Now I come to more special problems in Anselm, in which this general theonomous character is obvious. I come first to his famous arguments, or as I like to say, so- called “arguments,” for the so-called “existence of God, because I want to show you that they are neither arguments nor do they prove the “existence” of God. But they do something which is much better than this. There are two arguments, the cosmological and the ontological, the cosmological given in his Monologion and the ontological in his Proslogion. My task is to show that these arguments are not arguments for the existence of an unknown or doubtful piece of reality, even if it is called “God,”‘ but that they are quite a different thing from this.
The Cosmological argument says: We have ideas of the good, of the great, of the beautiful, of the true. These ideas are realized in all things. We find beauty, goodness, and truth everywhere, but of course in different measures and degrees.
But if you want to say that something has a higher or lower degree in which it participates in the idea of the good or the true, then the idea itself must be presupposed. Since it is the criterion by which you measure, it itself is not a matter of measure and degree. The good itself, or the unconditionally good – being, beauty – is the idea which is always presupposed. This means that in every finite or relative is implied the relation to an unconditioned, an absolute. Conditionedness, relativity, presuppose and imply something absolute and unconditional. I. e., the meaning of the conditioned and of the unconditioned are inseparable.
If you analyze reality, especially your own reality, you discover in yourselves, continuously, elem ents which are finite and which are inseparably related to something finite. This is a matter of conclusion, from the conditional to the unconditional, but it is a matter of analysis, in which both elements are found as corresponding. Reality by its very nature is finite, pointing to the infinite to which the finite belongs and from which it is separated.
Now this is the first part of the cosmological argument, As far as this goes, it is an existential analysis of finitude and as far as it does this, it is good and true, and the necessary condition for all philosophy of religion. It is the philosophy of religion, actually. But this idea is mixed with the philosophical – or better, metaphysical – realism which identifies universals with the degrees of being. Medieval realism, as you remember we spoke very much about it, gives power of being to the universals.
In this way a hierarchy of concepts is constructed in which the unconditionally good and great, and being, is not only an ontological quality, but becomes an ontic reality, a being besides others. The highest being is that which is most universal. It must be one, otherwise another one. could be found; it must be all-embracing. In other words, the meaning or quality of the infinite suddenly becomes a higher infinite being, a highest or unconditionally good and great being.