Doesn't Romans 1 Commit Us to Plantinga's Version of Reformed Epistemology, or One That Posits An Innate Cognitive Faculty? Does Romans 1 Force Us To Also Claim At The Cost Of Inerrancy That Atheists Know That God Exists 'Deep Down?'
NO! The question that needs to be addressed is: Is the belief in God referenced in Rom. 1 (general revelation) more like an inference or more like perception. V.20 on the one hand says that God’s nature is invisible, but that this is also visible (Paul makes a pun here or is ironic), but in the Greek it can be translated to say that the invisible things that are perceived through reflection (inference) on the things that have been made. Moreover, the word for eternal power (idios?) is a very rare word in the NT appearing only 2 times and is a Greek word that comes out of Greek philosophy that shows the links with Paul’s word here with the sort of natural theology done by the Greek philosophers. Another indication of this is that the word for divine nature (theoteas?) is a word that appears nowhere else in the NT and it is a Greek philosophical term for divine nature which again seems to suggest a linkage between Paul’s writing here and greek natural theology that went on among the Greek philosophers at that time. What is especially interesting is that when you compare Romans 1 with a Jewish Apocryphal work called the wisdom of Solomon (c. 1st or 2nd cent. BC) in the 13th chapter, v. 1-9, we have a very interesting discussion of how people can tell that God exists just from creation around them:
Why We Should Prefer William Lane Craig's Version of Belief In God as Properly Basic (& Dispatching with Michael Martin's Objections)
Alvin Plantinga posits a cognitive faculty that is supposed to be universal and innate in human beings that when functioning properly produces belief in some sort of a genreic theistic deity. However, it appears to be doubtful that human beings possess such a cognitive faculty (although there is mounting empirical evidence that we may have such a faculty after all: Justin Barrett and others). In any case, it is probably best for now to think that we do not have such a faculty. Instead, we should adopt WLC's version of reformed epistemology which is centered on the external witness of the Holy Spirit:
BELIEF IN GOD AS PROPERLY BASIC
1. Beliefs which are appropriately grounded may be rationally accepted as basic beliefs not grounded on argument.
2. Belief that the biblical God exists is appropriately grounded.
3. Therefore, belief that the biblical God exists may be rationally accepted as a basic belief not grounded on argument.