I found Descartes’ way of thinking very interesting when compared to Aristotle. Descartes doubts the existence of God when he decides to start over and completely ignore his senses. He states in his third meditation, “…and I do not yet even know for sure whether there is a God at all…I must examine whether there is a God, and if there is, whether he can be a deceiver. ” (25) Descartes makes a goal for himself to find out if there is a God and who he is.
According to Aquinas we will never be able to understand who or what God is.
We are finite and so we cannot understand the infinity of God. We can only know He is and always will be because He has instilled that bit of knowledge within us. So when Descartes says we cannot have the idea of finite without the idea of infinite, he claims we understand what God is. But I would disagree and take Aquinas’ side because what Descartes is understanding is not who God is entirely; it is an idea of what he is like.
We as human beings, can contemplate God and try to understand what makes him, him.
But since we are so limited in our knowledge, we will never comprehend our God. Later on page 32, Descartes starts to say it does not matter that he does not grasp the infinite only that he understands it. In line 47 he says he sees no reason that his knowledge cannot increase to infinity and use that infinite knowledge to understand all of the other perfections of God. This idea cannot ever happen because we humans have a beginning. God is the one who made us, but no one made God.
His knowledge is truly infinite because he, himself has no beginning and no end. We on the other hand were born, will die, and though are spirits will join God in heaven, he can still choose to end our spirits existence. I began to agree with Descartes as he realizes that even if his knowledge increases more and more, it will never actually be infinite because it will never reach the point where it can no longer increase. (pg 32) I liked his quote. ” God, on the other hand, I take to be actually infinite, so that nothing can be added to his perfection. I believe God is perfect in every way so therefore he cannot do anything that will make him more great because he is the definition of greatness. As much as we try to understand God and his almighty being, we can only know what he has made us aware of. We are his creation and Descartes’ way of going back and forth with different ideas is what we all will go through if we sit here and think about who he is. So Descartes has proved Aquinas’ idea of not being able to understand the infinite idea of God in our lifetime or beyond, to be true.
Cite this Descartes vs. Aquinas
Descartes vs. Aquinas. (2017, Jan 24). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/descartes-vs-aquinas/