Category Archives: Thomas Aquinas



Perceptions produce problems when that which is perceived as inaccurate or faulty is the basic prepositional assumption that is being advanced as a truth.  Perceived truth is every bit as true to those who perceive it as true as truth is, regardless of how false it may be.  The difficulty that surfaces in any examination of the value of natural theologies assumptions can be found in the improper starting point of natural theologies conjecture of deliberative queries surrounding the existence of God.  The Bible itself makes no attempt to prove the existence of God.  Why should a theory that nature proves God’s existence warrant a superceding enactment above the Scriptural presentation?  

Natural theology’s greatest weakness is found in the overt confidence that this philosophical hypothesis places in the natural arena of man’s rationalistic abilities to construe truth objectively without outside aide being advanced on reasons foundations.  Sin, indeed, has tainted the ability of man to perceive truth in the ultimate variations and shades truth suppositions.  

The very act of philosophic deliberation, refinement and potential change points to the fallacious nature of expecting humans to think in a purely rational fashion or attain sophisticated and complete pure reasoning abilities.  Contingent thoughts advancement, and at times, retreat, from that which consumes veracity’s substance, is a stark testament to the lack of substantive stability concerning human ruminations about truth.

With this intransigent nature identified, it becomes important to clarify natural theology’s value, as well as point out its inherent weaknesses.  Although natural theology fails in the positing of extemporaneous proofs for the existence of God independent of divine revelation, naturalistic arguments are still of value in pointing out natural starters for dialogues purpose apologetically.  

Dr. William Lane Craig, in a rather personal expose of the internal conflicts he underwent in his pursuit of truth, comments on how he began to accept posits of natural theological assumptions as a base of intellectual operation. Craig states: “I hit upon a scheme that has proved to be very helpful to me personally in illuminating the relationship between faith and reason-namely, the distinction between knowing Christianity to be true and showing Christianity to be true (Cowan, Steven, Five Views On Apologetics, Zondervan’s, Grand Rapids MI, 2000, p.28. This is a synopsis of Craig’s presentation in Five Views, which has been cited. The original work was performed for APOL 500, Liberty University, by the author of this paper, 2002. This has been modified for the current course, THEO 626)” 

Moreover, that which is a demonstrable vantage may find its greatest place within the faith dialogue for believers, as opposed to convincing unbelievers of God’s verifying credentials.  Natural arguments can be seen as fortifications for the Christian community’s ponderous existential reality:  not the unbelieving persons.  An understanding of this sort would cast the cosmological proofs into a system of fortification or anti-doubt category, under girding already assumed assumptions that need further clarification.

Thus, natural theology strengthens dependency upon God by casting the believer’s acceptable patterns of conviction into the troupe of extensions, allowing creative thought to then adapt itself to the intricacies that allow the verification of order to proceed intellectually, embracing motion, transition, and the transigent vagaries of intellect in flux.  

Law then, can be understood, not as a reflection of a Lawgiver specifically.  However, the problematic difficulties of lawlessness reflect the need for viable social networks to be brought into the equation that accept sociologically proper accommodations that are advanced throughout Holy Writ.  Fideists may not prove what they propose is provable, yet what they propose is acceptable, when what is postulated is agreeable as a contingency for faith’s concurrence nonetheless.

Faith and reason have existed in a seeming paradoxical existence of tedious tension throughout the history of philosophical deliberations as they pertain to the churches thought process.  Again, Dr. Craig asserts that a common tension exists between faith and reason that is difficult to reconcile. Using Plantinga as an authority, Craig contends: “Plantinga… does not object to the use of natural theology in showing one’s faith to be true. But he believes that ‘natural theology could be useful in helping someone move from unbelief to belief (Five views, p. 45). ’”

How knowledge is attained and how one comes to know the unknowable / un-provable propositions concerning the esoteric dimensions of ideologies that concern themselves with the unknown conditions of tangible essence have been a primary pursuit of theologians and philosophers alike.  Questions concerning the existence of God, the creation of matter, and the soul’s durability:  all have been the major subjects of countless hours of deliberation and debate down through the ages.  Following these premeditated tangents focused implications; schools have sprung-up espousing theoretical postulations surrounding that which address the epistemological queries from these varying points of theological differentials.

Dr. William Craig Lane approaches the subject of methodological understanding from the position of the classic stance of apologetically inclined inquiry (Five Views).  As such, Dr. Lane supports the natural theological extension of determining the a priori existence of God that has been advocated by men such as Thomas Aquinas in the church, and Aristotle in the classic Greek philosophical vein .  The question of existence is determined through a series of arguments that work backwards logically, in order to arrive at an endpoint of conclusive determination ( Adler, Mortimer, The Great Ideas: Vols. 2&3, Article: Theology, Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc., Robert Hutchins Gen. Ed., Chicago ILL, 1952, p.886).

Metaphysical in nature, probability analysis helps the inquisitive to formulate a conclusion based upon evidence, or proofs, that are intended to conclusively prove the viability of God’s existence, apart from scriptural testimony or data. Dr. Elmer Towns advances this understanding in Theology for Today, as he examines the usefulness and limitations of natural theology. Towns’ states concerning the ability to witness God’s presence naturally: “The self-revelation of God is evident in nature, or, as someone has observed, ‘the Creator is evident in His creation (Towns, Elmer, Theology for Today, Harcourt College Publishers, Orlando FL, 1999, p.22).”

This theistic line of reasoning has come to be identified as Kalam’s argument historically according to Craig .  The prima fasciae point of this posture is found in the understanding of morality, law, motion and order, or the moral argument, as well as the prime mover argument coupled with the teleological argument.  Without belaboring the discussion, these points of determination seek to establish belief in an intelligent being outside of creation (Five Views, pp.48-51),

God’s essence would then be reflected within that which God brought into existence.  Mankind’s moral nature, rationality, reflective abilities, and other attributes that are considered germane to the human condition, point to the one who is the ultimate in law, reason and morality.  A super id, that expresses itself in an almost Platonic form of pure thought, could be a means of understanding this perspective.

Prime motion considers that action creates movement, which in turn initiates motion, ad infinitum extensionally.  Tracing motion in reverse however, theoretically leads the pondering individual back to the point of motion’s origin, ergo the prime mover.  Using reasonable inducements, the thought of motion’s origin determines the idea of a prime mover, which would then be advanced as the God of creation.  

The teleological argument is similar in nature to the prime mover considerations.  In this guise, ordered existence, essentially determines that arrangement is a reflection of orderly ordure; vies a vie:  God.  Because continuity exists and chaos is a non-dominant factor in creation, a God of stability must be the singular, determinative factor in this equation for consideration. 

Additionally, Dr. Craig includes a factor for consideration that is not always integrated into the natural theological perspective.  The existential qualities of Holy Spirit’s extraneous work are a stated point to the considerations that are advanced in proving God’s existence.  This deviation from the classic apologetic model has a corrosive function within this paradigm and may force a recasting to be assessed.  

At any rate, there are problems in assuming the actuality of the kalamic reasoning for proving God’s existence.  These arguments are deficient in proving anything other than circular reasoning’s ability to prove the augmentatives functional worth in philosophizing.  A more appropriate approach may be to witness the strength of kalamic reasoning, not as proofs, but rather as indicators for consideration.

This would tend to restrict naturalistic evidence as a secondary support system for the evidentiary postulations found within Holy Writ.  Subordinating this field of inquiry to the role of assistance in strengthening faith’s supposition warrants clear consideration, which may recharge the naturalistic school with fresh vigor.  Allowances can then be made that in turn force the subjective intransigents of this system into the argumentative mix.

Although natural phenomena may not prove the existence of God, God’s activities can clearly be demonstrated through the activities known throughout Scripture that identify His sovereign manipulations of these considerations. From earthquakes to plagues, God has repeatedly used natural demonstrations to induce personal belief in his constituency as pertaining to his viability and superiority. At the command of God, the sun may stand still. With a word, a dead person may return to the land of the living. A warning can easily result in a universal deluge that has devastating consequences. 

The activities of the divine showcase the overwhelming greatness of God in the natural world. Even the ordinary and mundane exigencies of life demonstrate His excellent capabilities. The gentle rains of spring bring the harvest that feeds the crown of God’s creation. In all of these considerations God is seen as providentially caring for His creation in a beneficent manner.

All of these natural manifestations showcase the eminent domain of God. Each allows the astute observer to witness the glory of God, although a seemingly dearth of explicit evidence may not be readily verifiable to conclusively prove his activities among the creation. Whether in the miraculous or in the natural, historical manipulations or extraordinary events, it matters not. 

The eyes of faith allow a glimpse into the divine machinations of the sovereign actions of the eternal Logos. Observing God’s handiwork in the natural phenomena of nature and in the recounting of his interventions in history, such as in the Exodus and in the resurrection demonstrates God’s awesomeness to all who are willing to understand the nature of the explicit and implicit revelation contained in these manifestations.