Original Research

Towards a new natural theology based on horizontal transcendence

Cornel W. du Toit
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 65, No 1 | a186 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v65i1.186 | © 2009 Cornel W. du Toit | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 April 2009 | Published: 12 August 2009

About the author(s)

Cornel W. du Toit, University of South Africa, South Africa

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This article explores a context for designing a new natural theology. The starting point is that traditional developments in this regard, from Augustine to Aquinas, Paley, Boyle and Barth, do not get us much further. Our thinking reflects our world – a world which has changed dramatically under modern and postmodern influences, especially those of the sciences. A new natural theology is simply an account of nature and creatureliness with due regard to scientific advances. Consequently natural theology today must start ‘from below’ with a new anthropology that reflects the worldview of our time. As a result the article rejects absolute transcendence, replacing it with a horizontal transcendence that accords with humans’ biological makeup and with presentday scientific thinking. In the framework of horizontal transcendence the pivotal problem of the human condition is no longer death, but life. This has radical implications for theological thinking. The example used in the article is the impact this has on Paul’s theological method. Examples of theology centring on the problem of life are discussed briefly with reference to Girard, Žižek and Vattimo.


natural theology and anthropology; humans in an immanent frame; human condition and place of death in theology; horizontal transcendence; vertical transcendence


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