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Armchair Proof For Existence Of God

October 21, 2014 by Prayson Daniel

Does a being that is God1 exist? Before we can disagree on whether or not a being that is God
exists, we need to agree on what a being that is God is. There cannot be any disagreement unless
there is an agreement on what is that is disputed.
What is a being that is God? A being that is God is a being that there could not be other than that
which nothing greater nor equal could be conceived2. Such a being, if exists, must exhibit maximal
perfection. Therefore, a being that is God, borrowing Alvin Plantingas insightful words, is a being
having an unsurpassable degree of greatnessthat is, having a degree of greatness such that its
not possible that there exist a being having more. (Plantinga 2002: 102 emp. removed).
My first premise in my attempt to answer the dispute of whether or not a being that is God exists, is
thus:
(1) If a being-that-is-God exists then that being-that-is-God could not be other than that which
nothing greater (or equal) could be conceived.
Anselm of Canterbury (10331109) argued that, if there was such a being then it is absurd to hold
that such a being exists in our thoughts alone but not also in reality. According to Anselm, both
atheists and theists can agree with (1) (Anselm 2009). Atheists would argue that such a being exists
in our minds alone. Theists, however, would argue that such a being exists both in our minds and in
reality.
Does a being that is God exist in our minds alone or both in our minds and in reality? It is
metaphysically impossible for a being that which nothing greater could be conceived to exist in our
minds alone. A being that exists only in our minds has causal power only in our mind while the
being that exists both in our minds and in reality has causal power both in our minds and beyond. A
being that which nothing greater could be conceived that has causal power both in our minds and
beyond is greater than a being that which nothing greater could be conceived that has cause power
in our minds alone. But there cannot be a being that is greater than that which nothing greater could
be conceived. Therefore, a being that which nothing greater could be conceived must exist both in
our minds and in reality.
Further more, a being that which nothing greater could be conceived must not only exist both in our
minds and in reality, but must also exist necessarily in all possible states of affairs. A being that

which nothing greater could be conceived cannot be a being that is metaphysically possible for it to
fail to exist, namely contingent being. Otherwise, caeteris paribus, a being that is metaphysically
impossible for it to fail to exist, namely necessary being, would surpass the greatness of that which
nothing greater could be conceived, which is absurd. Therefore:
(2) If x is that which nothing greater could be conceived, then x must possess necessary
existence3.
From (1) & (2), it seems that an affirmative answer could be offered to the question, does a being
that is God exist?.
(3) If a being that is God exists, then a being that is God exists necessarily.
(4) If it is possible that a being that is God exists, then a being that is God actually exists.
(5) It is possible that a being that is God exists.4
(6) A being that is God actually exists.
This appears to be a valid argument for existence of such a being. Is it also sound? As far as I know,
all its premises are more likely true than their negation. I welcome opponents, both theists and
atheists, to show me otherwise. Is this a persuasive argument for existence of a being that is God?
No. It is not. My aim in presenting it is not so much to persuade atheists to reconsider their position
on the ontology of a being that is God per se. I do not believe in God because of such arguments. So
why present such argument, you may wonder. My goal is to show that belief in God, a being that
which none greater can be conceived, is rationally justified. Monotheists can (and do) have rational
reasons to believe in such a being.
* Yujin Nagasawa is the first to use the tag armchair proof referring to ontological arguments.
Anselm, S., (2009). Proslogium; Monologium; Trans. Deane, S. N. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible
Software.
Plantinga, Alvin (2002) God, Freedom & Evil. First published by Harper and Row., 1974.
Reprinted 2002.
[1] I used a-being-that-is-God to distinguish between the ontology of God with the epistemology of
God. Yahweh, following Jews and Christians, is epistemically understood to be that being that is
God, while Allah, according to Moslems, is thought to be such being.
[2] This understanding of the being that is God is accepted by most monotheists (Jews, Christians,
Moslem &c.,)
[3] Even though we grant that existence is not a predicate, necessary existence is.
[4] Unless there is inner contradiction with the notion of a being that is God, it appears possible that
such a being exists. Atheists would have to argue that it is impossible for such a being exists.