Sachchidananda 'The Life Divine' Book I,Ch.9, 10, 11, 12 - Track 206

This kind of argument in one form or the other was formulated by many philosophers like Spinoza, Leibniz, until there came a philosopher called Immanuel Kant. This argument is by the way called Ontological argument of God. It’s called ontological because ontology is a study of being. At one time I had explained to you the word philosophy and I said philosophy is the search of the ultimate, ultimate of all things put together.

The question is to what is ultimate of society is called social philosophy. The study of what is society, what is the ultimate truth of society, is a question which is discussed by social philosophers. What is the ultimate nature of the state is political philosophy, what is the ultimate nature of good and bad, right or wrong is moral philosophy, what is the ultimate truth of the cosmos and behind the cosmos is called metaphysics, but if you concentrate only on what is truth of the ultimate, of cosmos, or what is beyond the cosmos that narrow field of study, study of the Being which is at the root of the cosmos or which is even existent indifferent of the cosmos, − The real ultimate, ultimate of ultimate that is called ontology. The study of the ultimate being is called ontology. Since this argument tries to prove the existence, ultimate existence of the ultimate purely by the idea of God, you must have seen there is the very first sentence, is only the idea of God. It is a definition of God. It doesn’t say that God exists, it simply defines God. Merely from the idea of God, you derive the existence of God. The being of God therefore is called ontological argument.

Apart from the ontological argument, two other arguments also were developed in due course. In the effort to prove the existence of God there was another argument, which is called cosmological proof of God. There is a third argument which is called teleological proof of God. Three arguments – ontological, cosmological and teleological, three arguments of the God have been developed in the West.

In India also we have similar kind of arguments. The cosmological argument is much simpler. We are sure that the whole cosmos is there before us. You start by your experience of the cosmos and if you examine the cosmos, you will find that it cannot but have a cause. Nothing can exist without a cause. The whole cosmos is a fact, it must have a cause. Cosmos exists since the world is existing and since a fact cannot exist without the existence of cause the cause must exist. The very fact that the cosmos exists shows that cause must exist. Therefore God exists, this is the cosmological argument. Effect exists, effect cannot be without the existence of the cause, therefore the cause namely God, must exist, − God exists. This is the cosmological argument.

The third is the teleological argument; it argues that there is in this world a design. All design is nothing but synchronization of means to ends. A certain end is to be achieved and you put certain means in such a manner that the end is realized. It starts by the fact that there is a design in the world. Design means that there is an end and there are means and there is synchronization of the two. Since the word end in Greek means teleos therefore this whole argument is based upon teleology, which is based upon the idea of the end and means, the synchronization of end and the means because there is a design in the world, there must be a designer. A watch is a design, the watch is so constructed with a certain end in view and the watchmaker makes the watch in such a way that serves a certain purpose. You cannot have a watch without a watchmaker and this is an important argument. If the world were only chaos, things are happening all pell-mell then it maybe just existing like that by itself but if you find design in it, it cannot happen just like that. A design necessarily implies intelligence, consciousness, a designer. Since the world is a design there must be a designer that designer is called God − God exists. This is the third argument, Teleological argument.

There has been lot of debate in the West in regard to all the three arguments. If you really examine them very seriously, you will find that there may be some defects here and there, they can all be repaired. The arguments are all of such a nature that they all can be repaired, maybe some formulation is defective in one way, another is defective in another way but if you can refine the whole thing in a beautiful manner then you can say that all the three arguments with whatever repairs, which are necessary when they are effected, all the three arguments are sustainable. But there is one defect to which I would like to draw the attention of everybody.

This is the one defect which was brought out by Immanuel Kant. He pointed out that the great flaw in the ontological argument is that it regards existence as a predicate. It’s a technical statement; I will explain what it means. The defect of ontological argument is that it regards existence as a predicate and he argued that existence is not a predicate, therefore the whole arguments falls. Mind you, Kant believed in God himself but he said that God can be proved by the moral argument not by ontological argument. He had another argument, which I have not yet expounded but his argument was the moral argument to prove the existence of God. He said you cannot prove the existence of God by means of ontological argument or cosmological argument or by the teleological argument. You can prove the existence of God only by moral argument, which I will later on expound to you.