Descartes Belief in God Essay

1503 WordsSep 30, 20087 Pages
Descartes and God In his groundbreaking work, Meditations on First Philosophy, the French philosopher Rene Descartes lays the groundwork for many philosophical principles by attempting to “establish a bold and lasting knowledge” (171)1. The foundations for knowledge Descartes established would go on to influence a plethora of other philosophers and philosophical works. Descartes argues in his meditations first from the point of view of complete skepticism, using skepticism as a tool in order to discover what is real. Through this method, Descartes explains the existence of man as a “thinking thing,” the capacity for human error, the overall trustworthiness of our senses, the existence of a physical world, the mind and body as separate…show more content…
Descartes first uses a scientific cause-and-effect principle to claim that his clear idea of God is proof of God’s existence. Descartes claims that the “light of nature has reveled that there is at least as much in a complete efficient cause as in its effect” (178). By using this principle, Descartes claims that since his clear perception of God is a supremely perfect being, and since there is as much reality in his idea of God as in its cause, then God must exist as the only being with as much reality as his idea of God. Since Descartes has just proven God is the pinnacle of complete perfection and “deception always contain(s) imperfection,” then God cannot be an evil deceiver as Descartes earlier hypothesized (183). Descartes also delves into how the idea of God must come from God himself. Since God cannot be “taken in through senses,” and since Descartes himself didn’t create the idea of God, Descartes claims that the idea of God must be “innate…like my idea of myself” (182). Descartes uses this argument to claim that God “put this idea into me…like a craftsman’s mark on his work” (182). Descartes now sees himself and mankind created in God’s own image, and since he has proven God is perfect, God wouldn’t have created man specifically deceive them or to give them the capacity to err. According to this premise, Descartes infers that our senses aren’t made to err and will deliver truths when used correctly. Descartes deduces man’s ability to err stems from
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