Tuesday, August 18, 2009

2009 Barth Blog Conference: Day 2

St. Paul and the Possibility of Natural Knowledge of God in Romans 1

By Shane Wilkins

Let's begin our investigation with a few quick definitions and distinctions. Revelation means either an act whereby God gives someone knowledge of himself or the knowledge so given. On the view I defend, revelation comes in two varieties, special and general. Special revelation involves God taking a special direct act different from his normal activity as the creator and sustainer of the cosmos. In general revelation God acts simply in his normal way as the creator and sustainer of the cosmos. Corresponding to the two kinds of revelation are the two kinds of knowledge which they produce. When God specially reveals himself we call the result special knowledge. Knowledge of God produced by general revelation is called natural knowledge of God because God reveals it indirectly by means of the created world. In both cases God brings revelation about: either directly by his own activity or indirectly by means of creaturely reality. Hence, both kinds of knowledge of God are properly understood as manifestations of God's grace or God's unmerited favor towards us.

Thomas Aquinas, following a venerable tradition, appeals to Romans 1 as the explicit theological authorization of the possibility of natural knowledge of God. Among modern biblical scholars Dunn, Black, Bayne and Fitzmeyer agree with Thomas that this text endorses the possibility of natural knowledge of God. Karl Barth, Cranfield, Barrett and Douglass Campbell endorse the opposite view that the text absolutely prohibits the possibility of natural knowledge of God.

I think there are three major pieces of evidence that show the tradition is correct and Barth and his followers are wrong. The first is purely exegetical. Reading Romans 1 in the context of the OT and intertestamental literature to which it alludes and also within its context in the first three chapters of the epistle strongly suggests that Paul believes the gentiles could have had knowledge of God without the benefit of special revelation. The second piece of evidence is the theological rationale behind the position Paul is adopting. How could God justly punish the gentiles for violating his law if it were impossible for them to know God's law or indeed whether God existed at all? The third piece of evidence for my view is the serious difficulties and inconsistencies that face the opposite interpretation. Since Paul either endorses the possibility of natural knowledge of God in this text or he does not, every difficulty in the latter interpretation strengthens the case for the former.
  1. Exegetical Evidence

    The first piece of exegetical evidence in favor of my position is the literary context of the passage. The OT wisdom literature assumes that it is justifiable to blame people for not knowing that God exists. Psalm 14 calls one who denies God's existence a fool (aphron). (Cf. also Isaiah 32:6.) Furthermore, Wisdom 13, to which Paul is directly alluding in Romans 1, links the ideas of foolishness and ignorance of God even more closely:
    [1] For all men were by nature foolish who were in ignorance of God, and who from the good things seen did not succeed in knowing him who is, and from studying the works did not discern the artisan; [2] But either fire, or wind, or the swift air, or the circuit of the stars, or the mighty water, or the luminaries of heaven, the governors of the world, they considered gods. [3] Now if out of joy in their beauty they thought them gods, let them know how far more excellent is the Lord than these; for the original source of beauty fashioned them. [4] Or if they were struck by their might and energy, let them from these things realize how much more powerful is he who made them. [5] For from the greatness and the beauty of created things their original author, by analogy, is seen. [6] But yet, for these the blame is less; For they indeed have gone astray perhaps, though they seek God and wish to find him. [7] For they search busily among his works, but are distracted by what they see, because the things seen are fair. [8] But again, not even these are pardonable. [9] For if they so far succeeded in knowledge that they could speculate about the world, how did they not more quickly find its LORD?
    The writer of Wisdom seems almost astonished. Given that the pagans (presumably he has in mind the Greek philosophers) have “so far succeeded in knowledge that they could speculate about the world,” one would assume they would continue thinking and discover the Lord. But, in fact, despite their successful study into the principles and causes of the natural world, they foolishly remained ignorant of the God who created it. Since Paul is alluding to this passage, it is very likely that he agrees with the conclusion of its author that those who do not know God are fools (cf. also Rom 2:20, where Paul says that Israel was supposed to be a instructor to the foolish, aphron again.) Further, the context of the remark in Wisdom and the parallel passage in Romans indicates that it is gentiles here who are being blamed for failing to know God.3 But of course no one is a fool for not knowing what cannot be known. There is no greatest prime number. Hence, I cannot be said to be foolish for failing to know what the greatest prime number is, just because that would be impossible for me to know. On the other hand, I may be a fool for having lost my keys precisely because I could have known where my keys were if only I had been a little more thoughtful and careful. One could scarcely blame the pagan philosophers for being ignorant of God if it were simply a priori impossible for them to have been otherwise. On the other hand, it makes a lot of sense to censure the pagans for their foolishness if it were possible for them to have had knowledge of God, which they failed to attain simply through lack of care or because they were led astray by their wicked desires. Two further clues tell us the kind of knowledge of God which the gentiles could have possessed is natural knowledge rather than special knowledge. First, the people being blamed are gentiles and so they do not possess special revelation. Second, the people singled out for censure are those who investigate the natural world most closely and so should be expected most easily to find out its creator.

    The second piece of important exegetical evidence is the context of Romans 1 in the first three chapters of Romans as a whole. A very simple and natural way to read these texts is to see 1:18ff. as a proclamation of divine wrath against the gentiles. Then in 2:2, Paul turns to condemning the sinfulness of Jews, which is, if anything, more inexcusable since they have direct revelation from God through the Law of Moses. The stunning conclusion comes in 3:10: “there is no one righteous, not one.” The point to which Paul is driving is that neither the Jews, nor the Gentiles are innocent before God, and so everyone stands in need of salvation by grace through faith. The theological point Paul is trying to make here requires that natural knowledge of God be possible in order to vindicate the righteousness of God's calling the gentiles to account for their sin, as we shall see in the next section.

  2. Theological Evidence

    It is unjust to punish someone for doing something they could not possibly have avoided doing. Further, we acknowledge that honest ignorance excuses: Suppose I buy a brand new car and ten minutes down the highway the brake lines snap resulting in a fatal accident. I say that in that case I am innocent; I had an honest ignorance of the tragedy that was going to take place, hence there wasn't anything I could have reasonable been expected to do to avoid it; hence I am not guilty for it. (The case might have been different if the car were old and generally unreliable, in which case one might think that I did have a reasonable ability to know that it was dangerous and therefore a duty to have it thoroughly inspected.)

    God condemns the gentiles and will punish them for their sins according to Paul. The theological problem here is how God can justly do so; for the gentiles might quite plausibly claim that their actions were undertaken in honest ignorance of God's commands since, after all, the law of Moses was not given to them and indeed they did not possess any special revelation by which to know whether God even exists! However, Paul responds that God is just to condemn the gentiles because God's law is already written on their hearts by nature (Rom 2:12-15). Indeed, in our passage in Romans 1 Paul says that “God's invisible qualities are manifest” and follows it with a result clause: “ . . . with the result that people are without excuse.” In other words, since the gentiles could have known about God's existence and his qualities because they were made manifest, and because they could have known his law since it was written on their hearts by nature (or more properly by the Author of nature), then it is perfectly just for God to punish them for failing in their duties.

    Paul's argument in Romans absolutely demands the possibility of natural knowledge of God. If it were Paul's position that natural knowledge of God were impossible, then God could not justly condemn the gentiles, and hence the conclusion would not follow in chapter 3 that everyone is guilty and liable to divine punishment and therefore in need of grace. Further, I think the possibility of natural knowledge of God is perfectly compatible with the Pauline emphasis upon the necessity of grace for knowledge of God, since as we have seen, according to Paul it is God himself who makes himself known through creation (v. 19). Further, the possibility of natural knowledge of God poses no threat to the notion that it is salvific faith requires special revelation by the direct action of the holy spirit, since there is no suggestion whatsoever in Paul that the possibility of natural knowledge of God suffices for salvific faith, so there is no backdoor for pelagianism here.

    I think these two pieces of evidence I've presented give a pretty strong reason to think that Paul is indeed holding out the possibility of natural knowledge of God here in Romans 1. The text demands it and it seems perfectly consistent with Paul's other theological commitments. But my case can be bolstered even further by briefly pointing out some of the enormous difficulties that face the contrary interpretation.

    Barth's exegesis of this passage in both his Romans commentary and in Church Dogmatics II/1 strikes me as vague and obscure. I don't see any good argument exegetical or otherwise in either of those texts for saying that natural knowledge of God isn't possible. All I see is Barth repeatedly asserting what he thinks about the matter. But what is asserted without proof can be denied without proof. Therefore natural knowledge of God is possible. QED.

    Cranfield and Douglass Campbell both accept Barth's interpretation, but they each also try to actually provide an exegetical argument to support that interpretation, so they deserve (slightly) more mention. Cranfield admits that Paul's text requires that we say that the pagans have knowledge of God, but he tries to save Barth's position by distinguishing between objective and subjective knowledge. (p. 113) Cranfield thinks that everyone has objective knowledge of God, but because of original sin, no one is capable of being subjectively aware of this knowledge. This is nonsense. Knowledge you cannot even in principle be aware of is not knowledge. Presumably the concern that leads Cranfield into holding this awkward conclusion is the worry about pelagianism. But I've already shown that my position does not entail pelagianism, so Cranfield's worry is beside the point.

    Campbell tries to save Barth's position in an entirely different way. He admits that all of the things Paul says in Romans 1 add up to an endorsement of the possibility of natural theology, but say that Paul is employing the literary device of prosopopeia, namely speaking not in his own voice but in the voice of his opponents to refute their position. This is an extremely unlikely interpretation for two reasons. First, simply because prosopopoeia is a fairly rare literary device in the NT, so we would need some fairly compelling reason to think Romans 1 is an instance of it. And we don't have any such compelling evidence. In fact, we've got a fairly strong lack of evidence. In prosopopoeia, usually we have a short pithy sentence expressing the opponent's position and then immediately a contradictory claim in the author's own voice refuting it. Cf. 1 Cor 8: “We all have knowledege. But knowledge puffs up, whereas love builds the church.” If you read these passages straight, they sound contradictory. You only punt to prosopopoeia to make the contradictions disappear. However, there is nothing contradictory about reading Romans 1 straight, as I have suggested above. So there's no good textual reason to postulate the existence of a very rare literary form like prosopopoeia. Second, there's no good theological reason to postulate it either, since, as I have tried to show above, the possibility of natural theology is broadly consistent with Paul's theology as a whole and his emphasis upon the necessity of grace. If my interpretation above was correct, then the things Paul says in Romans 1 about natural knowledge of God are broadly consistent with the rest of his theology and indeed are demanded by the overall argument of the first half of the book of Romans. Campbell thinks that Paul is saying all of this in the voice of his opponent. But that simply doesn't make any sense. Why would Paul say things that he agrees with and that serve to make his own point in the voice of his opponent?
I see no good exegetical reasons to suppose that Paul is doing anything in Romans 1 other than endorsing the possibility of natural theology. Indeed, I think all of those contrary interpretations are going to inevitably face insurmountable problems. Hence, we must admit that Paul believes natural knowledge of God to be possible.


Response by Lynn Cohick


Perhaps the most important point to keep in mind when reading Romans is that Paul presents the work of Christ to two groups, the Jews and the gentiles. He notes right up front that the gospel is for the Jew first and then the gentile (1:16). Why does he express it thus? Because the two groups know God or about God differently. The Jew, as Paul will state in chapters three and nine, has advantages which we would classify as special revelation: the promises, the Law, the prophets, the covenants, the Temple, the adoption, and the Messiah (according to the flesh). The gentile as a human bears God’s image, but does not live out God’s truth. The contrast between Jew and gentile is not only what they know or do not know, but also what they choose to do with that knowledge. For Paul, the gentile has knowledge of God but refuses to live according to it – that is, the gentile does not glorify the one true God or acknowledge his power and blessing.

Paul assumes in his argument the ancient institution of benefaction, wherein the gift giver expects honor from the one receiving the gift. Failure to thank a benefactor was unpardonable. In fact, Seneca remarks about a movement afoot to make it illegal to fail to publically honor or praise one’s benefactor (On Benefits 3:15-16). Seneca is against the measure, in part because he’s afraid that once a number of people are charged with such malfeasance, others will become numb to the gravity of the offense and follow suit. Seneca’s response reveals the commonly held assumption that the recipient of a gift MUST give honor to the giver or be judged a social outcast. Thus when Paul judges the gentiles’ failure to act on their knowledge of God, Paul is placing the gentiles’ actions within the institution of benefaction. He knew that his readers would be appalled that a recipient would fail to honor or thank their benefactor. Not only did the gentiles deny honor of their true benefactor, they set up a false benefactor. This is another way of describing idolatry. As Paul argues, it is not simply that idolaters have intellectual hang-ups about particular aspects of deity. No, the idolater stands in the center of town and in everyone’s presence declares allegiance to that which is not God.

But it is not only the idolater which is condemned, it is also the gentile who judges those idolaters but fails to understand the true problem underpinning the practice. The former has substituted one from of idolatry for another – a stone statue for human Reason. In both cases, the end result is failure to praise the one true God. Here I part company with Wilkins in one detail, in that I think 2:1 speaks about gentiles who embrace the popular philosophies of the day, such as Stoicism, which mock the superstitious attitudes and behaviors of their less educated country-folk. Paul, it should be noted, does not mention Jews directly until 2:17, when he tackling them on their failure to live out the truth of the law.

A second important aspect of Rom 1 and 2 which I do not have space to develop, is that of ‘doing’ belief. As Paul states, it is not those who hear who are justified, but those who do (2:13); it is those who live out their understanding of the one true God who are blessed (2:6-8). He presents humans as capable of acting outside the explicit knowledge of the law (special revelation) in ways which honor God their Benefactor. Their behaviors and attitudes are praiseworthy because they are consistent with God’s character. Knowledge of that character does not come from the special revelation given the Jews, thus it most likely comes from the natural revelation given by the Creator God.

33 comments:

WTM said...

Just to add to this exegetical discussion, Shane and I had a bit of a conversation about John 1 in the comments yesterday and he wondered what other commentators have said about the passage. So, I grabbed Calvin’s commentary off my shelf and found the following. In the interest of full disclosure, Calvin doesn’t reject natural theology on the basis of this passage, but he also does not NOT reject it here. Furthermore, he makes much the same positive use of this passage as I would, even though he doesn’t draw the negative conclusions. Here is Calvin on John 1.18:

No man hath ever seen God. Most appropriately is this added to confirm the preceding statement; for the knowledge of God is the door by which we enter into the enjoyment of all blessings; and as it is by Christ alone that God makes himself known to us, hence too it follows that we ought to seek all things from Christ. This order of doctrine must be carefully observed. No remark appears to be more common than this, that each of us receives, according to the measure of his faith, what God offers to us; but there are few who think that we must bring the vessel of faith and of the knowledge of God with which we draw.”

Calvin goes on to interpret the passage in terms of a comparison between the condition of knowledge of God in NT as opposed to OT, where we now know God much better than we did previously through the prophets, although – Calvin says – it was Christ who was involved in the knowledge of God in the OT as well.

P.S. Today is the day to really work on hashing out the exegetical side of this argument, so to all would be commentators - Please do! No need to feel restricted especially to Romans 1 since, as we already became familiar with in yesterday’s comments thread, it is clear that how one reads a single passage is tied up with how one reads others as well.

brainofdtrain said...

I would think that Hebrews 1:1-4 would be important to consider on this topic. Given the book's focus on the superiority of Christ, and in 1:1-4 in reference to revelation, it seems to provide a good rationale for Christ being the "criterion" of revelation. Hence, as some other commenters have already noted, perhaps we should speak of a theology of nature, rather than natural theology.

I think this is a good distinction, in light of Colossians 1:15-20 which argues that "in/through/for" Jesus everything was made. With that in mind, theologically i don't know how we can posit knowledge that is detached from Jesus' position over it. All knowledge might not be inherently salvific, but if Jesus is Lord of all it seems impossible to find a source of all knowledge other than in the person who created the context for such knowledge.

Bobby Grow said...

Just to bolster Brainofdtrain's point on Col. 1:15, here is Calvin's summation of that vs. 15 (not to belabor Calvin, since this is about Barth):

The sum is this — that God in himself, that is, in his naked majesty, is invisible, and that not to the eyes of the body merely, but also to the understandings of men, and that he is revealed to us in Christ alone, that we may behold him as in a mirror. For in Christ he shews us his righteousness, goodness, wisdom, power, in short, his entire self. We must, therefore, beware of seeking him elsewhere, for everything that would set itself off as a representation of God, apart from Christ, will be an idol.

Which again highlights the fact that Calvin, I believe along with Barth, rejects a negative theology . . . albeit they get there different ways (as a result of different concerns).

I agree with Shane on one front, that Barth's "exegesis," is certainly unique in his Roman's commentary; it does not fit the exegetical practice I'm used to.

On Lynn's last paragraph, she says:

. . . Their behaviors and attitudes are praiseworthy because they are consistent with God’s character. Knowledge of that character does not come from the special revelation given the Jews, thus it most likely comes from the natural revelation given by the Creator God.

I don't see how, though, that this necessitates a latent Pauline "natural theology" at work here; if this is what Lynn is intimating. In other words, I don't see how, in this context, any kind of "Natural Knowledge," or "lived out" virtues apart from Christ is "knowledge of God"(i.e. w/o Christ these virtues [God's communicable attributes per the imago dei] become a source of self-worship and "knowledge of self" cut off from the "Giver").

I just don't see how we can get a meaningful "Natural Theology" out of this kind of "Knowledge" . . . if anything, it is "self-knowledge," which apart from Christ is, condemning (so I see Creation and the "Law" as parallel in this context; they both point to Christ, but w/o Christ they condemn --- they only reinforce the reality of the "Fall").

When I think of "knowledge of God," I'm thinking of the "Christian God" (the triune); which seems to be different from what Shane is discussing.

Shane said...

As I pointed out to Travis yesterday, his argument that Calvin doesn't defend natural theology in his commentary on John 1 is an argument from silence. (Which is to say that Travis's argument is fallacious, bad, wrong, false.)

Arguments from silence are worthless because they endorse both positions. Travis says the fact Calvin doesn't talk about natural theology in connection with John one support the claim that John 1 forbids natural theology. I might just as well claim that the fact calvin doesn't talk about natural theology in connection with this passage supports my claim, namely that John 1 has nothing to do with natural theology.

@Brainofdtrain

"all knowledge might not be inherently salvific . . . but . . ." it's all connected to Christ in some way.

Nothing in this claim is incompatible with the possibility of natural theology since natural theology does not say there are creaturely realities not created in Christ. Natural theology merely says that it is possible to come to know God without the benefit of special revelation. But that doesn't mean that we can come to know God without some kind of revelation or that Christ is not the mediator of revelation.

WTM said...

Shane,

Just as a way of keeping the conversation going, I want to reiterate a point I made yesterday, offer a (very brief) speculative reading of this passage, and then make a point about biblical interpretation.

(1) You offer a very common sense reading of this passage, but I also want to point out that Barth’s reading is also rather common sense. Taking verse 16 as the key to interpreting verses 18 and following seems like a rather basic move to me.

(2) What if this passage is Paul’s gloss on the first 8 chapters of Genesis? Such a thing would make sense given the central role of Adam/Christ typology in Romans. This would totally shift the discussion.

(3) I appreciate all the leg-work you did in getting into the background to this passage, and looking at the commentaries, etc. Your point about Campbell seems convincing. Lynn has added some very helpful bits as well (such as the notion of embodied knowing). But, I would argue that all this leg-work is really only the first stage of interpreting Scripture. The next step is to integrate a particular passage into an account of the canonical whole that takes into consideration certain dominant trajectories of thought. This is what Barth has done, and sometimes that means reading a passage in a way that, though it is a plausible reading, is not perhaps the most plausible from the standpoint of that particular text alone. One reason why this is acceptable is that it is not the mind of Paul that is authoritative – it is the text we have from him. Undeniably, understanding Paul’s context, etc, is important to help us understand the text he gave us at the most basic level – this is what you did – but it is the text as taken up into the canonical whole, and as a witness to Christ, that is authoritative. This is what Barth was on about, and what those of us trying to follow him want to affirm. Basically, we’re trying to read the Bible as a book about God precisely because it is a book about Jesus.

Bobby Grow said...

Shane,

Thank you for explaining what an argument from silence is; your rhetorical skills are quite honed.

peacefulministry said...

I think it would be helpful for Shane and Travis to define, respectively, what they mean by "natural theology." That might bring some clarity about the shape of the dispute we are having.

brainofdtrain said...

Shane,

But isn't Jesus himself revelation? If he is the definitive revelation, the revelation that properly "contextualizes" every other form of revelation, then how could one properly understand/know God in a way apart from Him?

Maybe an analogy will help me better explain myself. Lets say one wants to understand how to play monopoly. We would likely agree that one who merely understands specific rules (roll both dice at the same time, buy properties, etc) without understanding the purpose/goal of the game wouldn't really understand how to play monopoly.

Analogously, understanding logic, ethics, "God," etc apart from Christ is like garnering knowledge detached from the purpose of all knowledge, making that "micro" knowledge nonsensical. However, once we understand the broader purpose (person?) of knowledge, then areas of knowledge like ethics, biology, etc make sense.

So, i guess i am saying that we cant come to know God through creation until we understand the reason, the why of creation. This is the lynchpin all true knowledge hangs on and is dependent on. We cannot discern that on our own; the multiplicity of human opinion through history testifies to that. But if God becomes a human and reveals that to us, now we have a context within which to understand everything else. I am afraid that general revelation tears the "how" from the "who" of revelation; such knowledge seems to be inadequate to know God, who is a person, not an abstraction.

Thanks for being willing to engage my thoughts on this Shane. Blessings, Derek.

Michael Leyden said...

Shane, if as you have said above, "Natural theology merely says that it is possible to come to know God without the benefit of special revelation", then which 'God' is it we can know? If Jesus Christ is, as Barth wants to say, THE special revelation of God, and you say one can come to know God ASIDE from the special revelation of God in Christ (i.e. God himself in human form - Phil. 2:5), I wonder if one arrives at the Triune God of Christian faith at all? I suspect this question lurks behind Barth's rejection of natural theology in CD II/1 ss.26 (particularly his conviction that natural theology doesn't help the church, e.g. CD II/1:74ff.). Could you perhaps say something about in what sense you mean 'know God' and what is the depth of knowledge to which you are referring?

Cheers,
Michael

Shane said...

@Bobby,

Logic sexually arouses me. Happy to oblige.

@peacefulministry,

I thought I had defined 'natural theology' but looking back that must have been in an earlier draft that didn't make it here.

I define 'natural knowledge of God' as any knowledge we have of God (NB: whether that knowledge is condemnatory in Bobby's terminology or not) by means of general rather than special revelation. Natural theology is the branch of philosophy concerned with discovering some natural knowledge of God. Techincally, natural knowledge is the broader concept since it could be that we can have some natural knoweldge of God from sources other than explicit philosophical arguments. However, if natural knowledge of God is impossible (as Barth claims), then natural theology is also impossible.

I'm trying to defend the reality of natural knowledge of God in this post. Technically this doesn't establish the possibility of natural theology as a philosophical enterprise, but what I'm doing here is undercutting an a priori objection against the possibility of natural theology from some wrongheaded theologians. If I'm right, then the question whether there are any successful natural theological arguments is an empirical question that has to be answered by actually turning and examining those arguments themselves in detail.

When Barth argues against 'natural theology' I think he's tilting at windmills, paceKim F above. Because I submit that most of the things he's concerned about are not legitimate grievances against natural theology, once it's understood properly.

Campbell himself, in the piece I allude to in the post above notes that a huge part of the difficulty of the Barth/Brunner debate comes from the simple fact that neither of them ever define what they mean by 'a point of contact' and so it's hard to say what exactly their argument amounts to in the end.

At any rate, I think on any sensible definition of 'natural knowledge of God' Paul is clearly endorsing the possibility of such a thing in Romans 1, and hence there's no a priori theological argument to the impossibility of natural theology. (Note also that whether such knowledge is 'condemnatory' or not is beside the point.)

Bobby Grow said...

I'll be sure not to use logic around you then.

Shane said...

Michael,


How does Jesus's being "THE special revelation" mean that there is no general revelation?

There is, in fact, no general reason to think that the former claim entails the latter one.

s

Bobby Grow said...

@ Shane,

If "condemning" knowledge of God=Natural Theology then I have no problem rejecting it. I don't see how this can be the source, methodologically (except when I look at scholastic theology), of doing "Christian" theology. For me, it's via positiva; or nothing!

Although, I will admit that, technically speaking, there could be a "Natural Theology;" but it seems to be the kind that the demons have.

Shane said...

Bobby--baby--"technically speaking" is all I'm looking for here. It's either possible that there's natural knowledge of God or it isn't. If you think it's possible, then you think Barth's wrong.

Come on in. The water's fine.

Michael Leyden said...

Shane, thanks for your response: I didn't actually say that Jesus Christ being THE special revelation would mean that there would/could be no general revelation. I asked about the content of the word 'God' if we can know 'God' by general revelation, and claim that this God we know is THE God of special revelation (i.e. Trinity). I.e., who is the 'God' of general revelation, and is the account of this God we give impoverished for its ignorance of special revelation in Christ?

It depends of course on what one means by 'know God', as I already said. I'm just struggling to see how general revelation can help us to know the God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (is there any other way to know God?). This seems to be something we can do only by means of special revelation, and therefore in/through Jesus Christ. I suppose what I'm saying is that whilst I can see a certain logic to what you are saying in your paper about natural theology, I still want to know whether it will lead me to God who is trinity. If not, then I have little choice as a Christian, and I suspect that this is what Barth is getting at in CD ss.26, than to abandon the attempt at natural theology in favour of theology centred on God's special revelation of himself in Christ (pretty much what I tried to suggest yesterday).

Cheers,
Michael

Shane said...

hi michael,

suppose monotheism is true. then there is exactly one God.

now suppose that there are successful philosophical arguments that there is a first cause, who is a necessary being and upon which everything else depends and that furthermore this being is absolutely unique, incorporeal, and the source of all goodness. I think in fact there are good arguments for all of those claims.

Now, is Barth really going to say that we don't know that the first being = the God who is revealed in revelation? I mean I guess he could, but if he does its clear that his position would be ridiculous if he did.

Nathan Hitchcock said...

It certainly seems like our good host DET has done us the kind disservice of phrasing the conversation in terms of “natural knowledge of God.” Most of us in the English speaking world have been introduced to Barth in terms of his debate with Emil Brunner, viz., the opponent of natural theology – an interpretation which feels like a kind of irresistible gravity at times. How easily one term slips into the other! Let me suggest that Wilkins, his evidences otherwise sound, has fallen into this vortex.

Since we’re all about contention here, let me say it contentiously: Karl Barth in his second Romans commentary affirms the possibility of the natural knowledge of God. By it I mean that God gives Himself to be known in revelation through various natural media.

Barth offers up plenty of affirmations of “general” revelation in 2Ro, such as when he says that “[t]he whole world is the footprint of God” (43). Or again, that all natural history “bears witness to resurrection, the concrete world to its non-concrete presupposition, and human life to the paradox of faith which is its inalienable foundation” (116). Nature is the arena of revelation, and we are all spectators in it.

Does Barth mean that we can extract God from the creation at will? With Paul: Hell no! Barth’s point, rather, is that these tangential “points” of revelation, whether the Creator’s ubiquitous mark in nature or His more specific footprint in religious history, are mere earthly phenomena. They are not God Himself, not revelation per se. Revelation – apart from the law! – touches these things tangentially, and can only be received in faith. All knowledge of God, invisibly intersected invisibly in time and history, however much located naturally, has to be distinguished and comprehended in God.

But back to natural knowledge. The radical thing in the early Barth is just how natural, how universal, he is willing to be. He claims that the law of the Gentiles and the law of the Jews (and the law of Christians) are one and the same: each is the gracious No of the Spirit as He touches and dissolves our world. This knowledge is exceedingly “general”: Jeremiah and Koheleth fall in the same line as Socrates and Plato (e.g. 79, 277)! Each witnesses to the limit of humanity, beyond which is God. Each therefore has encountered God “in” the natural, historical, psychological. They have met the Deus absconditus at the frontier.

The Almighty reveals Himself here, in nature, naturally. But to the extent that we confuse nature with God, to the extent that we conflate the phenomena with their invisible Primal Origin, to the extent that we mistake the created things for the Creator, and then speak of Him, we undertake natural theology – and so become idolaters. But natural knowledge is not natural theology.

(As an aside, this fuzziness about Barth on natural knowledge of God is paralleled by the chaos ensuing anytime someone asked him whether Christ’s resurrection was “historical” or not.)

There is no possibility, then, for natural theology. But there is plenty of room for natural revelation in the world. We can and must conclude that God gives Himself through natural media, provided that we say God gives Himself through the natural media.

Has not Wilkins defined revelation in such a manner?: “Revelation means . . . an act whereby God gives someone knowledge of himself.” Were he to fall into agreement with Barth that all knowledge of God is perceived indirectly through natural channels, were he to say that all knowledge of God is perceived directly in God rather than in its creaturely appearance – then we might say of Wilkins that he is not far from the Kingdom of Barth.

WTM said...

Shane,

You and I have been over this a number of times, I think. You cannot prove that any "philosophically successful arguments" actually terminate upon the Christian God. The doctrine of creation ex nihilo means that there is no necessary relation between the structures, causal chains, and rationality of the world we inhabit, and the creator God. Any "god" that your "philosophically successful arguments" suggests may in fact bear a passing, surface level resemblance to the Triune God, but that can only be determined from within the theological orbit. It is not a given that even such an insignificant resemblance exists.

If necessary, I can defend this point on astro-physical grounds.

When you're arguing exegesis with me, I feel compelled to take you seriously. When you start talking about philosophical arguments in favor of a bland theism, I loose all interest. Call me a fideist if you will.

Chris TerryNelson said...

Shane,
I know David's writing on Barth for the next post, but your comments on Barth a little too brief - i.e., you offer no sense of the argument from Barth that you're disagreeing with, but offer rather cogently the arguments of Cranfield and Campbell which bolster Barth's position. Barth has more than a position - in fact, he actually has a place for natural knowledge of God. It's just that natural knowledge is itself determined by God - i.e., it is knowledge which impresses awe and wonder at the mystery of our being (the positive side of knowledge) as well as the yawning gap between the divine and the human (the negative side of knowledge). Here are my own thoughts on Barth's exegesis on the Romans commentary.

While I think your attack on Campbell is pretty solid, Campbell also has a rather strong critique of the traditional reading that cannot be easily swiped. I admit I don't know what to make of such a radical strategy, but here was my attempt at grappling with his proposal. Whereas Barth has a place for natural knowledge just like Calvin, Campbell has no place for it (at least in Romans).

Bobby Grow said...

Shane,

Been in that end of the pool, it's too cold and stagnant.

When I said "technically speaking," I meant that "Natural Theology" is the demonic kind of knowledge of God . . . completely "natural" (you know, like Paul's "natural man" language I Cor. 2). There's no God at the end of that knowledge, except the one that Adam and Eve found in Genesis 3.

You should read T. F. Torrances': Ground And Grammar Of Theology: Consonance Between Theology and Science

You will find a wonderful "astro-physical" argument that I'm afraid will make your position look silly. Or you could just ask Travis to defeat you on those grounds, as he has already offered.

I have no problem with the label fideist, either; I've even called myself that (probably since I read Gunton for the first time, or Luther's "Theology of the Cross").

peace.

Pensans said...

Wilkins' discussion confuses universal knowledge and universal natural knowledge. ("Whether all men know God?" differs from "whether all men know God in this particular way, i.e. naturally/indirectly?")

So Wilkins consistently errs in reasoning that man's knowing God universally requires man's knowing Him in Wilkins’ preferred Thomistic, naturalistic, indirect way. Granting Rom. 1 teaches suppressed universal knowledge of God's invisible qualities, there is a more likely alternative mode for such universal knowledge than indirect reasoning.

Paul speaks in Romans 2:15 of inward knowledge from conscience and written on the heart. Rom. 1:19 speaks of God's direct action in showing men.

God's direct and immediate action on men better accounts for universal knowledge. Individual men may fail to make rational inferences. But no man can fail to possess the image of God since God stamps it on him. Unless Wilkins can show that all men are capable of inference drawing, he cannot account for the universality of knowledge in Romans 1. There is simply no good reason to believe that all men -- e.g. the mentally defective, incapacitated, infants -- indirectly move through inferential chains of reasoning from the nature of creation to the nature of God.

Wilkins defines "natural" knowledge as knowledge from "general" revelation. General revelation occurs, per W, whenever "God acts simply in his normal way as the creator and sustainer of the cosmos."

But the question under discussion could be framed as whether God's universal way of acting with His creations is to give them all a direct insight of Himself, e.g. by direct contact with their hearts, or an indirect insight through inferential reason.

The central textual question to address this question is in verse 20, concerning the translation of the term "poiemasi" [things that been made]. The term is in the dative case. As it often is, here it is strictly ambiguous.

The greek dative encompasses three senses: (a) the dative proper (a wide variety of indirect relations between a noun and verb, other than being the direct object of action); (b) the instrumental dative (indicating the means of which something occurs); (c) the locative dative (in which something occurs).

Wilkins understanding relies on the instrumental sense. We know God "by means of what has been made." But there is no necessary reason to read it this way. For that reason, the RSV and KJV capture the actual ambiguity of the greek by translating the passage "being understood in the things that have been made" [locative] and "being understood by the things that have been made" [dative proper of agency/instrumentality] respectively.

Koine frequently uses the dative with the passive to indicate by whom an action is done. Here, the passage is as open to the reading that the invisible things of God are clearly seen since creation because the things that have been made know their creator. Likewise, the passage can be simply understood in the locative sense to say that the understanding is going on in the things that have been created.

In short, these translations, open to the dative proper and locative senses, allow the passage to be read so that it is the workmanship of God which is doing the understanding or that the understanding is occurring in them.

All this makes it impossible for Romans 1:20 to justify the importation of Thomistic Hellenism. Universal knowledge can be accounted for in better ways than through indirect natural knowledge.

Pensans said...

Wilkins' discussion confuses universal knowledge and universal natural knowledge. ("Whether all men know God?" differs from "whether all men know God in this particular way, i.e. naturally/indirectly?")

So Wilkins consistently errs in reasoning that man's knowing God universally requires man's knowing Him in Wilkins’ preferred Thomistic, naturalistic, indirect way. Granting Rom. 1 teaches suppressed universal knowledge of God's invisible qualities, there is a more likely alternative mode for such universal knowledge than indirect reasoning.

Paul speaks in Romans 2:15 of inward knowledge from conscience and written on the heart. Rom. 1:19 speaks of God's direct action in showing men.

God's direct and immediate action on men better accounts for universal knowledge. Individual men may fail to make rational inferences. But no man can fail to possess the image of God since God stamps it on him. Unless Wilkins can show that all men are capable of inference drawing, he cannot account for the universality of knowledge in Romans 1. There is simply no good reason to believe that all men -- e.g. the mentally defective, incapacitated, infants -- indirectly move through inferential chains of reasoning from the nature of creation to the nature of God.

Wilkins defines "natural" knowledge as knowledge from "general" revelation. General revelation occurs, per W, whenever "God acts simply in his normal way as the creator and sustainer of the cosmos."

But the question under discussion could be framed as whether God's universal way of acting with His creations is to give them all a direct insight of Himself, e.g. by direct contact with their hearts, or an indirect insight through inferential reason.

The central textual question to address this question is in verse 20, concerning the translation of the term "poiemasi" [things that been made]. The term is in the dative case. As it often is, here it is strictly ambiguous.

The greek dative encompasses three senses: (a) the dative proper (a wide variety of indirect relations between a noun and verb, other than being the direct object of action); (b) the instrumental dative (indicating the means of which something occurs); (c) the locative dative (in which something occurs).

Wilkins understanding relies on the instrumental sense. We know God "by means of what has been made." But there is no necessary reason to read it this way. For that reason, the RSV and KJV capture the actual ambiguity of the greek by translating the passage "being understood in the things that have been made" [locative] and "being understood by the things that have been made" [dative proper of agency/instrumentality] respectively.

Koine frequently uses the dative with the passive to indicate by whom an action is done. Here, the passage is as open to the reading that the invisible things of God are clearly seen since creation because the things that have been made know their creator. Likewise, the passage can be simply understood in the locative sense to say that the understanding is going on in the things that have been created.

In short, these translations, open to the dative proper and locative senses, allow the passage to be read so that it is the workmanship of God which is doing the understanding or that the understanding is occurring in them.

All this makes it impossible for Romans 1:20 to justify the importation of Thomistic Hellenism. Universal knowledge can be accounted for in better ways than through indirect natural knowledge.

WTM said...

Nathan,

Thanks for at least calling it a "kind disservice"! I do, however, stand by my formulation. For my money, the question of natural knowledge is more basic than that of natural theology, i.e., you could have the former without the latter but not the latter without the former. While the former may not have been as clearly on Barth's radar in 2Ro, it was certainly later.

By way of advirtisement, everyone should eagerly look forward to Nathan's contribution later in the week.

Shane said...

Both michael and Bobby seem to think wrongly that if natural theology cannot tell us everything that there is to know about God then it doesn't tell us anything about God at all.

That's obviously wrong. Just because you can't learn from natural theology that God is a trinity doesn't mean that natural theology "really" tells you only about some other being "no-God" who is not identical to the actual God that we all believe exists.

Take a couple instances. You all know me by name through my google account. You don't know what I look like. You don't know what my voice sounds like. But you do know something true about me, even though there are lots of other things you don't know. It would be ridiculous in for me to say that since you don't know me in full that therefore you cannot know anything about me at all. Ditto for God.

@wtm,

I would love to shift the argument to actually considering the success or failure of natural theological arguments themselves. Usually you just gesture at Kant or Feuerbach at this point and call it a day.

If you want to have the argument about philosophy though, let's read through "The Metaphysics of Theism" by Kretzmann, together.

@pensans,

You fault me for translating 1:20 with an instrumental dative and then praise the KJV for using a "dative proper of agency/instrumentality". The dative proper should only express the indirect object of a verb, not express the ideas of agency or instrumentality.

I translated poiemasi as an instrumental dative because of the result clause that follows "so that they are without excuse = eis to . . . " The result clause shows the result of the action, God is the subject so the things made are the means by which the action is brought about.

Your broader theological point about whether universal knowledge is natural or not is a separate question from the grammatical quibbles you raised though. According to the definitions I've offered above all knowledge of God is either going to be natural or special. So we've got an exclusive disjunction. You want to hold that everyone has knowledge of God but not the natural kind. So, I assume it is your view that God gives everyone special grace.

OK. That seems like a sensible enough thing one could say. Here are some questions that might arise from your adopting that position. First, there are good reasons to think that God's gift of special grace is a sufficient condition for someone's conversion. God's special grace creates saving faith. Hence, if God gives special grace to everyone, then everyone is converted. And so if you accept this strong role for God's special grace in the process of salvation, then you're going to end up with a universalist eschatology as well, because, ex hypothesi everyone is a christian convert because everyone receives special grace.

But if you deny that special grace is a sufficient condition for conversion, then you're gonna run the risk of slipping into some form of pelagianism, I think.

At any rate, it seems much better to me to account for humanities universal knowledge of God from what is obviously common and shared to all of us, namely the existence of the cosmos and the power of reason. This interpretation also fits better with the emphasis of Romans 1:20 that the knowledge of God which everyone has comes from "those things that are made" rather than from a direct act of spiritual illumination.

Shane said...

@Chris,

I took Campbell and Cranfield as my opponents primarily because I though Barth's exegesis of Romans 1 was so bad. It's possible for a theologian to have an insight that he doesn't properly explain, so I took Cranfield who is a Barthian but a rock-solid NT scholar of the old historical critical school and Campbell as a more recent piece.

Both of them seemed to me to come to this text fishing for any kind of intepretation that would make Barth's view come out true. And both of them have to posit something sort of ridiculous to get that to work.

It would have been nice to spend a bit more time on these kinds of matters, but of course, space is limited.

As I was saying to Travis privately the other day, I am quite dubious that this question about Barth's understanding of natural theology is going to be resolved in these short kinds of posts. Probably one needs an entire book to lay the argument for either side out correctly.

WTM said...

Today I have gestured toward astro-physics rather than Kant and Feuerbach, and I'll have more to say about it later I think. K and F were KB's conversation partners. But, even if I were to grant you the wrongheadedness of modern philosophy, contemporary astro-physics can do the same work somewhat more robustly (I think).

I would love to read through that book with you. Let's make that happen.

Pensans said...

Don’t think the translation issue is a “quibble.” If Romans 1:20 is translated so that the invisible things of God are understood “by means of the things that have been made,” it necessitates a kind of a indirect knowledge of God. If it is translated so that the invisible things of God are known “in” or “by” the things that have been made, then the passage supports a universal inherent knowledge of God.

The KJV’s “being understood by the things that have been made" conveys the ambiguity of the greek, which is open to both interpretation as communicating agency (who does the understanding) or instrumentality (by mean of what the understanding occurs). So too for the RSV.

When writing “dative proper of agency/instrumentality,” I meant to convey that the KJV was open to either an agency or instrumentality interpretation like the greek. (When I learned Greek grammar in Smyth, we classified dative of agency under the dative proper to distinguish it from the use of the dative in the place of the lost cases for instrumentality and location.) However classified, Wilkins understandings of Romans 1:20 relies on only one of several applicable senses of the dative. Remove the textual support for understanding being “by means” of created things and you remove the textual evidence for Hellenistic indirect reasoning. The things that are made by God understand God.

The remarks on the result clause seem to err. The result clause does not modify “poiemasi” nor does it follow it immediately, coming some eight words later. The result clause operates on “kathoratai,” the proximate verb, i.e. because the invisible things of God are “kathoratai”/“clearly seen,” all are without excuse. “Poiemasi nooumena” modifies “aorata,” describing how invisible things are known from creation by the things created.

With respect to the theological points, the idea that revelation is either natural or special seems odd to me. General or special would be the usual disjunction, no? Moreover, I don’t see how arguing for universal revelation, sensus divinitatis, involves arguing for special grace. Common grace perhaps. Even if each man received a special revelation, I still don’t see why Wilkins thinks that God’s gift of a special revelation to an individual implies salvation. God gives many special revelations, e.g., to Belshazzar or through the prophets, to people who are condemned. God gives many special graces, e.g. to Balaam or Saul, to people who are condemned.

All must judge from their own experience Wilkins’ claim that reasoning about the cosmos is a more plausible account of universal knowledge of God than an inherent sense. Certainly, this argument must play better in a graduate seminar room than almost any other place. Oddly, having dismissed it as a quibble, Wilkins finally relies on the idea that Romans 1:20 teaches that knowledge comes “from those things that are made.” This “from” is precisely the object of my quibble above. It is not indicated by the text, which just as likely teaches that God is known from creation by the things created.

Hill said...

I would be fascinated to see the work that astrophysics might perform in this context.

Shane said...

Hi Pensans,

I pulled out my copy of Smythe, and I don't see that he lists a dative of agency under the pure dative. Smythe says "the dative proper denotes that to or for which is or is done." §1457. Dative of agency seems to me to be inherently the idea of the lost instrumental case and not the dative proper. As evidence of my case, cf. the Latin usage, where the idea of agency in the old instrumental case was assimilated to the ablative rather than the dative, e.g. Catilinam a Cicerone accusatus erat--Cataline was denounced by [the agency of] Cicero.

But in any event I don't think poiemasi can be read as a dative of agency precisely because the things that are made aren't agents, they're things. (Unless maybe you think there's some kind of personification going on?) Now you're right that the locative idea is still a possibility, of course.

You're also right that the result clause modifies kathoratai. But both poiemasi and the result clause modify that verb. So the question is which aspects of the verb are they respectively modifying. The result clause is clearly modifying the express goal or purpose of God's action. So the question is whether the noun is modifying the verb to indicate the means by which the action is brought about or the location in which it is being brought about. Read as a locative you get:

"God reveals . . . with the result that people are without excuse in the location of the things that are made."

vs.

"God reveals . . . with the result that people are without excuse by means of the things that are made."

The latter just makes more sense to me because I just can't see any literal sense of what it would mean for God to reveal himself in the location of the things that are made. Even in English, I guess we could say that God reveals himself in the laughter of children or in a sublime sunset or something like that. But isn't that a sort of poetical usage of the locative that is really just a covert instrumental? "God reveals himself in the laughter of children" = "God reveals himself to us by means of the laughter of children," doesn't it? That's why I called it a quibble earlier--it seems to me that the only way to understand the sense of the passage requires the instrumental force, even if there were a good argument that technically the usage of the dative were locative.


"General or special would be the usual disjunction, no?"

Correct, my misstatement.

"God gives many special revelations, e.g., to Belshazzar or through the prophets, to people who are condemned. God gives many special graces, e.g. to Balaam or Saul, to people who are condemned."

Ah, this is a very good point. Honestly one I haven't though about, so I don't havea snappy answer at hand. But yes I think you've got a good counterexample to my claim that special revelation was a sufficient condition to conversion. Of course, these aren't counterexamples to the main point I was trying to prosecute, namely that there is general revelation and natural knowledge of God on the basis of it which is different in kind from the knowledge of God produced by special revelation in those who are converted by grace to faith.

Shane said...

Oh, as to why I think natural theological arguments are more persuasive than the sensus divinitatis:

Well, 'persuasive' might mean two things. It might mean 'what are most people actually persuaded by' or it might mean 'what should they be persuaded by'. I mean that natural theological arguments are more persuasive in the second sense. Sensus divinitatis is a tangled bramble of epistemological problems. My sensus divinitatis says polytheism, yours says monotheism. So clearly one is wrong, but which to choose? It's all subjective at that point.

However with natural theological arguments you have a rational inquiry with an intelligible structure and clear criteria of right or wrongness. And hence natural theological arguments are more persuasive, in the sense I mean.

Pensans said...

OK. In any case, we seem to agree that the dative of agency in Koine is well established, making it and the locative alternatives to the instrumental. You would reject the dative of agency here because “poiemasi” is in the neuter and you suggest that things make unlikely agents, unless, you add, personification is occurring.

Your latter suggestion seems to me precisely what Paul intended. In fact, in Ephesians 2:10, Paul employs the same personification with the same greek word. He say that Christians are the “poiema” of God, something made, created in Christ for good works. So the idea of attributing personified agency to the “poiema”/handiwork of God is familiar to Paul.

It follows, I suppose, from the many personifications of created things in the Scriptures when related to God, e.g. covenants made with day and night, covenant with animals or heavens that know and proclaim the glory of the Lord. In fact, as in Romans 1:20 and Ephesians 2:10, the sense in which things know God is their inherent sense of being created by Him, e.g., Ps 148:3 Praise him, sun and moon, .. all you shining stars. . .Let them praise the name of the LORD, for he commanded and they were created.” This inherent knowledge of the created of the creator is, I think, the inherent knowledge at issue in Rom. 1 that opposes the drive to make idols of created materials. Everything created “knows” that what makes it is beyond the material, even things know it. Hence, there is the inexcusable offense of idolatry.

Your arguments against the locative, I think, founder on a grammatical error. “Poiemasi nooumena” agrees with and modifies “aorata,” not “kathoratai.” Yes? It tells us something about the unknown things of God, i.e. that they are known by the things He created/He created so they know Him. I don’t see grammatically how “poiemasi nooumena” can be taken to modify “kathoratai.” “Nooumena” is a present passive participle.

When read in connection with “aorata,” the locative reading of the dative in “poiemasi” makes sense because a similar prepositional phrase is used in the preceeding verse. In Romans 1:19, we are told that what may be known about God is manifest “in them” /”en autois.” Here, we are told that those things which can be known of God, i.e. his “aorata”, are “nooumena poiemasi,” understand “in the things that God created.” The locative, therefore, would be doing nothing more than echoing the previous passage’s sense that knowledge can be apparent “en autois”. God has himself (directly) shown to the things that are made what can be known about Him. There is a clear parallel. The knowledge is “phaneron estin en autois” and “poiemasin nooumena,” i.e. evident and understood “in them” and “in the things made.”

Let me add by way of conclusion that Rom. 1:20 is a bad text on which to hand the weight of natural knowledge of God. It clearly teaches universal knowledge of God. To me, it clearly teaches that this knowledge in immanent. But it could not possibly be more than an ambiguous text in support of indirect (or as you call it “natural”) inferential knowledge of God.

Shane said...

Hi pensans,

I was reading the whole clause tois poiemasi noumena as an adverbial and so as modifying the finite verb. But you've caught me slipping--I didn't pay sufficient attention to the article before poiemasi. Mea culpa. You are indeed correct that the clause has to read as modifying aorata on pain of ungrammaticality.

I haven't thought about this idea of the heavenly bodies being personified. I don't know, maybe you are on to something here. But here's my question--suppose they are being personified. The main verb of the sentence is still passive, so they aren't acting like agents; they are just being seen. And you don't have to be a person to be seen or be understood. Nor do we need to personify nature to give it agency by which to communicate about God's nature, etc. to humans because as v. 19 says above, it is God who is making these things knowable. So why personify if there's no need to do so? I just don't see what compels the interpretation in that direction.

In regard to the other point, that there is a parallelism in the locative use between "autois" in v. 19 and poiemasi v. 20. I'm not sure that I see the parallel there because the subjects are changing. the autois are the men who hold things in unrighteousness whereas the poiemasi are the created things like the sun and the moon, etc.

I'm not saying you're wrong. I'm just not convinced yet, but thanks for catching my unfortunate errors earlier.

sincerely,

sw

Pensans said...

Glad to talk with you again; I miss your old blogging of the ST.

Best,

Pensans