Arguments for God’s Existence: Teleological

by Anthony Weber

In condensed form, the Teleological Argument for God states that since the universe and all that is in it show teleological (from the Greek telos, or end) design – order, consistency, and unity – there must be a designer.

Though Anaxagoras, Socrates, and Philo all discussed this argument, Plato was the first to cite design in nature as a proof of the existence of God.[1]   Aristotle referenced motion and contingency to bolster the teleological argument, thus using the cosmological and ontological to support the teleological.   Aquinas’s Fifth Way argues that even things lacking knowledge are moving toward an end result; as they are lacking knowledge, they must be directed toward this end much like an arrow is directed by an archer.

William Paley, archdeacon of Carlisle, used the analogy of a watch and a watchmaker to show the correlation between an intricately designed object and the necessity of an intelligence to bring about that design. He argued that human artifacts are products of intelligence; the universe resembles human artifacts; therefore, the universe is a product of intelligent design.  Since the universe is huge compared to human artifacts, the designer must be far more intelligent and powerful than we are.”[2]

F.R. Tennant later offered six signs of design: the intelligibility of the world; the adaptation of life; the conduciveness of the inorganic world to the emergence and maintenance of life; the aesthetic value of nature; the moral life of people; and the progressiveness of evolution.[3]

Scientists such as Isaac Newton spoke of the impressive stability of the universe to demonstrate that the universe as a whole also shows intelligent design…

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