therefore are confused about its existence. In Western
theology, three theories have emerged to demonstrate the
existence of God. These theories are the ontological
argument, the cosmological argument, and the teleological
argument. St. Anselm of eleventh century, and Descartes of
seventeenth century, have used the ontological argument for
proving the existence of God. The God, for them, is
supreme, "needing nothing outside himself, but needful for
the being and well-being of all things." (Pg. 305).
St Anselm's 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. He adds that
any person who hears this 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 then 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. His
argument is also based on the premise that "the idea of an
eternal being who either does not yet exist or no longer
exists is self-contradictory, so that the very idea we have of
such a being requires existence." (Pg. 307).
In his Meditations, Decartes offers the following version of
the ontological argument. He considers the idea of God, a
supremely perfect being, just as real as the idea of the
existence of any shape or a number. His understanding of
God's existence is no less clear and distinct than his proofs
for the existence of any shape or number. Therefore he
adds, "although all that I concluded in the preceding
Meditations were found to be false, the existence of God
would pass with me as at least as certain as I have ever
held the truths of mathematics." (Pg. 308). Initially, this
might not be all clear, and may... [continues]
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