• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

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

Extracts from this document...


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.


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.


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.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Existence of God section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Existence of God essays

  1. Explain the Ontological argument from Anslem and Gaunillo's objection 9s?

    Thus, Anselm can conclude that his reasoning applies only to possible objects. Anselm might argue that Gaunilo's argument is fundamentally different than his argument. For Gaunilo tries to establish the existence of a kind of thing while Anselm is trying to establish the existence of a particular being .

  2. "Modern visions of the Ontological Argument are more successful than early versions"

    There is a God. This is now certainly a valid argument leading Plantinga to the conclusion that he was correct. However, Plantinga's argument could argue the non-existence of God, or the existence of a malevolent God if the properties were changed. So, it is not right to say that modern versions of the Ontological Argument are better than Anselm's.

  1. Explain the Ontological argument.

    The motion concept does not only apply to movement from place to place, but movement from quality or quantity, which when an external force is applied changes. Thus things change due to an external influence, for example a fire changes the wood to make it hot.

  2. Is God timeless or eternal? The cosmological argument.

    Aristotle claimed that time was composed of non-existence. It is the no longer and not yet. He said the past does not exist, the future does not exist and the present is nothing. However, William Craig argued that only the present exists as one unique moment. All learning occurs in time and space.

  1. Does God exist and if so where is He - where can He be ...

    Or could it be that the good answer you were looking for didn't come because there was something else in your life that was not right, that needed to be cleaned up and changed? Or could it be that you are not right with God and you are looking for favors from Him before you are right with Him?

  2. A Big Bang Cosmological Argument for God's Nonexistence

    Among physicists, the most notorious example is Fred Hoyle, who vehemently rejected the suggestion of a big bang that seemed to imply a Creator and unsuccessfully attempted to construe the evidence for a big bang as evidence for an evolving 'bubble' within a larger unchanging and infinitely old universe (I am referring to his 1970s post-steady-state theory5).

  1. God: a definition

    It has no form, no sound, no shape, and no name. But although it has no name, it can take any name." The Tao is unnamed, unknown, permanent, unifying and all-powerful. It emphasizes the individual's and the group's need for unity and harmony and is always present in all aspects of life.

  2. Assess Critically the Claim that the Concept of Supremely Perfect Being is Incoherent.

    If a Supremely Perfect being knows what will occur in the future, then all events must be necessary, meaning there are no future contingents (a future event which could be one way or another). For example it is an open possibility that I can win in my Swim Club's race this year.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work