preview

Anselm and Aquinas: on the Existence of God

Good Essays
Does God exist? That question has been asked by people for centuries. Christians, Jews, and Muslims would all say that God exists. They would claim that He is the creator of all things and is of a higher being than man is. 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. First, we must define "that which we can conceive of nothing." What can this possibly mean? It seems that this is the limit of what we can conceive. What this is, I cannot say because it is inconceivable. Anselm claims that what is beyond this is God. He is telling us that God is the highest possible being. This is the sum of his argument. What I want to know is how we can conceive the existence of something that is beyond all that is conceivable. While there are obvious problems with his logic, Anselm firmly believes that God is the greatest of all beings.

This is exactly what Aquinas believes, only his argument is much clearer. First, he asks "whether it can be demonstrated that God exists." This is an important question because if it cannot be demonstrated that God exists, then there is no point in trying to.

The first argument is against this notion. He claims that t...

... middle of paper ...

...t is directed toward this end by something with intelligence. An example is where a rock goes when someone throws it. The destination of the rock is the end, and the person is the thing direction it toward that end. But we do not direct the wind, gravity, earthquakes, or any number of other natural things. But because these thing lack intelligence, there must be an intelligent being that directs it all. This director of nature is God.

Though these arguments Aquinas states his belief that God is the greatest of all things. While this is the same notion that Anselm has, Anselm does not hat the wit to back it up logically. In fact, the deeper you dig into Anselm, the more confusing and illogical it gets. Aquinas makes a great logical argument that is not terrible confusing. So, while they both had the same idea of God, only Aquinas was able to back it up.
Get Access