Stephen Charnock (1628-1680) held that men can and do know something of God, “though nothing of Christ.” Though they are sinners by nature, they are unable to blot out completely the knowledge of God’s existence, Rom 1:20.
Charnock lists ten attributes of God that may be thus known from nature:
- the power of God, in creating a world out of nothing;
- the wisdom of God, in the order, variety, and beauty of creation;
- the goodness of God, in the provision God makes for his creatures;
- the immutability of God, for if he were mutable, he would lack the perfection of the sun and heavenly bodies, “wherein no change hath been observed”;
- his eternity, for he must exist before what was made in time;
- the omniscience of God, since as the Creator he must necessarily know everything he has made;
- the sovereignty of God, “in the obedience his creatures pay to him, in observing their several orders, and moving in the spheres wherein he set them”;
- the spirituality of God, insofar as God is not visible, “and the more spiritual any creature in the world is, the more pure it is”;
- the sufficiency of God, for he gave all creatures a beginning, and so their being was not necessary, which means God was in no need of them; and finally,
- his majesty, seen in the glory of the heavens.
But, says Charnock, this knowledge of God that may be know from nature and by reason “is so dim in the discovery of his perfections that it sees not light enough to raise it up to any close act of a fiducial dependence on him.”
As summarised in Beeke & Jones, Puritan theology: doctrine for life, ch. 1.