Monday, August 29, 2011

Juicing and Natural Theology

I've been juicing for the past 2 weeks or so now, and I must say that it certainly feels good to be doing this little extra thing for my health.

The "rule" is that beetroot, apple, and carrot should be the staple of the concoction, upon which one can add all sorts of other fruits and vegetables. I've been juicing bell pepper, bitter gourd, cucumber, cabbage, onion, garlic, unripe mango, potato, etc.

The star of the show is beetroot. This dark purple root crop has all sorts of "magical" properties. Read about them and be enticed here.

What all this juicy goodness has shown me is that God has truly scattered across His creation such a bountiful supply of resources meant to provide for the natural (physical) well-being of His image-bearers. I as a Christian realize this and gratitude wells up, pointing me to the greater reality of my spiritual redemption in Christ. The unbeliever realizes this as well, sees his enjoyment of creation as a byproduct of the generosity of God (common grace), but shrugs his shoulders and goes off his merry 'ole wicked way.

Francis Turretin has some words to say about the knowledge of God as derived by every human being from nature:

"Thus we know that God is, both from nature and from faith (Heb. 11*:6); from the former obscurely, but from the latter more surely. The special knowledge of true faith (by which believers please God and have access to him, of which Paul speaks) does not exclude, but supposes the general knowledge from nature.

The mind of man is a tabula rasa not absolutely, but relatively as to discursion and dianoetical knowledge (which is acquired necessarily by inferring one thing from another); but not as to apprehensive and intuitive knowledge. For even according to Paul, the work of the law is in such a manner written in the hearts of Gentiles that they do by nature the things contained in the law. Hence is a twofold inscription upon the heart of man: the one of God in the remains of his image and the natural law; the other of the Devil by sin.

What is natural, subjectively and constitutively, always exists in the same manner, but not what is such qualitatively and consecutively (for qualities admit of increase and diminuition). Natural theology is so called not in the first, but in the second sense. Hence it is not surprising that it should vary as to degree in relation to its subjects, who differ in intellectual acumen.

Although we do not deny that natural theology depends also upon the institution of men, yet certainly that mode would have been insufficient, if the natural knowledge of God (both innate and acquired) had not been supplied.

Although the knowledge of God is natural, it does not follow that no mortal can deny his existence. For if any have denied him, they have done so not so much through ignorance as through perverseness, their own consciences convicting them (as David testifies of the atheists who poured contempt upon the people of God [Ps. 14:4, 5], and Paul asserts of philosophers [Rom. 1:18, 19], teaching that they held the truth [viz., the true notions of God] in unrighteousness). Therefore the reason for the denial was not so much an absolute ignorance of God as their corruption and wickedness choking the implanted knowledge and all but destroying it in order that they might sin more freely" (Institutes, I.1.3.10-14).

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