Descartes believes God exists and plays a key role in his belief that he is a thinking thing residing in a material world. God’s existence is an innate idea we are born with. This idea explains how our clear and distinct reasoning leads us towards knowledge. Descartes believes God to be a perfect being, so he cannot deceive us. Since he has a perfect knowledge and supplies us with truth in this world, we must believe we reside in a material world.
Descartes sets apart ideas into three distinct categories: Innate, Factitious (self-evident), or Adventitious. Adventitious ideas are unique in the way they do not originate from within a human; rather they are a culmination of many sense experiences. An example of this can be seen in the idea of heat, by constantly being around a flame you can derive the idea of heat, because the air is noticeably warmer than the air not circulating around a flame. Adventitious ideas revolve around sense experience, and since he has not had an encounter with God he cannot prove this to be the birth of his idea. It also cannot be factitious or self creating because all human beings are finite. Descartes describes God as, “…eternal, infinite, [immutable], all-knowing, all-powerful, and the creator of all things that are out of himself.” (Page159) Since Descartes is finite he does not contain the capability of producing infinite thoughts such as God, unless, it was placed there by some substance that in reality is infinite This principle of understanding revolves around sufficient reasoning, stating a cause must have as equal of importance as its effect. We know Descartes has an idea of God, and there had to be a cause for this idea. Since cause and effect have the same importance it only makes sense ...
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...e concludes the active power is not within himself, so the active power of sense must originate from somewhere else: God or the Material World. Descartes claims he has been naturally fitted with a strong inclination that is clear and distinct to believe in the material world. He then wonders if this great inclination is deceptive—then God is a deceiver. We know this to be untrue from the argument of the deceiver in Meditation III, we addressed previously. We know and have proved God is not a deceiver, so we can approve and support the strong inclination that there is in fact a material world around us.
Descartes sums his revelation up into this statement, “…I now understand nothing more than God himself, or the order of disposition established by God in created things; and by my nature in particular I understand the assemblage of all that God has given me.” (p.178)
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