4) There are purposes in nature and man, but if we act in terms of purpose, we ask: for what? And if we have reached that, then we again ask: for what is that? We need a final purpose, an ultimate end behind all the means. The preliminary purposes become means when they are fulfilled, and this leads to the idea of a final purpose, of an ultimate meaning, as we would perhaps call it today.
5) This is very much dependent on Plato. It says: there are degrees of perfection in everything that is. Some things are better or more beautiful or truer than others.
But if there is a more-or-less of perfection, there must be something absolutely perfect by which we measure this more-or-less. So whenever we value, we presuppose an ultimate value. Whenever we have degrees, we presuppose something which is beyond degree.
Now in all these arguments there is always the category of causality – it is always a conclusion from characteristics of this world to something which makes this world possible. Now I would believe that this is true, as analysis. Each of these arguments is true as long as it is not an argument but an analysis. It is one of those ways in which existentialist philosophy appeared in the whole history of Western thinking.
In the doctrine of the arguments for the existence of God, we have probably the most adequate analysis of the finitude of reality in the whole literature of the past.
This is the value of these arguments, and this is the reason why they have reappeared exactly as often as they have been refuted – which is a funny thing; I spoke about this already – and by the greatest men in the history of thought: some refuted them, some re-established them. The reason is that they included the existential analysis of man’s finitude, and as such they have truth. Insofar as they go beyond this and establish a highest being which as a being is infinite, they make conclusions which are not justified. And this seems to me our attitude towards these doctrines.