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How Reformed Is Reformed Epistemology? Alvin Plantinga and Calvin's 'Sensus Divinitatis'

Derek S. Jeffreys
Religious Studies
Vol. 33, No. 4 (Dec., 1997), pp. 419-431
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20008123
Page Count: 13
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How Reformed Is Reformed Epistemology? Alvin Plantinga and Calvin's 'Sensus Divinitatis'
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Abstract

Alvin Plantinga maintains that Calvin's "sensus divinitatis" is an epistemic module which can produce warranted beliefs about God. In this essay, I argue that he depicts the "sensus divinitatis" inaccurately. He fails to distinguish different kinds of knowledge of God, ignores the complexities of Calvin's discussion of natural theology, disregards Calvin's negative assessment of the "sensus divinitatis," and minimizes the noetic effect of sin. I suggest that rather than retrieving the "sensus divinitatis" as a source of knowledge, we should focus on how it reveals the perversity of the human mind.

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