This Man Claimed to Prove the Existence of God Nearly a Millenium Ago

Anselm, an eleventh century philosopher attempted to prove the existence of God

  1. It is a conceptual truth (or, so to speak, true by definition) that God is a being than which none greater can be imagined (that is, the greatest possible being that can be imagined).
  2. God exists as an idea in the mind.
  3. A being that exists as an idea in the mind and in reality is, other things being equal, greater than a being that exists only as an idea in the mind.
  4. Thus, if God exists only as an idea in the mind, then we can imagine something that is greater than God (that is, a greatest possible being that does exist).
  5. But we cannot imagine something that is greater than God (for it is a contradiction to suppose that we can imagine a being greater than the greatest possible being that can be imagined.)
  6. Therefore, God exists.
  • Anselm starts out by giving a definition of God as that which nothing greater can be conceived (A). He mocks athiests by stating that even the fool would agree that if a God were to exist, he would be the greatest conceivable being.
  • He then says that because everyone understands this definition of God, God exists in our understanding.
  • He further says that God that exists in reality must be greater than the God that merely exists in our minds. In simple words, I might have a plan to build an amazing rocket in my mind but if I actually make that rocket- the rocket that exists in reality is obviously greater than which I had conceived.
  • Then he supposes that God does not exist in reality, but only in our understanding (S). However, if God were to exist, the God in reality would certainly be greater than the God in understanding.
  • But then we could conceive of something greater (God in reality) than the greatest conceivable being (from A). Since that is a contradiction, the supposition (S) must be false.
  • Therefore, God exists in understanding and in reality i.e God exists.

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A fellow petty teen on the quest to find meaning of things and serving you a part of my life lessons.

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Aarohi Lakhera

A fellow petty teen on the quest to find meaning of things and serving you a part of my life lessons.