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date: 24 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

In the broadest sense, natural theology is the effort to gain knowledge of God from non-revealed sources – that is, from sources other than scripture and religious experience – but there is also a much narrower sense of natural theology: the construction of arguments for the existence of God from empirical evidence. This narrower sense is most strongly associated with the argument for God's existence from the appearance that the natural world has been constructed for a purpose. This argument is referred to as ‘the Design Argument’. This chapter addresses a generic theological question confounding the Design Argument. Why would God design or create anything at all, much less a world like this one? Let us call this question ‘Why design?’ (WD). It is shown that answering WD entangles proponents of the Design Argument in age-old debates about divine freedom, divine moral perfection, and divine rationality. Despite the pretensions of some of its proponents, the Design Argument is not and never has been ‘strictly scientific’.

Keywords: existence of God, empirical evidence, design, divine freedom, divine moral perfection, divine rationality

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