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A.—Presuppositions of the Doctrine of Redemption, or Natural Theology.

“Natural Theology” did not pass through any very thoroughgoing development in the Greek Church; but it reveals differences, according as Aristotelianism or Neoplatonism prevailed. By Natural Theology we are to understand the complex of conceptions that, according to the view then held, formed the self-evident and certain contents of the human mind, which was only held to be more or less darkened (see Chap. II.). These conceptions, however, arose in fact historically, and corresponded to the degree of culture at which the ancient world had arrived, especially through the work of the Greek Philosophers. We can divide them appropriately into doctrines concerning God and concerning man. But changes also took place in proportion to the growing influence exerted on these conceptions by the words of the Bible literally understood. Nevertheless the fundamental features remained in force; yet they were displaced and confused by foreign material during the period from Origen to John of Damascus.

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