However, in that case, the conceived God would not be the most perfect conceivable being because one can think of a more perfect God, namely a God that exists. Thus, it would be a contradiction to conceive a God that does not exist. Therefore, God exists. There is a third formulation of the argument forwarded by Descartes in his replies to the objections: “(A) That which we clearly and distinctly understand to belong to the true and immutable nature, or essence or form of something, can truly be asserted of that thing (B) With sufficient and careful investigation of what God is, we clearly and distinctly understand that existence belongs to his true and immutable nature. (C) Hence, God does exist.” 1 The first objection is that existence does not follow from essence.
One must definitely consider the epistemological questions, or the "How do we know what we know?" questions. One must also consider how God should be defined, especially since the definition and concept of God is so central to Anselm's point. I take the position that knowledge is belief that is reasonably and logically supported. Knowledge approaches truth, or the actuality, but is not necessarily true.
Anslem is a philosopher who used the ontological way of thinking to explain God's existence. The ontological thought process shows the existence and being of a thing. Anselm's argument is that God is "this being that so truly exists that it cannot be even thought not to exist" (p. 860). The thoughts and ideas that are in your mind correspond to what exists. However, if you think about things that don't exist it is not as good.
Throughout this proof, Descartes is trying to use God’s existence as a way of affirming that which he clearly and distinctly perceives. However, he is also trying to prove God’s existence by claiming that the idea of God is a clear and distinct perception. Without inquiring into the existence of God, “it appears I am never capable of being completely ... ... middle of paper ... ...hat God too exists" (Descartes, 34). Descartes proof of the existence of God is derived from his establishment that something cannot come from nothing. Because God is a perfect being, the idea of God can be found from exploring the different notions of ideas.
The term ‘greater’ requires a comparison between itself and one or more things, which could pose a problem for Anselm’s argument; however Professor Thorp states that the only difference between these two things is that one exists in the mind, while the other exists in the mind and in reality. If we understand that a God that exists in the mind and in reality is greater than one that merely exists in the mind then we must understand that God exists. We need to examine this, however, much more closely to discover the problem with this statement; and I will do so using an example given to us by Professor Thorp. During the discussion of the Ontological argument, the professor asked us whether we would prefer ‘a real beer’ on a hot day, or ‘an imaginary beer’. The real one is preferable and it is greater than the imaginary one.
This does not mean that He is infinite. Some Christians have said that God is infinite, but this concept cannot be supported biblically. The only characteristic of God described as infinite is His knowledge or understanding. Therefore, the argument does not hold, since the God of Christianity is not described as infinite. It is for this reason the ontological argument can fail as a theistic proof however it is not an easy answer to the question as it holds both 'for' and 'against' reasoning for the theistic proof in the existence of God.
Thus, Anselm tends to base his argument on the definitions and terminology used. Anselm’s first form of the argument is that God is "that than which none greater can be conceived". Firstly, it must be emphasised that Anselm’s definition does not limit God to being the "greatest" but makes it known that nothing greater can be thought than God himself. Therefore, God should not in any way be linked to terms such as ‘omnipotent’ as terminology such as this limit him to what he really is. With this definition, he attempts to prove that not only does God exist in the mind but also in reality.
Others would claim either that God does not exist or that God is not what the Christians, Jews, and Muslims say He is. Both Anselm and Aquinas address this question: Anselm in his "Proslogion" and Aquinas in his "Summa Theologica." The opinions of Anselm and Aquinas as to the nature of God are the same, although Anselm lacks the proof to back up his claims. In the "Proslogion," Anselm states that God is "something greater that which we can conceive of nothing." This very confusing statement, which is likely illogical in itself, is the center of Anselm's illogical argument, and something that I will try to explain.
As I mentioned, Anselm believes that God is the greatest being we can possibly think of. He does this by first trying to prove the opposite of what he really wants to prove. For example, lets suppose God does not exist in reality. We then could think of something greater, a being that has all the same virtuous characteristics as we think God as having, but also being able to exist in reality. He then tries to prove that this supposition leads to a conclusion which cannot possibly be true.
In conclusion, the modal ontological argument alone is not successful a proof of God’s existence. What it does, however, succeed in doing is greatly reduce the burden of proof on the behalf of the theist as they theist now merely has to prove that God is possible. This means that the other arguments for the existence of God now only have to show that God is possible in order to show he is actual. As such the Modal ontological argument is convincing at least when combined with other arguments for the existence of God.