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Essay: Does God exist? The ontological argument

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Although it is possible to deny God’s existence without contradiction, to do so is tantamount to misunderstanding the nature of God. If we are to analyse what it means to deny God and say that there is no contradiction in it, we must in doing so appraise and evaluate the ontological argument, which claims the inverse. To say that there is a contradiction in thinking something implies that there is a contradiction in doing so, and by God we are talking about the Western idea of God, that is to say as the most supreme being.

In order to critically evaluate the claim presented, we must ascertain what exactly the ontological argument is and what its key features are which set it apart from other arguments for the existence of God, in particular its non-empirical nature. While the ontological argument has been compelling proposition from St. Anselm of Canterbury, its critics have allowed it to develop into a more watertight argument. From Gaunilo, whose criticisms have shown how important it is to have a clear idea of what sort of God this argument supports, and later thinkers such as from thinkers, both contemporary (like Gaunilo), in the centuries after (Aquinas), and in the modern era (Kant). In response to these criticisms, the ontological argument has changed, especially by Anscombe, and these subtle reforms have made it a watertight argument that means that if one has a true understanding of what God is and entails, one cannot without making a logical contradiction deny His existence.
Unlike many arguments for the existence of God which use empirical methods to prove His existence, the ontological argument proudly refrains from such a posteriori arguments based on empirical evidence, and instead aims to prove God’s existence from the definition alone. At first this seems strange, as this is at odds with our experience of truths and facts in our lives. In any normal circumstances, existential claims don’t follow from conceptual claims. For example, if I want to prove that bachelors, unicorns or viruses exist, one cannot simply reflect on the concepts themselves. If I want to prove the existence of such things, I must go out into the world and conduct some sort of empirical investigation, and likewise if I want to prove that such things do not exit. Thus in general, positive and negative existential claims can be established only by empirical methods.

However, some things within our human fathoming can be proved by definitions alone. To take another example, mathematical and geometrical concepts can exist by their precepts alone, and their properties can be determined by this. It is impossible, for example, to imagine a square circle or a triangle with four sides, so indeed it is impossible to envisage some things which can come about from their definition alone. Although some arguments for the existence of God are based on empirical information, such as the Teleological Argument (a.k.a. the Design Argument), the concept of God as a highest possible being does not require such evidence as a proof.

As it was originally formulated, the ontological argument rests on the following premises:

Premise 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)

Premise 2: God exists as an idea in the mind.

Premise 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.

Premise 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).

Premise 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.)

Conclusion: Therefore, God exists.

Based on these premises, we obtain the following broad ideas which fundamentally underpin the ontological argument. Firstly, as expressed in Premise 2, we have a coherent idea of a being that The first, expressed by Premise 2, is that we have a coherent idea of a being that instantiates all of the perfections. To say things in a different way, Premise 2 asserts that we possess coherent idea of a being that instantiates every property that makes a being greater, other things being equal, than it would have been without that property. Secondly, Premise 3 asserts that existence is a perfection or great-making property. Accordingly, the very concept of a being that instantiates all the perfections implies that it exists. For example, suppose X is a being that instantiates all the perfections and suppose X doesn’t exist (in reality). Since Premise 3 asserts that existence is a perfection, it follows that X lacks a perfection. But this contradicts the assumption that X is a being that instantiates all the perfections. Thus, according to this reasoning, it follows that X exists. While the syllogism of these premises may itself be compelling, the premises made are fundamentally debatable, or at least requiring clarification, and it is from these premises that problems arise from this formulation.

The first criticism to come about is Gaunilo’s criticism, which is fundamentally worried about the idea that Anselm’s argument moves in an unjustifiable manner from the existence of an idea to the existence of a thing that itself corresponds to the idea. As the objection is sometimes put, Anselm simply defines things into existence — and this simply cannot be done, as it raises the risk that things which simply don’t exist can be treated in the same way. To demonstrate this, Gaunilo formulated the following argument in a similar manner to that of Anselm:

Premise 1: It is a conceptual truth that a piland is an island than which none greater can be imagined (that is, the greatest possible island that can be imagined).

Premise 2: A piland exists as an idea in the mind.

Premise 3: A piland that exists as an idea in the mind and in reality is greater than a piland that exists only as an idea in the mind.

Premise 4: Thus, if a piland exists only as an idea in the mind, then we can imagine an island that is greater than a piland (that is, a greatest possible island that does exist).

Premise 5: But we cannot imagine an island that is greater than a piland

Conclusion: Therefore, a piland exists.

Fundamentally, this approach to belief in God is incoherent as it cannot necessarily be applied to the existence of an island. Fundamentally, the qualities that make a great island are not the same ones which admit conceptual maximums. Like with numbers, regardless of how great an island is in a given respect, it is never impossible to envisage another island with even more superior qualities. For example, if an island is great because of the number of trees, it is always possible to imagine an island with at least one more trees, because the quantity of trees on an island does not possess a conceptual maximum. On the other hand, traits such as knowledge, power, and moral goodness, which comprise the concept of a maximally great being, do have intrinsic maximums. For example, to have perfect knowledge requires knowing all and only true propositions; it is a priori impossible to know more than this. In a similar way, perfect power means being able to do everything that it is possible to do; it is conceptually impossible for a being to be able to do more than this. Therefore, while Gaunilo’s counterargument fails at adequately refuting Anselm’s argument, it instead is valuable in that it demonstrates the crucial nature of God’s conceptual maximality.

Although Aquinas agreed with Anselm that God’s existence was self evident, it cannot be merely deduced from claims of God alone, using two different criticisms to demonstrate its flaws. Firstly, approaching Premise 1, “not everyone who hears this word ‘God’ understands it to signify something than which nothing greater can be thought, seeing that some have believed God to be a body”. Since people understand God in different ways, the ontological argument is only functional for those who choose to define God in a particular way. While this argument makes some sense, it only works as far as one defines God to be “a being, than which none greater can be conceived”, which itself is a fairly broad definition, and encapsulates the vast majority of theists. Thus, while this criticism reminds us of the importance of defining God as the Greatest Possible Being, this definition of God is too wide for Aquinas’s first criticism to have any real currency.

However, as Aquinas went on to argue, even if everyone shares the same concept of God as being That Which None Greater Can Be Imagined “it does not therefore follow that he understands what the word signifies exists actually, but only that it exists mentally.” Another way of interpreting this is by thinking of Aquinas rejecting the idea, as Anselm posited in Premise 2, that there is such concept of a “a being than which none greater can be imagined”. After all, although one can rehearse the phrase in one’s mind a thousand times, there is not a sufficient amount of meaning in the words themselves to illustrate what this sequence of words really means. In some ways this is unsurprising; after all, God is unlike any other reality known to us. While we can easily understand concepts of finite things, the concept of an infinitely great being dwarfs finite human understanding. It is possible, without a doubt, to try to associate the phrase “a being than which none greater can be imagined” with more familiar finite concepts, but by definition these selfsame finite concepts are so far from being an adequate description of God as God is not a finite concept , so it is fair to say they don’t help us to get a detailed idea of God.

Still, the success of the ontological argument isn’t dependent on a possession of a complete and utter understanding of the concept of Being than which None Greater Can Be Conceived. For example, while we don’t possess a complete understanding (which itself is an ambiguous term) of the concept of a natural number that which nothing greater can be comceived, we understand it well enough to understand that this number cannot exist. Thus a more complete understanding of the concept of a maximally great being is not required, based on Anselm’s view, to make the argument in question. After all, if the concept itself is coherent, than even a minimal understanding of it is enough to make the argument. Thus, while Aquinas has, in a similar manner to Gaunilo, highlighted the importance of correctly understanding the concepts involved, it doesn’t fundamentally detract from the argument itself.

At the same time, the idea of a being that exists in reality is greater than a being that exists merely in the mind, thus a great-making quality, is also a key premise. After all, it entails two things: firstly, that existence is a property and secondly, that existence makes something better, other things being equal, than it would have done otherwise. Based on these two principles, Kant rejects premise 3 on the ground that, as a purely formal matter, existence does not function as a predicate. As Kant puts the point: “Being is evidently not a real predicate, that is, a conception of something which is added to the conception of some other thing, but is “merely the positing of a thing, or of certain determinations in it”. In a logical sense, it is “merely the copula” of a given judgement. To say as a proposition “God is omnipotent” involves conveying two separate ideas, which have a certain object or content” and thus the word “is” is merely indicative of the relation between the two conceptions.

Now, if one were take the subject (God) with all its predicates (omnipotence being one), and say, God is, or There is a God, new predicate is added to the conception of God. Instead, the existence of the subject is merely posited with all its predicates in relation to a particular conception. Accordingly, what goes wrong with the first version of the ontological argument is that the notion of existence is being treated as the wrong logical type. Concepts, as a logical matter, are defined entirely in terms of logical predicates. Since existence isn’t a logical predicate, it doesn’t belong to the concept of God; it rather affirms that the existence of something that satisfies the predicates defining the concept of God.

Although this choice of criticism is phrased in a somewhat obscure manner in the logic of predicates and copulas, it still makes a metaphysical point which is plausible, namely that existence is not a property (in the same way that redness is the property of an apple). Instead, it is a precondition for the manifestation of properties in the following sense: it is not possible for a non-existent thing to instantiate any properties as there is nothing to which such a property could instantiate itself. Nothing is by definition deficient of properties. Thus, To declare that x instantiates a property P is akin to presupposing that x itself exists. Thus, on this line of reasoning, existence isn’t a great-making property because it is not a property at all; it is rather a condition which is metaphysically necessary in order to have the instantiation of any properties.
At the same time, even if we are to concede that existence is a property, it does not seem to be the sort of property that makes something better for having it. As Norman Malcolm expresses the argument: “The doctrine that existence is a perfection is remarkably queer. It makes sense and is true to say that my future house will be a better one if it is insulated than if it is not insulated; but what could it mean to say that it will be a better house if it exists than if it does not? … One might say, with some intelligibility, that it would be better (for oneself or for mankind) if God exists than if He does not-but that is a different matter.” The idea here is that existence is very different from, say, the property of lovingness. A being that is loving is, other things being equal, better or greater than a being that is not. But it seems very strange to think that a loving being that exists is, other things being equal, better or greater than a loving being that doesn’t exist. But to the extent that existence doesn’t add to the greatness of a thing, Kant’s criticisms mean that classic version of the ontological argument fails.

However, Anselm made two arguments in the proslogion, and the second version of his Ontological argument responds much more convincingly to those issues such as those made by Kant. This is because it refrains from addressing existence as a property of a given thing. Although as before, the argument includes a premise asserting that God is a being than which a greater cannot be conceived this version of the argument it does not rest on the claim that existence per se is a perfection — necessary existence is. Therefore, a being whose existence is necessary is greater than a being whose existence is not necessary.

To put things another way, a being whose non-existence is logically impossible is greater than a being whose non-existence is logically possible. Thus, per ipse, if God exists as an idea in the mind but does not necessarily exist in reality, it is possible for us to conceive of something greater than God. But we cannot imagine something that is greater than God. Thus, if God exists in the mind as an idea, then God necessarily exists in reality. God exists in the mind as an idea. Therefore, God necessarily exists in reality.

This argument is particularly strong for several reasons. Firstly, necessary existence, unlike mere existence, seems clearly to be a property. Notice, for example, that the claim that x necessarily exists entails by virtue of the claim itself a number of other claims that attribute particular properties to x themselves. For example, if x necessarily exists, then its existence does not depend on the existence of any being (unlike contingent human beings whose existence depends, at the very least, on the existence of their parents and so on).

Thus, this seems to entail that x has the reason for its existence in its own nature. However, these latter claims clearly act by attributing particular properties to X. Although the claim that x exists by virtue of the claim place particular properties to x.

While the claim that x exists clearly entails that x has at least one property, this does not help. It is impossible to infer any claims that attribute particular properties to x from either the claim that x exists or the claim that x has at least one property; indeed, the claim that x has at least one property no more expresses a particular property than the claim that x exists. This distinguishes the claim that x exists from the claim that x necessarily exists and hence seems to imply that the latter, and only the latter, expresses a property.

To say that a being necessarily exists is to say that it exists eternally in every logically possible world; such a being is not just, so to speak, indestructible in this world, but indestructible in every logically possible world – and this does seem, at first glance, to be a great-making property. As Malcolm illustrates: “If a housewife has a set of extremely fragile dishes, then as dishes, they are inferior to those of another set like them in all respects except that they are not fragile. Those of the first set are dependent for their continued existence on gentle handling; those of the second set are not. There is a definite connection between the notions of dependency and inferiority, and independence and superiority. To say that something which was dependent on nothing whatever was superior to anything that was dependent on any way upon anything is quite in keeping with the everyday use of the terms superior and greater.” Nevertheless, the matter is not so clear as Malcolm believes. It might be the case that, other things being equal, a set of dishes that is indestructible in this world is greater than a set of dishes that is not indestructible in this world.

But it is very hard to see how this interworld indestructibility adds anything to the greatness of a set of dishes that happens to be indestructible in this world. From our perspective, there is simply nothing to be gained by adding interworld indestructibility to a set of dishes that is actually indestructible. There is simply nothing that a set of dishes that is indestructible in every possible world can do in this world that can’t be done by a set of dishes that is indestructible in this world but not in every other world. And the same seems to be true of God. Suppose that an omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent, eternal (and hence, so to speak, indestructible), personal God exists in this world but not in some other worlds. It is very hard to make sense of the claim that such a God is deficient in some relevant respect. God’s indestructibility in this world means that God exists eternally in all logically possible worlds that resemble this one in certain salient respects. It is simply unclear how existence in these other worlds that bear no resemblance to this one would make God greater and hence more worthy of worship. From our perspective, necessary existence adds nothing in value to eternal existence. If this is correct, then Anselm’s second version of the argument also fails.

Even if, however, we assume that Anselm’s second version of the argument can be defended against such objections, there is a further problem: it isn’t very convincing because it is so difficult to tell whether the argument is sound. Thus, the most important contemporary defender of the argument, Alvin Plantinga, complains “[a]t first sight, Anselm’s argument is remarkably unconvincing if not downright irritating; it looks too much like a parlor puzzle or word magic.” As a result, despite its enduring importance, the ontological argument has brought few people to theism. There have been several attempts to render the persuasive force of the ontological argument more transparent by recasting it using the logical structures of contemporary modal logic.

One influential attempts to ground the ontological argument in the notion of God as an unlimited being. As Malcolm describes this idea: God is usually conceived of as an unlimited being. He is conceived of as a being who could not be limited, that is, as an absolutely unlimited being.… If God is conceived to be an absolutely unlimited being He must be conceived to be unlimited in regard to His existence as well as His operation. In this conception it will not make sense to say that He depends on anything for coming into or continuing in existence. Nor, as Spinoza observed, will it make sense to say that something could prevent Him from existing. Lack of moisture can prevent trees from existing in a certain region of the earth. But it would be contrary to the concept of God as an unlimited being to suppose that anything could prevent Him from existing.

The unlimited character of God, then, entails that his existence is different from ours in this respect: while our existence depends causally on the existence of other beings (e.g., our parents), God’s existence does not depend causally on the existence of any other being. Further, on Malcolm’s view, the existence of an unlimited being is either logically necessary or logically impossible. Here is his argument for this important claim. Either an unlimited being exists at world W or it doesn’t exist at world W; there are no other possibilities. If an unlimited being does not exist in W, then its nonexistence cannot be explained by reference to any causally contingent feature of W; accordingly, there is no contingent feature of W that explains why that being doesn’t exist. Now suppose, per reductio, an unlimited being exists in some other world W’. If so, then it must be some contingent feature f of W’ that explains why that being exists in that world. But this entails that the nonexistence of an unlimited being in W can be explained by the absence of f in W; and this contradicts the claim that its nonexistence in W can’t be explained by reference to any causally contingent feature. Thus, if God doesn’t exist at W, then God doesn’t exist in any logically possible world. A very similar argument can be given for the claim that an unlimited being exists in every logically possible world if it exists in some possible world W; the details are left for the interested reader. Since there are only two possibilities with respect to W and one entails the impossibility of an unlimited being and the other entails the necessity of an unlimited being, it follows that the existence of an unlimited being is either logically necessary or logically impossible.

All that is left, then, to complete Malcolm’s elegant version of the proof is the premise that the existence of an unlimited being is not logically impossible – and this seems plausible enough. The existence of an unlimited being is logically impossible only if the concept of an unlimited being is self-contradictory. Since we have no reason, on Malcolm’s view to think the existence of an unlimited being is self-contradictory, it follows that an unlimited being, i.e., God, exists. Here’s the argument reduced to its basic elements: God is, as a conceptual matter (that is, as a matter of definition) an unlimited being. The existence of an unlimited being is either logically necessary or logically impossible. The existence of an unlimited being is not logically impossible. Therefore, the existence of God is logically necessary.

Notice that Malcolm’s version of the argument does not turn on the claim that necessary existence is a great-making property. Rather, as we saw above, Malcolm attempts to argue that there are only two possibilities with respect to the existence of an unlimited being: either it is necessary or it is impossible. And notice that his argument does not turn in any way on characterising the property necessary existence as making something that instantiates that property better than it would be without it. Thus, Malcolm’s version of the argument is not vulnerable to the criticisms of Anselm’s claim that necessary existence is a perfection.

But while Malcolm’s version of the argument is, moreover, considerably easier to understand than Anselm’s versions, it is also vulnerable to objection. In particular, Premise 2 is not obviously correct. The claim that an unlimited being B exists at some world W clearly entails that B always exists at W (that is, that B’s existence is eternal or everlasting in W), but this doesn’t clearly entail that B necessarily exists (that is, that B exists at every logically possible world). To defend this further claim, one needs to give an argument that the notion of a contingent eternal being is self-contradictory. Similarly, the claim that an unlimited being B does not exist at W clearly entails that B never exists at W (that is, that it is always true in W that B doesn’t exist), but it doesn’t clearly entail that B necessarily doesn’t exist (that is, B exists at no logically possible world or B’s existence is logically impossible. Indeed, there are plenty of beings that will probably never exist in this world that exist in other logically possible worlds, like unicorns. For this reason, Premise 2 of Malcolm’s version is questionable.

Perhaps the most influential of contemporary modal arguments is Plantinga’s version. Plantinga begins by defining two properties, the property of maximal greatness and the property of maximal excellence, as follows: A being is maximally excellent in a world W if and only if it is omnipotent, omniscient, and morally perfect in W; and A being is maximally great in a world W if and only if it is maximally excellent in every possible world. Thus, maximal greatness entails existence in every possible world: since a being that is maximally great at W is omnipotent at every possible world and non-existent beings can’t be omnipotent, it follows that a maximally great being exists in every logically possible world. Accordingly, the trick is to show that a maximally great being exists in some world W because it immediately follows from this claim that such a being exists in every world, including our own.

But notice that the claim that a maximally great being exists in some world is logically equivalent to the claim that the concept of a maximally great being is not self-contradictory; for the only things that don’t exist in any possible world are things that are conceptually defined in terms of contradictory properties. There is no logically possible world in which a square circle exists (given the relevant concepts) because the property of being square is inconsistent with the property of being circular. Since, on Plantinga’s view, the concept of a maximally great being is consistent and hence possibly instantiated, it follows that such a being, i.e., God, exists in every possible world. Here is a schematic representation of the argument:

The concept of a maximally great being is self-consistent.

If 1, then there is at least one logically possible world in which a maximally great being exists.

Therefore, there is at least one logically possible world in which a maximally great being exists.

If a maximally great being exists in one logically possible world, it exists in every logically possible world.

Therefore, a maximally great being (that is, God) exists in every logically possible world.

It is sometimes objected that Plantinga’s Premise 4 is an instance of a controversial general modal principle. The S5 system of modal logic includes an axiom that looks suspiciously similar to Premise 4: AxS5: If A is possible, then it is necessarily true that A is possible. The intuition underlying AxS5 is, as James Sennett puts it, that “all propositions bear their modal status necessarily.” But, according to this line of criticism, Plantinga’s version is unconvincing insofar as it rests on a controversial principle of modal logic. To see that this criticism is unfounded, it suffices to make two observations. First, notice that the following propositions are not logically equivalent: PL4 If “A maximally great being exists” is possible, then “A maximally great being exists” is necessarily true. PL4* If “A maximally great being exists” is possible, then it is necessarily true that “A maximally great being exists” is possible. PL4 is, of course, Plantinga’s Premise 4 slightly reworded, while PL4* is simply a straightforward instance of AxS5. While PL4 implies PL4* (since if A is true at every world, it is possible at every world), PL4* doesn’t imply PL4; for PL4 clearly makes a much stronger claim than PL4*. Second, notice that the argument for Premise 4 does not make any reference to the claim that all propositions bear their modal status necessarily. Plantinga simply builds necessary existence into the very notion of maximal greatness. Since, by definition, a being that is maximally great at W is omnipotent at every possible world and a being that does not exist at some world W’ cannot be omnipotent at W’, it straightforwardly follows, without the help of anything like the controversial S5 axiom, that a maximally great being exists in every logically possible world. Indeed, it is for this very reason that Plantinga avoids the objection to Malcolm’s argument that was considered above. Since the notion of maximal greatness, in contrast to the notion of an unlimited being as Malcolm defines it, is conceived in terms that straightforwardly entail existence in every logically possible world (and hence eternal existence in every logically possible world), there are no worries about whether maximal greatness, in contrast to unlimitedness, entails something stronger than eternal existence.

As is readily evident, each version of the ontological argument rests on the assumption that the concept of God, as it is described in the argument, is self-consistent. Both versions of Anselm’s argument rely on the claim that the idea of God (that is, a being than which none greater can be conceived) “exists as an idea in the understanding.” Similarly, Plantinga’s version relies on the more transparent claim that the concept of maximal greatness is self-consistent. But many philosophers are skeptical about the underlying assumption, as Leibniz describes it, “that this idea of the all-great or all-perfect being is possible and implies no contradiction.” Here is the problem as C.D. Broad expresses it: Let us suppose, e.g., that there were just three positive properties X, Y, and Z; that any two of them are compatible with each other; but that the presence of any two excludes the remaining one. Then there would be three possible beings, namely, one which combines X and Y, one which combines Y and Z, and one which combines Z and X, each of which would be such that nothing … superior to it is logically possible. For the only kind of being which would be … superior to any of these would be one which had all three properties, X, Y, and Z; and, by hypothesis, this combination is logically impossible.… It is now plain that, unless all positive properties be compatible with each other, this phrase [i.e., “a being than which none greater can be imagined”] is just meaningless verbiage like the phrase “the greatest possible integer.” Thus, if there are two great-making characteristics essential to the classically theistic notion of an all-perfect God that are logically incompatible, it follows that this notion is incoherent. Here it is important to note that all versions of the ontological argument assume that God is simultaneously omnipotent, omniscient, and morally perfect. As we have seen, Plantinga expressly defines maximal excellence in such terms. Though Anselm doesn’t expressly address the issue, it is clear (1) that he is attempting to show the existence of the God of classical theism; and (2) that the great-making properties include those of omnipotence, omniscience, and moral perfection. There are a number of plausible arguments for thinking that even this restricted set of properties is logically inconsistent. For example, moral perfection is thought to entail being both perfectly merciful and perfectly just. But these two properties seem to contradict each other. To be perfectly just is always to give every person exactly what she deserves. But to be perfectly merciful is to give at least some persons less punishment than they deserve. If so, then a being cannot be perfectly just and perfectly merciful. Thus, if moral perfection entails, as seems reasonable, being perfectly just and merciful, then the concept of moral perfection is inconsistent. The problem of divine foreknowledge can also be seen as denying that omniscience, omnipotence, and moral perfection constitute a coherent set. Roughly put, the problem of divine foreknowledge is as follows. If God is omniscient, then God knows what every person will do at every moment t. To say that a person p has free will is to say that there is at least one moment t at which p does A but could have done other than A. But if a person p who does A at t has the ability to do other than A at t, then it follows that p has the ability to bring it about that an omniscient God has a false belief – and this is clearly impossible. On this line of analysis, then, it follows that it is logically impossible for a being to simultaneously instantiate omniscience and omnipotence. Omnipotence entails the power to create free beings, but omniscience rules out the possibility that such beings exist. Thus, a being that is omniscient lacks the ability to create free beings and is hence not omnipotent. Conversely, a being that is omnipotent has the power to create free beings and hence does not know what such beings would do if they existed. Thus, the argument concludes that omniscience and omnipotence are logically incompatible. If this is correct, then all versions of the ontological argument fail.

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