What’s Next? See all videos below In previous videos, I have been talking that I wanted to do some videos on apologetic arguments. Until now, I have chosen different topics each time. Topics that some of you suggested and also topics suggested by my own family. The latest suggestion was that of the impact of […]
Apologeet.nlArgument from the Origin of the Idea of God Made simple
This argument is closely related to the ontological argument. It starts from the idea of God. However, unlike the ontological argument, it does not say that real being is part of the content of that idea. Nope, it tries to demonstrate that only God Himself could have make this idea to develop in our thoughts.
It was René Descartes (1596-1650) who came up with this argument. You know how it is with smart people! They write long essays in which they explain their ideas. Combine such an essay with difficult words, and you end up totally confused. So, to save time, I’ll use a very short sum-up of this argument.
- Ideas arise from either causes outside of us or arise from inside us.
- God definitely exists as an idea.
- The idea of god could not have arisen from inside us because we are not perfect, and no effect can be greater than its cause.
- Therefore, the idea of god must have come from outside of us.
- Only god is perfect, and therefore God only has the qualities to cause an idea of god.
- Therefore, God must have caused the idea of God, and therefore God must exist.
Any objections? Of course! Many will try to debunk an argument like this. One such attempt goes as follows: The concept or idea of God can easily arise in another way. For example, humans find levels of perfection among finite beings—the one being is more perfect than the other. Knowing this, humans just started to fantasise about this idea. It became bigger and better, bigger and better, and eventually this being became infinitely big. You see? There is no need for a real God to give an answer to this argument. All you need is some creativity and an intelligent mind to think this idea through and come to this concept that exceeds the limitations of humans.
But now I’ve got a question. How can humans reason away limits or imperfection unless humans first recognise it as limited or imperfect? And how can we, as humans, discern it as such unless we already have some belief of infinite perfection? To distinguish things as imperfect or finite, we need to have a criterion in our mind that makes the recognition possible.
Do I say that all humans constantly think about the concept of God? No, but interestingly enough, when I look at children they all seem to grasp the idea of an all-powerful God. Somewhere down the line, all humans think about this concept… Well, to avoid the fallacy(argumentum ad populum) I should say: many humans. Thinking about the concept of God requires a standard. The standard must be there in order for us to use it. But how did we get this standard? Certainly not from our own behaviour, and definitely not from people around us, and I would say that the world in general doesn’t contribute much as well. We can only say that the things we see and the things we, as humans, do, are imperfect because infinite perfection is already supposed beforehand in our thinking. Therefore, none of us can be the beginning of the idea of God; only God himself can be that.
Well, that was a nice and short argument, wasn’t it? I guess it is a real open invitation to criticise the argument, I think I would try to do that if I didn’t believe in God! This argument is just too short and too good to be true. Let me know what you think. Mind you! Because of our lousy internet speeds here in the countryside of Madagascar, I am not able to respond quickly. Quite often I leave the responding over to other viewers.
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As always, thank you for watching, God bless you, and we see each other in the next video!
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