As for the theology that is not specifically different from, but part of, philosophy—the 'natural' theology that is at the centre of my interests here—the first thing that should be clear about it is that, as a part of philosophy, it must be theology from the bottom up, in the sense that it must forgo the unphilosophical head start apparently provided by putative revelation and accept as its data only those few naturally evident considerations that traditionally constitute data acceptable for philosophy as a whole. So it seems clear that natural theology's agenda for rational investigation will have the existence of God as its first distinctive item—the first item that marks it off as the theological part of philosophy. If God's existence can be plausibly argued for, its second large-scale topic will be what can be inferred about God's nature; its third, the relation of everything else to God considered as the first principle of reality in general; its fourth, the particular relations of human nature and behaviour to God considered as their first principle.
Because of the difficulties in the first undertaking that distinguishes natural theology from other parts of philosophy, its development as an independent inquiry has typically been stunted, end p.25
Kretzmann, Norman , (deceased) formerly Susan Linn Sage Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Cornell University, New York
Was this article helpful?