21 Pages

The Natural-Theological Concept of God

A unique causal agent
ByOlivera Petrovich

The chapter addresses the main characteristics of the causal agent that children and adults from Britain and Japan postulate to be the source of the whole natural category and of primary matter. These include immateriality and intentionality, which jointly imply God’s non-empirical location and thus ontological uniqueness. The main conclusion of Chapter 6 is that the natural-theological concept of God in either children or adults is not anthropomorphic but represents an inference or postulate of a unique causal agent. Further, such a concept can be reliably elicited under the conditions of explaining the existence of natural entities and the world as a whole, as envisaged by the natural-theological hypothesis. Two main alternative hypotheses pertaining to children’s acquisition of the concept of God – anthropomorphism and preparedness – are discussed and rejected on the grounds that neither hypothesis stipulates a mechanism by which the concept of a non-spatial intentional causal agent (i.e., transcendent God) could emerge either from children’s theory of mind (anthropomorphism) or from a general-purpose concept of agency (preparedness).