Does God Exist? By: Washington Massaquoi. January 2, Introduction

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1 Does God Exist? By: Washington Massaquoi. January 2, 2017 Introduction In almost all societies there are people who deny the existence of God. Disbelievers (atheists) argue that there is no proof or evidence that God exists. On the other hand, theists prove the existence of God by experience, reason, mysteries and miracles. Miracles are strongly related to human desire. Some desires are satisfied in the physical Universe, but there is nothing in the world that satisfies other desires. What meet this type of desire is miracles. Certainly human beings experience mysterious miracles, which are linked to supernatural agency. Religious scholars, many philosophers, and other people of faith, prove God s (the Ultimate Supreme Being) existence in three main arguments, among many others, pointing to mysteries in the Universe: the ontological argument; first cause argument, and argument from design. Human Desire To prove God s existence using the three main arguments mentioned above, many thinkers begin with the Argument from Desire. This argument focuses on the two kinds of desire: natural and artificial. Natural (or innate) desire exists within human nature, while artificial desire comes from outside. For example, an individual may artificially desire a SmartHouse. A SmartHouse is equipped with the world s most advanced technology, including special structured wiring that enables occupants to control or program different automated electronic home devices remotely by clicking or pushing one button. As Peter Kreeft puts it, such desires exist but it does not necessarily mean that the desired objects exist. Some do; some don't. A smart building with such a convergence of intelligent devices may not be possible. Nonetheless, our innate desire for a thing shows that the thing exists and is good for us. With our natural instinct we look beyond or above our human experience for the fulfilment of such desire if it cannot be satisfied in this world. Natural desire is externally conditioned and thus corresponds to an objective state of affairs that fulfills it (Barron 2014). We naturally desire knowledge, shun ignorance, and acquire knowledge. Also, we naturally desire ultimate joy, which exists. But there is nothing in this world to satisfy our desire for ultimate joy. Indeed all natural desires have desired objects. So if there is nothing in this world to satisfy one s desire for ultimate joy, there exists an objective supernatural condition that fulfils that desire for happiness. In sum, there exists in human beings a desire which nothing in time, nothing on earth, no creature can satisfy. But every natural desire corresponds to an object that satisfies it. Therefore something more than time, earth and creatures, exists to satisfy this desire. That something is the supreme or ultimate reality known as God. I will now turn to the first argument. 1

2 The Ontological Argument The ontological argument dates back to St Anselm, an eleventh century philosopher-theologian and archbishop of Canterbury. This argument makes some connection between three concepts: the concepts of God; of perfection; and of existence. The argument then proceeds to prove the existence of God from the laws of logic. St Anselm defines God as "That than which nothing greater can be conceived a being than which no greater can be conceived. This being must exist in the mind; even in the mind of the atheist. St. Anselm reasons that, if the greatest possible being exists in a person s mind, it also exists in reality. If such a being fails to exist, then a greater being, which is a being than which no greater can be conceived must exist, and can be conceived. To exist is greater than not to exist; so the greatest conceivable being must exist. If God did not exist, then God would not be the greatest conceivable being. This would contradict the definition of God. Once people mentally grasp this concept of God they can understand that the existence of God is not impossible. No need to be searching for physical evidence in the world for God s existence when we can only think about it and understand it. Consider a false statement and a true statement. For example, with the knowledge of square (a four-sided figure) and that of a triangle (a three-sided figure), you can easily reject anyone s claim that he has constructed a four sided triangle. Why should you go searching for a four-sided triangle to maintain that it does not exist when you already know what triangle means. So the claim that God does not exist is as absurd as the claim that a four-sided triangle exists. Just as the idea of a four sided triangle is impossible, so the idea of God s non-existence is impossible. Associated with the existence of God is the concept of perfection. The ontological argument stresses that perfection forms part of the concept of God, and entails existence so that the concept of God entails God s existence. Perfection is one of the many attributes of God. To properly be called God, a thing must be perfect, for God means perfect. If God is thought to be perfect, then God must be thought as a being that cannot be imagined to be better than he is. If a thing is perfect, then it cannot be better than it is, for nothing is better than perfection. We cannot conceive anything greater than God. Nor can we imagine God as being better than he already is. Hence, the perfection of the Perfect has no cause: it is not contingent upon any other beings. The concept of perfection was espoused by René Descartes, a French philosopher and mathematician, who associated it well with existence. Descartes argued that existence is real and perfect. And since perfection is one of the many attributes of God, God must exist. If we accept the existence of a triangle, then we must accept that it has three sides and three angles. Unlike St. Anselm s argument, Descartes view rests on the premise that 'Existence is perfection. God is a perfect being. Existence is perfection. Therefore, God must exist. The conclusion that a perfect being exists and the fact that nothing exists beyond perfection suggests that God is the ultimate being beyond which nothing exists, and thus the uncaused first cause, who originates the chain of existence for all things. 2

3 The First Cause Argument For tens of thousands of years, people in almost all cultures have wondered about this Universe in which we live. Where does it come from? Has it existed forever and will go on forever? If not, how will it end? Is the Universe expanding forever or does it have a limit? Does the Universe have a beginning, a moment of creation? The desire to know about the origin of the Universe dovetails with the first cause argument or the cosmological argument. Which proves the existence of God as an all-powerful and perfect being (the ultimate being) beyond which nothing else exists. This argument proves God s existence from the fact that the Universe exists. The Universe is an effect; and every effect must have a cause. The Universe and all things therein, including the planets and stars, are effects. Nothing comes from nothing; so there must be something that caused the Universe and everything in it to come into existence. Ultimately, there must be some being outside of the Universe that causes it to exist - an un-caused cause that must exist in order to cause everything else to come into existence. That un-caused cause is God, the Creator, who is beyond time. This creation occurs at a point in the distant past, which cannot go back forever ( Universe: Cosmological View, 2016). So for what purpose did God create this Universe? The Teleological Argument Teleological arguments, also known as arguments from, (or to design), are arguments from the order in the Universe to the existence of God. These arguments are grouped into two main types: organismic and cosmic. Organismic design arguments begin with the observation of organisms. Organisms have specific features that let them live successfully in a specific environment, including adapting them to new environments. These features exhibit a kind of delicacy. The vertebrate eye, for example, allows organisms to perceive objects in their environment. If parts of the eye differ in their shape and assembly, the resulting organ would not allow us to see. The eye therefore has a purpose: helping organisms survive by allowing them to perceive objects in their environment. Cosmic design arguments proceed from observation concerning features of the entire cosmos: the Universe obeys simple laws; it is fairly stable, and its physical features permit life and intelligent life to exist. The Universe is all of time and space as well as all that exist within it: planets, moons, stars, and galaxies, the contents of intergalactic space, all matter and energy. Each of these is ordered for a purpose. Take Earth our home - for example. According to Cool Cosmos, Earth exists in the Virgo Supercluster of galaxies. A supercluster is a group of galaxies held together in the Universe. Within this group is also a smaller group of galaxies called the Local Group. The second largest galaxy within this Local Group is called the Milky Way, a large spiral galaxy. Earth exists in one of the spiral arms of the Milky Way referred to as Orion Arm. The Orion Arm lies twothirds of the way out from the center of the Galaxy, thus making us part of the Solar System. As you may remember, the Solar System is a group of celestial bodies that revolve around the Sun: 3

4 planets, comets, asteroids and dwarf planets. Our home, Earth, is the third planet from the Sun in the Solar System. Now, even the fool will agree that the location of Earth from the Sun is perfect; that is why we are living here. Is that distance not part of the truth that existence is perfect and that Earth is placed here for a purpose just as our eye is placed in our skull to allow us to perceive objects in our environment? Even science says if Earth were closer or farther away from the Sun, it would not be able to support much of the life it currently supports. If the fool acknowledges this, is he not acknowledging perfection, which is an attribute of God? Earth and the Sun are just a Nano-fraction of the Universe. Are all other things in the Universe also not ordered or designed for a purpose? This is where cosmic design arguments seek to persuade us. Cosmic design arguments state that where design exists, there is a designer; design exists throughout the Universe. And because design exists throughout the Universe there must be a universal Designer. These arguments are associated with William Paley, an 18 th century English philosopher, who compared the Universe to a watch, with many ordered parts working together for a purpose. Whether it is found in a desert or on a beach, a watch must have a maker. Paley states: a watchmaker is to watch as God is to the Universe. Just as a watch, with its complexity, order and purpose, must have been created by an intelligent watchmaker, the Universe, with its complexity, order and purpose, must have been created by an intelligent and all-powerful Creator. Therefore a watchmaker is to watch as God is to the Universe. For objections to the above arguments please go to: ological.htm Conclusion Three arguments seek to prove the existence of God. The first is the ontological argument, which states that a perfect being exists. The fact that nothing exists beyond perfection the attribute of God suggests that God is the ultimate being beyond which nothing exists. The second is the first cause argument, which stresses that the Universe and all things within it, are effects; and because every effect must have a cause the Universe has a cause, which exists outside it. That this cause is uncaused suggests that it is God, the perfect being beyond which nothing exists. The third argument, is the argument from design, which states that where design exists, there is a designer. Because design exists throughout the Universe there is a universal Designer: God. These arguments do not only seek to dismiss the claim that there is no proof or evidence that God exists; they also serve as means by which atheists and some scientists can acquire knowledge of God and shun their ignorance about him. It stands to reason that many people who argue that God does not exist actually do so as part of their failure to grasp the concept of God. Sometimes they even refuse because the concept of God is absent in their life. When such people mentally grasp the concept of God, God s nonexistence to them becomes impossible. Their desire to advance this concept even grow bigger, for it has been satisfied by an ultimate reality. 4

5 References Barron, B.R. (2014). Revisiting the Argument from Desire. Retrieved from The Argument from Desire (n.d.). Retrieved from Peter Kreeft vs. Richard Norman. Argument from Desire (Video). Retrieved from Kant's Objection against Ontological Argument. (2011). Retrieved from Kreeft, P. (n.d.). 20 Arguments for God s Existence Retrieved from exists/ Stephen Hawking's Universe (n.d.). Stephenjaygould. Retrieved from The Teleological Argument (n.d.). Philosophy of Religion. Retrieved from Hume s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (1779). Retrieved from Beliefs about the Origins & Development of the Species, the Earth, & the Rest of the Universe (n.d.). Religious Tolerance. Religious Tolerance. Retrieved from Massaquoi, G.W. (2016, December 24). Universe: The Loner and the Perennial Crack in his Cosmological View. Retrieved from file:///c:/users/washington/desktop/massaquoi%20project/religion.html Slick, M. (n.d.) Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry. CARM... Retrieved from Sober1. E. (2002). The Design Argument. FREE ELECTRONIC LIBRARY. Retrieved from design-argument-one-three-main-argumentsfor-the-existence.php Reger, N. (2013). The Design Argument. Fredoniaflame..Retrieved from ] Rouse, M. (n.d.). Smart home or building. Retrieved from 5

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