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Does God Exist?

In: Philosophy and Psychology

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Religion is something that virtually all humans have in common. In all corners of the world and in all eras of history, people have wondered about the meaning of life, how to make the best of it, what happens afterwards and if there is anyone or anything "out there." The world of philosophy consists of so many unanswered questions. One such question is whether or not God exists. This is the very question that has grasped the imagination of humanity since the birth of reason, and the same question that has plagued scientists and philosophers without coming close to an accepted conclusion. God is a word that means different things to different people. The definition for God, according to most monotheistic religions is the creator and ruler of the universe, and the source of all moral authority. When it comes to the possibility of God's existence, the Bible states that there are people who have seen sufficient evidence, but they have suppressed the truth about God. Up to this day, there are many differing opinions as to whether a God exists or not. The great controversy has led to my personal belief that God exists through the teleological, ontological and cosmological arguments. These major ideas help to back up my statement that God exists.

Based on our everyday experiences, just about everything seems to have a beginning. William Paley was a philosopher during the eighteenth century who is best known for his exposition of the teleological argument for the existence of God. Derived from the Greek word "telos" which means "design or purpose", the teleological argument proposes that God must exist because the inner workings of the universe are too complicated and precise to just have come about on it's own. Through often confused with the argument from simple analogy, the watchmaker argument from Paley is a more sophisticated design argument that attempts to avoid David Hume's objection to the analogy between worlds and artifacts. The watchmaker analogy, framing the argument with reference to a timepiece, dates back to Cicero, who used the example of a watch- clock in his reasoning that the presence of order and purpose signify the existence of a designer. William Paley presented the watchmaker analogy in his Natural Theology (1802) "Suppose I found a watch upon the ground, and it should be inquired how the watch happened to be in that place, I should hardly think… that, for anything I knew, the watch might have always been there. Yet why should not this answer serve for the watch as well as for a stone that happened to be lying on the ground? For this reason, and for no other; namely, that, if the different parts had been differently shaped from what they are, if a different size from what they are, or placed after any other manner, or in any order that in which they are placed, either no motion at all would have been carried on in the machine, or none which would have answered the use that is now served by it." Paley wrote in response to Hume's objection to analogy between artefacts and worlds, choosing to use the example of a watch as a reliable indication of divine design. Paley identifies two features of a watch which demonstrate that it is designed. First, a watch performs a valuable purpose, timekeeping, which a designer would find useful and secondly, the watch would be unable to perform such a purpose if it's parts were any different or arranged differently. He strongly argued that the world of nature showcases more functional complexity that that found in the watch. According to Paley, the adaptation found in our ecosystems are too complex, and achieves a purpose that he proves must be the evidence of divine design.

Almost everyone at some particular point in his or her life has challenged the existence of God. This may happen for a number of reasons. For example, he or she might have been in a position when their faith alone was just not enough for them to believe. Humans have a natural instinct to find reasons for events that can't be explained. For some, the existence of God may help provide them the answers they are looking for. The ontological argument proposed by Saint Anselm of Canterbury in 1708 suggests "that than which nothing greater can be conceived", arguing that this could exist in the mind and what exists in the mind, must also exist in reality. "Even when a fool hears of a being than which nothing greater can be conceived understands what he hears, and what he understands is in his understanding. And assuredly that, than which nothing greater can be conceived, cannot exist in the understanding alone. For suppose it exists in the understanding alone: then it can be conceived to exist in reality; which is greater. Therefore, if that, than which nothing greater can be conceived, exists in the understanding alone, the very being, than which nothing greater can be conceived. But obviously this is impossible. Hence, there is no doubt that there exists a being, than which nothing greater can be conceived, and it exists both in the understanding and in reality." (Anselm 59) His account of the ontological argument for the existence of God deals with the existence in the understanding "Vs. Existence In Reality." He defines God as the greatest conceivable or possible being, and adds that any person who hears a statement describing God understands what is meant. His argument is that if God did not exist, then a being greater than God would be possible. This being when would be greater than the greatest possible being, which is impossible. Therefore, he proves that there is no being greater than God and hence God exists. He proposes six ontological arguments relying on the premises about the nature of thought and the identity of God. The six arguments are conveniently divided into four classes: God's Perfection, His Necessity, His eternity and His simplicity. Anselm first argues that the partial incomprehensibility of God gives no grounds to the Fool to deny that he can think about God at all. He encountered with the objection by saying that one cannot see daylight because he cannot stare directly at the sun. He then argues that his conception of God is not entirely negative. For since the supremely good resembles things less god in so fares they are both good, one who knows things less good already knows something of the supreme good. In addition, he may expand his knowledge of the maximal being by thinking of better things until he reaches the limits of what he can think. The logic of St. Anselm's arguments is impeccable. With his premises, he combines them in such a way that he who admits their validity can only assent to Anselm's conclusions.

We weren't just put on this earth without a cause. God has to exist in order for us to be on this earth as beings. Christians claim that the God of Bible created the entire universe, but some people still ask the question how did God get here. It's a question that philosophers have pondered for centuries and they will continue to ponder because there is no proof proving where God came from. The cosmological argument is an argument for the existence of a First Cause to the universe. Unlike the ontological argument, it derives the conclusion that God exists from a posteriori time. The argument is a posteriori because it is based on what can be seen in the world and universe. The basic premise of all of this is that something caused the Universe to exist, and this First Cause is what we call God. St Thomas Aquinas developed the most popular version of the cosmological argument. He developed his Five Ways to prove the existence of God, which he called "demonstratio" for the existence of God. The first three of his Five Ways form the cosmological argument as a proof of the existence of God. The three ways that support the argument are: motion or change, cause and contingency. The First way is based on motion. In the world, there are things that are constantly in motion and whatever is in motion, must have been moved by something else. According to Aquinas, this chain of movement cannot go back to infinity. There must have been a first or prime mover, which itself was not moved. The unmoved mover began the movement in everything without actually being moved, which Aquinas argued that it is God. He used the example of fire making wood hot. When applied to wood, fire changes the wood to achieve it's potential to become hot. In order for a thing to change, actuality is required. If it were not, a thing would have to initiate change in itself, which would require that it was both actual and potential at the same time. Aquinas considered this to be a contradiction. For example, if wood could make itself hot then it would be hot already. Wood cannot be hot to begin with; otherwise, it would not change and become hot. He stated that the fact that it is not hot already is it's actuality and the fact that fire can make it hot is its potentiality. In turn, something must have made the fire change and become light. Each change therefore, is the result of an earlier change that leads to another. "We will have to come to a necessary being, whose existence is not dependent on anything else, to explain why there is something rather than nothing." (Aquinas 37) He declined the fact there were a series of infinite changes and there has to be one point when the first movement occurred, it was brought by a "first mover". The Second Way identified a series of causes and effects in the universe. Aquinas observed that nothing can be the cause of itself, as this would mean that it would have had to exist before it existed. He rejected the idea of an infinite series of causes and believed that there must have been a first, uncased cause. The first cause started the chain of causes that caused all the events up to this day to happen. The Third Way identified the contingency of matter in the universe. On the basis of the fact that things come into existence and later cease to exist, he concluded that there must have been a time when nothing existed. There must have been a necessary being to bring everything into existence. He argued that the necessary being was God and that if God did not exist, nothing else would. In nature, we find things that are possible to be and not to be, since they are found to be generated, and to be corrupted, and consequently, it is possible for them to be and not to be. It is impossible for these always to exist, for that which cannot be at the same time is not. If everything cannot be, then at one time there was nothing in existence.

The great controversy has led many of us to believe that there is a God out there. Through the teleological, ontological and cosmological arguments that many philosophers have supported, it has led to my personal belief that God exists. He is outside of time and the creator of time, which means that by faith, you have to believe God is the creator of all things. By definition, God is the uncreated creator of the universe making him above all things and beings. To say there is no God is to say you have enough knowledge to know that there is no God. God exists in everything we do whether it is positive or negative because as the creator, he is everywhere.…...

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