Sunday, September 29, 2013

Joseph Butler on the Supposed Deficiency in the Evidence of Revelation

It has been thought by some persons, that if the evidence of revelation appears doubtful, this itself turns into a positive argument against it: because it cannot be supposed that, if it were true, it would be left to subsist upon doubtful evidence. And the objection against revelation from its not being universal is often insisted upon as of great weight.

Now the weakness of these opinions may be shewn by observing the suppositions on which they are founded: which are really such as these; that it cannot be thought God would have bestowed any favour at all upon us, unless in the degree, which, we think, He might, and which, we imagine, would be most to our particular advantage; and also that it cannot be thought He would bestow a favour upon any, unless He bestowed the same upon all: suppositions, which we find contradicted, not by a few instances of God’s natural government of the world, but by the general analogy of Nature together.

—Joseph Butler, The Analogy of Religion (London: Macmillan and Co., 1900), Part II, chapter 6, p. 203.

[HT: The Library of Historical Apologetics]


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