This parsed essay will serve as True Freethinker’s basic introduction to the concept of natural theology, or general revelation.
This parsed essay will serve as True Freethinker’s basic introduction to the concept of natural theology, or general revelation. We will consider that it may be utilized as a tool with which to not only infer certain attributes of what brought the universe into existence but also how to exclude alternate claims which do not meet the criteria.
Natural Theology / General Revelation
Many atheists exhibit a lack of knowledge of the very theism against which they most often, if not exclusively, argue-the Bible’s Judeo-Christianity. Worse yet, they think that they are well versed by claiming that they were “raised Christian” (whatever that means), “went to Sunday School,” “was an altar boy,” “saw the movie (hyperbole intended),” etc.
I am not one to claim that you must be a theologian to speak on, or against, Christianity nor a scholar to speak on, or against, the Bible. That is to be reserved for scholarly settings. Yet, one ought to be at least somewhat versed on the subject that one seeks to critique and be skeptical enough to double check both what one is being told as well as one’s own positions.
I find that many atheists not only lack knowledge of Christian theology and the contents and contexts of the Bible but lack a basic understanding of natural theology / general revelation, which seeks to infer the cause of the universe from nature (nature not meaning biosphere alone but the universe as a whole).
Take a lack of knowledge of natural theology / general revelation – add to it a lack knowledge of Christian theology and the contents of the Bible – mix that with a typically early age rejection of Christianity – blend it with the early, Sunday School, age understanding of theology – and finally bake it in the presuppositional oven of self-professed erudition and what do we end up with?
We end up with atheists seriously arguing that the concept of God as postulated by Christian theology is on a par with postulating the existence of imaginary friends, fairies, celestial teapots, sky daddies or Flying Spaghetti Monster and Invisible Pink Unicorns.
Succinctly, natural theology / general revelation offers the following implications. Here I will focus on one aspect of natural theology / general revelation which I term “cosmological natural theology / general revelation”:
The universe began to exist.
Anything that begins to exist has a cause.
The universe had a cause because it began to exist.
Let us parse this further:
Since time began to exist: whatever caused it is timeless, or eternal. It does not follow nor is it bound by the constraints of linear, chronological, time.
Since space began to exist: whatever caused it is spaceless, not limited by spatial dimensions, not restricted by locality.
Since matter began to exist: whatever caused it is immaterial, non-physical, without extension in space, or spirit.
Time is what makes cause and effect relationships possible since, in time, an effect follows a cause. Since whatever caused the universe existed in a timeless state it is uncaused.
Since whatever caused it did cause it, it is a necessary being, a non-contingent being, the finality of a finite regress.
Since whatever caused the universe did cause it, that is; made something happen or caused an effect, whatever caused it is volitional, self-conscious and personal (meaning exhibiting characteristics of personhood or personality-conceiving plans, making decisions and taking actions).
Moreover, whatever caused the minutely fine-tuned universe is highly intelligent, perhaps omniscient and immensely powerful or perhaps omnipotent.
Thus, we see how just in these few examples we learn quite a bit about the characteristics one should find in the universe’s cause.
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