St anselm and the definition and existence of god

Philosophers call such arguments a priori arguments. There clearly are certain claims that we can tell are false without even having to look into them to find out.

St anselm and the definition and existence of god

They simply knew he existed. Nevertheless, they attempted to prove his existence anyway, and the basic strategies employed by them are the ones used every since. Here two approaches are presented. The first, by Anselm, is perhaps the most puzzling. While it has not been all that popular with the average believer, it has fascinated philosophers, and even today there are respectable philosophers who accept it.

Anselm himself is equally fascinating, since he combined the seemingly disparate roles of saint, ecclesiastical leader, and major philosopher.

He was born in near Aosta, which is now in Italy. At the age of twenty-three he quarreled with his father and began a period of wandering through France on what seems to have resembled an educational grand tour. After trying the schools at Fleury-sur-Loire and Chartres, he arrived at the Benedictine abbey of Bec, which was enjoying an excellent reputation thanks to Lanfranc, who served as both prior and master of its school.

Anselm entered the abbey as a novice in and rapidly rose to eminence. When Lanfranc moved to the new monastery founded at Caen in by William, the Duke of Normandy, Anselm became prior at Bec, a position he held until he became abbot in By that time William the Duke had become William the Conqueror and was in the process of reorganizing England.

He had brought Lanfranc over as Archbishop of Canterbury, and when Lanfranc died William Rufus, who had succeeded William the Conqueror as king of England, imported Anselm to be the new archbishop. Anselm arrived in and almost from the moment he touched English soil he was fighting with William to gain ecclesiastical freedom from royal control.

By he was conducting the battle from exile, and was allowed to return only inwhen William Rufus was succeeded by Henry I. He got along no better with Henry, however, and in was back in exile, returning only in when the stubborn king and equally stubborn archbishop worked out a compromise that became the standard formula for settling church-state quarrels in the twelfth century.

St anselm and the definition and existence of god

Anselm died in If Anselm was sure of himself in ecclesiastical politics, he was equally so in theology. His associate and biographer Eadmer gives a remarkably telling deathbed scene.

The main conflict in the eleventh century was between those who saw theology as little more than Bible commentary and those who felt that rational analysis and argument was needed. The first group argued that God was such a mystery, so intellectually inaccessible, that we could hope to talk about him at all only in the symbolic language he himself had graciously given us for that purpose.

Nor could we expect to get beyond that language, to infer other truths from it by reason. As he suggests at the beginning of the Proslogion, sin has so darkened our minds that we cannot hope to reach the truth unless God graciously leads us to it.

He does so by offering us the truth through revelation and by inspiring us to accept that revelation in faith. Once we accept the truth on that basis, however, we can hope to reason out proofs for what we have already accepted through faith.

God is rational, and what he does is rational, and we ourselves are blessed with reason. We are like students who, unable to solve a mathematical problem, are given the answer to it and then discover they can reason out why that answer is correct. If later theologians found themselves uneasy with this approach, it was because they suspected that even the most brilliant student could not be expected to work out the problem quite as well as Anselm thought he had.

Later theologians suspected that the rationality was achieved by trapping God within the rational structures of the created world. Encouraging the Mind to Contemplate God Come on now little man, get away from your worldly occupations for a while, escape from your tumultuous thoughts.

Lay aside your burdensome cares and put off your laborious exertions. Give yourself over to God for a little while, and rest for a while in Him.

Enter into the cell of your mind, shut out everything except God and whatever helps you to seek Him once the door is shut. Speak now, my heart, and say to God, "I seek your face; your face, Lord, I seek. Lord, if you are not here, where shall I find you?

As known through faith — ("the God of revelation")

If, however, you are everywhere, why do I not see you here? But certainly you dwell in inaccessible light. And where is that inaccessible light? Or how do I reach it? Or who will lead me to it and into it, so that I can see you in it?

And then by what signs, under what face shall I seek you? I have never seen you, my Lord God, or known your face. What shall I do, Highest Lord, what shall this exile do, banished far from you as he is?St Anselm’s version of the ontological argument appears in his Proslogium, Chapter II, and is the definitive statement of the argument.

The argument has the form of a reductio ad absurdum, which means that it takes a hypothesis, shows that it has absurd or otherwise unacceptable implications, and so concludes that the hypothesis is false.

Ontological arguments are arguments, for the conclusion that God exists, from premises which are supposed to derive from some source other than observation of the world—e.g., from reason alone. Anselm of Canterbury (/ ˈ æ n s ɛ l m /) (/), also called Anselm of Aosta (Italian: Anselmo d'Aosta) after his birthplace and Anselm of Bec (French: Anselme du Bec) after his monastery, was a Benedictine monk, abbot, philosopher and theologian of the Catholic Church, who held the office of archbishop of Canterbury from to Buried: Canterbury Cathedral.

Anselm: Ontological Argument for God's Existence One of the most fascinating arguments for the existence of an all-perfect God is the ontological argument. While there are several different versions of the argument, all purport to show that it is self-contradictory to deny that there exists a greatest possible being.

Anselm of Canterbury (—) Saint Anselm was one of the most important Christian thinkers of the eleventh century.

He is most famous in philosophy for having discovered and articulated the so-called “ontological argument;” and in theology for his doctrine of the timberdesignmag.comr, his work extends to many other important philosophical and theological matters, among which are. Oct 27,  · The god most atheists think they reject is the god most Christians should.

Atheists and Christians share a remarkably similar view of God. They think of God as a .

SUMMA THEOLOGIAE: The existence of God (Prima Pars, Q. 2)