Knowledge and will of man, which by nature tend to being and infinite value,

are possible only if God exists as the end of this aspiration.

adapted from A V V. Why I think? rationale and defense of faith in thirty thesis, Pauline, Rome, 1965.

Prof. Dr. Otto Muck SJ

The two proofs of God carried out in the preceding theses take as a starting point the reality of the world outside us. Purposive order of living beings and the contingency of the world conclude spirituality, transcendence and the creative power of God. Certainly the man is a great example of the purposeful order of living nature; and certainly the man experiences himself as a contingent being, that does not in itself the reason of his being. But the so-called cosmological proof purposive and not expressly consider exactly what makes man man: do not take the base for his spiritual life, which is expressed in knowing and willing. That's what we have to do now. The anthropological evidence (from the greek anthropos - man) will show that the man, in his knowledge and in his spiritual will, is oriented to being infinite and infinite value, so that, without God, It would not be man. It will make us understand what it means to God for the life of man. God sustains all our knowledge and our free will from the root of our spiritual life.

The considerations of this thesis relate to those in which we have studied the conditions that make possible our spiritual life. In the thesis 2 we saw that spiritual knowledge is only possible because we get the essence of things; and as we come into being as the foundation of things, we can and must also investigate the ultimate foundation of our intelligent spirit. That's what we will do in the course of this argument. In the thesis 3 we saw then that the human will is free with regard to partial values, because it is oriented towards the supreme value and unlimited, that is, towards the same absolute value.

The result of the two thesis was then that our spiritual life is geared to being and infinite value. This is a necessary condition to be able to know the truth and have a free will. Hence we take time off for a proof of the existence of God. We will see that as the orientation of our spiritual life to the infinite, our aim being and absolute value is only possible if this end, that is God , actually exists. The assumption of the thesis is precisely this: to show the existence of God as the only condition that makes possible our spiritual life stretched endlessly.

Trying to investigate on the absolute and towards God is already a demonstration of the existence of the ace luto, the existence of God, we will try at the same time that God is not a mere projection of our desires (Feuerbach), or the product of a primitive and pre-scientific thought (Auguste Comte), and that Sartre was wrong when he thinks that the existence of God in contrast to the free self-determination of man, indeed we will see that scientific knowledge and the free self-determination is possible only thanks to the existence of God

Proof. Our proof is divided thus:

1. The knowledge and the will of man tend to being and infinite value.

2. This desire is a natural desire.

3. The natural aspiration is only possible if its term is inherently possible.

4. If the infinite being (and thus the infinite value) is inherently possible as term aspiration natural, it is also reality, then God exists.


1. We humans are not perfectly "made." We are still on the way towards the full realization of ourselves. This improvement, however, is only possible if, first, we can know what we are missing, and then we provide it. In this aspiration irrepressible thus work together with knowledge and will. Furthermore we do not just know and get us only things that serve the immediate needs of material life. The animal is content with what looks good to his senses and satisfies his instincts; not so the man. The human mind tends to know things and people as they really are; and based on this knowledge it takes real position for or against. The truth of knowledge and free will are the personal dignity of man. But what is it that makes the cone ledge true and free will, and then the man in his peculiar spiritual position?

To really know is to know the reality without falsify, without framing it or blur it in some perspective, with a viewing angle arbitrary. Such knowledge is possible only in a cognitive power that stands directly in front of reality, without diaphragms and without bias. In fact, if our cognitive faculty were naturally turned to a certain thing, you understand the rest only in relation to this subject his own; other things would be for us only knowable relatively, in relation to the object which we address necessarily by nature, would not be knowable in absolute terms, in themselves. In this way, however, it should be half the true knowledge of all things, that there is possible in principle.

The human mind is not fixed on a single then be finished and given, on a part of reality, on one area of ​​the world. On the other hand it is not at all indeterminate. Already the very first, the simplest activities spiritual man - ask what is this or that - always concerns, under several aspects, being. Especially the so-called metaphysical principles are revealed as knowledge capital, as insights of the essence of being: being is the basis of all claims (the principle of non-contradiction), and granting all the necessary foundation (principle of sufficient reason ). Therefore being is determined in and of itself, is founded on itself, it is needed. At this being it tends ultimately our spirit. These is not focused on a particular entity (this would destroy its capacity to know the truth), but about being in and of itself (precisely what enables him to know the truth).

Being, which is the ultimate goal of our spirit, can not itself be finished; in this case in fact there would only be a range to be finished. And the orientation of the spirit to such a being, as already indicated, would deprive us of the ability to grasp the truth. Being sought by our spirit must therefore be infinite, and not in the sense of an infinite sum of finite things, because in that case it would be permanent and could not be the basis of any particular knowledge. The relationship with the infinite being does not make rela tive finite things, or makes false their knowledge. This relationship based rather the finite beings, that are precisely because of being involved; and I know also maintains all knowledge conforms to being, all knowledge that is true. The mind of man has direct knowledge itself being infinite. But if this is our knowledge, as will be said of our will. It follows knowledge as his com Supplement. Both are only phases of a single movement of the spirit; that is, its aim being and value in itself. The mind knows itself and the other to love and loves to know him better. It is unthinkable that I know the infinite fullness of being without my will not want to join in loving, in this fullness. In this necessary orientation of our will to the infinite value is rooted, as was concluded in the thesis 3, our freedom of choice in the face of limited values.

2. When we ask a question, always we ask ourselves on being something; each question has ine vitabilmente a given structure: what is it? This orientation toward being - and, as we have seen, to the infinite - does not depend on our will, as also the fact that we have to ask. It is a feature of our spirit, a structure in separably carry with us as spiritual beings. Before any knowledge of any choice and are already prepared for the infinite and only this arrangement allows me the knowledge of the truth and the freedom of the will , so my own humanity. This situation is not secondary, as a dowry which you could do without. Instead, it is a necessary situation, the only one that makes me what I am. It is the badge of my nature than the other, as for example in front of the animals or plants. Such a natural orientation and determined to a definite end, we call natural desire. What follows? If this aspiration is not possible, this also our nature would be impossible. It is also absurd to attribute to man the responsibility of its nature and its natural aspirations. In fact it was he who decided what was to be, but is himself the 'product' of this nature. He is found just as it is and must accept this way of being, although it is not able to understand these aspirations as a manifestation of what he actually is.

3. How it is called the natural desire based on reflections made ​​so far? It is the very nature, as dynamic, as it is moving, and precisely in a movement oriented towards a given end to her proper, end that determines and perfects as such. Therefore: this natural suction is applied, and then this nature would not be inherently possible if the order in which they are oriented, if the desire of nature is intrinsically possible.

We speak here of a possibility inherent in op position to an extrinsic. The intrinsic possibility of something means that the thing can be done, that there is no internal contradiction in that essence that must be realized. However, this does not yet say whether this possibility has already been implemented, it is also extrinsically possible. A trip to Mars, for example, is in itself can, in my opinion, but it is still uncertain whether it will achieve the external conditions. Conversely, a square circle is intrinsically impossible, that it contains a contradiction. What is intrinsically impossible, that is of course also extrinsically. The possib ity interior is the condition of the external one. So when we say that the naturally aspirated can itself only if it is also its end, do not say that this is a reality. We just pretend that it is intrinsically possible, that its essence does not reveal an internal contradiction, which makes it a priori impossible the existence of the order. Or we affirm that the naturally aspirated should certainly achieve its purpose in itself possible. Here we simply state the following principle: the natural desire, which motion that directs a nature to an end and determines precisely how this nature, is inherently contradictory and impossible if its order is inherently contradictory and impossible.

Because this principle is valid? Let us assume that the natural end of the aspiration is inherently impossible. This order does not exist either as a reality or as a possibility. Being inherently contradictory, one could not even think or imagine, would not have a concept or idea, but the sheer nothing. What would ensue for the naturally aspirated if its aim was the pure nul? It would have a body that tends naturally to absolute nothingness. Nothing would be the final cause of his nature; then the inherent impossibility would result and would perfect this institution.

What kind of a natural desire would be this? It would be just as impossible as its term; It would be nothing, as his term is absolute nothingness. For a nature that tends to the absolute nothing is not at all oriented, would be the same chaos, it would be full of contradictions and void, so impossible, because only the absolute nothing can be naturally 'appropriate' to the absolute nothing, since being and not being is absolutely exclusion gift to each other. There is therefore natural aspi ration whose term is inherently impossible.

4. Given the reality of our spiritual nature, tends to infinity, it becomes evident the inherent possibilities of this our natural aspiration. And for the above-stated principle, it must also be intrinsically possible end of our aspiration to be infinite and the infinite value. Now we say (and this statement is true, as we shall see, only for this purpose): If the term is infinite intrin secamente possible, it is also true, then there is. How?


The term of our spiritual aspiration is the infinite, which has in itself the reason of his being, which is independent, absolute, which exists for intrinsic need. Now, if it was simply not possible, and not really existing, it should move from possibility to reality; It should ammet tere itself a becoming, but it is unthinkable without an addition to be outside. What, however, receives his being, is dependent, has not in itself the reason of his being, and therefore is not absolute, but contingent. Now our spiritual life requires, as a term of his aspiration, not a chance to be a finite and dependent, but the same ultimate reason and infinite being. If we admit this possibility - and it must be as a condition that makes possible our spiritual life - we have already demonstrated its reality.

But this term, the infinite being, is God himself, being distinct from the world, personnel, object of our worship and our love. If, as some pantheists, being infinite identifi coffers with the world or this was part of his nature, it would be changing and evolving, and not the ultimate reason and required of all being. If the infinite would be impersonal, not spiritual, it would lack a decisive perfection, would be limited and therefore would not be the fullness of being.

We respond now to some possible objections.

1. In what has been said we perhaps used the so-called "ontological argument", as according to many interpreters did Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109) in his Proslogion? From the simple idea of God we have obtained directly the existence? This would not be possible indeed. To prove the existence of God, I have to show a necessary dependence between a reality of this world and (at least) the intrinsic ability of God. Only then it is safe to conclude for its existence. Our starting point was the aspiration of our spiritual nature, indubitable reality.

2. The orientation of the spiritual nature of the OU mo for God does not contradict the fact that God transcends our cognitive possibilities. Be oriented towards knowledge and love of God does not mean being run out in the knowledge of God. Faced with the same human beings who know and love with all your heart, we feel that they have in them a depth that we simply King admits reverently, without being able to fully scrutinize.

3. A theologian might oppose that according to our view is already inherent to man an aspiration to the divine vision. How can we reconcile with the dogma that only the grace there enables, ele vandoci supernaturally? We answer: thesis we are in que spoken only aspiration of our nature, but we did not postulate any particular way to satisfy it. A natural disposition of man towards the infinite must be admitted even by theology, if it says that grace presupposes nature. In our thesis therefore remains an open question whether the man reaches its full order, if will see God "face to face" - for which, of course, God must lift it above its nature - or if you know only mediated mind, "as in a mirror."

4. You really valid a principle: the reels ration natural is inherently possible only if it is his end? I do not tend often to a purpose which, as I shall see later, it is inherently impossible - such as a math problem or physical that proves insoluble (quadrature of the circle, "perpetuum mobile")? Here we must distinguish between a direct suction consciously and voluntarily by the subject to a particular end part, and a desire that can and should (later) become conscious and voluntary, but it is already present before the subject warn him that It is oriented by nature prior to knowledge and personal decision. In the first case, when I myself propose an end, I can effectively pursue one intrinsically impossible, but only because it presents itself to me as possible. I will tend their grace in my natural disposition toward being. Without this inherent dynamism, oriented to the ultimate purpose of my being, I could not even aspire for partial seemingly possible. In our thesis it is not an aspiration but a voluntary end to this or that part (sometimes erroneously considered as possible), but of innate disposition and precon heels of our essential nature to its ultimate end and its inner dynamics.

5. But it is possible that another party has directed the man to an end intrinsically impossible? To rule out this hypothesis does not have to assume a wise and benevolent officer of the world, God, in fact, I still have to prove? - First, we note: when we recognize the validity of the principle of non-contradiction - that is something that can not at the same time and under the same re compared being and not being (I can not be together man and non-man) - we should not have already shown that God exists, since it is he who is based in the final analysis this principle? No. Just that our mind, looking at the reality, distinguish the possible from the impossible, and we can say: even God Almighty could, even if he wanted, anything can make impossible possible and inherently impossible. From this it follows, for our thesis: even an omnipotent being and evil would be able to orient the human nature to an end intrinsically impossible, that is, to the absolute nothing and make it into a dynamic being. What is intrinsically impossible it can not be conceived by anyone, not even from the same omnipotence, which would otherwise destroy itself.

At the beginning of our investigation we have said: any proof of God must use the principle of sufficient reason. We would have to add that there are other sufficient reasons beyond the efficient cause. Ordinarily, in the proof of God, it is using the principle of efficient causality: what has not in itself the principle of its existence, is caused. But we have not argued as follows:

our natural aspiration must have an efficient cause, and this could only be God (you may even anticipate), but we have gone directly from the fact of our stretch endlessly, to the possibility and then the reality of infinity: from tending to an order directly to the possibility and the existence of the order. We used that is the principle of finality, the finality of all being, and especially the case of our spiritual nature, and do ab biamo fact the beginning of our proof of God. Although the reasoning of our thesis is rather difficult, however, demonstrate effectively that the individual is oriented and willing, for his own spiritual nature, to the transcendent: whether we like it or not, whether we are aware or not, in any act spiritual, in any act of our knowledge and of our will, we overcome the limits of the world of experience; This shows, to those who reflect not only our attitude toward the infinite being, but also, necessarily, the existence of God. Whoever meditates seriously on man, will find God. Our life is all directed to God alone in following this provision shall find our perfection. This God is infinite Truth and infinite Good. Exceeds our finite intelligence, but at the same time it is the foundation. God is therefore the sacred mystery. In him everything has its ultimate meaning and its ultimate purpose. God does not hesitate to reveal the mysteries of his being and of his love in a special revelation. As it does for a free decision, creates, with his redemptive action, with his historical revelation, the possi bility, the "chance" in which the inner disposition of our spiritual nature will be met in the most perfect fit. This argument therefore leads us to admit the existence of God and with its fundamental importance for our lives.

Summary. The man aspires to true knowledge of reality and can tend freely to the good. This would not be possible if it were intimately tied to a limited sector of reality or a specified partial value; He, however, opens up to the reality and goodness in their infinite fullness. This openness to infinity is the essence of the spirit; it is not the result of a personal acquisition but is given by nature. End of this natural disposition is necessarily being and infinite value. As the end of an aspiration ingrained, the infinite must however be intrin secamente possible. If you demonstrate the infinite as intrinsically possible, it also proves the reality; infinity can not in fact be "merely possible". The man himself would be impossible if God Neola its infinity and absoluteness, was not real! The very essence of man gives us the existence of God.