Do these statements make sense to you?
A book means there was an author.
A painting means there was an artist.
A computer program means there was a programmer.
These examples illustrate the Argument from Design: a design implies a designer.
If asked for evidence of God’s existence, I would start with the Argument from Design. A video of a well-known creationist debater inadequately answering this question from a sixth-grade atheist stimulated this Evidence for God series.
The Argument from Design is the best argument to give when asked for evidence of God. I have 3 reasons for making this best argument claim:
1. The Argument from Design is Simple
2. The Argument from Design is Logical (see next blog post)
3. The Argument from Design is Biblical (see next-plus-one blog post)
1. Design is a Simple Argument
The Argument from Design is simple, clear, and easy to understand. No one needs training or expertise in philosophy or theology to comprehend it. Even a young child can grasp the reasoning.
The Design Argument can be explained with these examples:
A statue requires a sculptor.
A book requires an author.
A musical score requires a composer.
A painting requires an artist.
A building requires a builder.
A computer program requires a programmer.
It’s obvious, for example, that natural forces of erosion, wind, and rain did not shape Mt. Rushmore to resemble presidential faces. The stone faces obviously required a sculptor. Likewise, the far more complex living men represented on the mountain required a Creator.
Design is inescapable. From a cell’s intricate molecular machinery to the large-scale structure of the universe with billions of stars organized into clustered galaxies—everything shouts “design.” From micro to macro, researchers find information-rich structures, minutely-detailed designs, and ever-increasing levels of complexity. Where did this all come from?
The Argument from Design is also known as the Teleological Argument, from the Greek word telos meaning purpose. It’s the “Watch requires a Watchmaker” argument of Robert Boyle (1627–1691) that was later popularized and made famous by William Paley (1743–1805).
In a nutshell, the Design Argument is simply this:
“The existence of a design implies the existence of a designer.”
A human requires a Maker.
A universe requires a Creator.
Design is the Oldest, Clearest, Most Reasonable Argument
“The vastness, beauty, orderliness, of the heavenly bodies, the excellent structure of animals and plants; and the other phenomena of nature justly induce an intelligent and unprejudiced observer to conclude a supremely powerful, just, and good author.”
(From Robert Boyle, Works, vol. IV, p. 25.)
Philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) said in his major work Critique of Pure Reason (1781, 1787) that the Argument from Design
“…always deserves to be mentioned with respect. It is the oldest, the clearest, and the most accordant with the common reason of mankind.” (my emphasis)
Kant is right. The Argument from Design is the simplest (clearest) and most logical of the many arguments made for the existence of God. See next week’s post
6. Evidence for God – Design Is Best Argument for God – Logical.
As Kant said, it’s also the oldest argument, for it was used by God Himself at the dawn of history. Subsequent posts
7. Evidence for God – Design Is Best Argument for God – Biblical
8. Evidence for God – Design Is Best Argument for God – Old Testament
9. Evidence for God – Design Is Best Argument for God – New Testament
will conclude the case that the Argument from Design is the best argument for the existence of God by showing that it’s the primary Biblical argument.
Questions to Ponder
- Why is a simple argument for the existence of God useful?
- In the above examples illustrating “A design implies a designer,” which one is most vivid or intuitive to you?
- What examples of your own illustrate, “A design implies a designer”?
Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.
Soli Deo Gloria.
This is the fifth post in the Evidence for God series that discusses the question,
“Is There Evidence for God?”
Read the prequels:
1. Evidence for God – Can You Answer a 6th-Grader?
2. Evidence for God – Design
3. Evidence for God – Experience
4. Evidence for God – Can You Prove God Exists?
Read the sequel to learn why the Argument from Design is the best argument to use for the existence of God:
6. Evidence for God – Design Is Best Argument for God – Logical
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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)
Wednesday July 17, 2013 A.D.
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)