Natural theology is a branch of theology based on reason and ordinary experience. Thus it is distinguished from revealed theology (or revealed religion) which is based on scripture and religious experiences of various kinds; and also from transcendental theology, theology from a priori reasoning.
Marcus Terentius Varro (116–27 BC) in his (lost) Antiquitates rerum humanarum et divinarum established a distinction of three kinds of theology: civil (political) (theologia civilis), natural (physical) (theologia naturalis) and mythical (theologia mythica). The theologians of civil theology are "the people", asking how the gods relate to daily life and the state (imperial cult). 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 (d. 1274).
Other articles related to "natural theology, natural":
... and benevolence in nature, and that beauty cannot be accounted for by natural selection ... Such a belief is mainstream natural theology, and reveals how far Matthew was from Darwin in realising the potential of evolutionary explanations for him as ...
... to support the canonical scientific views at the time, which explored the natural world within Paley's framework of a divine designer, The Earl of Bridgewater, a gentleman ... Astronomy and General Physics considered with reference to Natural Theology, by William Whewell, D ... Animal and Vegetable Physiology considered with reference to Natural Theology, by Peter Mark Roget ...
... science developed in the early 19th century on a basis of natural theology which saw the adaptation of fixed species as evidence that they had been specially created ... plan of harmonious creation, which Richard Owen reconciled with natural theology as a pattern of homology showing evidence of design ... such as George Jackson Mivart, and the Duke of Argyll who rejected natural selection altogether in favor of laws of development that guided evolution down preordained paths ...
Famous quotes containing the words theology and/or natural:
“When the Devil quotes Scriptures, its not, really, to deceive, but simply that the masses are so ignorant of theology that somebody has to teach them the elementary texts before he can seduce them.”
—Paul Goodman (19111972)
“The superstition respecting power and office is going to the ground. The stream of human affairs flows its own way, and is very little affected by the activity of legislators. What great masses of men wish done, will be done; and they do not wish it for a freak, but because it is their state and natural end.”
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