The existence of God has been a philosophical question that has been discussed for centuries. Many theories have come about, trying to explain and prove the existence of God. From the Cosmological Argument, to the Teleological Argument, and including the Ontological Argument, all have been argued at one time or another. The main focal point of this paper will be on the Ontological Argument, its reasons, and the people that stand behind and support it. The Ontological Argument is the argument that God does exist. This concept is derived from reason and logic, not of knowledge of the world (Ontological).
This argument takes an analytical approach to prove the existence of God. It uses defined words and definite descriptions to infer upon the existence of God (Ontological). The Ontological Argumentative viewpoint for the existence of God is based upon inferences from abstract and necessary ideas from the human mind (Strong). Within the Ontological Argument there are three major forms: the form of Samuel Clarke, Rene' Descartes, and that of Saint Anselm.
Clarke states that there has to be an existence of a god because space and time have always existed, thus they are infinite, therefore there must be an infinite creator. Descartes view is slightly different. He reasons that human beings have this idea of infinite and perfect ideas, yet humans are finite and imperfect. This causes Descartes to reason that there must be a god that has placed these ideas within us. The third form is that of Saint Anselm.
He declares, that than which none greater can be conceived, meaning that if nothing greater can be thought of or imagined then there must be God (Velasquez). Page 3 The Ontological Argument is often called the a priori argument, which is knowledge based upon the idea that a thought is reasoned and logically known before any experience is obtained (Velasquez). The reason for it being called a prior is because of its logical thought process that it takes to understand the Ontological Argument. Furthermore, time and space have always been in existence, which means that it was here before there was the chance to have experience with it (Strong). Samuel Clarke s version of the Ontological Argument will be the first discussed. Clarke defined the argument by giving two premises and a conclusion (Strong).
Foremost, is that time and space are a nature of something. Clarke says that time and space are a nature of a Being. Second, Clarke says that characteristically space and time are eternally here and infinite. Consequently, these characteristics must belong to something and that something is a Being.
Therefore a Being must exist (Strong). The second version of the Ontological Argument comes from the Fifth Meditation of Descartes (The Ontological). He states that the idea of the existence of God or a Supreme Being is as certain as any mathematics that can be logically worked out and shown true. To better explain Descartes, two premises and a conclusion can be given. First, God has all perfections, and second Existence is a characteristic that any perfect thing would have.
To conclude, Therefore, God exists. (The Ontological) Descartes says that God s existence and the arguments are the effects of the actual God, who is the cause of it all (Strong). We, as human beings have somehow come up with the idea of perfection and infinite, which Descartes says was established in our minds from God. He justifies this argument by claiming that human beings are Page 4 flawed and limited, therefore only a God could place an infinite thought into our mind (Strong). The third version of the Ontological Argument comes from Saint Anselm.
Anselm s main argument is a being than which none greater is possible. (Saint) What this means is that human beings have this concept of an omnipotent Supreme Being, and for us to conceive of nothing greater than God means that God exists (Saint). The proceeding reason for Anselm s argument is that God comes from understanding. He proceeds to explain this idea by saying that God exists only in understanding, therefore God can be conceived, yet it does not prove His existence. Furthermore, God exists in reality, which means He does exist; yet no one can conceive of Him. And finally if God exists in both the understanding and reality then God does exist and is conceivable (Saint).
The next reasoning to Anselm s argument is that if God exists in understanding, then God is a possible being therefore, God is a possible being (Saint). To further justify this statement a definition is given; for something to be possible means that it logically exists, either in this world of knowledge or another. Moreover, Anselm reasons upon the idea that if God only existed in understanding, then it is possible that God is greater than He is. From this Anselm begins the process of logic again.
First he states that God exists only in understanding. Due to that thought, God could possibly be greater than thought to be. Therefore, meaning that God is not the being than which none greater is possible. This presents a problem because that was Anselm s original argument. Yet Anselm logically proves God does exists.
He says that Page 5 because the statement that God exists only in understanding proves God is not the greatest, thus the statement is not true. Signifying that God s existence only in understanding is wrong because God does exist in both reality and understanding (Saint). To conclude, Anselm says that God does exist. The overall view of the Ontological Argument is accurate and precise. The Ontological Argument does not use practice and experience as the foundation. It is a complete realization by the fact that it is not based on knowledge from the world, but is based on sound reasoning and logic.
Clarke s view was right in the sense that it used a logical thought process with true premises and a conclusion. Descartes perspective was also a precise one. He illustrated the Ontological Argument through inductive reasoning. The theory of Anselm was likewise legitimate. Anselm used prominent ideas to reach his resolution. In its entirety the Ontological Argument provides adequate reason and logic to the proof of the existence of God.
Using the views and versions of Clarke, Descartes, and Anselm, the existence of God has been documented and logically rationalized to be true. 330.