T. F. Torrance's Reconstruction of Natural Theology


Alexander J. D. Irving, T. F. Torrance's Reconstruction of Natural Theology: Christ and Cognition (Lexington Books, 2019)


Irving, Alexander J. D. T. F. Torrance's Reconstruction of Natural Theology: Christ and Cognition. Lexington Books, 2019

Publication life cycle / General notes

Revised version of thesis completed under Alister McGrath. 


T. F. Torrance’s proposal for natural theology constitutes one of the most creative and provocative elements in his work. By re-envisioning natural theology as the cognitive structure of theology determined by God’s self-revelation in Jesus Christ (and not as the task of philosophically reflecting on the nature or existence of God aside from religious presuppositions), Torrance moves through and beyond Barth’s resistance to natural theology. This book establishes Torrance’s unique reconstruction of natural theology within its proper intellectual context, providing a fresh analysis of this important methodological innovation as it emerges from Torrance’s realist epistemology. As Irving demonstrates, in Torrance’s distinctive conception of science, he operated with an approach to cognition that functions via a realist synthesis of experience and understanding, and in Torrance’s theological science, this synthesis of experience and understanding is the synthesis of revealed theology and natural theology. The author argues that this reconstruction of natural theology expresses a dramatic vision for human agency within theological cognition, adding the necessity of the human knowing subject to the priority of the divine revealer. Finally, this book marries Torrance’s accomplishments in reconstructing natural theology to his Christocentric theological method, in which God is both revealed and known in the person of Jesus Christ, fully God and fully human.


Preface, vii.
Abbreviations, ix.
Introduction, 1.

Part I: The Synthesis of Discursive Reason and Experience
1. Reality, 25.
2. Objectivity, 61.
3. Logic, 93.

Part II: The Reconstruction of Natural Theology
4. The Rejection of Autonomous Natural Theology, 129.
5. The Reconstruction of Natural Theology, 159.
6. Natural Theology and Theological Science, 193.

Conclusion, 223.
Bibliography, 229.
Index, 245.
About the Author, 249.