Defining God’s Existence

1071 Words5 Pages
There are two types of arguments to approach the existence of God. A posteriori argument is defining things based on the premises of what is true by our own experiences. This is the idea that we cannot know what is true unless we have experienced it using our five senses of sight, smell, hearing, touch, etc. This type of truth according to the book Core Questions in Philosophy written by Elliot Sober, is a posteriori truth, which is “one that requires experience to be known (or justified)”(84).

A priori argument is a conclusion based on the understanding of the concept, not through prior or innate experience. One can claim their preposition is a priori even if they have no innate knowledge or experience of the subject, as long as they understand the concept. This approach takes no observation or experience into account, just the definition given to the subject. (Sober 85)

Originally formulated by Saint Anslem, the Ontological Argument is defined as

(1) God is by definition the greatest being possible. (2) A being who fails to exist in the actual world (while existing in other possible worlds) is less perfect than a being who exists in all possible worlds. (Core Questions in Philosophy, 86) The basis of the Ontological Argument “often do not deal directly with perfect beings, beings than which no greater can be conceived, etc.; rather, they deal with descriptions of, or ideas of, or concepts of, or the possibility of the existence of, these things” (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). Meaning, this argument states what God is and then asks if he exists.

Sober states that “the Ontological Argument for the existence of God is a priori argument”(85). And one can establish the truth of theism without posteriori premise. Thi...

... middle of paper ...

... proof of his existence can be through miracles or signs of God in our life. The way we can reason our argument of God existing is through things like near death experiences where we might see or hear God, and affirm he is real. Because not everyone has those experiences, we can only reason God’s existence based on the definitions by scholars or individual experiences that only ones self can deem valid. That is why I believe the argument of God’s existence must be done individually based on one’s own experience and should not be generalized by one concept or argument.

Works Cited

Oppy, G. 2009. “Ontological Arguments”. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2009 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.),

Sober, E. 2009. Core Questions in Philosophy. Prentice Hall. Chapter 8.

More about Defining God’s Existence

Open Document