Is There A God? Essay, Research Paper
Does God Exist?
God not only exists in the understanding, but in reality as well. God, according to Anselm, is a being “than which nothing greater can be conceived” (Anselm 29). According to this concept God could not simply exist in an understanding because that would leave the possibility of a greater being than God – He who exists in reality as well as understanding. Anselm concluded that the “only being whose nonexistence (in reality) is inconceivable, is the being than which nothing greater can be conceived, and only God fits this description” (Anselm 28). The nonexistence of that which a greater cannot be conceived is inconceivable” (Anselm 33).
Thomas Aquinas reminds us of Damascene’s knowledge that ‘the knowledge of God is naturally implanted in all” (Aquinas 35). As a religious scholar and priest, he believed the existence of God is self-evident in itself. The term God implies existence, however His existence is not self-evident to us because our simple minds do not have the capacity to understand something so great and complex as God. Aquinas then provides proof of God’s existence so our simple minds may be assured they did not invent Him. First he claims, “Whatever is in motion is moved by another…” (Aquinas 37). Therefore, movement must have an originator or creator. Secondly, is the “notion of efficient causation” in which he claims change must be caused by something. Furthermore if there are beings who exist without a doubt Aquinas feels they must be atop to the hierarchy of perfection. He then concludes a being, namely God, must be directing non-intelligent animals’ instincts.
William Paley strongly defended the rationality of Christian beliefs of God. He felt God’s truth is evident through reflection on nature, God’s creations. A metaphor of a watch aids his argument that when parts or organisms work together so perfectly it is nearly impossible to argue they simply became that way. A creator must have crafted and produced the watch for all the pieces to function and fulfill their purpose. Similarly, organisms must have been designed by a creator, for each has a purpose and furthermore nature is greater to the extent that it exceeds all computation and is capable of recreating itself.
Fyodar Dostoyevsky, a writer, wrote “The Brothers Karamazov.” In this work two brothers discuss whether or not God exists. Ivan explains to Alyosha that while he accepts that God exits and that ultimately the universe will be harmonious, God could not be the creator because He would not have created so much suffering. Suffering of innocent youth is especially unacceptable according to Ivan. He thinks children should never have to pay for their parents’ sins even if it will bring ultimate harmony in the end. Ivan thinks God does not know how to deal with humanity and therefore is not a perfect creator. However he does not reject God, he simply states that it is something “I can’t expect to understand about” (Dostoyevsky 49).
Others have argued that since human nature requires the need to know, we have created the concept of God. We can’t leave things to the unknown, especially when it comes to the existence of our universe as a whole. The idea of a higher being controlling all of our actions and then comforting us with a place to go after we die has been used by mankind collectively through the ages. I believe God exists in one way or another, and allows our universe to function in the manner it does because He does not understand humanity. He is too great to understand our simple minds.