Monday, July 06, 2015

An Ontological Disproof of Anselmian Theism

Suppose for reductio that the existence of the god of classical Anselmian theism is metaphysically possible. Let's follow Plantinga's claim here that such a being has the property of maximal greatness, where: (i) a being's maximal greatness entails maximal excellence in every possible world, (ii) maximal excellence includes the classical attributes of omniscience, omnipotence, and moral perfection, and (iii) omnipotence includes the capacity to create or sustain concrete objects distinct from itself without a material cause.  Therefore, if it's metaphysically possible that a maximally great being exists, then such a being exists in all metaphysically possible worlds. Therefore, a maximally great being exists in all metaphysically possible worlds. Now it's also part of the classical conception of the god of Anselmian theism that he is the creator of (at least) all concrete things distinct from himself. Therefore, for any world W that contains a universe of concrete objects distinct from God, if God exists in W, then God originates or sustains the universe in without a material cause. But the origination or sustenance of any such universe without a material cause is metaphysically impossible. Now a universe of concrete objects exists at the actual world. Therefore, the god of classical Anselmian theism did not originate or sustain the universe that exists at the actual world. Therefore, the god of classical Anselmian theism doesn't exist at the actual world. But this contradicts the above line that he exists in all possible worlds. Therefore, the existence of the god of classical Anselmian theism is metaphysically impossible.

2 comments:

Bobby Valenzuela said...

Does one of the premises argue that it's impossible to for something to begin to exist without a material cause?

exapologist said...

Hi Bobby,

Not quite. The premise says that concrete objects with originating or sustaining efficient causes require originating or sustaining material causes, respectively. As such, it allows a concrete object to begin to exist without a material cause if it also lacks an efficient cause.

Best,
EA

Site Meter