Purpose for and within creation: a theological appraisal of organismic teleology

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Although many believe that modern evolutionary biology renders teleology superfluous, this article explores the recent resurgence of attempts to locate teleology, functions, and purpose in the nature of organisms. This essay further explores the relevance of teleology within Catholic, Protestant, and Eastern Orthodox traditions, and the ways in which some theological doctrines have been construed against a teleological conception of both humanity and the wider cosmos. It also defends the reality of intrinsic teleology against an evolutionary‐reductionist accommodation strategy, and responds to the accusation that a theological affirmation of purpose within biological organisms entails the thorny position of intelligent design.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)396-409
Number of pages12
JournalModern Theology
Issue number2
Early online date11 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • Teleology
  • Theology
  • Natural Law Theory
  • Theosis


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