The teleological argument offers a way we can explain God’s existence in terms of design and nature. It explains that the world is too complex and diverse for there not to be a designer, such as God, at work.
This argument derives from Thomas Aquinas’ work from his Summa Theologiae. His fifth way suggests that inanimate objects cannot have ordered themselves since they lack intelligence. For example, planets could not have put themselves into orbit, yet they are in perfect order and placement so therefore there must be a designer, an intelligent being, that did so. This argument suggests that everything has been designed to have a purpose, even if it is unaware of this itself. Aquinas believed that this designer is God.
One of the earliest forms of the teleological argument was formed by Aristotle in the 4th century BC. Aquinas’ design argument was influenced by Aristotle’s ideas presented in his work Metaphysics. He strongly showed aspects of a teleological argument when he shared the idea of a ‘prime mover’, a designer who looks ahead when putting the world in motion. He also argued that everything has purpose and direction. Therefore, this strongly suggests that there must be a ‘designer’ at work.
Similarly, William Paley, strongly believed that the observation of the intricate complexity of the universe concludes that there must be a creator. Paley believed that this creator was God. In ‘Natural Theology’, he used the analogy of the watch to his ideas. He explained that if you came across an intricately designed watch, you could conclude that watch was not made by chance and was designed with purpose and placed there. For Paley, the different parts of watch work perfectly together to fulfil a purpose. Therefore, it shows evidence of design. Paley directly related this idea to the universe, arguing that it is so complex and intricately detailed that there must be a designer, i.e. God. This idea is explained as design qua purpose, meaning that everything we...