Sketch of A Theological Argument

Sketch of A Theological Argument From the Nature of Material Beings

We call something “material” because some thing is made out of it. The material is not the same as the thing: metal is not a car, and wood is not a tree or a house.

In art, we start from certain given materials and form them according to our ideas. This idea is always essential to the art: a sign of this is that we call a painting “a De Vinci” a book “Plato” and a recording “Mozart”.

In natural things, the materials are not given and are not formed according to our ideas. They are formed by some internal power. This kind of coming forth- apart from art- is what we first call “nature” or natural.

And yet the material is not the same as the natural thing. Material is distinct from the material thing, and so the natural thing stands to its matter as a whole to a part, as an end to a means.

But in natural things, this order of means to end is intrinsic, and if it is intrinsic, it cannot come to be by chance. For example, letters might fall together by chance to spell “cat”, but c-a-t does not mean cat by chance. This intrinsic, meaningful order of means (the letters “a” “t” and “c”) to an end (giving a word to name what Fluffy is) is not the sort of thing that chance can do.

If not by chance, then by intelligence. But it is not an intelligence like ours, which takes natural things as given, and works from them- it is an intelligence that is more intimately within the things, which does not presuppose any natural things. We oppose our art to nature because art moves extrinsically, and nature moves intrinsically. If nature is being moved by intelligence, it is being moved from within- in fact its very nature consists in being moved from within. We call it being moved even though we realize that it is not a “being moved” as we understand it, for when we move something there is some given thing with a nature that is “already there”, but for the intelligence that is moving nature from within, no nature is presupposed.

But if no nature is presupposed, then the whole nature proceeds from the action of the intelligence that is within it. The nature both exists and acts though the intelligence that is giving it being and the power to act.

In sum:

Material beings come to be, and act in virtue of an intrinsic order between the material and the material thing.
No intrinsic order can be by chance.

but The order of natural things is intrinsic to them
So all material beings come to be and act by intelligence acting within them.

But the intelligence that is causing natural things cannot presuppose natural things, for then nature would be art.

So the intelligence that is moving natural things exceeds infinitely the power of any finite intelligence, that takes knowledge from nature.


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