Describe the origins and nature of the Ontological argument for the existence of God.

Authors Avatar by erinruth99gmailcom (student)

Describe the origins and nature of the Ontological argument for the existence of God. [35]

The question of the existence of God is one of the most debated concepts for humanity. For centuries theologians and philosophers alike have put forward arguments, one of which is the ontological argument. This argument is debatably the most logical but also the most difficult to grasp; this is due to its nature as a priori deduction that does not require physical evidence. It is an argument of credo ut intelligam – I believe in order to understand. In examining the ontological argument, a good place to start would be Anselm’s view on it.

Anselm was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1033 – 1109. He wrote the ontological argument in the second chapter of his Proslogion. It is worth noting that he was writing in order to assure theists of their faith, not to convince atheists. He starts by defining God as, “a being than which nothing greater can be conceived.” His argument can be outlined as thus: God is the greatest possible being. If God existed only in the mind and not reality, then we could imagine another great being that exists both in the mind and reality. That would make that being greater than God, which is impossible. Therefore God must exist both in reality and the mind.
Join now!

Anselm claims God is a necessary existence, because he is too great not to exist. He must exist both in intellectu and in reality in order to be truly great. It is a logical contradiction to claim that God does not exist, because he has the characteristic of necessary existence. Anselm’s argument was not a new one – In Psalm 14 we read, “The fool says in his heart, there is no God.” He uses the analogy of the painter. The painter can imagine what he wants to paint, but the painting does not truly exist until he ...

This is a preview of the whole essay