Natural theology

Philosophy and Theology

  • James Hutchison Stirling
University of Edinburgh

James Hutchison Stirling published Philosophy and Theology in 1890. It is a compilation of the 20 Gifford lectures he delivered as the first Gifford Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh. These lectures discuss the questions: What is Natural Theology?

The Logic of Religious Thinking

  • Herbert Arthur Hodges
1955 to 1957
University of Aberdeen

These lectures consider the proper way to do natural theology in the aftermath of the revolution brought about by analytical philosophy. The traditional metaphysical inquiry characteristic of the subject promoted by Lord Gifford is abandoned in favour of an exploration of religious language and experience. Theistic belief is found to rest on choice and commitment rather than on rational inquiry, and the role of philosophical reflection lies in ex post facto understanding rather than in the genesis of belief. But though it is a sense of mystery, quest for meaning and an interpretative ‘God vision’ that must be accorded central place, theistic belief is still ‘reality asserting’ and remains a viable rival to atheistic conceptions that may appear more in accord with modern conceptions of knowledge.

Gordon Graham

Biblical Faith and Natural Theology

  • James Barr
1990 to 1991
University of Edinburgh

In Biblical Faith and Natural Theology, based on his 1991 Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh, James Barr argues that the Bible not only endorses elements of natural theology, but also is heavily dependent on natural theology both in its composition and for its responsible interpretation. Interacting throughout with the influential views of Karl Barth, Barr thus offers a devastating critique of the notion that natural theology is at odds with biblical theology.

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