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Natural Signs and Knowledge of God

Is there such a thing as natural knowledge of God? C. Stephen Evans presents the case for understanding theistic arguments as expressions of natural signs in order to gain a new perspective both on their strengths and weaknesses. Three classical, much-discussed theistic arguments — cosmological, teleological, and moral — are examined for the natural signs they embody. At the heart of this book lie several relatively simple ideas. One is that if there is a God of the kind accepted by Christians, Jews, and Muslims, then it is likely that a ‘natural’ knowledge of God is possible. Another is that this knowledge will have two characteristics: it will be both widely available to humans and yet easy to resist. If these principles are right, a new perspective on many of the classical arguments for God’s existence becomes possible. We understand why these arguments have for many people a continued appeal but also why they do not constitute conclusive ‘proofs’ that settle the debate once and for all. Touching on the interplay between these ideas and contemporary scientific theories about the origins of religious belief, particularly the role of natural selection in predisposing humans to form beliefs in God or gods, Evans concludes that these scientific accounts of religious belief are fully consistent, even supportive, of the truth of religious convictions.


In:
Natural Theology

About C. Stephen Evans

C. Stephen Evans earned his doctorate in philosophy at Yale University and continued his studies on Kierkegaard as a Marshall Fellow in Denmark. A recipient of grants from the Danforth Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities, he has taught at Wheaton College (1974-84) and is currently a professor of philosophy and Curator of Hong Kierkegaard Library at St. Olaf College. He is the author of many articles in philosophical and psychological journals such as Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology, Journal of Mind and Behavior, and Review of Existential Psychology and Psychiatry, and has written several books, including Subjectivity and Religious Belief and Kierkegaard’s “Fragments” and “Postscript.”