But it is not possible to know that by looking at the natural world alone. The question of purpose is closely related to the question of whether something like the God of Western monotheistic religions can be known to exist by studying the order, goodness, and grandeur of the universe. Already around 1750 David Hume pointed out that if one is looking at evidence of design, then all of the evidence must be taken into account: not only order and goodness but disorder and evil as well. He seems to think that some sort of creator is possible (in his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, published posthumously in 1779, it is not clear which character represents Hume’s own views). But if so, we can know next to nothing about the creator’s qualities: an intelligence, for all we know, as much like ours as our intelligence is like the rotting of a turnip–one deity or a team; alive or dead; a juvenile or superannuated deity. Nothing can be known of any plan for the future perfection of the world or the human condition.
Seminary education as we know it is a relatively recent phenomenon. It was only at the Council of Trent, called by the Catholic magesterium primarily to fight nascent Protestantism, that the seminary was invented. In the 23rd session, on July 15, 1546, the Council decreed that seminaries be established and start admitting boys as young as 12:
Besides the elements of a liberal education, the students are to be given professional knowledge to enable them to preach, to conduct Divine worship, and to administer the sacraments.
Not long after, the young Protestants followed suit, and since then we’ve had residential seminaries — not unlike other universities and graduate schools.
But for the 15 centuries prior to the Council of Trent, clergy were trained otherwise. How?, you ask. I’ll tell you: