Early Lutheranism and Natural Theology

Teorie Vědy / Theory of Science 37 (2):173-186 (2015)
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Abstract

Natural theology can be defined as an attempt of proving the existence of God through the observation of the natural world and the use of reason, without appealing to divine revelation. Many theologians seem to think that early Lutheranism completely rejected the possibility of natural theology, based largely on the view of Luther himself that the human nature has been totally corrupted by sin and can only learn to know God through faith. It was, however, neither the understanding of Luther nor his successors to completely dismiss natural theology. Indeed, Luther is sure that "all men naturally understand and come to the conclusion that God is some kind of beneficent divine power." Surely, the natural knowledge acquired by reason is distorted by sin and is only " legal" knowledge, but this knowledge still reveals the existence of God and leads us to look for the saving knowledge that can only be attained by faith bestowed by God.

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