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What does it mean to say that God is 'necessary?'

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Introduction

What does it mean to say that God is 'necessary?' Many philosophers and theologians have provided varying ideas about how to prove the existence of God, the ontological and Cosmological arguments are two different arguments which attempt to prove that god is necesary. The ontological argument, is one of the argument that attempts to prove that God is necessary, The main component of the Ontological argument can be found in the Anselm's "Proslogion" which is a short work that tries to demonstrate both the existence and the nature of God. His main aim in writing the Proslogion is not to directly prove the existence of God but to moreover, to show the relationship between faith and reason. The Ontological Argument is a 'priori argument' this means that the conculsion comes not from the use of reason or proof but if the premises that are put into the argument are true, then the conclusion must be true. This means that if I know what the definition of something is, I do not then need a test to determine the truth or falsity of a statement. For example, I understand what a triangle is, it has three angles that add up to 180 degrees. I do not need any evidence to prove the truth in the statement a triangle has three angles. Anselm defined God as: 'that than which nothing greater can be conceived.' ...read more.

Middle

Consequently, according to Anselm, He must be necessary.If something than which nothing greater can be thought of could be thought of as not existing, then something than which nothing greater can be thought of would not be something than which nothing greater can be thought of, which is an outright contradiction and thus absurd. Something than which nothing greater can be thought of has such a high degree of existence, that is, necessary existence, that it cannot be thought of as not existing, that is, its nonexistence is impossible. Descartes moderated the ontological argument and said that "a supremely perfect being" must exist as existence is a defining predicate. He attempts to prove this concept by trying to portray it by using an example of a triangle. He says that "existence can no more be separated from the essence of God than the fact that its three angles equal two right angles can be separated from the essence of the triangle". Descartes is basically saying that by definition, a triangle must have three angles and in the same way, he is saying that that 'existence' must be a predicate that is included in the defining qualities that God holds. Descartes tried to prove the necessary existence of God through this argument: 1.If there is a God it is a perfect being; 2. A perfect being possesses all possible perfections; 3. ...read more.

Conclusion

An essential property of a necessary being is eternality. If then it could be made plausible that the universe began to exist and is not therefore eternal, one would to that extent at least have shown the superiority of theism as a rational world view. This higher being is thought to be God, and therefore God is necessary in order to cause the universe. Rene Descartes asked what happens if everything is doubted - even one's own existence. He thought that the "I" of which each one of us is aware when we think is the one thing of which we can be certain. Hence his famous dictum, "I think, therefore I am." He went on to wonder "...from whom could I ... derive my existence" if there is no God? If I exist then my existence "... requires the same power and act that would be necessary to create it ..." Just as we think and therefore exist, so there must be an ultimate Thinker from whom all existence derives. This "thinking being" is the ultimate cause of all other beings and must therefore possess "the idea and all the perfections I attribute to deity." The cosmological argument and ontological argument prove God's existence is 'necessary' through many different methods. If a person accepts that God is the ultimate creator and that there can be no one greater it is safe to assume that God is necessary, and the ontological and cosmological arguments set out a logical way of achieving this! ...read more.

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