Question about Natural Theology

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Toasty

Puritan Board Sophomore
Here is a quote about natural theology from the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

"Natural theology is a program of inquiry into the existence and attributes of God without referring or appealing to any divine revelation. In natural theology, one asks what the word 'God' means, whether and how names can be applied to God, whether God exists, whether God knows the future free choices of creatures, and so forth. The aim is to answer those questions without using any claims drawn from any sacred texts or divine revelation, even though one may hold such claims.

For purposes of studying natural theology, Jews, Christians, Muslims, and others will bracket and set aside for the moment their commitment to the sacred writings or traditions they believe to be God’s word. Doing so enables them to proceed together to engage in the perennial questions about God using the sources of evidence that they share by virtue of their common humanity, for example, sensation, reason, science, and history. Agnostics and atheists, too, can engage in natural theology. For them, it is simply that they have no revelation-based views to bracket and set aside in the first place."

You can find the quote here: Natural Theology [Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy]

Can someone explain how it is possible for someone to bracket and set aside their commitment to sacred writings when he is studying natural theology? I do not see how this is possible. A person's religious commitment or worldview is going to influence his beliefs concerning certain issues. If someone seriously holds to the Bible as his final authority, he would be motivated to reject the things that contradict Scripture. There would be certain things that he would dismiss out of hand. Even if he were to write a thesis or dissertation without quoting the Bible, he would be motivated to write from a perspective that is in accordance with his religious presuppositions.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Can someone explain how it is possible for someone to bracket and set aside their commitment to sacred writings when he is studying natural theology?

That would be impossible to explain as the thing itself is an impossibility. Usually "natural theology" is concerned with seeing how much theology a person might know from natural revelation without the use of Scripture, but even here Scripture has been the norming principle for apologetics, e.g., Rom. 1; Ps. 19, Acts 14, 17, etc. It is impossible to set this to the side in developing a "natural theology."
 

Toasty

Puritan Board Sophomore
Can someone explain how it is possible for someone to bracket and set aside their commitment to sacred writings when he is studying natural theology?

That would be impossible to explain as the thing itself is an impossibility. Usually "natural theology" is concerned with seeing how much theology a person might know from natural revelation without the use of Scripture, but even here Scripture has been the norming principle for apologetics, e.g., Rom. 1; Ps. 19, Acts 14, 17, etc. It is impossible to set this to the side in developing a "natural theology."

That is what I thought. It is impossible to be neutral when studying natural theology.
 
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