A. A. Hodge in Defense of Natural Revelation

An extreme opinion on this subject has been held by some Christians, to the effect that no true and certain knowledge of God can be derived by man, in his present condition, from the light of nature in the entire absence of a supernatural revelation; that we are altogether dependent upon such a revelation for any certain knowledge that God exists, as well as for all knowledge of his nature and his purposes.

This opinion is disproved: (a.) By the direct testimony of Scripture. Rom. 1:20–24; 2:14, 15. (b.) By the fact that many conclusive arguments for the existence of a great first Cause, who is at the same time an intelligent personal Spirit and righteous moral Governor, have been drawn by a strict induction from the facts of nature alone, as they lie open to the natural understanding. The fact that this argument remains unanswerable shows that the process by which the conclusions are drawn from purely natural sources is legitimate. (c.) All nations, however destitute of a supernatural revelation they may have been, have yet possessed some knowledge of a God. And in the case of the most enlightened of the heathen, natural religion has given birth to a considerable natural theology. We must, however, distinguish between that knowledge of the divine character which may be obtained by men from the works of nature and providence in the exercise of their natural powers alone, without any suggestions or assistance derived from a supernatural revelation—as is illustrated in the theological writings of some most eminent of the heathen who lived before Christ—and that knowledge which men in this age, under the clear light of a supernatural revelation, are competent to deduce from a study of nature. The natural theology of the modern rationalists demonstrably owes all its special excellences to that Christian revelation it is intended to supersede.

A. A. Hodge, Commentary on the Confession of Faith (Philadelphia: Presbyterian Board of Publications, 1920), 45–46.


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  • R. Scott Clark
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    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

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