Natural theology as the basis for ascent?

25Mar07

Reality has set in.

I have three weeks top research, write and edit my paper on natural theology in Aquinas. I love natural theology. The first time I was introduced to it, the lightbulb in my head went on, and I realized that yes, Catholicism was something I could ascent to because it was logical. I’m an engineer trapped in a theologian’s body, or a theologian trapped in an engineer’s body… things have to be precise and logical, and until that moment, there was no logic in my faith. I know that makes me different, most people come to faith supernaturally, as opposed to from the perspective of natural theology. But that’s what got me here. I wasn’t without faith, I was without grounding back then. And Anselm’s Ontological proofs for God’s existence were suddenly the anchor for a very misguided first year theology student. (thanks Doc)

Now I have to explain why natural theology is so important if it cant lead to full, saving knowledge of God. And I have no idea where to begin. Its important because if it leads one person to God through Christ and the Church, then that’s one more person who’s found faith than before.

I have to answer four questions in 15 pages. Its not the length that worries me, on the contrary I thought the paper had to be 20-25 pages, so I’m worried about the brevity. Especially with these questions:

  1. Are philosophical proofs for God’s existence the actual source, for most believers, of their assent to God’s existence and his natural attributes (omniscience, omnipotence, etc.)?
  2. Are such proofs necessary in order for believers to be rationally justified in their beliefs about God?
  3. Does Aquinas think the project of natural theology can succeed, and if so to what end?
  4. Are philosophical proofs an improper source of religious belief, since they will lead to a faith that is unstable and wavering?

AAAHHHH

Ok, that’s out of my system. Somewhere in all of this, over the next three years, I have to learn/teach myself Koine Greek, Latin, (possibly) Hebrew, and at least one modern language other than Spanish.

Greek and Latin are what I’m looking forward to most. I’m majoring in historical and systematic theology and I want to concentrate on the early church though the period before Trent, so those are the languages I really want to learn. And I really want to read the bible in Latin, Greek or Hebrew, so I might as well start with Greek. Latin I can sort of sound out…

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