Christian Cyclopedia

About the Cyclopedia


Term with various meanings corresponding to the different senses in which “nature” and “natural” may be used.

In theol. and philos.: the teaching that religions truth is derived from nature (see also Natural Theology), that there is no reality except matter, that all, even psychical, phenomena may be explained through natural sciences, esp. chemistry and physics, and that their ultimate basis is matter and motion. Such a view leads to materialism* and atheism* and hardly differs from positivism.*

In ethics: the doctrine that nature and natural impulses are the highest guide of man in moral conduct; variously developed in Stoicism* and by J. J. Rousseau,* L. N. Tolstoi,* and F. W. Nietzsche*; may lead to elevation of every personal desire to a moral law, contempt of marriage, glorification of the nude.

In art: tendency to avoid all idealization and portray only reality.

In literature: tendency to picture men and circumstances true to reality, often emphasizing the immoral.

See also Secularism.

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

Internet Version Produced by
The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod

Original Editions ©Copyright 1954, 1975, 2000
Concordia Publishing House
All rights reserved.

Content Reproduced with Permission

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