F. R. Tennant’s Arguments for God from Intelligibility and Aesthetics


Bishop's Encyclopedia of Religion, Society and Philosophy

Frederick Robert Tennant (1866-1957), a philosophical theologian and apologist with keen interests in science and religion, authored Philosophical Theology (1928) and offered two arguments that have been considered worthy of consideration (1). 

Tennant believed that the argument from design offered by William Paley (1743-1805) could no longer be held or justified in light of Charles Darwin’s (1809-1882) theory of evolution. But Tennant was far more interested in the evolution of the cosmos and conceded that Darwin’s theory of evolution accounted for apparent design in biological organisms as a result of natural selection. Tennant thus turned to present other arguments for God, this time from the intelligibility of the universe and our aesthetic awareness. 

The argument from the intelligibility of the universe affirms that (i) the universe is intelligible and (ii) we are intelligent enough to understand many things about the universe. However, as Tennant argues, the universe need not have…

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