Descartes And The Existence Of a Supreme Being

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Upon cursory examination, one might assume that Rene Descartes is a “non-believer'; in the existence of a heavenly being, a God that presides over humans and gives us faith. However, this is simply not the case – Descartes is simply trying to destroy all of the uncertainties that have come about by the attempted scientific explanations of such a supreme being. For Rene Descartes and all of the other believers in the world, the existence of God provides a convenient answer to unexplained questions, while never providing answers to the questions about God himself. This is evidenced a great deal in the circular argument made by Descartes in the Meditations on First Philosophy. What follows is a brief account of the third and fifth meditations, which provide Descartes’ response to the masked question, “What is God?'; Can one perceive or confirm the existence of an idea that is external to him, an idea such as God? In order to determine the answer we must start by understanding the ways in which we can conclude an objects’ existence. Descartes explains three ways in which a person might come to such a conclusion – the first, through nature; the second, through feeling a value that is independent of the will of the object; and the third, the objective reality of an idea, or the “cause and effect profile.'; The third point is the one that we will primarily spend our time with. Descartes drills us with the idea that an object will have an effect when it stems from a legitimate cause, or an initial idea that precedes with equal or superior properties in one’s intellect. In other words, the mind generates thoughts and ideas about a physical form, and develops a reality for this form, through previous schema and beliefs. “And although an idea may give rise to another idea, this regress cannot, nevertheless, be infinite; we must in the end reach a first idea, the cause of which is, as it were, the archetype in which all the reality that is found objectively in these ideas is contained formally.'; The only problem with Descartes’ argument is when the existence of God arises as a notion, for there is no sustenance or idea for the notion of God to originate from. Is it possible, then, to create the idea of a finite being from an infinite existence, outside of the physical and mental, in a state all of it’s own?
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