Arguments for the Existence of God

Predicates of The Divine

There are different aspects to the terms we use to signifie things. Some predicates can speak of our experience of the thing, while others can speak to abstract relations. So it is with the terms of God. Some are worship termenology, some are existential and speak to our own experience of the thing as we encounter it phenomenologically, others speak to the function of the object in our metaphysical hierarchy. Thus many terms can be used of the same concept.

Atheists are sometimes taken aback by my heavy use of theological termenology. I will often call God "the ground of being" in one post, and "the object of ultimate concern" in another. Sometimes these people argue that these each term must be speaking of a different God concpet, and thus a different God. But the terms I just used are both terms that Paul Tillich uses, and clearly they relate to his concept of God. In fact all the termenology used of God by the major christian theologians is oriented toward the same God concept. Just as I can speak of the same person as "father," "son," "uncle,""husband," "friend," p"privider," ect. so I can also have many terms that capture difffernt aspects of God.While theologians differ on many details, they are all speaking of the same basic idea. Below I try to give a hint as to how these terms might fit together:

Being itself:

This is the basic concept of God in Tillich's world view.What is being said is that God is the basic condition underwhich anything can be. God is synonimous with the very natuare of being because being proceeds from God and is contingent upon God. IN this sesne God is thought of as synonimous with the very nature of Being, since God is the primary example of what it is to be (since nothing else would ever come to be or even have potential to be without God's express desire that it exist).There can only be one of these. By defition there can only be one thing that is the basic experssion of what it is to be and upon which all else (i mean everything every single thing) is predicated. It woudl be a contradiction in terms to speak of two of them.Ground of BeingBasically the same term. Sometimes Tillich used one, sometimes the other. It means the same thing, but at times Tillich thought that the focuss should be upon the platform upon which the being of beings rested, that is the basis of the being that we have as beings. But they are talking about the same thing.Naturally there can only be one of these too since its the same thing.

Object of Ultimate Concern:

This term is used from the persepective of our existential experience in being. What is being said is that God is the ojbect toward which we orient our final interests or our sense of meaning in life, our understanding of what is important, what life is about. This is no more contradictory to the other terms than calling God "the ojbect of worship."

Greatest conciveable Being:

Anslem's term from the OA, "that which nothing greater than can be conciceved." This is the same thing as Being Itself because there can't be anything concived of as greater than the very nature of being upon which all things are predicated.There can only be one of these since to two have two would mean they cancel each other out.

Coincidence of opposites:

This is Nicholas of Cuza's term, it means that in the infinity of God All things meet, all distances are rendered meaningless all oppossition and all contrary nature becomes moots. His example was traveling on an infinite circle would not seem any different than traveling on a stairght line. This is clearly the same idea as that of being itself, becasue both pertian to the enexhaustable nature of the creator. Both are about the Christain God, and Tillich explicitely discusses the ways in which Cuza's concept fits his concept of Ground of Being.There can only be one of these since to have two would mean having two infinite beings who embody the meeting of all oppossitional forces. Then they would be an oppossitional force and there would have to be a third one to subsume them. that would lead to an infintie regress and get silly.

Unbounded condition:

Tillich corrollates this to Being itself. Being itself is the ultimate unbounded condition. Obvilously this relates to the previous one since the infinite is unbounded, and to GCB since its unbounded nature makes it that which nothing greater than can be concieved.You can't have two of them. They would then form a bounded condition for each other.primordial pole/concrete pole, consequent poleI don't use these much. These are the two poles in the process theology view of a dipolar God. They are an adendim in my view in that they just mark out particular attributes of God. They don't refur to two Gods.

Final cause (Functional term):

refurs to Gods function as the final cause of all things in the chain of causation. Obviously there cna't be two of them that would be a contradiction in terms. If its final it has to be the one and only final cause. Clearly it applies to being itself since all existence is predicated upon Being itself, then being itself is the final cause.

First cause:

Same term, just looking at the causal chain from the other direction. Prime MoverJust another word for final cause. The thing that acts upon all else and is not acted upon. This is oppossed to the process notion above, as it is part of classical theism. but it is not necessarily in contadcition to just have to decide if you are a classical theist or a process theist.


Comes form Anglo Saxon I believe, and means something like "great one." It is just a catch all term fro imortal beings in mythology. But it is adopted in Theology and in the English lanague to refur to the Judeo-Christian concept of the creator. that is a contextually bound defition since if we are talking about Juedo-Christian theology than it has a meaning more specific than the general term in mythology.It can be used of any such being, but in relation to the creator of the universe I contend that it plugs into being itself and can only refur to that, in that sense.Creatorfunctional term, refurs to anyone you think created the universe. But in the context of Tillich's theology it can only refur to being itself, since being "let's be" and gives rise to the beings.

Lord of the Universe:

Religious language, honorary biblical title, doens't figure into my arguments.Zeaus, Johaova, Oden, ect.names of specific deities are a cultural reference to that being at the top of the metaphyaical hierarchy. To that extent they become place markers for the Transcendental signifier. In a more sophisticated theology, such as Juedo-Christian, they become metahorical referents to that GCB, Being itself, ect. AT that level they all become referents metaphorically to the same thing; that which nothing greater than can be concieved, the creator.

So you can see that all of these terms fit together and do refur to the same thing. the functional terms can't refur to anything else. If Being itself is final cause and is responsible for all that is coming to be than it must be the creator and creator can't be anything relse.Many of these terms come to refur to the same thing through context of the enoding of discourse, but they do refur to the same thing.If you think of any more let me know.

The Religious A priori