On the Knowledge of God, Natural and Otherwise

The philosophical attempts to prove the existence of God are all failures. The cosmological, teleological, moral, ontological, and transcendental arguments for the existence of God all rely on logical fallacies, are thus false, and are nowhere to be found in the Bible.

Rather, God’s existence is NOWHERE PROVEN, but EVERYWHERE ASSUMED in the scriptures.

Although the attempted proofs for the existence of God are all failures, God has endowed man with a natural or innate knowledge of Himself. Those who do not believe in God must resist, deny, restrict, and actively suppress this knowledge.

It is because of the innate knowledge of God in man that the Apostle Paul is able to say:

For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. Romans 1:20

This verse is NOT supporting the cosmological argument for the existence of God (that one could know of God’s existence via the created world), but is rather, saying that man (who already has innate knowledge of God’s existence) thus perceives that attributes of the God he already knows in the created things of the world.

This innate knowledge of God is evident in the conscience. For when we break the law of God, we feel guilty. Guilty to what or whom may I ask to an atheist?

But natural man only knows THAT there is a God.  He does not know WHO or WHAT God is.  It is the special revelation of the Scriptures that explain God to us in all the ways He wishes to be known. God spoke first to the prophets who foretold the coming messiah. This messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, born in Bethlehem who was crucified, died and buried rose on the third day fulfilling all the scripture foretelling His mission. Jesus was the Son of God and truly God and it is through Jesus that we learn of God’s love for His people.

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About douglasdouma

I am a graduate of the University of Michigan (BSME), Wake Forest University (MBA), and Sangre de Cristo Seminary (Mdiv). I've learned far more from books than in school. I'm particularly in debt to Martin Luther, Ludwig von Mises, and Gordon H. Clark for any thoughts I have.
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9 Responses to On the Knowledge of God, Natural and Otherwise

  1. seamus says:

    I feel guilt when I do something wrong because Santa Clause is making His list and checking it twice and He is going to find out who is naughty or nice. Santa Clause is coming and we better be ready.

    • douglasdouma says:

      That’s exactly my points; atheists don’t have a reason (which they believe) as to why man feels guilt.

      • Seamus says:

        I could write many pragmatic responses to why we feel guilt, but being that you are so ingrained in your dogma, any response I come up with would be refuted. Your belief in God does not require proof that is why it is called faith. You can develop any answer to any question I may ask because religion does not require answers to come from things we can observe and quantify. Your religion can make up any answer and call it faith. I do find it ironic that you would discount my belief in Santa Clause so easy, while you expound your belief in a being that you cannot prove exists. Our parents created Santa Clause in order to control our behavior during our childhood development and God was created to control our parents during their adulthood. If you believe that Santa Clause does not exist because your parents told you he did not really exist, I would say the only reason why people do not receive gifts from Santa Clause is because they do not believe and have lost the faith in the big guy. He only rewards the true believers. Man having faith is so easy, why even study, I can just make up anything I want and call it religion. Also why do you not believe in the other gods, they came before your God, oh that’s right you only believe what your thousand year old texts tells you is so. I only weep for America because we lost another good scientist to the world of fantasy.

      • douglasdouma says:

        I’m interested in your pragmatic responses. Pragmatism may tell us that it is good (for one’s benefit) to feel guilt, but it can’t explain the origin of guilt; why we DO feel guilty, not why we SHOULD feel guilty.

        You are correct that I don’t base my philosophy on what “we observe and quantify.” There are a number of reasons for this. Firstly, is the problem of induction. No matter how many times we observe something, no general conclusion can be made. For example, if I see 1000 black swans, can I conclude that all swans are black? A second major issue is the derivation of normative conclusions. From observation (purely descriptive data) no normative (or “ought” or “should”) conclusions can be made. Thus a philosophy based on observation can have no ethics; no right or wrong, but only “is.”

        I certainly don’t endeavor to make up any of my own answers, but to be faithful to the message of the Bible. Whether the authors of the Bible “make up answers” I cannot judge; I would need a standard of truth by which to judge the Bible. Rather, for Christians the Bible is that standard of truth as it is the Word of God who is Truth himself; the origin of all truth.

        That others god’s came before the God of the Bible is perhaps a secular view. It is not the view of the Bible itself which speak of God “in the beginning.”

        Now these two views, the secular and the Biblical, cannot be judged by each other (for they each deny one another), but by themselves by a test of internal consistency.

        Is your view consistent? Can you find the grounds by which knowledge is possible to man’s mind? (no secularly philosopher I’ve found can. In fact they argue (against themselves unknowingly) that knowledge is impossible.) Can you substantiate the existence of “truth” itself by which everything else is to be measured?

      • Seamus says:

        Guilt is in essence a means of controlling behavior. I will give an example. When I was very young I took a GI JOE action figure from a grocery store. At this time in my life I have not be told what a grocery store was for. I had not observed my parents paying for the items we were buying. I only assumed based on my observation that clerk would bag the items we picked and we would be on our way. I saw something I wanted at the store and I put said item in my pocket. I felt no guilt for what I had done, I though it was standard operation procedure. It was not until my mom had found the item I took and explained to me what I had done wrong. I was made to go back to the store and tell the manager what I had done and to apologize for my behavior. This event was a turning point in my life and because I took something I had no earned for someone that had worked to attain this item I felt guilt and shame for what I had done. I did not feel guilt because I though I let some omnipotent “God” down, I felt guilt for taking something I did not earn. Guilt keeps most from behaving in a manner contrary to an advancing society’s doctrine and allows for the many to live and prosper together.

        Guilt and “morality” are forever evolving. It was not long ago girls that had starting their menstrual cycle were deemed by society to be ready for marriage and child barring. This societal norm was used because of the high morality rate due to the absence of modern medicine. Today we view this behavior as pedophilia and one is taught to feel guilt and shame if one is and adult and they view girls of this age in any sexual manner. Also it was not long ago our society burning and drowned women that the clergy had deemed to be heretics and being posed by the most “impure.” Even today people follow a religion that condones the stoning of women for acts deemed by men to be “un-lady” like.

        I understand why people follow religious dogma, they fear the un-know and if it were not for secular laws, those with fear would kill what they do not understand in the name of God. The problem with religion is the unwillingness to adapt. It took great minds with courage to question that form the great society we have today and we would have probably made faster advances if the weight of the church were not hanging on the backs of the fearful. Was it not the church that professed that any person who deemed the world to be round were blasphemers and should be punished? Thank you science for giving us the ability to stop believing in fairytales. If ignorance is bliss, I choice suffering.

      • Seamus says:

        Also your example, “if I see 1000 black swans, can I conclude that all swans are black?” is very infantile way of categorizing scientific observation. If you were a scientist you would not say all swans are black, but this area of observation has may black swans and perhaps if I go to another area I might find different color swans or more black swans. Scientist do not make rash and short-sided observations they spend a lifetime observing, quantifying and updating the information of our world. Unlike religion, science does evolve as we find evidence and better and more accurate ways to perform our scientific measurements.

  2. Seamus says:

    Do not forget that man wrote the bible, therefore unreliable by your own reasoning. History and archeological evidence has proven that several forms of religion and spirituality existed way before the Christian faith. There is also far more evidence the shows Christianity had adopted dates and ideology stemming from pagan and other forms of spirituality. This is a very pragmatic approach for the church to take; it is much easier to convert someone if you have adopted many of the competitions beliefs. Just change gods to God and sprits to angels, spread y’alls dogma for a couple thousand years and your cult turn into a religion. I know that facts and reason are inconvenient to your argument, but your journey as a theologist is going to face many challengers as society advance and hopeful one day people will no longer be blinded by fear.

    • douglasdouma says:

      Certainly some guilt arises not as a controlling measure. When you do something wrong, do you not have guilt prior to and independent of any authority figure pressuring you?

      The Bible says “the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them”

      Which I take to mean that the knowledge of right and wrong is innate in man. It is imprinted on man such that when he sins he feels guilt.

      On my account I don’t believe that fear of the unknown drives my decision. The primary reasons I believe Christianity are as follows: 1. The working on my mind/heart of the Holy Spirit giving me faith in Christ as my savior who took away my guilt by receiving the penalties due to me. 2.The accounts by multiple witnesses of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth which fulfilled the prophecies of the prophets (particularly Isaiah) from many centuries beforehand. 3. The necessity of a foundation of truth. To say that truth does not exist is a contradiction; it is claiming that the very statement “truth does not exist” is true. Thus, truth must exist. Nor can truth be always changing, for if the “truth is always changing” is itself changing then sometimes true does not change. Hence truth does not change. This objective truth is claimed by Christ as God when he says “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” The God of the Bible presents himself as this self-existing, unchanging truth. 4. The failure of secular philosopher to agree on any subject or present a grounding for the potential of knowledge. Conversely, Christianity’s grounding of knowledge in God who made man as His Image capable of rational thought and providing man with knowledge through his light of illumination.

      Let me revise my statement on induction. Perhaps 1000 swans wasn’t enough. What if I’m a swan scientist who observes a “lifetime of swans” and they are all black. Is this enough observations to conclude that all swans are black? What is a sufficient number? The scientist must also limit his observations in time and place. He cannot observe the past nor the conditions in the galaxy of Andromeda. Thus he extrapolates his observations to all times and places. This is an unwarranted move. If I were to conclude all African Swallows to be Yellow after an exhaustive search determining European Swallows to be Yellow I’d be making the same error.

      Although man was the conduit through which the Bible was written, the teaching of the Bible is that the concepts/propositions/teachings are from God. The Bible repeatedly says “The Lord spoke to the prophet so-and-so” and teaching that “all scriptures is breathed out by God” and is “His Word.” It is when man rejects the teaching of God that his own teaching is incorrect. It is the same sin (of disobedience) from the beginning when Adam followed the questioning of Satan “did God really say that.”

  3. Seamus says:

    Since it appears that all of your post of late and I assume will continue to be religious based, I will say goodbye. I did enjoy your secular posts during your hiking adventure, but I tire of playing who’s “God” is better. We are both learned individuals set in their ways and no one is going to sway the other. I hope others find solace in your post, but for me I only get headaches. Have fun in your new adventure as a theologist and I wish you luck.

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