Tennant, Frederick Robert

(1866-1957)
   A theologian and philosopher of religion at Cambridge University, Tennant worked in dogmatic theology primarily on the topic of original sin, and in philosophy of religion primarily on the application of the argument to design. Tennant rejected a state of original righteousness and instead saw sin emerging through gradual evolution as the acts of self-preservation in our evolutionary ancestors have been carried into the moral sphere of human existence, leading to the possibility of sin. Tennant's two-volume Philosophical Theology develops a 'cosmic teleology' in order to defend the theistic worldview as the most reasonable. Hence, for Tennant, theism is a rational induction based on evidence for design. Tennant's argument does not depend upon particular instances of design (as in Paley's appeal to the eye) but rather upon the cumulative force of multiple apparent instances of design, from basic order in the world to the aesthetic and ethical human sense.
   Further reading: Bertocci 1938; Tennant 1912, 1928 and 1930

Christian Philosophy . . 2015.

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