowledge of God’s existence - Introduction

>How can limited human beings have a knowledge of an infinite God?
>Reached through reason and observation or when God chooses to reveal himself to us?
>Humans have finite, sinful, and imperfect minds that cannot reach a true understanding of God
>Sense experience and reason aren’t the only way knowledge can be gained
>Difference of natural and revealed theology

2

Knowledge of God’s existence - Bonaventure’s ways of seeing

>Franciscan monk, 13th century
>The mind has different ways of knowing, used the analogy of an eye that has different ways of seeing
>The eye of the flesh - way of seeing using the senses (empiricism), gain knowledge of the physical world
>The eye of reason - way of seeing using reason, gain knowledge of mathematics and philosophical truth
>The eye of contemplation- way of seeing using faith, gain knowledge of God

3

Knowledge of God’s existence - Discovering truth through natural theology

>Knowledge through reason and observation
>Many christians believe god can be revealed by both but some reject natural theology
>Paley’s design argument relied on natural theology
>Psalm 8 and Romans 1 - something of God known through experience of the natural world
>Aquinas used it to prove that Christian belief is reasonable
>Calvin - we’re all born with a sense of the divine so knowledge of God should be easy for everyone to gain, ‘epistemic distance’ is humanity’s own fault

4

Knowledge of God’s existence - Sense of the divine

>Humans are born with a sense for God
>Cicero - in all times and cultures people have had a sense that there is an infinite being in control of the universe
>Supported by Genesis 2:7 when God breathes into Adam
>Calvin - ‘there is within the human mind...an awareness of the divine’ universal to all humans
>We all have an innate sense of morality which comes from our sense of the divine - C.S Lewis, Butler, Newman

5

Knowledge of God’s existence - The order of creation

>God can clearly be seen in the order, beauty, and purpose of creation (teleological)
>Another way in which natural theology might work
>We can naturally recognise that there must be a God behind creation
>Aquinas, Calvin, Paley, and Tennant agree with this

6

Knowledge of God’s existence - Revealed knowledge of God

>Knowledge which God has chosen to show people
>Distinction between the two was made in the middle ages
>Said to be available through faith
>Immediate revelation - Moses and the burning bush (Exodus 3)
>Mediate revelation- knowledge gained about God less directly
>Barth - God can only be known through revealed theology, God reveals himself to us when he chooses to and we shouldn’t claim knowledge of God through our own efforts
>Result of Gods grace

7

Knowledge of God’s existence - The grace of God

>God’s unconditional love and undeserved gifts to humanity
>Shown through...words of the prophets, words of scripture, strength of the Church, bringing people to salvation, ability to live a Christian life, gift of wisdom, gift of faith
>None of these things would be possible without the grace of God

8

Knowledge of God’s existence - Bible and knowledge of God

>Doesn’t make a distinction between natural and revealed theology
>Knowledge of God can be gained through...beauty of the world, life of the Church, person of Jesus, scripture, natural laws and design of the physical universe, religious experience, words of prophets, traditional wisdom, events of history

9

Knowledge of God’s existence - Acts 17:16-34

>The first followers of Jesus are acting as missionaries
>Describes their difficulties they encountered which they overcame with help of the holy spirit
>Paul uses natural theology by demonstrating reason and logic as he tries to show similarities between the messiah and Jesus
>Talks to them about looking for the one cause of the universe
>Paul says reason should direct his listeners to knowledge of God
>Calvin - everyone has the capacity to have knowledge of God