Despite the many philosophical arguments that have been put across by philosophers on the subject, the idea of God and the existence of a supreme being or beings has been at the hearts of most human beings. God can arguably be defined as a higher being towards which man has some degree of reverence and upon which he (man) looks to provide solutions regarding his spiritual and physical life. Essentially, God is a being that is greater than any aspect that can be conceived. In his philosophical argument, Descartes puts forth an argument about the existence of God. Descartes’ arguments in his early editions of meditation point people to a God who exists in a simplistic sense and whose image and spirit exist in all mankind (Brink 11). One gets a clear understanding of Descartes perception about the existence of God by linking his arguments throughout his philosophical series on the same. After a critical look at Descartes’ Meditation V, Principles of Philosophy and his Theory of Ideas and evaluated his prior arguments about the essence of material things, I strongly believe that Descartes believed in God. Fundamentally, Descartes has a strong belief in people and their ability to discover God on their own.
Descartes’ theory of innate ideas and his doctrine of clear and distinct perception forms the basis from which to view God. Descartes believes that God should not be defined arbitrary but should rather be viewed from basic and fundamental ideas. Perfection is only achieved through a perfect being, as God is. He relies on religious scriptures to posit that it is the responsibility of man to seek and discover God. Based on intuition and self-evaluation, Descartes argues that innate ideas should help man to ask questions about their origin (Brink 13). He suggests that nothing comes from nothing. The philosopher puts forth the suggestion that for something to exist, a different thing should and must have created it. It is impossible to have random things without an explanation of their origin and creator. Mary-Ann Crumplin advances that such sentiments by Descartes give an insight about his belief in God for it borrows from the key propositions of most religions (17). The Christians, for instance, believe in God who created and controlled the entire universe. The Christian Bible states that God created everything through the other being (Jesus) who is part of the Trinity and without Him nothing was and could have been made that was made. By suggesting that nothing exists by chance, Descartes helps us appreciate that there exists a higher being that controls things and hence we can conclude that he believed in God. Descartes argues that there exists a hierarchy of beings that have different powers and capabilities. He attaches a special tag to God whom he says is the only perfect being. He thinks of angels as having clean spirits but is not perfect. Material bodies are totally imperfect while human beings exhibit a combination of both material bodies and the spirit (Francks par. 6). By merely ranking beings in that order, Descartes suggests that he believes in the existence of a supreme being who is God who presides over the other imperfect beings. Christians view God as a perfect God who is holy and who desires His creation to try and achieve His levels of holiness.
The Christian God essentially hates sin and distances Himself from creation that engages in sinful behavior. Descartes demonstrates that since a perfect God created a human, then this should make a perfect human being as God. In the subsequent arguments, Descartes tries to explain or seek proof for the philosophical existence of God. He builds his discussion around the simple logic that when critically examined, shows his judgment of self and his imperfection. He, however, along the way ultimately finds perfection in God. He posits that, based on evidence, by evidence, Descartes is an imperfect being that seeks and exhibits an objective reality. The very idea that perfection exists is in itself an objective reality. With such thinking, it is possible to conclude that Descartes holds a solid idea about the existence of a perfect being who is God. Philosophically, Descartes reconciles with the fact that he is less formally real as compared to the objective reality of perfection. From his thinking processes alone, it is safe to conclude that Descartes believed in the existence of a perfect being who exists formally (Discourse 40). It is from this perfect being that Descartes obtains his innate ideas of a perfect being that guides the universe. Human beings have always felt insufficient and hence would look for ways of altering their states and conditions. Descartes had the option to defend his imperfection by pointing at other likely causative factors, say genetics and or societal structures (Crumplin 18-20). He, however, chose to draw our attention to a higher being whom he thinks authors everything, including his (Descartes), own thoughts about Him (God).
If I can still think, then I exist. He asks himself, but what kind of a thing am I? I am a thinking thing (Meditation 27). One fundamental principle that defines God is the ability for the deity to provide and sustain its creation. Descartes puts forth a simple yet complex question; who sustains him? In the absence of God, Descartes would have argued that he was able and indeed sustained himself. He would thus, in this regard, owe every gratitude and adoration to his person. This is however not the case for he sees himself as being imperfect and therefore not able to sustain himself for long. There is the need for someone perfect to sustain him. Since he is not a perfect being, it is highly unlikely that he would have been able to bear his own existence. The responsibility to create, mold and help Descartes to achieve certain feat in life has to be left in the hands of a perfect being who knows exactly what Descartes needed. The fundamental argument by Descartes helps unravel a number of mysteries that surround human existence. Descartes believes that since man exists and has the ability to conceive ideas, something bigger must have created him (since based on his argument, nothing can be born from nothing). He argues that since man exists as an imperfect being, there has to be something that exhibits a more formal reality as opposed to the abstract realities of man and his thinking process.
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