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Reconstructing Wonder

Chemistry Informing a Natural Theology

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Timothy Weatherstone

The book uses scientific discipline of chemistry to inform a Natural Theology. While Natural Theology typically employs scientific analysis from Cosmology, Physics, Mathematics and at times Biology the author extends the subject. He refers to the perception of beauty to provide a conceptual framework linking aspects of Epistemology, Theology and Chemistry. The volume presents a working definition of Natural Theology and a new definition of Beauty that bridges the conceptual gaps between the humanities and the hard sciences.

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Chapter 2: Natural Theology

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Chapter 2:  Natural Theology

2.1  Natural Theology within the Epistemological Framework: Introduction

This book has as its aim the investigation of the possibility of ‘a natural theology informed by chemistry’, yet what does a natural theology entail? How should it be understood? James Barr tells us:

Traditionally ‘natural theology’ has commonly meant something like this: that ‘by nature’, that is, just by being human beings, men and women have a certain degree of knowledge of God and awareness of him, or at least a capacity for such an awareness; and this knowledge or awareness exists anterior to the special revelation of God made through Jesus Christ, through the Church, through the Bible. Indeed, according to many traditional formulations of the matter, it is this pre-existing natural knowledge of God that makes it possible for humanity to receive the additional ‘special’ revelation. The two fit snugly together. People can understand Christ and his message, can feel themselves sinful and in need of salvation, because they already have this appreciation, dim as it may be, of God and of morality. The ‘natural’ knowledge of God, however dim, is an awareness of the true God, and provides a point of contact without which the special revelation would never be able to penetrate to people. Note that natural theology, thus understood, does not necessarily deny special revelation: it may, rather, make that special revelation correlative with a ‘general’ or ‘natural’ revelation that is available,...

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