Of the three divisions logic is the least important; ethics is the outcome of the whole, and historically the all-important vital element; but the foundations of the whole system are best discerned in the science of nature, which deals pre-eminently with the macrocosm and the microcosm, the universe and man, including natural theology and an anthropology or psychology, the latter forming the direct introduction to ethics.
Empiricist Natural Theology - the argument from Design.
Raynaudus's authorities, in favour of the recognition of a natural theology and against it, do not, so far as the present writer has been able to consult them, use the expression.
On the other hand, the ethical optimism of Shaftesbury, rather broadly impressive than exactly reasoned, and connected as it was with a natural theology that implied the Christian scheme to be superfluous, challenged attack equally from orthodox divines and from cynical freethinkers.
The earlier of the two volumes on Natural Theology relies on the cosmological argument; the later - obviously an afterthought - tries to vindicate the ontological argument as an alternative basis for theism, but awkwardly and with manifest uneasiness.
Lecky, 4 whether such a philosophy affords a basis for natural theology at all; but the attempt is made.
If Socinianism had challenged natural theology - Christ, according to it, was the prophet who first revealed the way to eternal life - it had glorified the natural powers of man; and the learning of the Arminian divines (friends of Grotius and Locke) had helped to modernize Christian apologetics upon rational lines.
Any supposed principles (even if not worked out into a system of inferences) used as ready-made clues for the study and interpretation of Christianity are described by this school as natural theology (cf.
When the expression Natural Theology comes to the front once more with Archdeacon W.
Deism is, in fact, the Thomist natural theology (more clearly distinguished from dogmatic theology than in the middle ages, alike by Protestants and by the post-Tridentine Church of Rome) now dissolving partnership with dogmatic and starting in business for itself.