In condensed form, the Teleological Argument for God states that since the universe and all that is in it show teleological (from the Greek telos, or end) design – order, consistency, and unity – there must be a designer.
Though Anaxagoras, Socrates, and Philo all discussed this argument, Plato was the first to cite design in nature as a proof of theexistence of God. Aristotle referenced motion and contingency to bolster the teleological argument, thus using the cosmological and ontological to support the teleological. Aquinas’s Fifth Way argues that even things lacking knowledge are moving toward an end result; as they are lacking knowledge, they must be directed toward this end much like an arrow is directed by an archer.
William Paley, archdeacon of Carlisle, used the analogy of a watch and a watchmaker to show the correlation between an intricately designed object and the necessity of an intelligence to bring about that design. He argued that human artifacts are products of intelligence; the universe resembles human artifacts; therefore, the universe is a product of intelligent design. Since the universe is huge compared to human artifacts, the designer must be far more intelligent and powerful than we are.”
F.R. Tennant later offered six signs of design: the intelligibility of the world; the adaptation of life; the conduciveness of the inorganic world to the emergence and maintenance of life; the aesthetic value of nature; the moral life of people; and the progressiveness of evolution.
Scientists such as Isaac Newton spoke of the impressive stability of the universe to demonstrate that the universe as a whole also shows intelligent design. This argument states that the world is a unified system of adaptations, and we can only give an intelligible explanation of this by believing the world was created by an intelligent being with a plan.
In response, David Hume argued that the mind of the Designer would then also require an explanation as to why his mind is so well fitted to designing. Also, based on the principle that effects have similar causes, Hume argued against Paley’s approach to teleology by reasoning that the analogy (which he thought was weak) holds only if life is machine-like, which he did not believe.
Richard Dawkins agrees with Hume: “A true watchmaker has foresight: he designs his cogs and springs, and plans their interconnections, with a future purpose in his mind’s eye. Natural selection, the blind, unconscious, automatic process which Darwin discovered, and which we now know is the explanation for the existence and apparently purposeful form of all life, has no purpose in mind. It has no mind and no mind’s eye. It does not plan for the future. It has no vision, no foresight, no sight at all. If it can be said to play the role of watchmaker in nature, it is the blind watchmaker.”
However, current scientists such as Michael Denton argue that science has discovered that life really is analogous to the most complex of machines, thus making Hume’s argument support rather than undermine Paley’s. Alvin Plantinga has also noted that in crucial ways the universe is sufficiently like other things, so we cannot rule out the accuracy of the argument from analogy.
A. E. Taylor has also noted that the teleological argument suggests that nature reveals not just order, but anticipatory order, also known as the anthropic principle. The watchmaker could not have been visionless, with no foresight or sight. For example, life could not exist except in a three dimensional universe; a change of temperature of one part of a million million would rule out the very existence of the universe; and gravity could not change by even one percent, or the universe could not support life.
Ed Harrison, a cosmologist, has noted in Masks of the Universe:“Here is the cosmological proof of the existence of God – the design argument of Paley – updated and refurbished. The fine tuning of the universe provides prima facie evidence of deistic design. Take your choice: blind chance that requires multitudes of universes or design that requires only one…. Many scientists, when they admit their views, incline toward the teleological or design argument.”
Finding a Designer still does not answer questions concerning the Designer’s character or attributes. For this reason, the teleological argument is often combined with the Cosmological and Ontological in order to provide a more comprehensive view of God which addresses issues of character as well as existence.
Ultimately, if one cannot find a Designer, one is left with either the frustration of a designed universe in which the Designer is undiscoverable, or the absurdity of an apparently designed universe that is actually the product of unintelligent matter brought together by unexplainable chance. However, if one does find the Designer, one is that much close to answering the great questions of origin, meaning, and destiny.
 Reese, William R. “Teleological Argument.” Dictionary of Philosophy and Religion. (Amherst: Humanity Books, 1999), 761.
 “The Teleological Argument.” Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry. 2002. Internet. Available from www.carm.org/apologetics/teleological.htm. Accessed April 23, 2003.
 Paul Edwards, ed. “Teleological arguments for the existence of God” The Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Volume Eight. (New York: The MacMillan Company, 1967), 86.
 Noble, David. Understanding the Times.(Eugene: Harvest House Publishers, 1995), 318.
 Noble Times, 322.
 Geisler, Norman. “Teleological Argument.” Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics. (Baker Books: Grand Rapids, 2002), 716.
 Geisler “Teleological Argument,” 717.
 Craig, William Lane. “The Teleological Argument and the Anthropic Principle.” 2003. Internet. Available from www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/teleo.html. Accessed April 23, 2003.