We are considering “The Ontological Argument” by Alvin Plantinga.
Plantinga’s updating of Anselm’s Ontological Argument (and overcoming Kant’s call for a necessary external validation for something to be true) is stated in this way.
• A being has maximal excellence in a given possible world (W) if and only if it is omnipotent, omniscient and wholly good in W ; and
• A being has maximal greatness if it has maximal excellence in every possible world.
It is possible that there is a being that has maximal greatness. (Premise)
• Therefore, possibly, it is necessarily true that an omniscient, omnipotent, and perfectly good being exists.
• Therefore, [by Axiom S5 (which states: “necessary existence is positive”)] it is necessarily true that an omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good being exists.
• Therefore, an omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good being exists.
Watch the following video that gives a good overview.
Some possible questions for discussion include:
- How might Plantinga’s ontological argument be used, in practical ways, to respond to “the New Atheism” (e.g., Richard Dawkins, the late Christopher Hitchens, d. 2008)?
- How does the ontological argument relate to the ongoing differences between the philosophical parties of the Foundationalists (including Modest Foundationalists) and Coherentists?
- In what way would Calvin’s sensus divinitatus be justified in the argument if at all?
- How is the Ontological Argument useful, or not, in sharing Christ with one who claims unbelief by reason of insufficient evidence?
- Given that Plantinga claims that faith in Christ has “warrant” and grounds his position on an understanding of an architecture or ecosystem of properly basic beliefs, why is the Ontological Argument necessary to Plantinga? Or do you think it unrelated? In what way?
- How is divine revelation in St. Paul’s explanation of the “decay” of true religion in Romans chapter one related to the Argument?
A Prayer: Lord of all, You have graciously revealed Your power by giving us perceptions of Your glory as we gaze upon the stars at night, observe the intricacies of an equally wondrous and unseen world through a microscope, both, with so many other ways, perfectly demonstrating design with purpose, and all related in ways that point to Thee, O Father; through Thy Son our Savior Jesus Christ we have been given the fullness of Your Godhead in bodily form, His divinity proved in that great sign, the resurrection from the dead; help us to give an answer for the hope that we have in Christ, open the minds of the unbelieving friends, family members, and neighbors that their joy and ours may be full; we need Thee O Lord for without Thy guiding providence, Thy Holy Spirit, and Thy love we cannot accomplish this mission of Yours in the world. As we have been saved by grace use us to speak the Word that will be blessed to save others. For Thy glory alone and in Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.