Pannenberg and his notion of knowledge of God

Pannenberg obviously has started to critique the Reformers here as it seems to be the case he wants to move to rationality. Later on, he looks at conscience and how it has been understood by various philosophers through the ages such as Descartes. By page 117 Pannenberg uses Romans 1:20 and 2:15 that knowledge of God isn’t just innate but also room for acquired he then goes on to say that this was a mistake (page 117) and this is why natural theology of the philosophers contributed to a one-sided negativity of other religions. Tomorrow you will hear why I don’t agree here.

Pannenberg says in his natural knowledge of God (scanned);

This early emphasis of Luther and Melanchthon on inborn rather

than acquired knowledge of God was closely bound up with their distrust

of reason, which was enslaved and blinded after the fall (capta occaecataque,

CR, 21, 116; LCC, XIX, 50). According to Luther the turning to

idolatry goes hand in hand with the false conclusions which reason draws

from the inextinguishable(inobscurabilis) knowledge of God in the heart.

Reason wrongly links the thought of God to something else that it thinks

God is like.149 It is thus unreliable in matters of the knowledge of God.

A difficulty in this view for Melanchthon was that the knowledge

of God in Rom. 1:19-20 is obviously associated with experience of the

world. In his 1532 commentary on Romans he allowed that this was a

discursive knowledge by inference. But this would not have been possible

without a basis in inborn knowledge which then leads through experience

of the world to knowledge of God as its Creator.150 Acquired knowledge

is not ruled out in interpretation of our original knowledge of God. In

the later editions of the Loci there is thus a place for proofs of God.151

But inborn knowledge (notitia innata) is the basis.


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