What famous inventor, politician, and author believed in intelligent design and wrote this?
“It might be judg’d an Affront to your Understandings should I go about to prove this first Principle, the Existence of a Deity and that he is the Creator of the Universe, for that would suppose you ignorant of what all Mankind in all Ages have agreed in. I shall therefore proceed to observe: 1. That he must be a Being of great Wisdom; 2. That he must be a Being of great Goodness and 3. That he must be a Being of great Power.
That he must be a Being of infinite Wisdom, appears in his admirable Order and Disposition of Things, whether we consider the heavenly Bodies, the Stars and Planets, and their wonderful regular Motions, or this Earth compounded of such an Excellent mixture of all the Elements; or the admirable Structure of Animal Bodies of such infinite Variety, and yet every one adapted to its Nature, and the Way of Life it is to be placed in, whether on Earth, in the Air or in the Waters, and so exactly that the highest and most exquisite human Reason, cannot find a fault and say this would have been better so or in another Manner, which whoever considers attentively and thoroughly will be astonish’d and swallow’d up in Admiration.”
This writer was a highly regarded American scientist, diplomat, and sage who died during Washington’s presidency. Who was he?
Around 1730, one of America’s Founding Fathers, respected journalist and statesman Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), penned these words in his essay,
On the Providence of God in the Government of the World.
(See Writings of Benjamin Franklin.)
Franklin continued in this essay to argue for his second (Goodness) and third (Power) claims:
“2. That the Deity is a Being of great Goodness, appears in his giving Life to so many Creatures, each of which acknowledge it a Benefit by their Unwillingness to leave it; in his providing plentiful Sustenance for them all, and making those Things that are most useful, most common and easy to be had; such as Water necessary for almost every Creature’s Drink; Air without which few could subsist, the inexpressible Benefits of Light and Sunshine to almost all Animals in general; and to Men the most useful Vegetables, such as Corn, the most useful of Metals as Iron, and the most useful Animals, as Horses, Oxen and Sheep, he has made easiest to raise, or procure in Quantity or Numbers: each of which particulars if considered seriously and carefully would fill us with the highest Love and Affection.
3. That he is a Being of infinite Power appears, in his being able to form and compound such Vast Masses of Matter as this Earth and the Sun and innumerable Planets and Stars, and give them such prodigious Motion, and yet so to govern them in their greatest Velocity as that they shall not flie off out of their appointed Bounds nor dash one against another, to their mutual Destruction; but ’tis easy to conceive his Power, when we are convinc’d of his infinite Knowledge and Wisdom; for if weak and foolish Creatures as we are, by knowing the Nature of a few Things can produce such wonderful Effects; such as for instance by knowing the Nature only of Nitre and Sea Salt mix’d we can make a Water which will dissolve the hardest Iron and by adding one Ingredient more, can make another Water which will dissolve Gold and render the most Solid Bodies fluid — and by knowing the Nature of Salt Peter Sulphur and Charcoal those mean Ingredients mix’d we can shake the Air in the most terrible Manner, destroy Ships Houses and Men at a Distance and in an Instant, overthrow Cities, rend Rocks into a Thousand Pieces, and level the highest Mountains. What Power must he possess who not only knows the Nature of every Thing in the Universe, but can make Things of new Natures with the greatest Ease and at his Pleasure!
Agreeing then that the World was at first made by a Being of infinite Wisdom, Goodness and Power, which Being we call God;”
Commentary on Franklin’s Quote
Franklin argued for the existence of a Creator with three primary attributes: wisdom, goodness, and power. Franklin applied his reason to argue for the necessity of God’s existence and His attributes.
Like Paul in Romans 1:19-20, Franklin argued based on the evidence of nature. He deduced these divine attributes from what he saw had been created, just as Paul said should be done.
As part of his argument, Franklin appeals to “what all Mankind in all Ages have agreed in.” The consensus opinion of mankind throughout history that there is a divine Creator is important evidence for Franklin, just as it was for Jefferson.
The arrogance and hubris of today where man thinks he’s so advanced and despises the wisdom of previous generations regarding the existence of a Creator is an anomaly of history. The vast majority of mankind throughout history has known that there must have been a Creator. It’s common sense based on looking at what has been created, just as the Apostle Paul, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and innumerable others have argued.
Franklin, writing some 80 years before Darwin’s birth, would have used his famous wit to ridicule Darwin’s book. It would have been a delight to read what Franklin would have written about Darwin’s wacky ideas.
Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson believed in a Creator and Intelligent Designer. Neither would have been fooled by the evolutionism that fools so many intellectuals today.
Charles Darwin, who published his infamous tome in 1859, some 70 years after Franklin died, would have done well to have listened to Franklin’s arguments. Today’s intellectuals would also do well to pay heed to one whose mental acuity far exceeded their own.
Soli Deo Gloria.
This is the second installment in the Famous Thinkers series highlighting great men of the past who believed in a Creator.
Read the prequel:
1. Famous Thinkers – Former U.S. President Supports Intelligent Design
Read the sequel:
3. Famous Thinkers – Mathematician Supports Intelligent Design
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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:4)
Saturday August 6, 2011 A.D.
Read my August 2011 newspaper column:
Ark Encounter Park.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. (Romans 1:18-23)