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Hemmingius on the Natural Knowledge of God

Niels Hemmingsen begins his Enchiridion Theologicum (1557) with the claim that there exists a twofold knowledge of God, the universal (known to everyone) and the peculiar, or special (known only to the sons of God). For the knowledge of God that is universal, he cites Romans 1:18-20, and then comments that all the world’s a school in which the knowledge of God is promulgated, as follows:

His verbis Paulus testatur, creaturam Dei esse veluti scholam quandam universalem, in quae in Dei noticia erudimur. Est enim tota creatura non solum testimonium de Deo, quod sit, verum etiam speculum quoddam, in quo se quodammodo contemplandum nobis proponit.

With these words, Paul bears witness that God’s creation is, as it were, a sort of universal school, in which we are educated in the knowledge of God. For the whole creation is not only a testimony concerning God—as to the fact that he exists—but also a sort of mirror, in which he puts himself forward somehow to be contemplated by us.

By E.J. Hutchinson

E.J. Hutchinson is Assistant Professor of Classics at Hillsdale College.

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