The Implications of George Grant's Rejection of Natural Law

Kenneth C.Russell

Behind the elaborate structure of Canadian philosopher George Grant's political thought and his analysis of technology lies an important theological issue: his rejection of natural theology and natural law. This paper explores the implications of that faith-motivated rejection.

Like a prophet preaching to the doomed, Canadian philosopher George Grant (1918-1988) laments the dominance of technology in the contemporary world. Possessed, it seems, by an extraordinary Nitzschean will to power, technology has, in Grant's view, pushed aside both the classical and scriptural descriptions of the meaning and purpose of human existence. Power, control and freedom have become directionless forces and progress its own justification. Technology, in Grant's writings, assumes the status of an irresistible energy, and the geographical centre of its power takes on the features of an aggressive evil empire, straight out of Starwars.

In Grant's description of life in North America, technology's relentless quest for control in the service of its own dynamism dominates everything, particularly the moral life of the state and the individual. It determines who we are, what we do, and why we do it. Grant cries out unceasingly against this purely pragmatic approach which deprives life of any meaning beyond work, shopping, and TV. He laments the "oblivion of the eternal" which leads those caught up in technology's progress to confuse having good things with living a good life. However, he holds out little hope that we can do anything to change the situation because, like the characters in Sleeper, Woody Allen's futuristic portrayal of the technological state's ultimate triumph, we seem so completely enclosed within the worldview created by technology that we cannot see beyond it. We have, as it were, forgotten who we are and what we are for.

In Grant's opinion, neither the University nor the Church has the resources and strength to draw us toward a transcendental point of view. The University, for its part, pays its way in contemporary society by training labourers for the workforce while the Church, accommodating itself to the world as it is, promotes progress and positive thinking. With considerable sadness this Protestant philosopher predicts the death of Christianity in the West. All that will be left before too long will be crystal cathedrals hawking the liberalism of secular society.

George Grant places the responsibility for the creation of the modern world squarely on the shoulders of the Enlightenment philosophers. This should not, however, be taken as a purely negative comment. On the contrary, Grant welcomes the "truth of freedom" the eighteenth century carried forward from the Reformation. Obviously, however, something has gone seriously wrong and Grant, who probes the theology behind Weber's sociological insights into the connection between Calvinism and capitalism, traces the root of this trouble back to Christianity itself or, to be exact, to flaws within Western Christianity.

In this paper I am not so much concerned with Grant's delineation of Western Christianity's deviations from what he regards as the right path# although these must be mentioned as with the consequences of his own rejection of natural theology. It is, in fact, because he rejects natural theology and, consequently, natural law, that he is driven, in the present circumstances, to picture technology as a force rapidly moving us into a 'bitter twilight' of perpetual gloom.

How far can we follow George Grant in his denunciation of our technological world and the future it holds out? Before answering that question we must, first of all, clear away any delusions Grant's reputation as a conservative thinker might inspire. He is not some kind of Luddite harking back to simpler times and yearning to reimpose the restrictions which once held society in order. If he were, it would be easier to agree with him or reject his analysis outright. How far we go with him depends, I think, on whether or not we accept the theological premises underlying his philosophical reflection and passionate political commentary.

Personally, I find that, while much of what he writes about technology rings true, his description of the world is flawed by his rejection of natural law. The gloom into which he claims we are descending is, in fact, the consequence of his theoretical refusal of natural theology and its concomitant, natural law. Without the restraint of natural law there is nothing to hold back technology's self-serving aggression.

Although I do not enter into the issue in this paper, it is possible to see a parallel between natural law operating in society and the Spirit operating in the Christian community. Both are abiding, providential, regulatory factors. Without these controls freedom can run amuck in the world and error can corrupt the Church.

Since Grant traces the woes of technological society back to errors made by the Western Church# and the Filioque issue is important in this regardž both his understanding of the Holy Spiritžs role in preserving Christian truth and his thoughts on natural law deserve consideration. However, the wide parameters of these issues exceed the scope of this paper. The focus here is simply on the implications of Grant's understanding of natural law. This first step, however, should make it clear that my fundamental disagreement with George Grant concerns the operation of divine Providence.

Explosive Freedom

In examining any question Grant's penchant was to look for the historical roots of the present situation. This is the approach he uses in considering the connection between the present emphasis on unhindered progress and Christianity. After tracing Christianity'žs responsibility for the destruction of earlier religious cultures which once provided a mythic horizon of meaning, Grant turns to Calvin'žs role in clearing the way for our modern, secular culture. He focuses on the theological and philosophical vacuum Calvin'žs concept of the Hidden God created.

Calvin's doctrine of the Hidden God by whose inscrutable Will men were elected to salvation or damnation meant that they believed themselves cut off from the contemplation of God, except as he revealed Himself in the Bible, and particularly in Jesus Christ.

Calvin's emphasis is not on the goodness and rationality of an overarching plan but on individual acts "connected", as Troeltsch put it, "by no inner necessity, and no metaphysical unity of substance." The focus is on the particular, the empirical, and the pragmatic. The individual is left standing face to face before the transcendent and elusive will of God. With no access to the heavens, as it were, mankind has to serve Godžs will, not through contemplation, but by doing here and now. Consequently, the resolution of an immediate problem takes priority over long-term questions of why something is done. According to Grant, this awesome and unappeasible compulsion to produce, to keep doing good paradoxically žgave [Protestants] an extraordinary sense of the self as radical freedom."

The principle that "the human spirit cannot be limited by any determinations" was first applied in the religious sphere but, once uttered, it could not be confined there. What was initially affirmed to justify breaking away from an authoritarian institution that seemed to contain and limit freedom would, in the eighteenth century, be used against religion per se. The old argument which Sartre has made a cliche' in our time was stirring behind the scenes: if there is a God, or at least one who meddles in the world's affairs by setting limits and making demands, then man is not really free. To people who think in this way and accept, at best, a distant, clock-maker deity, the churches' acknowledgement of a Master to whom humanity is subservient severely limits man's freedom to do as he sees fit with the world and the people in it.

The eighteenth century's strong desire for a new political and economic order set the stage for the secularization of the pragmatism and industriousness which Calvin's doctrine of predestination had fostered. On the theoretical level, Hobbes and Locke's account of "the law of nature" supplied the theoretical justification for man's exercise of control over matter and people alike. In this new myth, society and social interaction are not the products of a God-given inclination, as they are in Genesis 2, but the creations of naturally aggressive human beings rationally establishing the conditions best calculated to promote their individual well-being.

In Grant's description, this freedom -- in which man stands over against nature as subject to object -- is characterised by a dynamic, insatiable "will to power". With the heavens blocked off, this proud freedom, which brooks no limits whatsoever, has nowhere to go but forward. However, this horizontal thrust is not a race toward some goal, but simply a restless, compulsive movement. There is no "end" in sight. In this new order Man, not God, makes history and Man, not God, controls nature. Man does not discover the laws by which he should regulate his life--he makes them. Truth itself is brought down to earth: truth is what works.

For George Grant, technology is a Promethean force whose inner dynamism compels it to expand no matter what the cost to the world, the environment or humanity. In everyday life it usually manages to appear benign but, Grant maintains, its dedication to worldwide standardization will gradually sweep aside all economic and political barriers and lead to tyranny. Grant, like many in the sixties, saw evidence of technology's horrible inversion in the race for a bigger and more destructive bomb and in the destruction the Americans wrought from the air in the Vietnam War. It is not farfetched, I think, to say that in theological terms, Grant sees technology as an apocalyptic monster deceiving millions with its benefits while leading them into the darkness so that they might be overcome by "oblivion of the eternal."

Protestantism and Catholicism

The churches themselves suffer, it seems, from the same oblivion. Certainly, in Grant's opinion, liberal Protestantism has sold out to the technological world Protestantism itself helped create. Indeed, one gets the impression from Grant's works that Protestantism, on the whole, has become a "this-worldly" religion. It has opted for the horizontal over the transcendental. But what of Catholicism which Grant characterizes as exulting virtue over freedom, the good of the whole over the self-interest of the individual? Does it offer some hope for a society oriented toward something more than the advance of technology?

Although Grant wrote in 1965 that "it is still an open question whether Catholicism will be able to humanize mass Western society or be swept into the catacombs", he actually holds out little hope that Catholicism can rein in technology or highlight the transcendent effectively because, in North America at least, Catholics are shaped by the world Protestantism has made. In fact, since he is convinced that technology carries a secularized version of Protestantism with it wherever it goes, there is really no reason for him to limit the Protestant environment in which Catholicism must exist to North America. Technology, after all, is rapidly becoming a pervasive, worldwide phenomenon.

Despite Grant's kind words about the essential characteristics of Catholicism, he considers its attempts to accommodate itself to the modern world even more reprehensible than the efforts of the Protestant churches because it must declare sciences and disciplines, which are the products of a spirit alien to Catholic values, to be acceptable tools for the shaping of society. How, Grant wonders, can Catholics make use of biochemistry, physiological psychology, and sociology which "arose from assumptions hostile to the Catholic view of man"? He concludes that they cannot opt for a "this-worldly" control without sacrificing their transcendent, contemplative stance before the world as God-directed gift. When this accommodationalism becomes the official stand of the Church, the result is a watered-down religion which is no longer authentically Catholic: the "this-worldly" has won out over the "other-worldly".

It is clear, in any case, that Grant thinks very little of Catholicism's traditional contemplative element survived the trip to North America. Indeed, it is hard to believe that Grant, who found evidence of what we might term horizontalism in the Investiture Controversy, did not think Catholicism badly infected with this terminal disease.

The effort of any form of Christianity to accommodate itself to a world driven by the will to control and manipulate in a completely free and unhindered fashion necessarily, in Grant's opinion, involves a selling out of Christian truth. Consequently he disparagingly describes Teilhard de Chardinžs attempt to wed a dynamic natural theology to science's progressive, evolutionary theories as a flattering of modernity.

He is even less impressed with John Courtney Murray who is, Grant feels, trying to identify the modern belief in political freedom with Catholic Christianity by connecting the Enlightenment thought of the founders of the United States of America with the political thought of Thomas Aquinas. Grant gives Murray a brief professorial talking to and assigns the benighted thinker some remedial reading. He concludes by saying that "this branch of Roman Catholic American political philosophy is hardly then to be treated seriously."

Grant lambasts Murray because, in his opinion, the Jesuit's thought represents accommodationalism at its worst. Grant sees it as an attempt to make Christianity at home with a doctrine intrinsically opposed to it. In his view, the Americanization of the Catholic Church in the centre of technology's empire necessarily implies a weakening of its transcendent orientation. Modernity and Catholicism are simply incompatible.

George Grant and John Courtney Murray on Natural Law

I want to look more carefully for a moment at what John Courtney Murray has to say about the Enlightenment thinkers and natural law -- for this is really the feature of Aquinas's thought at issue here -- and then compare this with George Grant's thoughts on the same subjects. The key element is not the rightness or wrongness of one political philosopheržs opinions over against those of another but the different presuppositions underlying each man's analysis.

When it comes right down to it, Murray has little intellectual regard for the Enlightenment. He refers to it as "fragile, time-conditioned, and transitory". He considers its myth of the state of nature, in which hard little sociological monads battered against one another in their conflicting freedom, to be a purely intellectual construct on which to build a "law of nature" in which the state would be created by individuals to promote their inalienable freedom. Though Murray gives Hobbes and Locke low grades as philosophers, he does appreciate that their thought met the needs of the time. In particular, it fit the aspirations of the merchant and propertied classes who wanted a government that would support their interests. Locke's problem, therefore, was, Murray maintains,

to devise a law of nature that would support a political theory that would in turn support a businessman's commonwealth, a society dominated by bourgeois political influence through the medium of the "watch dog" State whose functions would be reduced to a minimum, especially in the fields of business and trade.

Good things obviously came from the Enlightenment's political theories. Among these are the recognition of the rights of the individual and the notion that power is translated to the ruler from the people, and that he holds it at their suffrage. In Murray's opinion, kernels of truth were embedded in the Enlightenment's nonsense "and, as usual, the truth derives from the Western political tradition of natural law, the nonsense from the eighteenth-century philosophoumenon, the law of nature."

His argument, in short, is that truths do not cease to be truths because they are badly argued. A gem does not lose its intrinsic value because an unskilled jeweller has mounted it in an inappropriate setting. Or again, we might say that, when Murray looks at the Constitution of the United States, he sees a house bearing the stylistic features of the Enlightenment. He notes, however, that the basic requirements of any house have been preserved and, indeed, due to fortuitous circumstances, enhanced. Those "basic requirements" are what Murray means by natural law and the situation of the eighteenth century the "fortuitous circumstances" which favoured its advance.

Natural law, in other words, is operative in the human quest for a better life whether or not those involved in the search acknowledge its existence. It is not a speculative theory or some sort of working hypothesis, but a fact. Since it is intrinsic to human nature, it was not deleted by the Enlightenment's refusal to recognize it. This is an important point because the contrast between Murray's notion of natural law and Grant's shows why the drive toward technological progress becomes an undirected, Promethean force in the latter's thought.

After a long explanation of the metaphysical ground of natural law theory, e.g., the belief in a God who is Reason and who has implanted an order in nature, Murray refers to Thomas Aquinas's definition of natural law as the "rational creature's participation in the eternal law." He adds that "the participation consists in manžs possession of reason, the godlike faculty whereby man knows himself -- his own nature and end -- and directs himself freely, in something of divine fashion but under God, to the plenitude of self-realization of his rational and social being."

Grant, for his part, devouts a chapter to natural law in his Philosophy in the Mass Age. With somewhat more emphasis on the classical period, he covers much the same ground as Murray. He too points to the need of certain metaphysical prerequisites for the acceptance of natural law theory: order in the universe, final causality, etc. One senses, however, that natural law is a more speculative achievement in Grant than in Murray. It is not so much a reflection or reasoning out of some inclination or insight as it is a sort of philosophical exercise.

I am not implying, of course, that Murray downplays the role of reason. I am suggesting, rather, that natural law takes on an objective, highly speculative character in Grant, whereas in Murray the dictates of natural law "'emerge' [...] from human nature." They surface, as it were, from the totality of the self with its emotions and feelings. "They are the product of its inclinations, as these are recognized by reason to be conformed to [my] rational nature."

Grant's emphasis on the speculative, philosophical dimensions of natural law makes it sound as though it is only operative when we will to engage in natural law thinking. It is not so much intrinsic to human nature as it is the product of the human mind. In other words, while in Murray the operation of natural law does not depend on the acceptance of the theory of natural law, in Grant, on the contrary, natural law is operative or non-operative depending on whether or not thinkers accept or reject it as a theory.

Murray, therefore, can hold that natural law truths survived the made-to-measure thinking of Locke. Grant's position is quite different. In his view, the initial error of Locke's thought -- its anti-God, promethean drive for control -- increases exponentially as it develops. Moreover, since Enlightenment thought denies the metaphysics on which natural law theory depends, natural law itself becomes unthinkable.

Logically, there is no room for natural law in a universe where the Hobbes-Lockean myth of the law of nature is thought to be the contractual basis of the social order. Grant, who believes in a Creator and, consequently, in a divinely established norm for human behaviour, obviously does not think that Locke's vision of man and society is valid. Nonetheless, in Grant's scheme of things, natural law ceases to be operative when it is not consciously and theoretically accepted.

Murray can see good elements surviving their immersion in the essentially Promethean stance of the Enlightenment. For Grant, however, one theory cancels out the other with the result that the restraint and directional guidance provided by natural law disappear altogether. It seems that, for Grant, natural law is rooted in a particular view of the world rather than in the stuff of the world itself. It is the product of thought rather than something intrinsic to the very order of nature.

In Grant's presentation, Calvinism vanquished the last traces of God from the world by denying the existence of natural law. It rejected any this-worldly natural theology explanation of the way things are. The sole norm for right conduct is divine revelation in Scripture and particularly in Jesus Christ. But, as we have seen, once the explanation that natural law is the source of social order had been replaced by an attractive alternative, the secularized "worldly asceticism" of Calvinism could be completely committed to the service of technology. With the one remaining restraint on human freedom -- God as limit -- out of the way, there is nothing to inhibit technology's advance. There are no more "thou shalt nots". Values are the creation of Man and the good whatever he wills to be so.

Divine Revelation Alone

In his essay "In Defence of North America", George Grant notes that Reformation theologians attacked the teleological doctrine at the base of natural theology because they thought that it led men away from an appreciation of the crucifixion as the only true illumination of the mystery of evil. In a footnote Grant quotes three of Luther's 1518 theses:

Thesis 19. He is not worthy to be called a theologian who sees the invisible things of God as understood through the things that are made.(Romans 1. 20)

Thesis 20. But only he understands the visible and further things of God through the sufferings and the Cross.

Thesis 21. The theologian of glory says that evil is good and good evil; the theologian of the Cross says that the thing is as it is.

In various places in his writings Grant makes it clear that he is in agreement with Luther's stance. He notes, for example, in his consideration of "Law, Freedom, and Progress" that the belief in an ordered world with laws and limits, (which is the consequence of natural theology) can, at its worst, imply that certain evils are a necessary aspect of the way things are. The poor, after all, will always be with us. Grant explicitly recoils from this way of thinking in Lament for a Nation where he maintains that some Western theologians have failed to take a hard look at evil in the world "and have, consequently, identified necessity and good within the rubric of providence." Echoing Luther, Grant bluntly states that, as a believer, he is obliged to reject these interpretations of providence. "Belief is blasphemy if it rests on an easy identification of necessity and good."

Since Grant argues that the rejection of natural theology leads to a denial of natural law, it seems legitimate, in view of his horror at how natural theology seems to deal with evil, to conclude that Grant does not believe in natural law. He certainly maintains that humanity is subject to an order it did not make -- this is the truth at the heart of natural law theory -- but the acceptance of God as the ultimate regulator of morality is not the same as an acceptance of natural law. Indeed, he makes the need for the construction of a moral law that uses universal language clear. New thinking is needed because "the Kantian conception of freedom cannot be reconciled with the old conception of substance, on which the philosophies of natural law were based." We have already seen that, philosophically, he considers natural law to be a theory rather than a fact of creation. We should also note that Grant, who exults what he terms "the truth of freedom which Protestantism knows" accepts the Reformation principle that "the human spirit cannot be limited by any determinations." In other words, he accepts the exclusivity of divine revelation -- there is no other superior norm or law inhibiting or directing human action.

Although Grant seems to present this rejection of natural law as the position of Calvin and his immediate successors, it would seem, ironically, merely to be the stance of some important modern theologians. Barth, for example, emphatically rejects the possibility of natural theology and, hence, of natural law. The debate about natural law and whether or not it is consistent with Calvinžs theology would seem to be, in part at least, a reaction against the way in which natural law theory developed in Protestant circles. Natural law was not a controversial issue at the time of the Reformation.

While Calvin denied that one could trace God's footsteps in the universe, he did hold that God's providence has given man natural law or the "dictates of nature" to enable him to form stable civil governments. He maintained that the impulse toward social order in the family and the state was a providential bridle reining in the devastating effects of sin which continually threaten the world with disorder and chaos. "Calvin did not formulate a 'doctrine' of natural law and did not develop a 'theology of natural law'. Nonetheless, he used the principle of natural law as an extension of his doctrine of providence to explain the survival of civilization." Without this inbuilt restraint societies that do not recognize the divinely revealed law would self-destruct in an explosion of lust and greed. Calvin maintains that this is not the customary pattern in this imperfect world because the human mind perceives the fundamental need for order and restraint.

To repeat, without the rein of natural law the world, would, in Calvin's opinion, be plunged into chaos. The unhindered force of greed would overwhelm everything. But this seems to be exactly the scenario George Grant paints for the future of a world dominated by technology. He even describes our contemporary, technological society as a "machine for greed". However, since he follows theologians who do not share Calvin's conviction that there is a brake or bridle to hold back humanity's sinful, destructive inclinations and seems, moreover, convinced of the truth of the dynamics of Nietzsche's "will to power", Grant has no logical choice but to picture technology as an unstoppable force hellbent toward the conquest and subjugation of absolutely everything. He must maintain that, since the modern world has rejected a transcendent horizon of meaning, and does not accept the theory of natural law, there is nothing to restrain technology's insatiable will toward power. There are no brakes to hold back the monster Promethean humanity has let loose in the world. Finality has been consumed in the immediacy of technology which moves inexorably forward without any regard to a horizon of meaning. The future looks grim, indeed.

Towards Tyranny

Grant, in fact, argues that we are steadily moving toward a political and economic dictatorship in which technology, freedom's child, will crush all freedom. Although he offers numerous political and philosophical reasons to justify his sombre reading of the future of western civilization, the theological premises which undergird his passionate interpretation of the modern world are, I would argue, of primary importance.

The first of these is, as I mentioned in the introduction to this paper, his rejection of natural theology. While, as a Protestant, he could be expected to make this move, the rigour with which he embraces the consequences of this position considerably darkens his outlook. Calvin could turn away from natural theology and still maintain, perhaps illogically, that natural law reined in manžs destructive tendencies so that the basics of social order might be maintained despite sin, but Grant, who accepts the arguments of Troeltsch and other contemporary interpreters of Calvin's thought, rejects natural law altogether. Grant sees the social order we continue to enjoy as the inheritance of an earlier period when the classical and Christian horizons of meaning were operative because people believed in them. As that belief steadily fades, the very fabric of the social order is threatened by technologyžs compulsion to shape the world to its own purposes. Without natural theology, there is, logically, no natural law. If there is no natural law, then, in an age which rejects any transcendent horizon of meaning, there is nothing to restrain the advance of technology and no effective means to give it direction. There are no limits. Man is God.

In 1963 when his essay "Religion and the State" first appeared, Grant still hoped, he tells us in the preface he wrote in 1969, that "our ecclesiastical organizations... might continue to be able to permeate this society with something nobler than the barrenness of technical dynamism,... I could not face the fact," he adds, "that we were living at the end of western Christianity." In his opinion, the only Christianity that will survive technology's dominance will be a Christianity that praises modernity, that, in short, sells out. Since Grant often credits Catholicism with being the custodian of a contemplative attitude that is the opposite to the pragmatism of secularized Protestantism, it is significant that, as we saw earlier, he names a Catholic thinker, Teilhard de Chardin, as an example of someone who accommodates Christianity to the spirit of the age. If Teilhard is Grant's example of what has become of the Catholic, contemplative dimension, what hope can there be for the survival of Christianity in the West?

The stress on Western Christianity suggests that Grant held Eastern Christianity's spiritual aura in high regard. He does not, however, formally consider the eastern church in his published essays. William Christian remarks that when Grant spoke of the Eastern Church he "generally did not have in mind the actual Orthodox churches of Greece or Russia; it was, for him, another symbol, this time of a Christianity more attuned to Platonism, one that accepted the ultimate mystery of God better than did the Western Church." Grant's references to the Eastern Church's other-worldliness is primarily a means of reiterating that the Western churches, both Catholic and Protestant, have badly compromised themselves by settling into the world. The truth of the matter is that Grant regards any movement by a church toward the horizontal plane as a violation of its transcendental finality. Is Christianity an unworldly or a worldly religion, he asks. It cannot, in his view, be both. It either directs itself toward God and eternal life or it immerses itself in the world and seeks to be successful on that level. It is an either/or situation. Accommodationalism effectively negates Christianity's witness to transcendent values.


The three works of George Grant on which we have focused were published in the sixties when there was much talk of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's "religionless Christianity" and the dawning of a new secular era. In this period a number of theologians made a serious effort to co-opt secularization as the final, inevitable, and glorious consequence of Christianity's evolution. In his popular 1965 book, The Secular City, Harvey Cox proclaimed that since secularization was, indeed, a consequence of biblical faith, "the task of Christians should be to support and nourish it." In the same period the likes of Leslie Dewart (The Future of Belief), Thomas J.J. Altizer and William Hamilton (Radical Theology and the Death of God) were shaping a Christianity for a world, as the subtitle of Dewart's book put it, "come of age". In that heady period, many theologians greeted the death of traditional Christianity with joy.

Grant considered the same phenomena they did. He measured Christianity's contribution to its own demise, and he, too, looked beyond that to the consequences of the loss of the traditional horizon of meaning. But he found no cause for celebration in contemplating the future Christianity has shaped for us. In his view, western Christianity has been unfaithful to itself and, as a consequence, it bears a large share of the responsibility for the mediocre world technology is carrying us towards.

In the schema he lays out, technology is left without the restraint of God's law which alone might rein it in. Paradoxically, if Grant, who places such emphasis on Calvinism's role in the formation of the modern world, had shared Calvin's own sense of natural law as an ever-present benefit of divine providence, he would not have seen technology as an outlaw force beyond human control. He would have been obliged to see it as something subject to humanity's innate tendency to maintain good order in the state and, indeed, the world. He might have continued to describe technology in a world without a transcendent horizon of meaning as dangerous, but he would not have been able to label it necessarily and inevitably destructive.

George Grant's gloomy forecast of the future of the Christian churches and western civilization in general rests on his rejection of natural theology and, particularly, his speculative and purely formal notion of natural law. With God effectively banished from the world by the diminishment of faith, there is, in Grant's view, nothing to restrain technology's compulsion to pursue its own ends without regard to the cost to humanity.

This article was originally appeared in Science et Esprit, (L/1 1998, pp. 29-43), published by the Univeristy of Montreal. Dr. Kenneth Russell graciously agreed to leave out the footnotes to facilitate republication in DiaLogos.

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