Proofs Op The Existence Of God. A Reply To Anselm, And Anselm’s Rejoinder -- By: J. S. Maginnis

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 008:32 (Oct 1851)
Article: Proofs Op The Existence Of God. A Reply To Anselm, And Anselm’s Rejoinder
Author: J. S. Maginnis


Proofs Op The Existence Of God. A Reply To Anselm, And
Anselm’s Rejoinder

Rev. J. S. Maginnis

I. A Book In Behalf Of The Fool; Or A Reply To The Reasonings Of
Anselm In His Proslogion. By Gaunilon, A Monk Of Marmoutier

1. When one doubts or denies the existence of a being which is such that nothing greater can be conceived, in proof that such a being does nevertheless exist, it is alleged in the first place, that he who denies or doubts this has already such a being in his intelligence or understanding, since when he hears this mentioned he understands what is said; and in the next place, that what he understands must of necessity exist, not in his intelligence alone, but also in reality; which is proved from the fact that it is something greater to exist in the intelligence and in the reality, than to exist in the intelligence alone. And if the being in question exists in the intelligence or understanding alone, then whatever exists in reality also will be greater than this, and thus that which is greater than everything will be less than something, and will not be greater than everything, which is a contradiction. Therefore, that which is greater than all, which is now proved to exist in the intelligence, must of necessity have an existence, not in the intelligence alone, but in reality also, since otherwise it could not be greater than all.

2. To this it may peradventure be replied, that this being is said to exist already in my intelligence only because when I hear it mentioned I understand what is said. May I not also, in the very same

manner be said to have in my intelligence false things of any kind which can have in themselves no existence whatever; since, should any one speak of these things I could understand whatever he might say? unless perhaps it be evident that this being is of such a nature that it is impossible to have it in our conception in the same manner as we do things that are chimerical or doubtful; and therefore when this being is named, I am not said merely to conceive or have in my conception the words employed, but to understand, and to have in my intelligence the thing itself; in other words, unless it is of such a nature, that I am unable even to conceive of it, otherwise than by understanding (intelligendo), that is, by including in my knowledge, that it exists in reality. But, if this is so, then in the first place it will not be one thing to have this being in the intelligence, and another to know that it exists; nor can the conception we form of it precede in the order of time a knowledge of its existence, as in the case of the picture which first existed in the mind of the painter and afterwards in his production. In the next place,...

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