The God Conceived Essay

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In faith one has a belief of which usually is based on the uncertainty of that belief. As in the outcome of a sports game, the outcome is uncertain. One doesn’t know whether their favorite team will win or lose, but he/she has the faith that they will. So it is with the existence of God as well. Anselm’s Proslogion though does not stop at belief with uncertainty, it seeks to understand and comprehend God. This is the most puzzling to me, that one can have understanding in an uncertain belief, in faith, the prerequisite of which is founded on having an uncertain and unverifiable belief. This problem becomes greater when considering that the belief is on the existence of God. However, Anselm has thus fixed this with the presupposition that God is conceivable. This is certainly the problem that puzzled me throughout the reading. Why make God conceivable? If God is conceivable, what faith does Anselm have if he has proven God’s existence through his conceivability?
As a consequence for the ontological argument, God has to be conceivable in order for it to be valid. It is this conceivability that compels the question of how Anselm got to this premise, how “of a truth we believe that Thou art somewhat than which no greater can be conceived” (3)? Anselm gives two “senses in which something may be understood to be conceived,” one being the “conception of something” and the other being “what the thing really is” (5). From what I understood, the former is a conception of a thing that may or may not exist, that exists in the mind as an understanding of the conception, but not of the thing itself in reality. The latter I understood as the understanding of something in the mind as it really is, in actuality. This difference in conceivability does not help, however. For Anselm assumes that God is the latter, that he has understood God as He really is and not in conception. But if this is true, why still try to seek “God’s face” (1), why entreat God to “turn and took upon us…hearken unto us, enlighten us, show us Thyself” (2). The meaning is lost and confused if one can conceive God as He really is in existence and yet be able to “know not Thy form” (1).
The problem lies in the connection that Anselm makes by asserting that God is that of which nothing greater can be conceived. For the conceiving that God is a thing that nothing greater can be conceived is a conception of God, not an understating of God as He really is. The structure of the argument then follows from then by a reasoning that this conception of God, if true, would have to exist in reality in order to be true, for something that is in conception only and not in reality is not greater. But Anselm fails to take into account that this is only true since he first makes the connection that God is nothing greater which can be conceived, which is just a conception itself. Anselm does not know whether God is in reality nothing greater that can be conceived, it is just assumed. And still we are left...

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