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Apologetics Pt 10

Dave Scholes

Dave Scholes


The Teleological Argument

The Teleological argument is one of the oldest, most famous and I think, most intuitive arguments we have for God’s existence. Telos is the Greek word for ‘purpose’ and this argument is so called because of the universe’s incredible ‘fine-tuning’ for intelligent life.

The argument I’m going to use is put like this:

  1. The fine-tuning of the universe is due to either physical necessity, chance, or design.
  2. It is not due to physical necessity or chance.
  3. Therefore, it is due to design.

Now, on the face of it, the argument seems quite tricky, but bear with it! Over the next few weeks I’ll unpack it and you can engage on it in the comments section.

First though, before we unpack the argument, we need to define some terms.

Fine-tuning. This does not pre-suppose design. This is simply a term that is commonly used to explain the extraordinary amount of precision in the universe that must be in order to sustain any sort of life. So don’t immediately assume that fine-tuning means we are pre-supposing a ‘fine-tuner’! That would be begging the question and wouldn’t do us any good at all.

Physical necessity. This is the trickiest concept to grasp. Physical necessity would mean that the constants and quantities of the universe must be the way they are, and therefore there could not have been any alternative universe. An example of something that could plausibly be necessary in its nature could be the rules of logic, numbers and for the Christian, God.

Chance. A simple one to understand, chance simply means that the universe is the way it is purely by accident.

Design. The design option denies physical necessity and chance and submits that the universe’s extraordinary fine-tuning is down to a cosmic designer.

Over the next few weeks we’ll look at each premise and the conclusion, we’ll take a more in-depth look at physical necessity, chance and design and try to come to some solid conclusions!

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