Eternal power and divine nature do consist of a number of different things. So in order for God's nature to be shown to be divine, you are going to have to go into specifics.
I'm wary of being any more specific than Paul is. Perhaps a more rigorous scholar of this text would have more detailed thoughts. But speaking purely as an armchair scholar who just took a quick look at the Greek, I'm not sure the term "divine" signifies anything in this point other than God's existence as a supreme being in broad terms.
Ok, granted. Sin has corrupted our understanding of truth and spiritual things. But isn't Romans 1:19-20 and 2:14-15 referring, not to Adam & Eve before the fall, but to fallen man?
Indeed it is. But aren't we, in this discussions of "existentialist" Christianity, primarily concerned with the present
experience of truth, and not the nebulous world of pre-Fall human experience, something we can hardly grasp at, much less comprehend? Sure, our discussion thus far has somewhat rotated around the narrative of the Fall, but I'm not sure that's the best starting point here.
I understand that this gets into the Calvinist doctrine of Total Depravity.
Well, it can. But more generally, it just gets into the doctrine of sin, period, whether it's a formulation of it that is Total Depravity or not.
But so far, I've never read Kierkegaard discuss Calvin's view of total depravity, and there seems to be a difference between arguing that we can't know anything for sure without faith and arguing that we can't know truth about God because of sin.
Well, the Reformed tradition is far broader than just Calvin, so you'll run into trouble if you use him as the guiding lamp for all things Reformed. And Kierkegaard was Lutheran, and understanding Kierkegaard's thought as an outgrowth of his Lutheran thought is a fairly worthwhile endeavor. There are a lot of assumptions lying behind his thought.
Tell me if I'm wrong, but as I understand it, Romans is saying there is still truth we can know even as sinners.
I would say more rightly that Romans 1 is somewhat ambiguous on this question, depending on what you mean by the term "know." Not all kinds of knowing are the same. It would seem to me that what Paul speaks of in this passage is that there are things so deeply imbedded in human nature, which carries the imago Dei
, that even if they go unrecognized, forgotten, or denied by an individual that they nevertheless witness against our violation of the proper order.
From talking with Reformed friends, I don't get the idea that Calvinist theology teaches we can't know things for sure.
Which Calvinist theology? Some, more extreme formulations have been very pessimistic about what we can truly know, at least about ourselves. But most Reformed theology is not so pessimistic about the question of knowledge because, in its best versions, it has a strong view of the revelation of the Holy Spirit as the revealer of truth and sustainer of the world. But, in general, Reformed theology tends to be more pessimistic about the ability of the unaided, fallen individual to grasp truth.
If a majority of modern churches are now ignoring and discounting rational argument for the truths of Christianity, and, when challenged and asked questions by people who actually think, they tell them they just need to have faith, that's far closer to Existentialism than Reformed doctrine.
I can't think of any headlining existentialists who would give such a simple, trite, insufficient answer to such challenges. And, I think it's questionable as to whether a majority of modern churches are now ignoring and discounting rational argument. After all, there are many kinds of rational argument, and you seem to lament the absence of a certain kind.
Edited by Ryan H., 02 April 2011 - 03:37 PM.