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Natural Signs and Knowledge of GodA New Look at Theistic Arguments$
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C. Stephen Evans

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199217168

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199217168.001.0001

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Beneficial Order and Teleological Arguments for God

Beneficial Order and Teleological Arguments for God

(p.74) 4 Beneficial Order and Teleological Arguments for God
Natural Signs and Knowledge of God

C. Stephen Evans (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that the theistic natural sign of “beneficial order” lies at the foundation of many of the teleological arguments for God's existence. This sign provides more content about God than the sign of cosmic wonder. Various forms of the argument are examined and developed, including the classic one given by Aquinas. The “fine‐tuning” of the physical universe, while it may provide support for a teleological argument, is not a natural sign, because it fails the Wide Accessibility Principle test. Darwinian evolutionary theory does not undermine the claim that beneficial order is a theistic natural sign. The chapter concludes by showing that Hume and Kant, both of whom rejected teleological arguments as proofs, still recognized the force of the sign that lies at the heart of the arguments. This fact, combined with our own experiences, gives us good reason to think that beneficial order is a theistic natural sign.

Keywords:   teleological argument, design, fine‐tuning, Darwin, evolution, beneficial order, Aquinas, Hume, Kant

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