By R. Anastasia Tremaine – November, 2001 VISIT www.paperwriters.com/aftersale.htm — for more information on using this paper properly! Does God Exist? : This 5 page paper explores the question, using Descartes argument as a springboard for discussion. Lack of scientific evidence of God’s existence is discussed.
Bibliography lists 5 sources. SA148God.rtf I. Introduction and Overview Does God exist? Perhaps there is no more important question, and no question that has been more illusively answered. It is hard to prove that something for which only scant evidence exists, and no scientific proof appears, actually is real. When people try to prove the existence of ghosts or UFOs for example, they try to capture the activity on camera, only to be told that they have not really gotten anything spectacular.
Their photographs prove nothing. They might have been doctored. The alien autopsy video appears to be a hoax.
No one has ever tried to take pictures of God as He does not have form.
There is no expectation of visual proof. Most religious folks say the proof is in the experience and that one has to have faith. However, there is no real evidence. At the same time, while mainstream religion offers only faith, or the admonition that one must first believe, philosophers have been plagued with the concept of God’s existence for some time.
The issue that I shall be addressing is whether a certain objection to a theistic explanation of God’s existence can be sustained. In this paper, the objection in question is advanced mostly by naturalists, and the thrust of it is that theists cannot provide a satisfactory account of God’s existence based on causality because occasional philosophical questions arise concerning the truth of the ...
II. Research and Findings Descartes seemed to think that the way to find objectivity, from a subjective existence, would be to prove that a perfect God is the source of all truth (Honderich 190).
Descartes reasons that the content of the idea of infinite perfection is so great that he could not have constructed it from his own resources (190).
In other words, when one looks around and sees the world in all its complexity-the circus fairs, the 140-story buildings, the pyramids, jet planes, television, the Internet-it would be impossible for someone of limited knowledge to create this world. It must have been propelled by a superior being who designed man to be able to accomplish all he is able. Can man be an accident if the world is so perfect? Descartes thinks not. This is similar to Hume’s argument from design.
Descartes continues to argue that because the idea is so perfect, it would take a perfect being to create it (Honderich 190).
Descartes would later elaborate on this proof by adding what has come to be known as the ontological argument, and is that if God is perfection, it follows that existence cannot be separated from the essence of God (190).
In other words, it is more perfect to exist than not to exist.
The obvious problem with Descartes’s argument is that one cannot prove something exists by the very definition of the thing one does not know exists or not. If someone draws the quintessential fashion model on a piece of paper and says that she would be even more perfect if she existed, and if she is perfect, she should exist, all the discussion in the world will not make that true.
Similarly, Descartes’s argument is flawed. He created the definition. A contemporary critic of Descartes waged a compelling argument. Antoine Arnauld said: “If we need to prove God’s existence in order to underwrite the reliability of the human mind, how can we be sure of the reliability of the reasoning needed to establish his existence in the first place?” (Honderich 190).
His point is well taken. Descartes answered such critics by saying that there are certain things that are simple and self-evident and so even before proving God’s existence, it is something ! that is known (190).
Throughout history It has been man kinds quest to find a proof of the existence of God. Even today, religious archeologist, plunder the Earth, looking for Noah's Ark, The Ark of the Covenant, or the site Jesus Christ was thought to have been buried. These men and women are searching for artifacts to prove the existence of God to people who believe there is no God. Many people, however, do not ...
There is much that can refute Descartes arguments as noted, but is there proof of God’s existence? Acknowledging that there would be no definitive proof of God’s existence, one scientist suggests that readers ask themselves whether or not it makes better sense to assume there is a God (Gropman, Woodcock and Connally 138).
This argument is not much different from Descartes’s. It makes more sense if the supreme being also exists. Gibbs concurs and says that while science cannot prove the existence of God, that is where religion comes in (20).
For Ellis, all doctrine is merely a paradigm to be tested as no proof of God’s existence is possible anyway (Gibbs 20).
Marion takes a difference stance and refuses to think of God in terms of a rational, a priori scheme where He is the Supreme being and caused all finite beings to exist (Bracken 703).
He suggests that rather than trying to understand how God came to be, one should begin with revelation and the statement that God is love (703).
Another thought is that God is simply beyond human understanding (Stecher 25).
If that is accepted, then no other statement about God needs to be made (25).
Stecher goes on to query the term “existence” and says that God’s existence depends on what that word means (25).
That is not much different from Bill Clinton trying to define the word “is.” There still exists a fundamental problem of determining whether or not God exists. Can Descartes be right, or are his critics correct? Or, perhaps there is another explanation or proof that God exists.
III. Summary and Conclusion Descartes critics appear to be right. Suggesting that God exists only because it is better that way is a nonsensical argument. Yet, in viewing criticisms as well as other ideas about the existence of God, one can glean that there is, nor will there ever be, physical proof. The sheer definition of God precludes that as a probability. Certainly, if no one has come up with proof yet, after thousands of years, it is reasonable to argue that it will never happen.
People are left to their own devices to determine whether or not God exists and as others have noted, it may be something beyond human comprehension. Others have suggested that people rely on their God-given rationality. Does it make more sense for God to exist than not? To some extent, that is Descartes’s argument. If one were to create a perfect being, or if one can conceive of a perfect being, then is it likely that He exists? If not, how or why would everyone come up with largely the same definition of God? People from many religions, and even Eastern philosophies, perceive God in a similar fashion. While no real proof exist, Descartes argument is not perfect, but it does add to the assumption that indeed, there is a God.
Let me start by saying straightforwardly that the meaning of God is God himself. We must look at the meaning of God in God himself, not 'outside' him. God is the fundamental meaning for the existence of the Universe, the creator, the supreme One: that is why everything exists. Why is something there? How did this universe come to exist, or others that might be? Why do we exist? For most people in ...
Bracken, Joseph A. “Toward a new philosophical theology based on intersubjectivity.” Theological Studies, 59 (4) (1998): 703-719.
Gropman, J., Woodcock, Susan and Connally, Molly. “The God Experiment: Can Science Prove the Existence of God? (Book Review).” School Library Journal 47 ( 7) (2001):138.
Honderich, Ted. The Oxford Companion to Philosophy. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.
Gibbs, W. Wayt “Beyond physics.” Scientific American 279 (2) (1998): 20-22.
Stecher, Carl. ” Looking for God in all the wrong places.” Humanist 58 (3) (1998):25-30.