Presentation on theme: "Chapter 1: Knowing God Through Natural Revelation, Reason, and Faith"— Presentation transcript:
1 Chapter 1: Knowing God Through Natural Revelation, Reason, and Faith FAITH AND REVELATION
2 1. Introductory Lesson – for first day of class Syllabus.How the lessons of this text will be taught.Instructional policy.Materials.Homework.
3 1. Introductory Lesson – for first day of class HOMEWORKReadingChapter 1 from the beginning through Knowing God Through Reason, including the sidebar Wisdom 13:1–9.
4 2. Knowing God Through Reason BASIC QUESTIONSWhat is natural religion?What are the two fundamental ways of knowing God? KEY IDEASHuman beings are born with a natural desire for God, which is answered in their natural capacity to know God through reason.The two fundamental ways to know God are through reason and Revelation.
5 2. Knowing God Through Reason ANTICIPATORY SETOpening Prayer Reading:Wisdom 13:1–9 (see sidebar, p. 9).Discussion: What does this excerpt from the Old Testament reveal to us about natural knowledge of God, that is, knowledge that anyone can obtain through human reason and human experience?
6 2. Knowing God Through Reason What is the natural desire for God? It is the yearning for God that every person has in his or her human nature. Why do we have a natural desire for God? God put it in us. What inborn capacity do human beings possess that no other creature in material creation has? The inborn capacity to know God and to be in communion with him.
7 2. Knowing God Through Reason How does Pope Benedict XVI see the natural desire for God evident in the pagan philosopher Plato? Beauty causes a certain kind of suffering—a nostalgia and longing—in man that keeps him from being satisfied with ordinary life. How does St. Augustine describe our natural desire for God? “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” According to the Catechism, no. 33, what are some of the signs by which a human being can see that he or she possesses a spiritual soul? Some signs are openness to truth and beauty, a sense of moral goodness, freedom and the voice of conscience, and longings for the infinite and for happiness.
8 2. Knowing God Through Reason What is the supernatural counterpart to our natural desire for God? It is God’s desire for us. What is God’s supernatural desire for us, and what is its result? God wants us to live in communion with him, and so he reaches out to us and enables us to find him. What are the two ways we can come to know God? Through Revelation and through human reason. What is the overarching subject of this student text? It is how faith and reason work together to help us understand God’s Revelation to us.
9 2. Knowing God Through Reason GUIDED EXERCISEFree write on the theme you think is the most important (under “In this chapter we will discuss,” p. 3) and why.
10 2. Knowing God Through Reason KNOWING GOD THROUGH REASON What can human reason lead us to realize about God even without the help of divine Revelation? Human reason alone can lead us to realize that God exists. It can even tell us something about his divine nature. According to the Catechism, no. 31, what is the nature of the proofs that reason can give in regard to God’s existence? They are proofs for the existence of God but not in the sense of proofs in the natural sciences; rather, they are proofs in the sense of “converging and convincing arguments,” which allow us to attain certainty about the truth.
11 2. Knowing God Through Reason What did the Greek pagan philosophers Plato and Aristotle conclude about God? Using reason alone they concluded there must be a God. What is Aristotle’s “First Cause”? Despite the fact that he lived in a polytheistic culture, Aristotle reached the philosophical conclusion that there is one god. To what other attributes of God did Aristotle reason? He reasoned that God must be eternal and perfect. How did St. Thomas Aquinas expound upon Aristotle’s arguments? He clarified and extended them in the thirteenth century.
12 2. Knowing God Through Reason What does it mean to say that each person is by nature and by vocation a religious being? We come from God and we seek and desire God. By what two ways can we arrive at the knowledge of the existence of God? Through the light of reason and by the grace of faith. By what two basic ways can we approach a natural knowledge of God? We can be certain there is a God by using reason to examine the message of creation and the promptings of conscience.
13 2. Knowing God Through Reason Guided Exercise Complete the following table to clarify the four characteristics of our knowledge of God.Four Characteristics of Our Knowledge of GodCharacteristicExplanationMediateNaturalUniversalCertain and easy to attain
14 2. Knowing God Through Reason Four Characteristics of Our Knowledge of GodCharacteristicExplanationMediateWe receive it through created things or other persons.NaturalIt is reached through the light of our intellect.UniversalIt is accessible to all persons.Certain and easy to attainGod’s creation clearly leads us to the Creator, requiring only the exercise of reason.
15 2. Knowing God Through Reason Guided Exercise Read Supplementary Reading 1 (Rom 1:14–25, p. 23) and write a bullet-point summary of what St. Paul reveals in regard to (1) our ability to know God through reason and (2) the consequences of our refusal to see God.
16 2. Knowing God Through Reason CLOSURE Write a paragraph explaining how God gives us both a natural desire for him and a natural means of reaching him.
17 2. Knowing God Through Reason Homework AssignmentReadingKnowing God Through Natural Revelation.Sidebar: St. Thomas Aquinas and the Five Ways.Study QuestionsQuestions: 1–5.WorkbookQuestions 1–8.
18 2. Knowing God Through Reason ALTERNATIVE ASSESSMENT Based on the sidebar from the Old Testament (p. 5) and the Supplementary Reading from from the New Testament (p. 23), discuss: What do these readings say in regard to our natural ability to know the existence and nature of God, and how does this knowledge relate to idolatry and other human evils?
19 3. Knowing God through Natural Revelation BASIC QUESTIONSWhat is our natural knowledge of God?What are the “Five Ways” of St. Thomas Aquinas?KEY IDEASWe can discover both the existence of God and certain of his attributes with the light of reason in the things that he has made.St. Thomas Aquinas offers five ways of proving the existence of God based on reason.
20 3. Knowing God through Natural Revelation Anticipatory SetThink of any object made by a human being, e.g., a work of art or technology. How does it reflect something about the person who made it?
21 3. Knowing God through Natural Revelation What is natural revelation? It is what God communicates through the existence of creation. When God creates he imprints a “mark” on his creation, and through that mark we can learn something about him. What is the starting point for “naming” God through creation according to the Catechism, no. 41? The perfections of creatures—their truth, goodness, and beauty—reflect the infinite perfection of God. How is God’s likeness to his creations different from a human being’s likeness to his or her creations? Since God’s creative action is stronger and deeper than a human being’s, the likeness between God and his creatures is deeper than the likeness between man and his crafts or products. On the other hand, since the distance between God and his creation is infinitely greater than the distance between a human being and his or her products, what creation tells us about God is infinitely less proportionate than what human products reveal.
22 3. Knowing God through Natural Revelation What are some (divine) attributes about God we can learn from his creation? The existence in God of goodness, unity, simplicity, infinity, wisdom, and omnipotence. What doctrine does the Magisterium of the Church teach about our knowledge of God’s existence from reason alone? “God, the origin and end of all things, can be known and demonstrated with certainty by the natural light of reason starting from the created world, that is, from the visible works of creation, as a cause is known through its effects.” According to the Catechism, no. 32, what are some of the starting points we can use to prove God’s existence from reason? Movement, becoming, contingency, and the world’s order and beauty are starting points for knowing that God exists.
23 3. Knowing God through Natural Revelation Sidebar: ST. THOMAS AQUINAS AND THE “FIVE WAYS”Why are St. Thomas’s proofs of God’s existence still valid even though the methods of science has changed so much in the past eight hundred years?It is still true that a thing in motion must be set in motion by something else, that something cannot come from nothing, and that everything in nature is contingent and hence must have some necessary cause as its ultimate origin.Why is it reasonable to believe in God?Reason shows that God exists.Can philosophy absolutely prove that God exists?No. Not everyone wants to be convinced.
24 3. Knowing God through Natural Revelation Guided ExerciseSt. Thomas’ “Five Ways”Name of ArgumentSummary of the ArgumentConclusion of the ArgumentMotionCausesPossibility and necessityDegrees of perfectionGovernance
25 3. Knowing God through Natural Revelation St. Thomas’ “Five Ways”Name of ArgumentSummary of the ArgumentConclusion of the ArgumentMotionEverything that moves had to be set in motion by something before it, but this process cannot go back infinitely. There had to a first thing that could set subsequent things in motion without being moved itself.The First Mover is God.CausesNothing can be the cause of itself: each thing is caused by something before it. But this process cannot go back infinitely, either. There had to be a first causer which is its own cause.The First Cause is God.Possibility and necessityEverything is possible or contingent. If at some time nothing was in existence, then nothing could ever have come to exist. There must be a being who is necessary, that is, who must exist.The Necessary Being is God.Degrees of perfectionThere are degrees of perfection in creatures. Things that are more true or good can only be said to be so in relation to the most true and good being. There must be some absolutely perfect being.The Perfect Being is God.GovernanceThe universe is filled with regular patterns. When non-intelligent beings behave in regulated ways, they must do so because they are regulated or governed by something with intelligence.The Intelligent Governor is God.
26 3. Knowing God through Natural Revelation Guided ExercisePerform a focused reading of the two paragraphs beginning “St. Thomas’s proofs” and “The principles set forth” (pp. 7–8) using the following question:How do St. Thomas Aquinas’s arguments relate to the modern understanding of the universe?
27 3. Knowing God through Natural Revelation What do the arguments for the existence of God presented by Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas reveal? These arguments reveal the existence of a single being who is responsible for the causation and governance of reality. They also give us a certain understanding of his nature. What are some things that reason can show about the nature of God? God must be unlimited in all of his perfections: power, truth, knowledge, and goodness.
28 3. Knowing God through Natural Revelation Closure Write a paragraph arguing that it is reasonable to believe that God exists.
29 3. Knowing God through Natural Revelation Homework AssignmentReadingScience and Reason.Sidebar: Principal Errors Regarding the Existence of God.Study QuestionsQuestions 7–8.Practical Exercise 2WorkbookQuestions 9–13.
30 3. Knowing God through Natural Revelation Alternative Assessment Complete Practical Exercise 2 (p. 29) on things you can observe in nature that might lead you to the conclusion that there is a God.
31 4. Science and Reason BASIC QUESTIONS What is the relationship between science and reason?What is scientism?Can modern science support the idea of God?What are the principal errors regarding the existence of God?KEY IDEASScience is a particular, highly successful form of reasoning, but it is only a portion of what can be known through reason.Scientism is a view that parades as science but is an unscientific philosophical error that reduces all valid knowledge to what can be known through the methods of science.The findings of modern science can be the grounds for philosophical reflection, which can lead one to belief in God.Some principal errors in regard to the existence of God are atheism, agnosticism, rationalism, and fideism.
32 4. Science and ReasonAnticipatory Set Read the opening paragraph of this lesson, beginning “We can conclude” (p. 9). Deduce from this paragraph what the basic question of this lesson will be.
33 4. Science and ReasonHow are science and natural theology similar? Both use human reason and the observation of natural phenomena. Extension: Natural theology is the branch of philosophy that looks at what can be known about God from reason. What is modern science? It is the practice of systematically observing the behavior of nature to understand better the laws and structures that govern it. What does it mean to say that science is a restriction of reason? Science limits itself to those truths that are able to be demonstrated through the control and manipulation of natural phenomena. What are some important facets about the human person that science cannot study? Those which are not mathematically measurable—such as the fact that you can think and that you have a free will, your distinct personality with all of your thoughts and beliefs, your life experiences, your education, all that you hope to do, and the love you have for your family.
34 4. Science and ReasonGuided Exercise How does the “Hamlet vs. stack of papers with random words” example (p. 9) reveal a limitation of science?
35 4. Science and ReasonGuided Exercise What does it mean to say that reason contains science but that science does not contain reason?
36 4. Science and ReasonWhat is scientism? It is the error that reasons that because science can measure some things well, it can measure everything well, and that things that cannot be measured scientifically either do not exist or cannot be known. What is the view of God derived from scientism? If science cannot prove the existence of God – and it cannot – then we cannot be sure that there is a God. Why cannot God be proven by science? Because God cannot be physically measured. Is scientism scientific? No. Scientism is not provable by science because it cannot be tested by a scientific experiment.
37 4. Science and ReasonWhat will keep scientists from denying the existence of God? Scientists are unlikely to deny the existence of God as long as they acknowledge both the limitations of science in ascertaining truth and how reason can give us knowledge beyond that which is scientifically provable. However, if scientists (and anyone else) mistakenly believe that only things that can be measured are real, then they will, to a large extent, deny many of the characteristics that make us truly human. How can philosophy use the findings of modern science to indicate that God exists? The extremely intricate “fine tuning” of the universe which science has discovered, without which the universe and life would not be possible, suggests that there is an intelligence behind them which we call God. How does a philosophical reflection on the deep intelligibility of reality allow us to infer that God exists? If the universe were the result of only random accidents of chance we would not expect to see deep intelligibility, that is, that the universe is knowable through consistent laws. Deep intelligibility can only be caused by an even deeper intelligence, and that Intelligence is God.
38 4. Science and ReasonSidebar: PRINCIPAL ERRORS REGARDING THE EXISTENCE OF GOD What is atheism? It is the denial of the existence of God. According to Gaudium et spes, is atheism natural or spontaneous in man? No. It is an unnatural development that has both intellectual and moral causes. Atheism presupposes the mystery of sin, which turns the hierarchy of values of the person upside-down.
39 Principal Errors Regarding the Existence of God 4. Science and ReasonPrincipal Errors Regarding the Existence of GodErrorDefinitionEffect on Religion
40 Principal Errors Regarding the Existence of God 4. Science and ReasonPrincipal Errors Regarding the Existence of GodErrorDefinitionEffect on ReligionAtheistic Practical MaterialismIn practice, one limits one’s needs and ambitions to space and time on the belief that all we have is the here and now.Religion is irrelevant, since religious people await a reward which will never come.Atheistic HumanismMan is the highest being, the sole creator of his own history.Supernatural revelation is fantasy. Man decides what is good and evil.Current atheismMan will be saved by economic and social liberation. Religion hinders this because it focuses man on heaven, not on the here and now.Limits religion to making the world a better place. Anything which would take our focus off the world should be eliminated.AgnosticismHuman reason cannot know anything beyond the human senses.God and revelation are irrelevant because they cannot be known.RationalismOnly that which can be strictly proven from reason can be considered true.Faith in supernatural revelation is nonsense.FideismReligious beliefs must be embraced by faith alone. Faith has no discernable intellectual content which can be established by reason.It makes religion irrational. One believes only because God says so, not because something is true in itself.
41 4. Science and ReasonClosure Write a paragraph explaining why being a scientist is no obstacle to believing in God.
42 4. Science and Reason Homework Assignment Reading ReadingGOD MAKES HIMSELF KNOWN TO MAN.Study QuestionsQuestions: 9-12, 24.Practical Exercises 1, 3, 5-7.WorkbookQuestions
43 4. Science and ReasonAlternative Assessment Class discussion question: Until the early twentieth century, atheism was extremely rare, and while most persons still believe in God today, atheism is on the increase. Why might this be?
44 5. God Makes Himself Known to Man BASIC QUESTIONSWhy is supernatural religion necessary?What does faith do for reason?KEY IDEASThe knowledge of God which comes from contemplating creation is not sufficient to fully know God; instead we need faith in supernatural revelation to attain the goal God has for us.Faith heals, perfects and elevates reason in terms of religious and moral truths that either can be known through reason but with great difficulty or which exceed reason’s power.
45 5. God Makes Himself Known to Man Anticipatory Set Create a bullet point summary of the quote from Humani Generis in CCC 37 (see “From the Catechism” at the end of this chapter, p. 30).
46 5. God Makes Himself Known to Man What does the phrase “a personal God” mean? Extension: It means God is a person, a being with reason and will. According to CCC 35, what is the purpose of the proofs of God’s existence? They are to predispose man to faith and to help him see that faith is not opposed to reason. Why has God revealed himself to man and given him grace? So that man can have real intimacy with God. What is the relationship between faith and reason? Faith is above reason because it reveals truths which are outside the grasp of human reason alone. How is God’s plan of Revelation realized, according to Fides et Ratio? God makes real his plan of Revelation by deeds which reveal and confirm the truths he speaks and by words which proclaim and clarify the meaning of the deeds.
47 5. God Makes Himself Known to Man a. Natural Revelation Alone Is Insufficient to Fully Know God What are the two types of truth which God has revealed? God has revealed truths which are beyond human understanding and truths which are within reason but which God wanted man to know with ease and certainty and without error. Extension: The doctrine of the Trinity is an example of a truth which reason could never reach on its own. The Ten Commandments are moral truths which reason can discover on its own but that many people find difficult to reach. How is the periodic table an example of “natural” faith? Very few people can actually do the mathematics to prove that the periodic table is true: most take it on faith and use the periodic table as a basis for studying chemistry.
48 5. God Makes Himself Known to Man a. Natural Revelation Alone Is Insufficient to Fully Know God How is faith in the periodic table like faith in truths about God? Most human beings cannot discover the quantum mechanics which provide the basis of the periodic table on their own. Similarly, people are unable to arrive at the ultimate truths about God without help. What foundation does reason give us for understanding God? Reason shows us there is a God and it tells us something about his attributes. Reason also leads us to the natural law—the knowledge of what will perfect and fulfill human nature and the obligation to use that knowledge to do good and to avoid evil.
49 5. God Makes Himself Known to Man Guided Exercise What does it mean to say, “Grace builds on nature”?
50 5. God Makes Himself Known to Man Why do we need God’s help to aid reason in understanding even truths which can be known by reason? Because of original sin, our reason is darkened. Also, sometimes we use reason to justify what we want to do instead of using it to find out what we ought to do. Revelation gives us certainty. Where does God reveal himself to us? In history, in Scripture, and in the Church. What is God’s motive in revealing himself to the world? God’s motive is his gratuitous love which desires to bring men to salvation. Why do we need grace in regard to knowing truth? Sin and error prevent us from reaching a perfect knowledge of God and his will for us in our lives. Why do we call grace supernatural? It is a power above and beyond our human nature.
51 5. God Makes Himself Known to Man How does grace aid human nature in reaching God? As we struggle to reach God with our human reason, God, through grace, lifts us up in faith, building on what we already know. What is faith? It is “the theological virtue by which we believe in God and believe all that he has said and revealed to us, and that Holy Church proposes for our belief.” What does the statement, “Religion depends on faith, but Christians have good reasons for believing” mean? It means that even though the Christian religion includes many truths which cannot be reached simply by a chain of reasoning but must be believed through an act of faith, we still have solid rational grounds for believing those truths. How do some people erroneously see the relationship between faith and reason? They see faith and reason as sworn enemies.
52 5. God Makes Himself Known to Man Is faith irrational? No. Faith deals with things that are above the grasp of human reason alone, but which are themselves inherently or innately intelligible. For example, there is nothing contrary to reason in the belief that Jesus Christ is true God and true man. However, this great doctrine of the Faith cannot be deduced by reason alone, but only with the grace of God. What is the truth about Jesus that that Jesus himself said God revealed to Peter? That Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. What are the “mysteries” which faith reveals? They are truths beyond our grasp which God, in his mercy and love, reveals. What does faith do for human nature in terms of its grasp of truth? Faith heals, perfects and elevates human reason in terms of knowledge about God.
53 5. God Makes Himself Known to Man How does faith heal reason? Faith overcomes error and ignorance, which are the effects of sin. How does faith perfect reason? Faith allows everyone to know with clarity, purity and authority truths which could be known by reason alone but only by a few and after much effort and error. How does faith elevate reason? Faith lets reason know truths about God which could never be known by reason by its own power.
54 5. God Makes Himself Known to Man What is the twofold effect of faith on reason? First, faith helps reason grasp natural truths, separate these truths from errors surrounding them, and illuminate them more deeply. Second, faith allows us to reason about supernatural truths so that we can understand them more deeply. For example, enlightened by faith, we can reason about the nature of Christ, the Holy Trinity, the angels, God’s providential plan for our salvation, and many other supernatural truths. What is the relationship between Revelation and history? God reveals himself in history through what he says and what he does. These words and deeds are brought together in Holy Scripture. How did God decide to reveal his truths to mankind? Rather than working through philosophy, God entered human history by being born of a woman and living among us.
55 5. God Makes Himself Known to Man Guided Exercise “Paragraph shrink” on the paragraph beginning, “The inner unity of word and deed” (p. 17).
56 5. God Makes Himself Known to Man Why is it impossible for there to be a contradiction between faith and what right reason can discover? It is impossible because God is the author of all truth and there is no contradiction in God. How does theology, as supernatural wisdom, help scientific research? When science seems to contradict faith, theology can point out that scientists have overstepped the limits of science and presented philosophical conclusions as findings of science. Since these conclusions contradict the faith, they must be wrong. What is culture, according to the Second Vatican Council? Culture is any reality with a human or humanizing value; in other words, it is not everything that mankind creates or produces, or the traditional customs of each people, but only what is useful for developing, perfecting, and humanizing mankind.
57 5. God Makes Himself Known to Man What is the Church’s interest in culture? The Church wants to enter into a dialogue with the entire human family about the problems besieging modern society in light of the resources she has been given. Why can faith be of service to any culture? Since it is not the product of a specific culture, faith has the intrinsic capacity to inform any culture.
58 5. God Makes Himself Known to Man Closure Write a paragraph explaining how faith heals, perfects and elevates reason in knowing the things of God.
59 5. God Makes Himself Known to Man Homework AssignmentReadingTHE NECESSITY OF FAITH IN KNOWING GOD.Sidebar: FAITH: THE CENTER OF DIVINE REVELATION.CONCLUSION.Study QuestionsQuestions:Practical Exercise 4.WorkbookQuestions
60 5. God Makes Himself Known to Man Alternative Assessment Free write for five minutes on something you found difficult to grasp in this lesson.
61 6. The Necessity of Faith in Knowing God BASIC QUESTIONSWhat is man’s proper response to Revelation?What role does reason play in the act of faith?How do we penetrate Divine Revelation more deeply?Are morality and religion natural to humanity?KEY IDEASGod wants us to cooperate in our salvation through faith in his Revelation.Reason can lead the way to faith, which is an assent to the truths that God proposes to us.We can develop our faith through prayerful contemplation and study of divine revelation.Man is naturally both a moral and religious being, as seen from the natural law and natural religion.
62 6. The Necessity of Faith in Knowing God Anticipatory Set Focused reading of the excerpt from Gaudium et spes, 14 (see Supplemental Reading 4, p. 25) using the following question: How does this reading portray man as a naturally religious being?
63 6. The Necessity of Faith in Knowing God What is the elevation of man which God has chosen for us? God invites us to be members of the divine family, to truly partake of the divine nature, to live in intimate communion with God, and to become Godlike to the fullest extent possible. What part does God want us to play in our supernatural end? God desires our free and responsible cooperation. Is our salvation and supernatural elevation possible on our own? No. Our goal surpasses our intellect, energy and power. What has God done to save us? God decided to reveal himself by stepping into history and addressing his word to us, first through the prophets and ultimately through his Son.
64 6. The Necessity of Faith in Knowing God How do we receive God’s revelation? We receive it by an active faith, by which we are guided by God and cooperate with him. Is faith a vague religious sentiment? No. Salvation begins with the acceptance of the Word in the intellect. How does Jesus’ claim that he is the light of the world (John 8: 12) explain Luke 1: 78-79? Without God, humanity sits in darkness, under the shadow of death. Jesus’ revelation is the light which enlightens humanity.
65 6. The Necessity of Faith in Knowing God Sidebar FAITH: THE CENTER OF DIVINE REVELATION What is the metaphorical “light” of faith? It is the possession of truth by which we guide our lives. What is the Scriptural definition of faith? “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb 11: 1). When will we see for ourselves what now we only believe? In heaven, when we see God “face to face.” Why do believers meditate on what they believe? To know God more closely. What are the two ways faith is developed? Faith can be developed through the spiritual or mystical way, and the intellectual or theological way.
66 6. The Necessity of Faith in Knowing God What is the spiritual or mystical way? It is achieved with the help of the Holy Spirit, by meditating on the word of God. What is the intellectual or theological way? It consists of using all of one’s intellectual faculties and cultural resources to understand divine revelation. What should the relationship be between these two ways? They should be pursued at the same time, both through prayer and study. What is the origin of Christian theology? It is born from the prayerful contemplation and intellectual study of Divine Revelation.
67 6. The Necessity of Faith in Knowing God b. Faith and the Way Leading to Faith What is the “assent” of faith? It is the agreement of the human intellect with the truth which God reveals. This is done under the influence of grace. Can we reach faith through natural reasoning? Even though faith is reasonable, reason cannot bring us to faith. On what authority do we believe? On the authority of God who reveals.
68 6. The Necessity of Faith in Knowing God Guided Exercise - Mini-lecture on the “Preambles of Faith.”Is faith a blind “Leap into the dark”?Catholicism: the act of faith as prepared for by reason through the “preambles of faith.”The preambles of faith are truths which can be established by reason which make the act of faith reasonable.Facts which reason can prove, or at least prove to be reasonable:the existence of God;the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, including his miracles, as historical facts;Christ’s establishment of a Church to carry on his work.These “preambles” can lead us to the faith.Faith, itself, is a gift of God by which we freely assent to what God has revealed.
69 6. The Necessity of Faith in Knowing God c. Faith Seeking UnderstandingWhat is theology?It is faith seeking understanding.What does theology study?The treasures of love and wisdom God has revealed to us through Jesus Christ.Why should every Christian study the faith?Study of the faith helps us to know and love God and the world which has come from him.Why does St. Peter advise us to study our faith?So you can, “Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you.”Why is theological formation especially necessary today?The world presents problems and challenges which test our faith and which require a reasoned Christian response.
70 6. The Necessity of Faith in Knowing God Guided Exercise Brainstorm current events which challenge the faith of a believer in Christ and which can only be solved with an understanding of the faith.
71 6. The Necessity of Faith in Knowing God d. The Faith Is Understood in Prayer What is prayer? Extension: Prayer is simply a conversation with God. How is Mary a model of prayer? In response to God’s word and to the events of her life, Mary “kept all these things, pondering them in her heart.” What is the danger of theology without piety? Theology could degenerate into empty intellectualism. Which gifts of the Holy Spirit help us most in studying the faith? The gifts of understanding and wisdom.
72 6. The Necessity of Faith in Knowing God CONCLUSION What is natural law? It is the universal moral law for human beings which can be known through reason. How does Romans allude to natural law? Paul says that Gentiles may obey the moral law which is “written on their hearts.” What are some of the precepts of the natural law? Murder is wrong, stealing is wrong, adultery is wrong.
73 6. The Necessity of Faith in Knowing God CONCLUSION What did ancient philosophers see as the highest virtue? Religion or the act of giving to God what was due to God. How does ancient history support the notion that man is a religious being? Every ancient society was religious, and religion was considered not just a private virtue but also a public one. In fact, wherever archaeologists look, they find that the most important monuments were religious buildings. What does the ubiquity of religion tell us? Natural religion shows us that to be human is to be religious, and not to be religious is contrary to human nature.
74 6. The Necessity of Faith in Knowing God What is the problem with natural law and natural religion? After the fall of our first parents, human reason and intellect became clouded and insufficient to reveal the fullness of God’s truth. What solution did God give humanity to the problem with natural knowledge of God and good and evil? God has given us grace and Revelation. What is the proper response to Revelation? Faith. Why should we respond to God’s revelation with faith? Because God is the guarantor of all truth.
75 6. The Necessity of Faith in Knowing God Closure Write a paragraph explaining why both contemplation of Divine Truth and study of it are very important.
76 6. The Necessity of Faith in Knowing God Homework AssignmentStudy QuestionsQuestions: 6 & 23.Practical Exercises 8-9.WorkbookQuestions
77 6. The Necessity of Faith in Knowing God Alternative Assessment Free write for five minutes on the following question: Why do you think God revealed the Ten Commandments to Moses despite the fact that the Decalogue is essentially the natural law written in every heart?