What is Ontological Proof? Ontological Evidence of God’s ExistenceJune 29, 2021
This is also called ontological proof. It was used for the first time by St. Anselmus (1033-1109).
God here is “absolutely perfect being”. Its presence is mandatory. It is a being that cannot be conceived more perfect than itself.
In this case, the most perfect subject of thought is God. It is called ontological proof because the existence of God is proved by His existence. Its existence is essential in thought, it is logically impossible to ignore it even for a moment. Because to think that God does not exist means to say that he is not the most perfect being, which means that the quality of existence is diminished.
It is unthinkable for a deficient being to be God. Existing things outside of it also gain “existence” by participating in it and taking a share from it. God is absolute being, absolute good.
It is Plato’s idea; that is, he tried to prove the existence of God based on conceptual realism, which regards universal concepts as real existence. This is natural; because to know is to think. Truth is also known by being proved. In this sense, knowledge is truthfulness.
The Ontological Argument differs greatly from both of the aforementioned arguments for the existence of God in that it does not rely on evidence in any way. As you mentioned before, the Design Argument is based on evidence regarding the nature of the world, objects and living things; The First Cause Argument needs less evidence compared to the Design Argument; it is based solely on the observation that some things exist rather than nothing. Whereas, the Ontological Argument is an attempt to show that the necessity of God’s existence is precisely because the definition of God means the supreme being. This inference is also known as an a priori argument because it is prior to experience. According to the definition of the Ontological Argument, God is the most perfect being imaginable, or, as in the famous formulation of the argument by St Anselmus (1033-1109), “the being from which nothing greater can be grasped.”
One of the aspects of God’s perfection or greatness is his existence. A perfect being certainly cannot be perfect if it does not exist. After all, it is assumed that the conclusion that God exists is necessarily present in the definition of God, just as the sum of the interior angles is 180 degrees by definition of the triangle.
This argument, used by many philosophers, including Rene Descartes (1596-1650) to the fifth of the Meditations, has convinced very few of the existence of God; however, it is not easy to see exactly what is wrong with this argument.
R. Descartes explains this proof in his Meditations:
I have in my mind the idea of God as the supremely perfect being. A being that is deprived of one of the qualities of perfection cannot be the supreme perfect being. So it would be contradictory to think that God, that is, the supremely mature being, is deprived of the qualities of perfection.
Presence is a competency attribute. To be deprived of being, then, is to be deprived of competence. It would be contradictory to say that God, the most perfect being, would be deprived of existence. The existence of God, then, is an integral part of the concept of God.
After all, God truly exists.
This proof of Descartes is based on the following proof, which must be placed before all items: If it is seen clearly and distinctly that A logically includes B, it is understood that A actually includes B.
Accordingly, Descartes begins with the concept of the perfect being, and then proposes the “necessity of its existence” for such a being; that is, in a way, it introduces the “necessary being” as the middle term and finally moves from concept to reality. So, according to Descartes, God seals the idea of ”perfect being” into the soul of every human being he created.
On the other hand, Spinoza gives place to ontological proof in his work called Morality. According to him, having an idea about God is like trying to perceive a substance. Being belongs to the meaning of the ore. Therefore, God is a necessary substance.
According to Leibniz, the attributes of power, knowledge and will constitute consistency with the concept of being. There can be no limitations that would make God inconsistent with himself, that is, that would force His knowledge, power, and will. The idea of God, then, is logically sound and coherent. From here, we come to a non-contradictory conclusion such as “God necessarily exists”.
When we look at the Islamic philosopher Farabi, we see that he uses this evidence to prove the existence of God by dividing existence into two as “wajib” and “possible”. God, whose existence is necessary (that is, vacibu’l wujud), is the first cause. Since it does not derive its existence from another entity, it cannot be denied. The perfect God is pure thought (mind-intellectus), pure thinker (wise, intellegens) and pure thought (reasonable, intellectum). Having these qualities sets him apart from everything else.
Ontological proof, that is, ontology defended by Classical Philosophers.