Early in Meditation III, Descartes states that he is going to “inquire whether there is a God.” (Page 71) Descartes believes that the light of nature reveals to us ideas that are clear and distinct; and that any idea that is clear and distinct “cannot in any way be doubtful.” (Page 72) Of any idea that he has, that of God’s existence, he feels, was revealed to him through the light of nature and he considers that to be the most clear and distinct. Throughout the next few pages he goes on to “prove” that there is a God based on three main principles: the causation principle, the existence of innate ideas, and our perfect idea of God.
The Causation principle states that there must be at least as much reality, and perfection, in the cause of something as there is in the effect. By this Descartes was saying that our creation is the result of the acts of someone, or something, more perfect and containing more reality than ourselves. He uses this principle as one of his arguments for God’s existence, saying that God must be the most perfect and contain the most reality because he “created me along with everything else that exists.” (Page 76)
According to Descartes, there are three types of ideas: adventitious, invented, and innate. Our perfect idea of God is not adventitious because in order for this to be so he would have to be recognizable by our senses. He is not invented because we ourselves do not possess enough perfection to think of such a perfect being on our own. Therefore, this idea of God must be innate. Innate ideas are discoverable; we have these ideas without actually experiencing them.
... Parthenon was constructed .".. as an idealized dwelling place for a perfect being" (58). However, the Parthenon was actually constructed with ... temperance used on the Parthenon's structure expresses the rationalistic idea of the Hellenic period. The Parthenon and its sculptures ... Panathenaic procession shows the Greeks placing themselves amongst the gods. This confirms the Greeks belief that man's self ...
This innate idea of God must come from God, referring back to the Causation principle, because it must come from something more perfect and real than the idea itself.
If we were able to invent such a perfect idea, we would have made ourselves similar. Descartes states, “I see no reason why, with my knowledge thus increased, I could not acquire all the remaining perfections of God.” (Page 77) However we are incapable of produced-by-me ideas with this much perfection; again affirming that this idea came from God and that there is a God.
Descartes states that “the idea I have of God is the most true, the most clear and distinct.” (Page 77) I would have to agree with Descartes about this idea. In support of the Causation Principle, I use the example of the ever-famous question: “Which came first: the chicken or the egg?” I think that Descartes would agree with me to say the chicken, containing more perfection than the egg, would have come first. An egg would not just appear out of nowhere; there has to be some more perfect and real origination for everything. Descartes argument that I most agree with is that of the idea of God being an innate idea. I agree that no human being possesses the ability to invent or adventitiously have an idea of God. It would have to be innate and therefore not coming from another person. The only remaining possibility would be a higher power, God. If we in fact did create ourselves and there was no God, we would all be flawless, which we obviously are not; again supporting Descartes argument.