Volume 6, Issue 1, Spring 2009
The Eyes of Faith
Newman’s Critique of Arguments from Design
This essay examines the theological and rhetorical concerns animating John Henry Newman’s evaluation of efforts to prove the existence of God and/or the truth of Christianity with philosophical arguments about the design of nature. Newman’s complex position on arguments from design ought to be interpreted in light of his broader theological understanding of the challenges posed to the practice of Christian faith in his nineteenth century context. These challenges required that apologetics first and foremost defend the truth of Christianity as a religion of holiness, not as a religion of reasonableness.