Philosophy

An Explanation of the Ontological Argument

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Author Amy K. Hall Published on 10/16/2015

Kenneth Keathley says of the following video:

Does the Modal Ontological Argument prove the existence of God? It at least demonstrates that God’s existence, if possible, would be necessary. So the only way God couldn’t exist is if his existence was impossible. This means there is no 50-50 chance of God existing, no 10% or 90% either. Either God cannot exist or he must exist. The probability of God’s existence is 0% or 100%.

The existence of a necessary being is not contingent on anything else. Therefore, there can’t be one set of circumstances that would cause Him to exist in one kind of reality but another set of circumstances that wouldn’t, such that He would exist in some possible worlds but not in others. A necessary being can’t have a “somewhat probable” chance of existing in a particular world, because He exists by necessity; and the different possible circumstances one could imagine existing around Him have no effect on whether or not He exists, because He’s not contingent on any of them.

For this reason, if a necessary being is possible in any conceivable world, then He would exist in every conceivable world, including this one.

I still have much thinking to do before this is settled in my own mind, but after watching this video and mulling it over for a few hours, this is the closest I’ve come to understanding (and finding meaningful) the ontological argument for the existence of God. Keathley’s point is key: “Either God cannot exist or he must exist.”

Give the ontological argument another chance. Take some time to think about it, and see how far you get. I’m interested in reading your comments as I’m working through this, but don’t comment if you haven’t watched the video.

(HT: @biolapologetics)