Descartes’ Belief in God
The Existence of God Through Meditation Philosophies
Rene Descartes’ desire to establish a concrete foundation of science and nature led to the argument on whether God exist. However, debates on this topic provoked much interest and criticism from religion advocates who seemed to think that he became crazy, and therefore should be avoided. In order to satisfy his desire for the pursuit of knowledge and unshakable proofs of such points as God’s existence, he introduced certain meditations strengthened by some assertions. For example, he admits that there are certain things outside the mathematical and theoretical basis; hence, one’s logic will only lead to certainty. Some of these things include God’s presence (Descartes, Smith, and Latham). Before proving the existence of God through meditation philosophies, Rene Descartes reminds the believers that they must approach his argument with an open mind, and therefore, he should not be seen to attack only the conclusions.
To begin with, Rene Descartes says that he will be seen as a madman if he will doubt that he has a body. Secondly, he admits that he has ears, eyes, legs, arms and other organs and parts of the body that exist, and must have been created by supernatural powers. Therefore there is an assertion that God, being such supernatural power, does exist. Rene reveals that he trusts his perception of such self-evident facts as simple shapes and numbers. He believes that a supernatural power manifested itself through creation of our bodies, the earth and other material things. Still, Rene Descartes admits that he cannot be sure of whether the supernatural being is God, suggesting that He might be playing some tricks on him. However, because the supernatural being is good (just like God), then it cannot deceive him. To prove God’s existence, Rene Descartes assumes that a malignant demon is trying to trick him through the physical world (Descartes, Smith, and Latham). Therefore, he doubts everything that comes across him, and in the process, he decides to prove that God is a supernatural force that created the physical world.
The existence of God was proved through meditation III which argues that perceptions and imaginations exist within our minds. A human being’s mind is full of perceptions and thoughts, for instance, the thought about God’s existence. In the process of thinking, Descartes expands his argument for the existence of God from the discourse. He therefore examines his mind to see whether it can reveal anything on God’s presence. He comes to a conclusion that the supernatural forces responsible for world’s creation must be infinite, perfect and highly powerful because no finite being can dream of being an infinite one. Therefore, the idea of infinite must come before the finite. This means that human beings came after a supernatural being that created our bodies and the physical world (Descartes, Smith, and Latham).
Meditation IV was entirely dedicated to the nature and origin of truth and errors. Descartes reasons that the knowledge of God’s existence drives us to knowledge of other things, such as our bodies. Given that God is perfect, it is highly impossible for God to deceive Rene Descartes because deceiving is a sign of imperfection which God does not possess. At the same time, he admits that he himself is capable of making errors, and therefore, it is essential to examine the nature of such capability. He eventually concludes that God must have created him and he must be wrong to criticize God. He admits that God knows his imperfection, and therefore thanks him for everything that has happened throughout his life. Moreover, he assumes that his propensity to commit errors and ignorance of God’s knowledge makes him and other human beings fail in daily life.
After doubting his own existence and that of the supernatural force, Rene Descartes comes to a conclusion that God exists. He suggests that there are things outside the logic and mathematical equations that all of us know with a hundred percent certainty, and also there are things which can be inferred by people with high level of certitude. This answer was one of the new versions that formed part of the ontological arguments for the existence of God. Descartes proves that without a doubt, human beings are perishable, imperfect, finite, mortal and have a mind for reasoning. For that reason, there must be an in finite, immortal and perfect unknown being that created the imperfect one and implanted them in the world. This perfect, immortal and supernatural being must be God, which proves God’s existence.
The argument is highly convincing because Rene first doubted his own existence before realizing that indeed there exists a supernatural, perfect and immortal being. He eventually trusts his own perception that God really exists because an imperfect and mortal being must have been created and placed on earth by somebody very powerful. Given that all human beings are equal and cannot create each other from the scratch but through procreation, then there should exist an immortal being, and that is God.
The meditation V and VI reveals that Descartes believes that God exists and that He has given him the capacity to learn the truth about corporeal things and other intellectual-based activities. He admits that his failure to accept what the nature offered him can be attributed to the fact that he failed to accept that God provides the senses, and therefore, He helps human beings to acquire knowledge. He admits that God cannot allow evil demons to have him deceived. This argument comes after he discovers that God exists and He created human beings. Rene Descartes maintains that the proof of God’s existence cannot be downplayed since individuals have clear and distinct perceptions. Moreover, he eventually arrives at an idea that God cannot cheat us on material things given that he is always trustworthy and good.
After Descartes drew such conclusion, most of the spiritual world and especially the conservative Catholics took a negative attitude to all his mediations. He had to restructure them and especially the third meditation dealing with God’s existence.
In conclusion, Rene Descartes had to rely on the method of doubt to begin the proof somewhere. He had to remain skeptical, so that he can adequately doubt some of the truths, such as whether God existed. Rene Descartes started that by doubting the presence of knowledge, which he though gained from the modern sciences. Later, he doubted the information derived through senses before questioning his own existence. Then, he decided to prove whether God exists. The eventual answer reveals that God exists, and therefore, Rene himself is a human being. The clear and distinct perception proves that God exist, and therefore, no mistake was made to conclude that.