How To Understand the "Argument TO Design"?

I have heard Ravi use an argument from Dallas Willard, the argument TO design. So far, I not fully understood this argument. Where can I find a fuller explanation for the argument?

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Hi Daren
Would you mind linking to or quoting the source of the augment to design, and sharing your thoughts on it as well to help get the discussion started ?
Kind regards

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Most recently I have heard Ravi on the podcast “In the Course of Human Events” on June 22. I can’t lay out the argument. That is what I am trying to put together.


This one?

I’ve used youtube to transcribe the audio attached in PDF: transcript (auto).pdf (62.0 KB)

I’ve pasted in what seems to the be section of interest at the bottom of this post…

He mentions the cosmological argument, the moral argument, and the telelogical argument.

Have you see William Lane Craig’s video channel ‘Reasonable Faith Animated Videos’?

He covers some of these arguments as well the cosmological argument, the moral argument and others…

I just want to give you three simple propositions. I wish I could say to you they are mine; they are not their borrowed and recontoured a bit, but Professor Dallas Willard who is teaching philosophy at QSC was brilliant in this argument and he’s written extensively on this.

Professor Dallas Willard gives what he calls a three stage argument that points you to the existence of God. Centuries ago we would talk of proofs for God’s existence. We had a thing called the cosmological argument which moved from cause to effect and if the universe is in effect the only cause that could explain it would be an infinite all-powerful being. Thomas Aquinas in his cosmological argument

Then there was a teleological argument from the Greek Telos meaning purpose or design any time. Bueller Paley’s watch argument; you looked at a clock and saw the mechanism, or if you look at a mousetrap and see the continuation of sequences and the synchronicity of sequences you put the synchronized action and the continuous action you arrive at a designer and it was called the teleological argument. the argument from design

the third was an argument which is still I think the most powerful. that a moral argument for the existence of God. Moral realities only exist if God exists, moral realities do exist therefore God exists.
that’s the way the argument goes moral categories only exist if God exists moral categories do exist therefore God exists and the moral argument is the most difficult for the atheist to shake off because how doesn’t a moral universe through non moral processes end up with a moral framework.

How do we think primordial slime cannot properly and gender why it is wrong to torture babies especially since evolution is built on the notion of the destruction of the weaker in other words we would never even be here if it weren’t for the fact that nature is red in tooth and claw so the moral argument still sort of hangs like a shadow that we cannot get rid of.

May I suggest to you that’s why books like The Da Vinci Code are written because they want to take the moral attack on Jesus they’ve never been able to do anything else to hit at him if they really wanted to morally attack somebody why don’t they go and look for the polygamy of some self-styled prophets.

why don’t they go to some writings in the Hindu scriptures where Krishna is shown to be this playboy why don’t they go after that no they’ve got to find some such thing you know that Jesus ended up with Mary Magdalene and you know all the books that are in on Mary Magdalene she had to have been superhuman to have ended up in all the places that she has on the books but the point is they want to hit at the moral reality of Jesus Christ and then there’s a more confusing one but I want to take you through

Dallas Willard’s three-stage argument and then get to some smoother areas I promise you this so smooth and out of it first stage of the argument is this they are hard to understand as it’s worded but I will explain it however concrete physical reality is sectioned no matter how you break it down the result will always be a state of affairs which owes its being to something other than itself no matter how you break down physical concrete reality it will never have the reason for its existence in itself it will only point you to something else as the cause of its being there has been not one bit of evidence in this world which will demonstrate to you that there is a physical quantity existent which actually is uncaused and eternal isn’t and once the Big Bang Theory came into being it tells you that the universe actually had a beginning so the Big Bang Theory actually implies that the universe hasn’t eternally existed so the physical reality is however sectioned never explained their own existence they have to go to something outside of themselves which means at least this much that if there’s anything in this world that would explain its own existence it would have to be something that’s non-physical it’s a very safe inference because there’s no physical concrete reality that explains its own existence stage 1 stage 2 is this no matter where you find intelligibility and specified in complex see you will always see intelligence behind it what do I mean by that you will never ever be convinced by anybody’s argument that a dictionary developed because of an explosion and a printing press why is that because of the nature of the intelligibility of language.

If you were to walk onto a totally new planet, and you were to see 10 million stones arranged in a perfect triangle, you may deduce that over 15 billion years something happened on the surface of that planet to make a perfect triangle over these millions of stones you may be able to deduce that but if your name is Andrew and you take 10 more steps and you see a piece of paper and it says hello Andrew I’ve been waiting for you what took you so long one line and you will never conclude in 15 billion years that that happened because of some demographic shift or some geological shift on the surface of that planet why is it because there is an intelligibility to what you have just seen now.

I want you to follow a very important point that I’m making. This is not an argument from design, which is the teleological argument. You look at a dictionary and you say to yourself “somebody had to write it”, you look at a mousetrap and say “somebody had to build it”; you look at a jumbo jet and say “it didn’t happen because of a tornado in a junkyard, somebody had to put this together”;

you don’t assume such things because there’s a component factor, a sequential factor, and the time factor; all of them are woven in. That’s an argument from design; my question is this this is not the argument from design I’m presenting as Dallas Willard suggests; this is an argument to design that prior to any one of this coming in to be the to be the raw material from which such design was even possible.

you can look at a baby and say this is an argument from consummation of a husband and a wife bring this baby in Tazewell that’s an argument from effect the question is why is it possible that by the combination of what the husband and the wife bring in that consummate union it is even possible for a life to come into being that is the argument to design you can’t get a dictionary.

if there is no alphabet you can’t recognize a sequence unless you know the order of the alphabet. you cannot even use language without an understanding of the laws of the grammar, and the alphabet. All of them pre exist in some form to pull them all together to make comprehension possible; and so when we talk of things like love and sexuality and procreation and empiricism and logic, and all of that, there is a pre configuring making all of this possible.

it is the argument to design; naturalism does not give us that. I’ve got a huge gap in just saying this is a way it was that kind of argument would never work in a court of law so stage number one; no matter how you section physical concrete reality, you will always find a state of affairs where it doesn’t experience own existence; when you see intelligibility, you always assume intelligence and the third stage is a very simple stage and that stage is the profound stage over which I want to spend the rest of my time the course of human events historical social and individual the course of human events historical social and individual within the context of a extra naturalism

I have not yet said supernaturalism of extra naturalism and of a plausible cosmic intellectualism it is plausible to talk of a mind and by the way thats why people even like Einstein didn’t get off clearly on theism but they did start to posit a mind mine Stein may have been pantheistic it was about quantum theory that Einstein made the comment God does not play dice he said is not totally random there’s a mind many scientists of that ilk will posit some kind of mind they’re not sure what it means they’re not ready to get off at a theistic framework a la christianity but they say you cannot explain a physical universe alone because no physical quantity explains its own existence you cannot just say intelligibility happens this way in its effect because there has to be the predisposing component factor to bring about intelligibility and then you study the history of humanity and the social scene of humanity and the struggle of humanity and you begin to see where the Christian message stands storm.

we have to end there for today but be sure to join us again next week is Ravi moves to the person who brings this argument together the person of Jesus Christ if you’d like to order this message titled the course of human events in its entirety call us at one eight hundred four four eight six seven six six that’s one eight hundred four four eight six seven six six and be sure to ask for the program by its title in Canada call one eight hundred eighty three eight to nine you can also order online at introduces a comprehensive range of apologetic arguments and strategies from Ozzie Iams team of apologists as ravi mentioned at the beginning of today’s broadcast our needs are great at this time your prayers and generous donations keep this program on the air and we appreciate your support you can reach us by mail with comments questions or donations by writing to Ozzie I am post-office box 1 8 to 0 Roswell Georgia 3 0 0 7 7 in Canada right 250 Gervais Drive Suite 3 1 5 Toronto Ontario M 3 c1 Zed 3 Sam Harris wrote the end of faith a scathing attack on faith in general and Christianity in particular I responded to Sam Harris in a book called the end of reason it’s a slender volume with some sound arguments and analyses you will be blessed and find it a means of talking to others on how best the Christian faith is rationally credible and existentially relevant to the end of Reason available online at our zi m dot o-r-g next week the conclusion of Ravi’s message in the course of human events I hope you can join us let my people think is a listener-supported radio ministry and a production of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries Atlanta Georgia you English (auto-generated)

I’ve quickly edited the transcript to try to be a little readable, but if you wanted you could copy/paste a relevant section and edit it to ask a direct question here? There are many people on the forum that can help clarify… :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

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Hi @Daren,

I juz finished listening to the podcast during my morning shower, and I reviewed it again when I read ur post to make sure I didn’t miss anything.

For those who haven’t listened to it, you should do it, but here’s a summary of the context.

Willard’s 3 Argument for the Existence of God:

  1. Cosmological Argument
  2. Teleological Argument
  3. Morality Argument

The argument to design mentioned in the OP, comes from the 2nd argument, the Teleological Argument. Comes from Greek: Telos, means End or Purpose (Design). The WHY.

Basically what it is, there is a finely-tuned order in things around us, so there must be a designer, with a purpose to design it. If we end up in n uninhabited island, and stumbles upon a book, it is more logical to assume there is an author. To assume otherwise, that it’s an “order from chaos” is more fairytale. Dawkins’ presupposition that pebbles are “arranged” in such a way is due to physics factors such as waves clashing n etc, but he failed to mention these waves have a pre-existing order, made of substances with pre-existing order as well, etc. (very quick summary of this point)


Hope that helps clarify. For deeper understanding, you can always go to the source to learn it.

Blessings in Christ,