Michael Sudduth examines three prominent objections to natural theology that have emerged in the Reformed streams of the Protestant theological tradition: objections from the immediacy of our knowledge of God, the noetic effects of sin, and the logic of theistic arguments. Distinguishing between the project of natural theology and particular models of natural theology, Sudduth argues that none of the main Reformed objections is successful as an objection to the project of natural theology itself. One particular model of natural theology - the dogmatic model - is best suited to handle Reformed concerns over natural theology. According to this model, rational theistic arguments represent the reflective reconstruction of the natural knowledge of God by the Christian in the context of dogmatic theology. Informed by both contemporary religious epistemology and the history of Protestant philosophical theology, Sudduth’'s examination illuminates the complex nature of the project of natural theology and its place in the Reformed tradition.
Table of Contents
Contents: Preface; Introduction; Part I Natural Theology and the Reformed Tradition: The emergence and evolution of the reformed endorsement of natural theology; Understanding the reformed objection to natural theology. Part II Natural Theology and the Immediate Knowledge of God: The naturally implanted knowledge of God; The immediate knowledge of God in 20th-century religious epistemology; Immediacy and reformed models of natural theology. Part III Sin and the Christian Reconstruction of Natural Theology: Natural theology and the noetic effects of sin; The noetic effects of sin and contemporary epistemology; The dogmatic model of natural theology. Part IV The Logic of Natural Theology: The logic of theistic arguments; God of the philosophers; The 'robust theistic descriptivist' objection evaluated; Epilogue; Indexes.
'This book is essential reading for students of the theology of the Protestant Reformed tradition, and very valuable reading for all who wonder whether producing arguments for the existence of God is a proper Christian activity. Michael Sudduth shows that, contrary to the claims of Karl Barth and some contemporary advocates of 'Reformed epistemology', the Reformed tradition has from its first days generally endorsed Natural theology. He goes on to show the failure of philosophical objections to the possibility of cumulative arguments for the existence of God.' Richard Swinburne, Emeritus Nolloth Professor of the Philosophy of the Christian Religion, University of Oxford 'This is an informed, erudite and important contribution to contemporary debates about natural theology, especially within the American Reformed community.' Alister E. McGrath, Professor of Theology, Ministry and Education Head, King's College London 'An absolutely terrific book. It combines philosophical excellence--subtlety, depth, acumen, rigor--with extensive and deep historical learning.' Alvin Plantinga, John A. O'Brien, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame 'There is much to ponder in this scholarly study. ...This is a book guaranteed to stir debate and controversy, and to stimulate some hard thinking on the part of opponents of natural theology.' Reformed Theological Journal 'Michael Sudduth's The Reformed Objection to Natural Theology, [is] a book not likely to be overlooked or unchallenged in years to come. ... As literature on natural theology continues to flood academia, Sudduth's historical argument is a strong one and has yet to be refuted.' Journal of Theological Studies 'This excellent, historically attentive study, which is about the Reformed endorsement of natural theology, corrects a widespread myth and should be read by anyone concerned that appreciation of the role of reason in bringing people to faith and maintaining them in faith be revived. ' Theology