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Chapter 1: Knowing God Through Natural Revelation, Reason, and Faith

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Title: Chapter 1: Knowing God Through Natural Revelation, Reason, and Faith


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
  • HOMEWORK
  • Reading
  • Chapter 1 from the beginning through Knowing God
    Through Reason, including the sidebar Wisdom
    1319.

4
2. Knowing God Through Reason
  • BASIC QUESTIONS
  • What is natural religion?
  • What are the two fundamental ways of knowing
    God? 
  • KEY IDEAS
  • Human 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 SET
  • Opening Prayer Reading
  • Wisdom 1319 (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 sufferinga
    nostalgia and longingin 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 Gods desire for us.
  • What is Gods 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 Gods Revelation to us.

9
2. Knowing God Through Reason
  • GUIDED EXERCISE
  • Free 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 Gods 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 Aristotles 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
    Aristotles 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 God Four Characteristics of Our Knowledge of God
Characteristic Explanation
Mediate
Natural
Universal
Certain and easy to attain
14
2. Knowing God Through Reason
Four Characteristics of Our Knowledge of God Four Characteristics of Our Knowledge of God
Characteristic Explanation
Mediate We receive it through created things or other persons.  
Natural It is reached through the light of our intellect.  
Universal It is accessible to all persons.  
Certain and easy to attain Gods 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 11425, 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 Assignment
  • Reading
  • Knowing God Through Natural Revelation.
  • Sidebar St. Thomas Aquinas and the Five Ways.
  • Study Questions
  • Questions 15.
  • Workbook
  • Questions 18.

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 QUESTIONS
  • What is our natural knowledge of God?
  • What are the Five Ways of St. Thomas Aquinas?
  • KEY IDEAS
  • We 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 Set
  • Think 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 creaturestheir truth,
    goodness, and beautyreflect the infinite
    perfection of God.
  • How is Gods likeness to his creations different
    from a human beings likeness to his or her
    creations?
  • Since Gods creative action is stronger and
    deeper than a human beings, 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 Gods 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 Gods
    existence from reason?
  • Movement, becoming, contingency, and the worlds
    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. Thomass proofs of Gods 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 Exercise
  •  

St. Thomas Five Ways St. Thomas Five Ways St. Thomas Five Ways
Name of Argument Summary of the Argument Conclusion of the Argument
Motion
Causes
Possibility and necessity
Degrees of perfection
Governance
25
3. Knowing God through Natural Revelation
St. Thomas Five Ways St. Thomas Five Ways St. Thomas Five Ways
Name of Argument Summary of the Argument Conclusion of the Argument
Motion Everything 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.
Causes Nothing 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 necessity Everything 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 perfection There 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.
Governance The 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 Exercise
  •  
  • Perform a focused reading of the two paragraphs
    beginning St. Thomass proofs and The
    principles set forth (pp. 78) using the
    following question
  •  
  • How do St. Thomas Aquinass 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 Assignment
  • Reading
  • Science and Reason.
  • Sidebar Principal Errors Regarding the Existence
    of God.
  • Study Questions
  • Questions 78.
  • Practical Exercise 2
  • Workbook
  • Questions 913.

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 IDEAS
  • Science 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 Reason
  • Anticipatory 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 Reason
  • How 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
    measurablesuch 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 Reason
  • Guided Exercise
  •  
  • How does the Hamlet vs. stack of papers with
    random words example (p. 9) reveal a limitation
    of science?

35
4. Science and Reason
  • Guided Exercise
  •  
  • What does it mean to say that reason contains
    science but that science does not contain reason?
  •  

36
4. Science and Reason
  • What 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 Reason
  • What 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 Reason
  • Sidebar 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
4. Science and Reason
Principal Errors Regarding the Existence of God Principal Errors Regarding the Existence of God Principal Errors Regarding the Existence of God
Error Definition Effect on Religion






40
4. Science and Reason
Principal Errors Regarding the Existence of God Principal Errors Regarding the Existence of God Principal Errors Regarding the Existence of God
Error Definition Effect on Religion
Atheistic Practical Materialism In practice, one limits ones 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 Humanism Man is the highest being, the sole creator of his own history. Supernatural revelation is fantasy. Man decides what is good and evil.    
Current atheism Man 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.
Agnosticism Human reason cannot know anything beyond the human senses. God and revelation are irrelevant because they cannot be known.    
Rationalism Only that which can be strictly proven from reason can be considered true. Faith in supernatural revelation is nonsense.      
Fideism Religious 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 Reason
  • Closure
  • Write a paragraph explaining why being a
    scientist is no obstacle to believing in God.
  •  

42
4. Science and Reason
  • Homework Assignment
  •  
  • Reading
  • GOD MAKES HIMSELF KNOWN TO MAN.
  • Study Questions
  • Questions 9-12, 24.
  • Practical Exercises 1, 3, 5-7.
  • Workbook
  • Questions 14-18.

43
4. Science and Reason
  • Alternative 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 QUESTIONS
  • Why is supernatural religion necessary?
  • What does faith do for reason?
  • KEY IDEAS
  • The 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 reasons 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 Gods 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 Gods 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 lawthe 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 Gods 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 Gods motive in revealing himself to the
    world?
  • Gods 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, Gods 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 Churchs 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 Assignment
  •  
  • Reading
  • THE NECESSITY OF FAITH IN KNOWING GOD.
  • Sidebar FAITH THE CENTER OF DIVINE REVELATION.
  • CONCLUSION.
  • Study Questions
  • Questions 13-22.
  • Practical Exercise 4.
  • Workbook
  • Questions 19-26.

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 QUESTIONS
  • What is mans 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 IDEAS
  • God 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 Gods 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 ones 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
  • Christs 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 Understanding
  •  
  • What 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 Gods 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 Gods 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 Gods 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 Assignment
  •  
  • Study Questions
  • Questions 6 23.
  • Practical Exercises 8-9.
  • Workbook
  • Questions 27-36.

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?
  •  

78
The End
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