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Natural Signs and Knowledge of God: A New Look at Theistic Arguments

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This book will benefit readers with some background or interest in natural theology and philosophy or religion."--CHOICE

"The empirical questions Evans' approach raises are not only noteworthy, they are urgent. Natural Signs and Knowledge of God has much to offer philosophers and theologians, but the most significant contribution of Evans' book may well be to motivate and otherwise support broadly theistic research programs in the human sciences."--Books & Culture

"Clearly written, engaging...Evans writes with conviction but without dogmatism, and shines a fresh perspective on some traditional arguments. This book is highly recommended for both students and scholars."--Religious Studies Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199217168
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 7/1/2010
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface viii

1 The Problem of Natural Theology 1

2 The Concept of a Natural Sign 26

3 Cosmic Wonder and Cosmological Arguments for God 47

4 Beneficial Order and Teleological Arguments for God 74

5 Moral Arguments and Natural Signs for God 107

6 Conclusions: Can We Rely on Natural Signs for a "Hidden" God? 149

Bibliography 193

Index 203

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