Monday, October 23, 2006

God's Exists

I had a thought today to present an argument for God's existence that I heard listening to Dr. Peter Kreeft. Its called the argument from desire. Dr. Kreeft's website is HERE.

The argument is based on the fact that we have two types of desires, one is natural, or innate, and the other is artificial, or externally conditioned. A natural desire for example is being hungry. I am hungry so I desire food. I am thirsty I desire a drink. An artificial desire is a desire for something not necessary for existence such as, hey that sure is a cool sweater, I desire that sweater.

When we talk about our natural, or innate, desires we have the understanding that we all have the same desires. We all get hungry, we all get thirsty and so forth. In addition to the fact that we are all hungry, we understand that there is such a thing as food which will fulfill our desire. There is such a thing as water (or Gatorade if you're Payton Manning) which will satisfy your thirst. As Dr. Kreeft explains,

"Now there are differences between these two kinds of desires. We do not, for
example, for the most part, recognize corresponding states of deprivation for
the second, the artificial, desires, as we do for the first. There is no word
like "Ozlessness" parallel to "sleeplessness." But more importantly, the natural
desires come from within, from our nature, while the artificial ones come from
without, from society, advertising or fiction. This second difference is the
reason for a third difference: the natural desires are found in all of us, but
the artificial ones vary from person to person."
The existence of a natural desire requires that something exists which can satisfy it; food and water satisfy natural desires of hunger and thirst. However there is no requirement upon the existence of something which can satisfy an artificial desire. The mustang exists, the ability for me to fly (sadly) does not exist.

There is a desire within us that nothing in time on earth can satisfy. No person, or thing can satisfy this desire. You could say that, for all time, mankind has desired to have something he cannot grasp. Even an atheist cannot say that he is fully satisfied with what he owns or with the people he is surrounded by. Dr. Kreeft makes the point this way:
"The second premise requires only honest introspection. If someone defies it and
says, 'I am perfectly happy playing with mud pies, or sports cars, or money, or
sex, or power,' we can only ask, 'Are you, really?' But we can only appeal, we
cannot compel. And we can refer such a person to the nearly universal testimony
of human history in all its great literature. Even the atheist Jean-Paul Sartre
admitted that "there comes a time when one asks, even of Shakespeare, even of
Beethoven, 'Is that all there is?'"
If this is the case, there must be something "more than time, earth or creatures which can satisfy this desire." That something "'is what people call God' and 'life with God forever.'"

This argument does nothing to prove that this God is exactly the God of the bible or of Catholic belief, but it does say something about God that allows us to continue to search for Him and find out what kind of God he is.
"The conclusion of the argument is not that everything the Bible tells us about
God and life with God is really so. What it proves is an unknown X, but an
unknown whose direction, so to speak, is known. This X is more: more beauty,
more desirability, more awesomeness, more joy. This X is to great beauty as, for
example, great beauty is to small beauty or to a mixture of beauty and ugliness.
And the same is true of other perfections. "

To finish up, we can find God as St. Paul tells us in Romans Ch1:19 "For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. " We can provide arguments from our very selves to prove that God exists, and just as inmportantly from our desire for that we cannot grasp we know that St. Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians (2:9) was right when he spoke of God saying "What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him..."

1 comment:

Ash said...

I was thinking about this post as I was driving to play Ultimate Frisbee and it made me think of a question. If there were no God, would someone live their life the way they do now, or would they be a completely different person? How big of an impact does believing in God make on a person? Would people still just be good people? Would people take care of others, feed the homeless, etc.? Obviously people who don't believe in God live their lives however they really are, but I just wondering about how different believers would be. Anyway... just some food for thought.