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...nection with Descartes’ physics, God is the first cause of motion, and the sustainer of motion in the world. Furthermore, because of the way he sustains motion, God constitutes the ground of the laws of motion. Finally, Descartes held that God is the creator of the so-called eternal truths. In a series of letters in 1630, Descartes enunciated the view that ‘the mathematical truths which you call eternal have been laid down by God and depend on Him entirely no less than the rest of His creatures’ (letter to Mersenne, 15 April 1630; Descartes 1984–91 vol 3: 23), a view that Descartes seems to have held into his mature years. While it never again gets the prominence it had in 1630, it is clearly present both in correspondence (for example, letter to Arnauld, 29 July 1648; Descartes 1984–91 vol 3: 358–9) and in published writings (for example, in the Sixth Responses ).
Various commentators have proposed that Descartes was really an atheist, and that he includes the arguments for the existence of God as window dressing. While this is not impossible, the frequent appeal to God in philosophical contexts, both in private letters and in published work, suggests that it is rather unlikely.
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