Defending Anselms Argument for the Existence of God

The issue of whether or not God exists has always ignited debate. On one side are those who strongly hold that God indeed exists and even go ahead to provide defense for their stance. On the other side, there are those who really question the existence of God, mostly pointing onto the problems that exist in the world as an indicator that there could not have been such a Supreme Creator. Anselm argues for the existence of God. To do this, he uses two comparisons namely, a watch versus a stone and an eye versus a telescope. In both cases, he strives to use the aspect of design to showcase that irrespective of the differences that exist between humans and other aspects of the world, this does not, in any way, suggest that there is no God. This essay will assess Anselms argument and defend it from potential objections.

 
 

In his first comparison, Anselm compares a stone to a watch. He argues that if a person found a stone, the most likely argument for its existence would be that it has always been there. This would not be the case if the item found was a watch. The fact that a watch has a certain design implies that someone sat down to put its different parts together for a certain purpose. This being the case, it would be unrealistic to argue that no one created it. In my view, the same applies to humans. The body of a human being depicts something that was made with a very deliberate intention to enable it function in a certain way. It is clear that it did not just find itself there. Rather, someone took time to put every part together for a specific purpose. Just like each part of the watch was made in a certain way for a certain role, the parts of a human being and even a human being as a whole were designed for a purpose. Anselm adds that the fact that one does not understand the purpose of a certain part of the watch does not mean that there was no purpose for it, or even that it does not have a creator. In the same way, we may not understand the purpose for which a human being or even the world and everything in it were created, but this does not mean that there was no creator behind their existence. Moreover, the fact that we do not understand the functioning of the watch means that there is a designer who understands it. Similarly, we probably do not understand everything in its creation, but this only means that the creator understands everything, and most importantly, that he exists.

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Anselm also explores a situation in which a watch, in its design, fails to function as was intended because something went wrong. Despite the irregularity, he emphasizes that it does not put to question the existence of the designer, the design, and the purpose of the machinery. According to him, the design of the watch needs not be perfect for there to have been a design and a designer, in the first place. This argument can be applied to Gods creation. For those who question the existence of God through the argument that if He was there evil would not exist, they overlook the basic fact that a design may go wrong, but this does not mean that there was no designer. A thief, for instance, could have been a design gone wrong. This does not mean that there was no creator for him. Rather, it means that he was perhaps mistakenly designed as such. Here, the argument of the Problem of Evil, which usually comes to the fore in debates for the existence of God, is relevant. There are those who question the existence of God based on the fact that there could not have been a Creator who lets his creations suffer in the hands of fellow creations. However, preventing evil in totality would have meant that God took away Free Will from humans. This being the case, the existence of Free Will amounts to the inevitable presence of evil. As such, the argument here is that as long as humans enjoy freedom, they also have to endure the presence of evil. This makes sense. For God to prevent all evil from happening, he would have to take total control over our lives. Many people would not wish for that, and they should thus understand that evil coexists with freedom.

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The fact that humans have a capacity to reproduce does not mean that they do not have a Creator. Anselm explores this argument from the perspective that a watch may have a capacity to conceive other watches like itself, but this does not mean it did not have a designer. This perspective is important because one of the aspects that may have significantly contributed to doubts about the existence of God is the capacity by humans and even animals to reproduce. Anselm recommends that rather than questioning the existence of the designer, what should be there is an admiration of his contrivance. In the same way, rather than using the aspect of reproduction to question whether humans were indeed created, critics should instead applaud the capabilities of the Creator.

Anselm uses the comparison of the eye and the telescope to explain that humans may have different designs, but this does not mean that they did not have a designer or even a different purpose. Actually, he argues that the difference in the design of the eye versus the telescope emanates from the fact that each of them operates under different laws of refraction of light. This, to a significant extent, explains why humans are different, as opposed to questioning whether they had a Creator. This perspective explains that humans had to be designed differently because they were to thrive under different conditions. Critics would most likely point to cases of individuals, for instance children, who grow up under the same conditions, yet end up differently in character and other aspects. Here, a possible explanation would be that the conditions are not those visible to the human eye, but those only understandable to the designer or the Creator. This being the case, a human being or even an animal may appear to have faulty design or purpose, but it could be that it was deliberately designed that way because the Creator understood the need for that design, no matter how faulty it appears. Any imperfection or inaccuracy may actually be imagined by humans, or they may have been purposefully put there.

In conclusion, Anselm goes a long way in explaining the existence of God by demonstrating that the presence of difficulties or faults in His creation does not imply He is not there. The fact that a creation is designed for a specific purpose means that there was a designer. That purpose may not be understood by humans, but still, this does not imply the absence of a designer. Differences or even faults in designs also do not depict the absence of a designer. Rather, they imply the presence of a designer or Creator who understands everything that He put into place.

 
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