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New Week, New Homework: Anselm's argument

The whole Ontological Argument is too huge for here, so I'll just use one part of it: there can exist a being than which none greater is possible

So can there?
How would one describe a perfect being? Or are beings like numbers, no matter how great of one you can imagine, there is always one more?
(reminder of the rules - textbook stipulates an Abrahamic supreme being, meaning no scriptures can be used because they are not universal to all 3 faiths)


Asked by NotPanicking at 11:30 PM on Sep. 7, 2009 in Religion & Beliefs

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Answers (7)
  • "there can exist a being than which none greater is possible" The difficulty I find with this issue is that it asks us to consider concepts that involve the entire possible universe, from a human perspective. The statement suggests that possibility is limited, and possibilities are limited on Earth because we have physical limitations here (the fish analogy represents this well). However, we don't know if there are limitations in all of the universe. Honestly, I think you end up with a circling argument; there are limitations on what is possible, ok than what are the limitations, we don't know, so if we don't know how can we know that limitations are possible, because if there aren't limitations what is next, we don't know.... Basically (sorry if that was rambling) we don't know the limitations without knowing what exists & we can't know what is possible without knowing the limitations.


    Answer by nysa00 at 11:43 AM on Sep. 8, 2009

  • Can there exist a being than which none greater is possible?

    I am taken back to the star wars movie, the first one with Anakin. They are in the water and being chased down my the huge fishes. Among that action Qui Gon *sp?* say "There's always a bigger fish. I am christian btw Idk if that matters :) But I think of that analogy, there is ALWAYS a bigger fish. Bt at some point doesn't there have to be the biggest fish? That one be it though no one greater then he? Cause if there was ALWAYS a bigger fish then our planet would have to sxpand and omgosh I cannot even fathom what life would be like lol. I view God though as the "biggest fish" no one is greater then God. I hope I have not lost you with my reasoning it's late LOL. If you need more clarification feel free to pm me :)

    Answer by rhanford at 4:49 AM on Sep. 8, 2009

  • I don't think the largest power in the world is a being at all but rather a universal energy. All gods are man's interpretation of that energy but the energy itself does not have an agenda. The energy moves through each of us and we can shape and manipulate it to some extent through actions like magick and prayer.

    Answer by RhondaVeggie at 8:20 AM on Sep. 8, 2009

  • But the point of his argument is that there can be a finite existence. If you don't want to refer to it as a "being" can there be an energy greater than your universal energy?

    Answer by NotPanicking at 8:22 AM on Sep. 8, 2009

  • The energy is in everything in the universe so it really comes down to the question of whether the universe in infinite. I don't know, I'm inclined to believe that the universe is finite but that it is so very large that it really doesn't matter to humans. If there are other universes then I don't believe there is any contact between them. In any case, there can't be any power in the universe greater than an energy that goes throughout the entire universe.

    Sorry if that didn't make any sense, bit early in the day for such a big topic ;-)

    Answer by RhondaVeggie at 9:35 AM on Sep. 8, 2009

  • Well, I don't believe in gods, so I'm going to answer assuming that any beings in the universe (invisible or not) evolved just like life here did. I don't think there can ever be a point where none greater is possible, because all of the beings on this earth are always evolving, so we can become better than what we are now.

    I don't think there can ever be a "perfect" being, either. That would mean evolution would stop because there would be no other beings with an advantage over the original....the only way no one would ever again have an advantage over the previous generation would be if everyone is born exactly the same, and that's not possible.

    Answer by metalcowgirl34 at 10:37 AM on Sep. 8, 2009

  • "But at some point doesn't there have to be the biggest fish? "

    Yes and no.... Obviously if we could actually look at all the fish in the world at this very moment, there WOULD be a biggest one, BUT, that big one can reproduce. And it is entirely possible that one of it's thousands of offspring (as fish usually have) will be slightly bigger, if only by a little bit. So in THAT sense, there isn't a "biggest" fish possible. Then again, if you factor in the environment the fish lives in, there IS a limit to how large it can grow and still have enough to eat, etc. There is a limit to how large everything on this planet can grow just because there is much less oxygen than there used to be.

    So if you're talking about a god being as big as the universe....if you believe that...then whether or not there is a limit on how big he is would be determined by whether or not the universe is infinite...which we don't know.

    Answer by metalcowgirl34 at 10:46 AM on Sep. 8, 2009