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Arguments have been propounded on whether God exists in reality or merely in the human mind. The two major schools of thought are: belief in the existence of God and the belief that the universe just happened. Within these two schools, again, justifications differ. This work argues in favour of the existence of God, borrowing a lot from the arguments of St Anselm.
In debating the existence of God, St Anselm has borrowed a lot from the bible and from nature as well. He has given examples of the natural events and logical arguments all in support of the idea of the existence of God (Berkhof 36).
Arguments for the belief in God
To begin with, St Anselm argues that God’s existence is a reality in the human understanding. The existence of this idea in the human mind, according to this argument, means that there is such a possibility. If there were no such a possibility, then even the thought would not be existing (Berkhof 45).
A different look at the idea revolves around the possibility of God’s existence. Since the arguments for the existence bears no fundamental contradictions, and therefore a logical possibility, then God might be existing in reality. Contradictions in philosophy come about when logical flow lacks in an argument.
For instance, a phenomena existing and not existing at the same time, results into fallacious arguments. The concept of God is free from any form internal contradictions, because by the mere mention one gets an idea of what is meant, the idea of an omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent Being (Berkhof 47).
A further argument for the existence of God is derive from a point of an already belief in the existence of God. St Anselm argues that the idea of the existence of God is acceptable. This being the case therefore, that God exists in our minds, and that humanity acknowledges that God is greater that humanity, then God must be existing in reality.
Whatever exists exclusively in our understanding should be, logically, greater than whatever exists merely in the spirit, that is, in the minds. The existence of God is justified in the sense that existence in the mind as a concept limits the idea of God already in the minds of people (Berkhof 49).
Arguments against the belief in God
If God were to exist in our mind and not in reality, then the many attributes given to him would be baseless. More so, it would be less convincing in theoretical terms, and even prayers made in God’s name would not be as emotional. Therefore, the thinking that God exists in spirit can only be strengthened by an imagination of a physical God, and thus the real nature of God’s existence.
Should this argument be adopted, then it follows automatically that God exists and that he is greater than humanity. Supposing that the existence of God was considered in light of the argument that God exists in the mind but not in the physical world, then it would mean that God is a Being, above whom there is another being. In logical sense, this argument is a contradiction, standing contrary to the belief that God is omnipotent (Toner 103).
It is also possible that there has to be a moving mover, a Being greater than all other beings, a Being that made all others in to motion. According to St Thomas of Aquinas, to end the long causality chain, there has to be an end, and this end, the Prime Mover, is God. Alongside this argument is an argument that there is always an efficient cause.
A phenomenon cannot by any understanding be its own efficient cause. To put this argument of an efficient cause to rest, St Thomas of Aquinas suggests the existence of God, the beginning of everything there is in the universe (Toner 104).
The concept of possibility and necessity as argued by St Thomas is yet another way of arguing the case. Every thing that exists must have of necessity, a source. In other words, everything possible must, be necessity, have a cause, as nothing can cause itself. Only God caused himself, and all other things are traced back to God. God is the Being that does not need another pre-existing phenomenon to come to existence (Toner 107).
The existence of God is further justified by a design-based argument. That nature is well planned and well balanced, that things happen in routine basis, which would have otherwise been impossible were it not that there is a greater Being who orders the universe. There are many things that lack intelligence, but act intelligently. This means that all these have a force behind them, and the force is arguably God (Berkhof 67).
The above arguments lead to a conclusion that God exists, and that he is the all powerful God, the author and finisher of all under and above the sun. Therefore, God does not only exist in the mind, but also in reality.
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Berkhof, L. “Systematic Theology.” Grand Rapids (1939). Print.
Toner, Patrick. “The Existence of God.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 6 (1909). print.