1.) Outline and explain the main points of teleological arguments for the existence of God?

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1.) Outline and explain the main points of teleological arguments for the existence of God?

The word ‘teleological’ is derived from the Greek word ‘telos’, which translates as ‘end’ or ‘purpose’, hence teleology is the supposition that there is purpose in the works and processes of nature, and a teleological argument is a classical argument for the existence of a creator or God based on perceived evidence of order, purpose and design or direction in nature. It is often referred to as the argument from design.

There are several variations of the arguments; however the basic structure is as follows:

  1. Every design has a designer.
  2. The universe has a highly complex design.
  3. Therefore, the universe has a Designer.

Simply put, the argument claims that the universe is too complex and well ordered to have been produced by chance or random change, and proceeds to the conclusion that this must have been the work of a supreme designer. In the words of Thomas Aquinas, “…this all men speak of as God”, although some versions of the argument may substitute for God a lesser demiurge, multiple Gods or Gods and Goddesses, or perhaps extraterrestrials (although reapplication of the argument might still imply an ultimate cause). However, most of the classic forms of this argument are linked to monotheism.

The origins of these arguments can be traced back to the Greek philosopher Plato (427-347 BCE) who, in his work Timaeus, posited a demiurge of supreme wisdom and intelligence as the creator of the cosmos, a teleological perspective built upon the analysis of a priori [where the proof does not rely on external evidence] order and structure in the world which he had already presented in The Republic.

Plato’s student Aristotle (384-322 BCE) also developed the idea of a creator of the cosmos, often referred to as the “Prime Mover” in his work Metaphysics, as he argued that all nature reflects inherent purpose and direction.

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Another of the earliest known teleological arguments was made by Cicero (106-43 BCE). In ‘ide Natura Deorum (On the Nature of the Gods) Cicero wrote “When you see a sundial or a water-clock, you see that it tells the time by design and not by chance. How then can you imagine that the universe as a whole is devoid of purpose and intelligence, when it embraces everything, including these artefacts themselves and their artificers?”

The most notable scholastics (circa 1100-1500 CE) who put forth teleological arguments were Averroes (Ibn-Rushd) (1126-1198) and Thomas Aquinas (1225 – 1274). Writing from an ...

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