Revelation: Natural Theology

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Revelation: Natural Theology

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Natural theology is the science of the existence and attributes of Allah based upon the world around us. Natural theology is also called ‘general’ revelation, because it is the general revelation of Allah to all of humanity through creation. Since natural theology begins with the world around us, it is the most exoteric (opposite of esoteric) or zahir truth there is. The natural world is experienced by all of humankind. No one is isolated from the air we breathe, from the water we drink, from the food we eat, from the light of the sun we enjoy, and from looking at the starry skies at night. Natural theology does not rest any of its ideas or conclusions upon a sacred text, such as the Bible or the Qur’an. Natural theology has different logical arguments that it uses to develop a doctrine of Allah.

A. The cosmological argument
B. The Kalaam cosmological argument
C. The teleological argument
D. The ontological argument
E. The transcendental argument
F. The moral argument
G. The perfection argument
H. Theodicy.

Natural theology or general revelation takes a reasoned position against non-monotheistic religious beliefs. For example, Christian theists present their reasons why the following belief systems are logically untenable.

A. Atheism
B. Agnosticism
C. Pantheism
D. Finite godism
E. Polytheisim
F. Panentheism

The results of the investigations of natural theology shows logically that the existence of a single supernatural cause is necessary to account for the universe’s existence. Furthermore, this one Divine Being must have these attributes and more.

A. Perfect
B. One
C. Infinite
D. Eternal
E. Omniscience
F. Omnipotence
G. Omnibenevolence
H. Immutable
I. Rational
J. Sovereign
K. Creator
L. Governor
M. Good
N. Just
O. True
P. Righteous
Q. Knowing
R. Holy
Based upon creation, it is this kind of theistic Allah that must exist if the existence, order, and beings of the universe are to have sufficient reason for their existence.

The conclusions of natural theology are vital to note. Because, if the conclusions of natural theology are valid and sound, then human beings can have some true knowledge of Allah apart from any alleged sacred book. This is important to note because, if an alleged prophet were to act and teach contrary to the doctrines of natural theology, then the prophet would clearly not be a prophet of Allah. This conclusion would be warranted because the teachings of a true prophet of Allah should not contradict doctrines of natural theology, because both natural theology and true prophetic teachings have the same cause, namely, Allah. So, if an alleged prophet were to contradict natural theology, we should reject the purported prophet as a false prophet.

There are many who claim to have a sacred book to which they appeal to support their particular religious beliefs. Now, if an appeal to a sacred scripture were the only necessary basis for a religious belief, then all religious beliefs should be equally justifiable by an appeal to some alleged sacred scripture. Natural theology provides a common ground from which to investigate the claims of an alleged prophet and his alleged scripture. The reason that theistic apologetics provides a common ground is that it begins with creation and the necessary and logical ramifications of the study of reality that surrounds all of us.

The concept of natural theology is noted in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. Both testaments appeal to creation as a witness to the reality and being of God.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun, Ps 19:1-4 (NIV)

Since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities– his eternal power and divine nature– have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. Rom 1:19-20 (NIV)

Natural theology provides a rational common ground for all humanity. It provides a good basis for theistic belief. It presents rational proofs for the being, essence, nature, and attributes of Allah. So, classical Christians believe that Allah’s creation is intelligible and that creation provides clear proof of Allah’s supreme Being to all of humankind. This means that some true knowledge of Allah can be obtained by reflecting upon the universe as we see it today.

For books on the subject of Natural Theology, see Natural Theology references.

Last edited 01/13/2000

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