The Ontological Argument Against The Existence Of God

The argument builds upon Anselm as follows.


  • 1) God, our creator is perfect,
  • 2) The greater the work, the more merit it deserves and vice versa.
  • 3) The greater the handicap against a work, the greater the work.

Since God is perfect, he does not create something poorly. Any work of God's would be unimaginably great. A greater work therefore merit's greater appreciation, of the scale of the work and in relation to the ability of the creator.

Increased scale of the work warrants a greater work and more merit. The greater the ability of the creator, the easier the work, and less merit is then attributed, so the lesser the work.

'The greater the handicap to a creator, the greater the merit.' Then is also the work greater so that the creator is greater.

The greatest handicap to a God undertaking the work of the creation would be non existence. Thus God is greater if he doesn't exist, therefore God does not exist.

Again, we are faced with a similar problem, that of the necessary (God) and that of the contingent (creation). One may not consider the creative work of God as a first cause for his existence, defying causality and making him contingent upon the merit of his work. One can indeed infer his existence from the creation, in much the same way as people always have.

Anything caused by something else is contingent upon its cause, however the cause may be sustained by its effect, much like the action of breathing. For the creation of God to be so great that it may be treated as a perfect work, it must be in some sense be necessary for (and a source of continuation) for the existence of God. Thus if creation sustains God as perfect whilst he is contingent upon it, we would consider creation 'necessary' along with the necessity for God. We could imagine some complimentary co-necessity where God is Himself part of His own creation. That said, God exists.

A universe that does not sustain its perfect creator causally in some regard, and perfectly, is a creation that is not necessary. It is for the creator to sustain it. The greatest work is perhaps one with which God may have some causal reliance post-work with his creation. Either the work is necessary with God by co-sustaining his own existence, or God alone is necessary, and the creation totally contingent upon him. For a 'great work' to overcome 'perfect being' would in the very least require, 'necessary work' to render 'necessary God' impossible to exist by logically rendering impossible the existence of a creator.

The very sense of one's "work" is a contingency upon the worker, which cannot causally prevent God's existence by rendering him 'impossible' and 'non-necessary'. This is because it has no logical necessity for existing and so may not show the logical necessity of God's existence to be impossible. It does not show God's non-existence, because it is neither true logically that the contingent does or does not exist at all, to render God's existence impossible a-priori.

Thus the argument in that sense is flawed. (Unless one assumes the creation is co-necessary with God: but then God exists forever as the least possible case for creation, (being necessary) and everything in creation that is not God is contingent upon God as the worker.)

Moreover, are we sustaining the argument by considering 'necessary merit'? Does necessary work imply necessary merit? It is an assumption of the argument that not only it does, but that a lack of merit implies a lesser work. There is some sense that the creation of God is reliant on the existence of merit. Did God create merely to impress?

There is nothing essentially flawed in the argument, other than its humanist approach to the aesthetic 'merit'. I do not see any physically evident scale of 'merit' in the universe, (other than surviving creatures are 'more successful' currently than extinct varieties) and so this argument gives the latter of the following two outcomes.

(i) "It is necessary that a perfect being exists" or (ii) "It is not necessary that a perfect being exists" 

  It is not possible to justify by this argument statement (iii) that "It is necessary that a perfect being does not exist." Or in other words, we may not state that God's existence is truly impossible. That God's existence may be possible, (and possibly contingent existence) can also be inferred from (ii). But then God, as part of creation would be necessary as the "least case" for creation, being co-necessary. So, the argument fails in a sense that allows the modal proof of Hartshorne's making.

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