Term Paper: God Exist? The Case

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[. . .] " One person's definition of these terms is different than another's. Therefore, each person's concept of God is different. Immanuel Kant also disputed St. Anselm's reasoning as proof. His thinking is somewhat complicated, but in essence, he says that St. Anselm's argument requires you to assume the existence of God in order to prove God's existence. Also, St. Anselm is implying a relationship between what we perceive to be reality to be and what ultimate reality is. The relationship hasn't been proven to exist. Kant does not believe that human conceptions of time, cause, and space necessarily apply to God (Burr; Villa).

St. Thomas Aquinas has his critics, too. The first proof, the prime mover proof, is attacked on several fronts. Critics say that that the prime mover for the universe was the Big Bang. There is no evidence that the Big Bang was the result of intelligent action. Also, there is no evidence that there was just one prime mover. Why couldn't there have been two prime movers? Or three? Or more? In addition, there is no proof that motion or change must result from a cause. Motion just is in this argument. Critics also dispute the second proof, the proof of cause. They say that the second proof depends on acceptance of the first proof. If you refute the first proof, then you have refuted the second. Also, there is no indisputable proof for cause and effect. If the universe is deterministic, then one can ascribe a cause to each effect. But evidence from quantum mechanics indicates that the universe is stochastic in nature. In short, there is an element of randomness in the universe and on can't always attribute an effect to a specific cause or causes. Things happen based on probabilities that aren't always predictable, and we cannot always know all of the factors involve. An example is the orbit of electrons around a nucleus as determined by the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle; one can never know for certain all properties of the electron. The criticism of the third proof, the necessity of existence is filled with contradictions according to critics. There is no proof that something must exist. In addition, there is no proof that if something must exist that it must be a single entity. Why couldn't two Gods exist? Why can't any number of God's exist? Also, if things can exist and not exist and the universe and time is infinite, then all possibilities will occur. Therefore, since one of the possibilities is the nonexistence of everything, it must happen. If it hasn't happened yet, then we must have existed forever which is absurd and also implies no need for a God to create us. In short, we don't need a prime mover. If this situation has already occurred, then we wouldn't be here because everything would have ceased to exist and there would be nothing to bring us back into existence. Critics contend that the forth proof, the "good," better," "best" proof fails because the lower level of perfection isn't necessarily created by the higher level of perfection. For example this proof would require one to believe that the second best basketball was made by the most perfect basketball in the universe. Of course this is ridiculous. The argument against the fifth proof, the proof of design, is that that there is no absolute definition of terms like "good," "bad," and "order." In order to believe this proof one must assume the existence of a being that can define these terms and tell the difference between "good" and "bad." Thus, to prove the existence of God, one must assume the existence of God. This isn't logical (O'Dwyer, Crinis).

Critics refute the Time Argument by noting that it is based on the notion that one cannot find discrete points in an infinite series. They point out that this is ridiculous because numbers ore infinite, yet we can identify and work with individual numbers. So to could we identify and study specific points of time, even if time were infinite. The science arguments regarding the laws of nature can be dispensed with because of infinity as well. If possibilities are infinite than it is a certainty that a universe will exist that has the improbable set of properties that ours exhibits (Edwards 43-58; Matson 59-94).

IV. My Assessment

It appears to me that no one really addresses the relationship of people to God or the values of attending church and worshipping God. To even get to these questions, we must answer the question of God's existence. Therefore, I wish to assess the arguments for and against God's existence, beginning with St. Anselm. St. Anselm answered Gaunilo during his lifetime. Essentially, he said that if you can understand the phrase "most perfect being," then you've already conceived of it, i.e. God. In addition, there is nothing in the definition of a perfect island that implies perfection while the definition of God does. Thus, Gaunilo's arguments are unsound. Others argue that the criticisms of St. Thomas Aquinas are also unfounded. The concepts of infinity and multiple Gods ignore the definition of God which covers these possibilities by going a step beyond them to define the ultimate cause as God (Burr). It seems to me that the argument comes down to one that has been debated for a long time: How can there be anything? Conversely how could there be nothing? Why "something" instead of "nothingness"? Since there is "something," it seems to me that that the argument for original cause has a lot of merit. Critics say that it is incumbent upon believers to prove the existence of God rather than for them to prove the nonexistence of God. I believe that until critics can explain the existence of the universe without assuming the existence of God, that they cannot legitimately deny the existence of God. One of the theories gaining attention in physics today is Cosmic Inflation Theory. Part of this theory suggests that the universe was created from an infinitely dense point or node, similar to inflating a balloon from a gas cylinder. A consequence of this theory is that there is the possibility that there are multiple universes, perhaps an infinite number. Some contend that Inflation Theory answers the question of why "something" instead of "nothing"? I don't believe that this is the case. Instead, the theory merely pushes the question back further in time, past the Big Bang, closer to the original cause. It may appear that the concept of an infinite number of universes supports the critics by eliminating the need for design and a prime mover. I believe that it actually supports the argument for the existence of God. If we can conceive of a universe with God and there are an infinite number of universes, then at least one of them must contain God. But God, by definition would be all-powerful and would transcend all universes and, thus, present in all universes, including our own. Many physicists who were skeptics concerning the existence of God now say, in light of Inflation Theory, that the anthropic design argument is at least worthy of debate and is defensible. The anthropic argument states that there was a designing intelligence in the creation of the universe (Silber).

Regarding infinity and those who say that notions of infinity invalidate the proofs for the existence of God, I think that this idea is flawed as well. The human mind cannot conceive of infinity. We can understand it as a concept, but we cannot possibly understand the implications of this concept. Similarly, the nature of God is too large for the human mind to comprehend. God himself is infinite. The arguments against the existence of God place human limitations on God. These limitations and human logic, by definition, are not binding on God. Sir Isaac Newton's Laws of Motion are an approximation of Einstein's Theory's of Relativity. Newton lacked the understanding of the universe to formulate the larger concept. We, too, lack the knowledge and ability to fully comprehend God. To understand anything about God, we must approximate the infinite, which we can't understand, with the finite, so that we can at least understand some of the implications of the infinite. So it is with God. Any proof for God's existence, because of human limitations, will necessarily be an approximation of the true situation, just as the Laws of Motion are an approximation of Relativity. But just as we can derive useful information from the Laws of Motion, so, too, can we engage in useful discussion and speculation concerning God. In short, I believe that the existence of God is indisputable.

But, even acknowledging the existence of God tells us nothing about God's relationship with people and the value of or need for worship of God. It seems to me that God must have a relationship with people, since, by definition, God must be aware of us. In addition, by… [END OF PREVIEW]

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