This paper will defend that “Descartes gave God so much power in his philosophical system that without God the entire system would collapse, which proves the he was a religious philosopher as well as a strong supporter of science.” He uses the logical deduction to argue for the existence of God, claiming that to erase all doubt, he must examine the reality of the existence of God, and “… must examine likewise whether He can be a deceiver…”, two truths without which he does not see that he can “ever be certain of anything.” (Descartes Meditation 3, paragraph 4). He uses the idea of God being the infinite reality from which all other finite realities like science proceed, establishing his true belief in both God and science, and the reasoning that the finite (science) cannot exist nor have effect without being given a cause for this effect by an infinite idea (God).
God is a resounding theme in Descartes philosophical writings, especially the third meditation. In the first two, he deducts why he is, and addresses the question of doubt. In the paragraphs of the Third Meditation, which I will quote from throughout the paper, Descartes establishes what is called the “Causal Adequacy Principle” which is explained which implies that something cannot come from nothing and the original source of everything must contain at least as much or more reality in the resourceful and entire foundation as the effect of that cause. Descartes says, “…the stone that is not yet in existence, not only cannot now commence to be, unless it be produced by that which possesses in itself, formally or eminently, all that enters into its composition.”. In this statement he implies that everything that has effect must have received that effect from another source which has just as much or more of an effect. For example, for a stationary cart on a slope to start moving, a force has to be exerted on it from another source to propel it forward.
The first argument is an Argument of Cause and Effect, in which he suggests that without God, science cannot have its effects, because He is its source, it exists in Him in a higher way, and our experience of its existence is just an extension from a higher source, “in order that an idea may contain this objective reality rather than that, it must doubtless derive it from some cause in which is found at least as much formal reality as the idea contains of objective.”. Thus by establishing God as the beginning of science, the cause behind every effect which we see as reality, even the universe in existence, he makes it impossible for any of the proceeding arguments and scientific findings to be sound without acknowledging God. He argues that all things are finite substances, and every finite substance does not have enough reality to be its own cause and so draws its reality from another, with a higher reality.
His second argument is an ontological argument which seeks to explain the existence of God from the very idea of what or who God is. Descartes argues that we all innately have some amount of a sense of good. “Good sense is the most evenly distributed commodity in the world”. Be that as it may, our ability to judge may deceive us, and thus any knowledge we may acquire by the use of our senses would be imperfect. He writes, “a God might perhaps have given me such a nature as that I should be deceived, even respecting the matters that appeared to me the most evidently true.” (Descartes, p4).The only way to overcome this is to question everything, and seek a perfect and trustworthy idea. God gives us perfect and trustworthy and clear ideas, and hence He must exist for any idea to be trustworthy and of true value. He was interested in mathematics “because of its certainty and the evidence of its arguments…”. One could argue that he afforded this same logical reasoning to the existence of God, which is irrefutable that a perfect God exists because His very character gives us a frame of reference for the certainty and evidence of intangible valuables like truth, purity, all knowledge and love.
Descartes’ philosophy perception of God suggests that he believes God to be perfect and the source of all trustworthy knowledge “if the objective reality of any one of my ideas be such as clearly to convince me, … I myself cannot be the cause of it, it is a necessary consequence that … there is … some other being who exists as the cause of that idea.”. He shows that the existence of God enhances science, not limits it. It is therefore more accurate to argue that Descartes was a true believer in God, who also loved philosophy. He centres his philosophy on God’s perfection and existence, arguing that He is the vast, infinite source of all other finite things who gives cause to effect in every finite thing. This can be explained by a simple example of boiling water. A source of with greater temperature than the water already possesses, great enough to transfer enough heat to bring it to the boil, is required. The heat source must have a greater reality (heat energy) than the water in the container. Without the source, the water cannot boil. (Descartes Meditation 3, paragraph 14). Similarly, one must look at the fabric of Descartes’ philosophy and realize that God is very central to it, and according to him, he is the source of a greater reality, without which, not even philosophy can exist.