Sensus Divinitatis ("sense of divinity")
"That there exists in the human mind and indeed by natural instinct, some sense of Deity [sensus divinitatis], we hold to be beyond dispute, since God himself, to prevent any man from pretending ignorance, has endued all men with some idea of his Godhead…. …this is not a doctrine which is first learned at school, but one as to which every man is, from the womb, his own master; one which nature herself allows no individual to forget " Calvin, Institutes
The idea of an innate sense of God (Latin sensus divinitatis) plays an important role in the Bible and is later expounded in Calvin’s epistemology. Every human being, according to Calvin, is born with a knowledge that God exists and that we are accountable to him. Calvin learned the concept of innate knowledge of God from Paul, especially from the first two chapters of Romans (see Rom. 1:21). But sin having corrupted human mind, has distorted the sensus, and men and women suppress the truth God and replace Him with idols fashioned by their mind. For biblical references for the noetic effects of sin, consider Rom 1:28; 8:5-7; 2Co 4:3-4; Phil 3:19; Col 1:21; Isa 6:9-10 and the uses of it in the NT; 1Co 2, esp. vv 12, 14.
On this page we have aggregated important resources on the sensus divinitatis and the noetic effects of sin which has distorted the clarity of that sense in fallen man.
Related: Presuppositional Apologetics