Read Along: Christian Apologetics Ch12

Today we continue with chapter twelve of Read Along with Apologetics315, a weekly chapter-by-chapter study through Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Christianity by Douglas Groothuis. Please leave a comment on your reading below. This is where you can interact with others reading the book, ask questions, or add your own thoughts. Series index here. Click below for the audio intro, chapter 12 study questions PDF, and summary:

[Audio Intro] – Dr. Groothuis introduces this chapter.
[Chapter 12 Study Questions] (with kindle locations) – PDF study guide.
[Podcast Feed RSS | Podcast in iTunes] – Click to subscribe to the audio.

Chapter Twelve: The Design Argument: Cosmic Fine-Tuning
(pages 240-265)

Christianity teaches that the world has been created and designed by God. The universe itself shows evidence of this design. In this chapter, Groothuis first looks at the Christian account of design, noting that the Christian account makes sense of the appearance of design as well as the imperfections in the world. The author then looks at the method by which design is detected, explaining the “design filter” and how it applies to the fine-tuning of the universe for intelligent life.

After spending some time explaining the physics of fine-tuning, the author then deals with objections to the design argument from fine-tuning. These include the truism objection, the inscrutable odds objection, the chance, one universe hypothesis, the multiverse theory, and the more-fundamental-law objection.

Notable quotes:

This chapter and chapter fourteen claim that there is enough design evident at multiple levels of nature to infer that there is a Designer. However, there is also evidence of deformity, decay and disease, indicating that the design is often less than optimal. Thus there is enough evidence to believe in a Designer, but not enough to claim a perfect creation. There is enough deformity to warrant the idea of the fall, but not enough to deface the idea of design entirely. Hence, we have evidence for both creation and Fall in nature. (Christian Apologetics, p. 242) 

Those who reject all design explanations in principle have committed the logical fallacy of begging the question in favor of naturalism; if so, their naturalistic theories become unfalsifiable and impervious to counterevidence – traits that are hardly theoretical virtues in the philosophy of science(Christian Apologetics, p. 247)

But suppose a theory of everything were discovered that revealed one superduper natural law demonstrating that all that seems contingent is really physically necessary. Would this eliminate design as the best hypothesis for the resultant universe? No. The postulated natural law itself would be improbable and specified for life to exist. That is, it might have been otherwise(Christian Apologetics, p. 263)  


  1. Are there other objection to the fine-tuning argument that you have encountered?
  2. What are the strengths and weaknesses of using the fine-tuning argument?
  3. What is your assessment of the “design filter”?
Next week
Chapter Thirteen: Origins, Design and Darwinism
Written by

Brian Auten is the founder emeritus of Apologetics315. He is also director of Reasonable Faith Belfast. Brian holds a Masters degree in Christian Apologetics and has interviewed over 150 Christian apologists. His background is in missions, media direction, graphic design, and administration. Brian started Apologetics315 in 2007 to be an apologetics hub to equip Christians to defend the faith.

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The mission of Apologetics 315 is to provide educational resources for the defense of the Christian faith, with the goal of strengthening the faith of believers and engaging the questions and challenges of other worldviews.

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