'The consciousness of knowing little, need not beget a distrust of that which he does not know.' In Natural Theology William Paley set out to prove the existence of God from the evidence of the beauty and order of the natural world. Famously beginning by comparing the world to a watch, whose design is self-evident, he goes on to provide examples from biology, anatomy, and astronomy in order to demonstrate the intricacy and ingenuity of design that could only come from a wise and benevolent deity. Paley's legalistic approach and skilful use of metaphor and analogy were hugely successful, and equally controversial. Charles Darwin, whose investigations led to very different conclusions in the Origin of Species, was greatly influenced by the book's cumulative structure and accessible style. This edition reprints the original text of 1802, and sets the book in the context of the theological, philosophical, and scientific debates of the nineteenth century. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
This two-volume book by the philosopher and theologian William Paley, published in 1794, was considered so important that it was required reading for Cambridge students (including Charles Darwin) well into the nineteenth century. This classic work of apologetics is divided into three parts in which Paley discusses the historical evidence for Christianity and the miracles of Jesus Christ. In the second volume, Paley addresses popular objections to the truth of Christianity, the character of Jesus Christ, the candour of the New Testament writers, the differences between Islam and Christianity, the Jewish rejection of Christ, and how the faith spread throughout the world. Paley's intellectual defence of Christianity was one of the most popular of the day, and his work is considered a direct forerunner to the contemporary theory of intelligent design.