Definitions for natural theology

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  1. natural theology(noun)

    a theology that holds that knowledge of God can be acquired by human reason without the aid of divine revelation

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  1. Natural theology

    Natural theology is a branch of theology based on reason and ordinary experience. Thus it is distinguished from revealed theology which is based on scripture and religious experiences of various kinds; and also from transcendental theology, theology from a priori reasoning. Marcus Terentius Varro in his Antiquitates rerum humanarum et divinarum established a distinction of three kinds of theology: civil, natural and mythical. The theologians of civil theology are "the people", asking how the gods relate to daily life and the state. The theologians of natural theology are the philosophers, asking for the nature of the gods, and the theologians of mythical theology are the poets, crafting mythology. The terminology entered Stoic tradition and is used by Augustine of Hippo. Natural theology, thus, is that part of the philosophy of religion dealing with describing the nature of the gods, or, in monotheism, arguing for or against attributes or non-attributes of God, and especially the existence of God, purely philosophically, that is, without recourse to any special or supposedly supernatural revelation. Physico-theology is the term for a theology based on the constitution of the natural world, especially derived from perceived elements of "design", which gave rise to the argument from design for the existence of God, beginning with the "fifth way" of the Summa Theologica by Thomas Aquinas.


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