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The existence of God has been a big subject in philosophy and efforts to prove or disprove his existence have been taking place since the dawn of time. Notable philosophers such as Rene Descartes, Saint Thomas Aquinas, and William Paley have all conceived arguments to prove the existence of God. While there are many other arguments doing the same, the ones proposed by the three aforementioned thinkers have the most weight to them. This does not, however, mean that their arguments are flawless. The teleological argument is far superior to the other arguments since it has the least amount of flaws to prove God’s existence.
The ontological argument does not have a solid justifiable argument for God’s existence and the cosmological argument defeats itself as it turns into an infinite loop proven later on in the essay. To begin with, the ontological argument is an argument that comes from nothing but is rational. It is a priori with vital premises to conclude that God exists. The ontological argument was created by St. Anselm of Canterbury in the 11th century C.E. He used the concept of “being than which no greater can be conceived” to develop the existence of God. Rene Descartes had a similar stance as St. Anselm. Descartes declares to give a proof showing the presence of God from the possibility of a remarkably perfect being. Descartes also argues that “there is no less contradiction in conceiving a supremely perfect being who lacks existence than there is in conceiving a triangle whose interior angles do not sum to 180 degrees”.
Thus, he deemed that since people believe in a perfect being, they have an idea of a perfect being which results in the conclusion that a perfect being exists. However, the ontological argument does have its weaknesses. A critic of the argument was Gaunilo. He argued that it is possible to create an argument that has the same form as the ontological argument. Gaunilo suggests that using the same form of the ontological argument it is possible to prove the existence of the perfect island “the perfect island must exist, for if it did not then it would be possible to conceive of an island greater than that island than which no greater can be conceived”.
If the ontological argument prevails, then the argument for the perfect island works as well. If the two arguments have the same form, then they either succeed or fail together. Adding on, Immanuel Kant has an objection against the ontological argument as well. His stance on the subject is that “existence is not a predicate, a property that a thing can either possess or lack”.
When people believe that God exists they do not mean that there is a God and he has the property of existence. If that was the case, then when people stated that God does not exist they would mean that there is a God and he lacks the property of existence. This means that people would be confirming and refusing God’s existence. Moving on, another argument that is used to justify the existence of God is the cosmological argument. First introduced by Thomas Aquinas, the cosmological argument states that the existence of the universe is solid proof for the creator of the world we live in, God.
The argument also claims that the existence of the universe needs an explanation and the only acceptable explanation is that it was created by God. People have argued that the creation and existence of the universe is a brute fact. They defend that justifying the existence of an imperative being is not the same as proving God’s existence. A simple way to explain the cosmological argument is:
1) Everything that exists has a reason
2) The universe exists.
Therefore:3 ) The universe has a cause for its existence.
4) If the universe has a cause of its existence, then that cause is God.
Therefore:5) God exists. However, this argument hits a barrier when simply asking “Is there a cause for God’s existence?”. If God has a cause for his existence, then hypothesizing God’s existence to prove the existence of the universe will not have any progress. “Without God, there is one entity the existence of which we cannot explain, namely the universe; with God there is one entity the existence of which we cannot explain, namely God.”.
Furthermore, if the thought that God does not have a cause for his existence then that also constructs another barrier for the cosmological argument. If God’s existence was not caused, then his existence would be a contradiction of “Everything that exists has a cause of its existence.” Which means that if God is uncaused then the latter quote would be wrong and that results in the cosmological argument failing. Finally, the teleological argument presented by William Paley, also known as the Design argument, is a posteriori argument for the existence of God.
Paley stated that if a watch was found on the ground, could we assume it was always there? No, because the watch had to be put there by someone and the watch itself had to be made by smaller intricate pieces by a watchmaker. So on a grand scale, the universe did not always exist, it must have been created by a powerful being which is God. William Paley also notes that “we had never seen the watch being made, nor the person who made the watch, and we may not be able to make the watch ourselves, yet the watch exists.” He adds on to his arguments that “even though the watch has no proof of an ingenious plan, it does have a motive to make a person think so” which means, if the universe had been created but without any proof then it would only be probable that it was created by God for a reason.
This argument comes with a flaw, people might argue “The world is very sophisticated and complex, so God created it.” However, we could also say “The world is very sophisticated and complex, so James created it.”. The teleological argument only goes up to the powerful being that created the universe, but it doesn’t explain the existence of God better than a thousand other creators. To conclude, looking at all three arguments there is one argument that has little to no fault which is the teleological argument. The ontological argument does not make a clear argument for God’s existence, but it talks about the fact that it is not possible for people to determine a being that we are not sure actually exists.
Then comes the cosmological argument which is an infinite loop that does not come to a conclusion. It states that there first had to be a cause for the creation of the universe than a cause to create God than a cause to create the being that created God and so on. Now the teleological argument, even though the universe we live in could have emerged out of nowhere, but a universe with such detail and complexity that has the right balance to support life is improbable. Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution was first just observations of the sophisticated design of our world. Such an intricately detailed world could not have been created by mere coincidence.
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