The existence of God has always been controversial. There are those who believe and those who do not. Philosopher Rene Descartes did not believe in God’s existence until he dove into his own mind. After his revelation, Descartes discussed his proofs to God’s existence in his writing. He also discusses why humans are not perfect and make mistakes. Ultimately, he came to the realization that whether one does or does not believe in God, he still exists. Descartes’ reasonings can convince people that God exists and explain human imperfections.
Descartes explained two proofs to God’s existence. In the first proof, Descartes knows that he is imperfect. However, he still thinks about the idea of perfection. He questions how that can be. Ultimately, he concludes that the only way to know of perfection while being imperfect is for a perfect being to exist. That perfect being would be the one able to put the idea of perfection into imperfect minds.
Descartes believes the only perfect being who could put the idea of perfection in our minds is God. Which would mean that God’s existence is real. In the second proof, Descartes questions how he himself came to be. He begins by thinking he created himself, but then rejects this because he would have made himself a perfect being with a perfect life. Then, he thinks his parents created him, but then asks himself who created them and realizes they are imperfect too. He comes to the realization that he is no perfect being and only a perfect being can create someone. Thus, there must be a perfect being that created him which could only be God.
Descartes’ two proofs are different from each other. The first proof explains what Descartes’ already knows. It is the knowledge that humans are imperfect. He knows he is an imperfect and he understands the idea of perfection. He understands that there is a perfect being and that it is God. In the second proof, he does not have knowledge of his creation. The second part is trying to understand that a perfect being, God, is what made imperfect beings, humans. To me, both proofs are equally convincing.
In Descartes writing, specifically meditation four, he also explains why humans, as finite beings, make mistakes. He explains that God created humans with senses to understand and the ability of free will. Understanding is only seeing or perceiving, but not having full knowledge. Having free will is being able to decide what one does in response to understanding. It is explained that mistakes happen when our understanding is not backed up by clear and distinct ideas, or enough knowledge.
At a certain point Descartes questions if God is responsible for his mistakes, but then realizes he is not. According to Descartes, “the scope of the will is wider than that of the intellect; but instead of restricting it within the same limits, I extend its use to matters which I do not understand. Since the will is indifferent in such cases, it easily turns aside from what is true and good, and this is the source of my error and sin” (Descartes and Cottingham 40). We are not perfect which means there is no way to know everything, so we do not use our will correctly.
If we did use it correctly, we would only take actions when we have enough knowledge. Descartes also discusses how we are finite, and God is infinite. A finite being will never be able to have full knowledge like an infinite being. Descartes also questions why we were not given more knowledge to our will. However, he concludes as a finite being, we will never be able to understand the actions of an infinite being. He explains that errors or mistakes are what makes us finite. Also, he concludes that God made the world perfect at large and that all our individual mistakes make the world perfect in the big picture.
Descartes’ proof to me are convincing. I say they are convincing because as I read the meditations, I began to think about what Descartes was saying and it made sense to me. I do agree with God creating humans. In the first proof, he says we have this idea of perfection, but we are not it. I agree with his reasoning that perfection was placed into our minds by God. We can say we were taught what the meaning of perfection meant by a dictionary, but then who was the first person to come up with that meaning? How did they come up with that meaning?
It came out of their mind. It had to start from the mind, so who else to put it there other than the perfect being? The perfect being is God and if put that in the mind he must exist. Regarding the second proof, I myself have thought if God did not create us then who? I know scientifically some say we derived from monkeys, but then who made the monkeys? The only thing that makes sense is that a higher being created all living things. God created all living things. So, yes, I think Descartes’ arguments are convincing.
While some still doubt God’s existence, there are some that do not. It is possible that Descartes’ influenced some into believing. Even though Descartes believed God was deceiver in the beginning, he dove into his mind and realized that was not the case. Through his thoughts he also figured out why we make mistakes and how it makes us perfect as a world. He concluded that whether one believes, or does not believe in God, he still exists.