It is understandable why Descartes devotes the Third Edition to prove the existence of God-given his excessive deference to skeptical doubt. In the Third Meditation, Descartes needs to demonstrate that the traditional Christian God existence to meaningfully implement clarity and distinction criteria of his certainty standard of knowledge. Descartes establishes the existence of not only a non-deceptive God but also clearly and distinctively perceive what he wishes to claim as knowledge will defeat Evil Genius hypothesis introduced in the First Meditation (White 25). Descartes, therefore, offers three arguments for Gods existence and build upon two fundamental axioms established in the Second Meditation. This paper is the discussion of Descartes proof of God's existence in Meditation 3.
Why Descartes Treatment of God is Significant
In his reflection Descartes introduces three proofs of God's existence and the first two are also part in the third Meditation. The claim that there must be a cause for everything that begins to exist is the catalyst of Descartes argument which he bases his principle that there is a cause on everything (Cunning 27). This hypothesis is a work of art from the prehistoric philosopher Plotinus and in almost all Neoplatonic scholastic thought was presupposed as a fundamental tenet. Descartes proofs are clearly pervaded as will be evident from the arguments below.
Cosmological Evidence of the Existence of God
Descartes attempt to confirm Gods existence in his third meditation and that God is the cause essence of the mediator such as the creator of his nature as a thinking being and finally he proofs that the reason of the existence of a mediator both as a conserver and as a creator is based on God. Descartes proof of Gods existence is cosmological because it is a deduction from a specified effect. The thought of God and his existence is the basis of the effect and further shows that any additional probable cause is insufficient. In the Fifth Meditation the ontological proof contrasts the cosmological proof contrasts where Descartes argue the essence of God a possession of all perfections to God's existence. The aim of Descartes proof is to demonstrate that reason cannot operate alone to the irrationality of both atheism and agnosticism. He further reasons that the commitment of faith that which requires us to establish the existence of God with the assurance in which it reveals itself capable of asserting our existence as beings who can think in the Second Meditation (White 33).
The proof of Gods existence does not presuppose anything but the existence of a mediator as a thinking essence and the ideas mediator thinks exist. Descartes argument base on the two certainties and the certainty of such eternal truths that there is a cause of the existence of everything that our existence is God's idea which is not possible through other causes other than God. Descartes reasoning in the proof of God's existence is both valid and sound, and if one accepts that, it enable one to know that God's exists with the same uncertainty defeating assurance with which one knows God's existence is a present adaptation of one as a thinking being (Hatfield 15).
Eliminating the Evil Deceiver Doubt of the First Meditation
In the process of demonstrating the existence of God, there was need for Descartes to prove the thought of presence of God in our intellects inherently. He did this by arguing that definition of words cannot be understood if the idea is not in us already wordlessly. He additionally explains that through imagination, senses or intellect there is no amount of reflection of thoughts of finite beings we achieve, could yield the concept of God either. The idea of God is innate to our intellects, thus the only way we could have forgotten if any, the only probable cause of that belief, the Supreme Being, have caused it to be there. He further argues that if God is the origin of our character as thinking beings, as postulated in the First Meditation, if it was possible that God is a deceiver then this nature can only be defective in that manner (Oppy 21).
Evaluation/Critic of Descartes treatment of God
Cogito Ergo Sum
Descartes in the course of doubting everything, realizes that for by thinking he doubts, and he confirms it; for thinking presumes reservation. Thinking in itself implies that before one can think he must exist. From his thinking essence Descartes derives the fact of his existence. "Cogito Ergo Sum" was the first principle Descartes discovered which means. I think, therefore, I exist 'and he thus believes this axiom is a definite fact and it is not doubtful. The maxim is an affirmation of the reality of my being because uncertainty involves reflection, and one must be able to think. 'Cogito Ergo Sum' established that indeed Descartes is a thinking being (Dicker 37).
However, it should be noted that Descartes get on his method of uncertainty not for the rationale of doubt to arrive at conclusions to undertake other problems that trouble on certainties. Descartes in his note to Reneri for Pollot, he said:
"Although the Pyrrhonians reached no absolute conclusion from their uncertainties, it does not follow that no one can. I would aim now to confirm how they can be used to prove God's existence and to resolve the difficulties which remain in what I wrote (White 35)."
The Certersian Circle
Descartes evidence and argument on the existence of God is circular. It is not convincing because it presupposes the truth it is supposed to prove. Descartes is allowed to only use the indubitability criterion until he establishes the consistency of his new criterion of truth; clarity and distinctions. Descartes argument on the existence of God is a crucial part of proving the consistency of clarity and distinctions standard but he assumes that the new criterion is important in the process of his arguments. If Descartes used the indubitability criterion of truth, then his argument on Gods existence could not work. The scale of reality and casual principle can certainly be doubtful. In his defense Descartes explains that the scale of reality and casual principle are true because they are clear and distinct and such thoughts are often true. He thus assumes the truth of this measure to prove it is factual and interpretation of his arguments are circular (Cunning 17).
The Causal Principle
Descartes relies upon a scale of realism and a causal standard to prove the existence of God which he obtained from medieval thinking. The basis of x must have much reality as x and this principle assumes that with some things being more factual than others then there is a scale of reality. God will never deceive us because He is perfect meaning that deception is an imperfection. If an object is more powerful or more perfect, then its higher on this scale of reality and thus the conclusion that God is on top of the scale. An object as an idea is at equal level of the idea itself (Scott 32).
God is an Important Value in Life
Human beings understand their full potential both individually and socially when they build up a conscience and they feel that life has meaning and experience God. Human beings and the earth are certainly destined to demise in the absence of Gods existence. The life we have without God is without ultimate significance, value and purpose. I argue today that if God exists, then the neutrality of ethical values, moral duties, and responsibility is tenable but in the lack of the existence of God then morality is just a human convection. Religious experiences are both effective and intellectual in which individuals develop a sense of sacrum. In the absence of the existence God, some actions would not count as right or wrong since lack of Gods existence means that objective ethical values do not exist as well. However, let us consider the hypothesis that God exists. The right values in the society exist if God exist. Thus objective moral values exist the same way of saying something is right or wrong autonomously of whether people believe it to be so (Dicker 28).
Story from my Own Experience
I used to think that God existed, and then I changed my mind to believe he does not exist, and now I know that He does exist. For hundreds of years, people from all walks of life have always debated whether God exist, or He is just a fictional character. When I posted my testimony of how I went from being a Christian to being an atheist and the back to Christianity again a few people were interested in my story. The creation story of how God designed the world around us and what we see is the best proof of God's existence.
"For ever since the earth was created, people have seen the earth and the skies. Through everything God made, they can evidently see his invisible qualitieshis eternal power and divine nature. So they have no justification for not knowing God." (Romans 1:20).
There are some universal morals that we all share, and this fact shows that we all have a conscience and that God was the one who wrote right from wrong within our hearts.
"They revealed that God's law is written in their hearts, for their conscience and judgment either blame them or tell them they are doing right. And this is the message I declarethat the day is coming when God, through Christ Jesus, will judge everyone's furtive life." Romans 2:15-16.
Relate and connect to the thesis showing illustration
In conclusion, the implications of the existence God or not is a huge aspect of our lives since it determines how we live our lives, it affects our purpose of life and destiny and it is the source of our morality as human beings. The existence of God has always been a question between the Christians and the atheists. As a Christian, I believe that God exists and sometimes we cannot experience His love and plan due to the sinful nature of man. The Bible outlines in the book of John that to all who believed and accepted Him, He gave them the right to become His children. There must be a cause of whatever begins to exist and our lives have always experienced and never denied it. Through Descartes reasoning we can show that it is highly probable that God exists.
Cunning, David. The Cambridge Companion to Descartes' Meditations. , 2014. Print.
Dicker, Georges. Descartes: An Analytical and Historical Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013. Print.
Hatfield, Gary C. The Routledge Guidebook to Descartes' Meditations. , 2014. Print.
Oppy, Graham. Arguing About Gods. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Print.
Scott, David J. F. The Proofs of God's Existence in Descartes' Meditations. , 2000. Print.
White, Thomas I. Discovering Philosophy. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2006. Print.
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