A Very Brief History on the Existence of God Essay

A Very Brief History on the Existence of God Essay

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The subsequent essay will provide a brief overview on the existence of God from René Descartes through Immanuel Kant. First, section (1), examines Descartes’ proof for the existence of God. Section (2), explores G.W. Leibniz’s view on God’s existence in addition to his attempts to rectify the shortcomings of Descartes’ proofs. Before continuing, it is imperative to understand that both Descartes and Leibniz believed that the existence of God could be proved via reason. The remainder of the essay then examines two additional philosophers, David Hume in section (4) and Immanuel Kant in (5), who contend that God’s existence cannot be rationally proven.
(1)
Being a devout Catholic, Descartes undeniably believed in God. He makes this clear in the letter of dedication preceding Meditations on First Philosophy. He writes that we must “believe in God’s existence because it is taught in the Holy Scriptures, and, conversely, that we must believe in the Holy Scriptures because they have come from God” (Descartes, 1). Nonetheless, in the actual Meditations Descartes casts doubt on everything, including religion in his search for absolute certainty. In the Third Meditation, however, Descartes provides his first rationalistic proof for the existence of God. In doing so, he first doubts the very existence of God, conceding that he does “not yet sufficiently know if there is even a God” (25). He then deliberates on this issue, pondering “whether there is a God” (25). However, even though he questions God’s very existence, Descartes maintains his innate idea of God. After some deliberation, he concludes that because he has an innate idea of God, (which is not fabricated by the mind or drawn from the senses), it must be God who endowe...


... middle of paper ...


... to exist, then a necessary being does exist.
6. It is possible for a being to have all perfections.
7. Therefore, a necessary being (God) does exist.

(3)


(3)
On the contrary, David Hume did not believe an argument could establish the existence of God. In fact, Hume attacks both Descartes’ and Leibniz’s methodology for establishing the existence of God in the following: “there is an evident absurdity in pretending to demonstrate a matter of fact, or to prove it by any arguments a priori. Nothing is demonstrable, unless the contrary implies a contradiction. Nothing, that is distinctly conceivable, implies a contradiction. Whatever we conceive as existent, we can also conceive as non-existent. There is no being, therefore, whose non-existence implies a contradiction. Consequently there is no being, whose existence is demonstrable” (Bailey, 79).


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