The Deceiving Power Of God Essay

1176 words - 5 pages

In Meditations III, one of the six meditations in his book Meditation, Objections, and Replies, René Descartes acknowledges the existence of God. Descartes says, “Indeed I have no choice but to conclude that the mere fact of my existing and of there being in me an idea of a most perfect being, that is, God, demonstrates most evidently that God too exists.”(28) Descartes believes that he did not come into existence by himself, but some higher being, God, had to be in existence already and had to create Descartes. I agree with Descartes’s reasoning of God’s existence. But then as Descartes continues his ideas into the fourth meditation, he begins to discuss how God is a perfect being. Descartes says, “To begin with, I acknowledge that it is impossible for God ever to deceive me, for trickery or deception are always indicative of some imperfection.”(30) Deception is seen as an imperfection. And since God is a perfect being, deception is not a part of Him. This is where I do not agree with Descartes’ knowledge and reason. I believe that God does have the power of deception and that God uses it. In this paper I will argue that God is not the perfect being that Descartes argues He is since there are instances in which God displays His deceitful tendencies. I will provide two examples of how God is deceptive. Descartes, however has made certain points in his meditation that he feels like strengthens his ideas of God not being a deceiver. Keeping his ideas in mind, I will discuss a possible way in which Descartes would reply to my objection against his ideas.
The first argument I will make concerns the way God has deceived people into doing things He wants them to do. Descartes states “Accord-ingly, deception is incompatible with God.”(30) Descartes is saying that deception has nothing to do with God. I find this implausible because there are many instances in which God utilizes deception. For example in the Christian Bible in Genesis chapter 22, verses 1-19, there is the story of Abraham and Isaac. To show Abraham’s loyalty to him, God told Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac as a burnt offering. Abraham was going to do what God has told him. However, at the last moment, God stops Abraham before he goes through with the killing. Descartes says that deception is a sign of weakness and maliciousness, but does God not deceive Abraham? It seems that God is manipulating Abraham to see if Abraham has what it takes to follow him. Perhaps God uses deception as a way to get what he wants. Also, since deception is a sign of weakness, then does that not make God weak for wanting to deceive Abraham? Descartes’s argument would still be valid if he would have said that the story should have been taken figuratively rather than literally. Also, if Descartes would have established in his argument that the God he is talking about is not the God of the Christian Bible, then his argument would have been sensible.
My second argument is that if God has complete and...

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