A Biblical and Historical Introduction and Defense
Paperback. 195pp. $14.95.
Christians affirm that Scripture alone reveals truths about God which cannot be known by mere reason, such as the Trinity or the Gospel itself. But how do we account for Scripture’s apparent talk of a knowledge of God possible solely from creation? Or for our own sense of the divine in nature? Or for the startling insights of ancient philosophers about the nature of God? The answer: natural theology.
Often misrepresented as a fruitless human attempt to comprehend God, natural theology has in fact been a significant part of Christian theology throughout history. It has shaped the Christian doctrine of God and provided a starting point for evangelizing non-Christians. In an age when theologians and missionaries alike are in need of stronger doctrinal foundations, it is a doctrine as vital as ever.
In this brief guide, David Haines first outlines the biblical basis for natural theology, suggesting that, if Scripture is correct, certain truths about God should be well attested by non-Christians. A thorough historical survey demonstrates that this is indeed the case, and that the Church has long made use of that which is revealed to reason in order to serve Christ, who is revealed to faith.
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Editor: Dr. David Haines (PhD, Université Laval), is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Theology at Bethlehem College & Seminary, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion at VIU, a Visiting Fellow at Davenant Hall, and a lecturer in philosophy at Université de Sherbrooke. He has previously co-authored Natural Law: A Brief Introduction and Biblical Defense and edited Without Excuse: Scripture, Reason, and Presuppositional Apologetics, both with The Davenant Press.
PRAISE FOR THIS WORK
"No doubt, we are seeing in our day a renewed appreciation among Protestants for natural theology. This is a good thing, and Haines shows us why. With an emphasis on the Greeks and the Romans and the first centuries of the church, Haines makes the convincing case that natural theology has been around a long time, is taught in the Bible, and has been the default position in the Western Church (Catholic and Protestant) until the last century."
A Top 10 Book of 2021
- Rev. Kevin DeYoung
Senior Pastor of Christ Covenant Church, Matthews, NC; Associate Professor at Reformed Theological Seminary; Council Member of The Gospel Coalition
"Imagine there's no Bible. All we have to go on is the world around us. Can we know anything about God? Haines’ high-altitude, highly readable survey of natural theology across the centuries argues that yes, indeed we can, and Scripture itself says so. In fact, he argues persuasively that without natural revelation, special revelation would be a closed book. If you’re unsure of what natural theology is, or remain unconvinced of its value - especially as it relates to evangelism - you should read this."
- Barry Cooper
Elder at Christ Community Daytona Beach; co-founder of Christianity Explored Ministries; author of "Can I Really Trust The Bible?"; co-host of Cooper & Cary Have Words
"Protestants—especially evangelicals—need to read this book not once, but twice. For all of church history Christians have taught the validity of natural theology on the basis of God’s revelation of himself in the book of nature. During the confessional age, the reformers and their heirs considered natural theology a basic and indispensable component of Christian orthodoxy. Enter the twentieth century and theologians—from Barth to Van Til—dispensed with natural theology and with notable vitriol. Yet David Haines demonstrates that these hasty objections to natural theology are based on serious exegetical and historical misconceptions. Summoning scripture’s own testimony, Haines shows that God has not left himself without witness, but he intends those made in his image to use reasonable observation to perceive his existence, divine attributes, and divine providence in the universe. Creation is a theater of God’s glory, and this book is your ticket to a front row seat."
- Dr. Matthew Barrett
Associate Professor of Christian Theology at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; host of the Credo Podcast
“This is bound to be a controversial book. It would not have been so in Reformed circles until the critical labors of Kant, which Schleiermacher, Herrmann, Bultmann and Barth in their distinct ways seemed to have accepted. What is strange, though, is that conservative Reformed luminaries since the twentieth century continue to denounce many of the theses that were assumed in Reformed orthodoxy. Like me, you may not agree with everything that David Haines defends, but it is a very important, well-informed and articulate exploration of a major piece of theology that has been missing of late from our memory.”
- Dr. Michael Horton
J. Gresham Machen Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics
Westminster Seminary California
“This book has been needed for some time. It has a number of valuable strengths that make it well worth reading."
- Dr. Craig Carter
Research Professor of Theology at Tyndale University; Theologian in Residence at Westney Heights Baptist Church; author of "Interpreting Scripture With the Great Tradition" and "Contemplating God With the Great Tradition"
"By amassing irrefutable testimony from the writings of early church fathers like Justin Martyr and Athanasius, medieval theologians like Augustine and Aquinas, and key Reformers like Calvin, Beza, Vermigli, Davenant, and Turretin, Haines demonstrates that a belief in natural theology has been a central and standard belief for most of the history of the faith."
- Dr. Louis Markos
Robert H. Ray Chair in Humanities, Professor in English, and Scholar in Residence at Houston Baptist University; author of From Plato to Christ: How Platonic Thought Shaped the Christian Faith
MORE FROM THE DAVENANT PRESS
The Davenant Institute endeavors to restore wisdom for the contemporary church. We seek to sponsor historical scholarship at the intersection of the church and academy, build friendships and facilitate collaboration within the Reformed and evangelical world, and equip the saints with time-tested resources for faithful public witness.
Below are some of the works we've published towards that end.