Descartes’ Proof of the Existence of God


Descartes is an outstanding French philosopher, mathematician, and writer. He is the author of Meditations on First Philosophy, which made him worldwide renowned.

It may be said that he made a revolution in the philosophical world, creating a new way of thinking. Descartes, in the creation of his philosophical system, took as a basis his personal experience and empirical ego, but in his reflections, an individual, conducting dialogue with God, was transmitted to the idea of human ego as thinking substance. The common purpose of Descartes system was thoroughgoing. This purpose was the creation of revolutionary new for its time system of knowledge, which had to be constant and logically invulnerable.

Descartes method

On the basis of a philosophical ground of his system is the evidence of the human ability the perception of the objective reality. The fundamental principle of such a perception is not the personal experience, which sometimes gives a false conception of reality, but the mind, which is followed the whole row of methodological principles.

In his Meditations, Descartes proves the minds priority and makes its thorough analysis. It is like the apagogic proof. Descartes states and denies a person’s ability to learn the world.

The general principle of Descartes’s argument is the following. He figures out the general principle that only those facts are reliable, which seems to be the universal truth. Those objects, the knowledge of which may be at least doubted, are invariably false. From the very beginning, all the evidence of sense experience and even the idea of the human body are considered to be false by Descartes. Then the idea of God is in doubt. In such a way, the falseness of all the mental content is accepted. But this very assumption is instantly denied by Descartes, by paying attention to the fact of the doubt itself as a mental act. (“Principles of Philosophy. Rene Descartes” par.5) The quintessence of this statement is the famous Descartes phrase, that while he is thinking, or doubting, he exists (“Descartes’ Proof for the Existence of God” par.17)

In such a way, the primary basis of valid knowledge is thinking in a broad sense of the word, the so-called Cogito. On that basis, Descartes classifies the ideas of Cogito and decides the question of their origin. The ideas are classified by Descartes as those, which are the ideas created and invented by the person, as those which are externally imposed, and the inborn ideas, which have been given birth simultaneously with the person. The first category of ideas is doubtless. As for the second, Descartes admits the theoretical possibility of these ideas origin only from the mind. Those ideas, which are classified as inner ideas, are the key points in Descartes system. The first of them, which may be found in Cogito, is the idea of God.

The proof of God existence

In Descartes’s work, there are two main pieces of evidence of the impossibility of the origin of this idea from something else, except God. In such a way, the existence of God is proved.

The first variant of such evidence, which is called anthropological, asserts that a person being defective by nature, for his or her existence needs the assistance of God, which is a perfect creature. Nothing could create such a creature as a human being, who had the inner idea of God in his mind, except God. Secondly, the fact of the existing humanity in itself, the fact of its constant maintenance, is not the prerogative of the human being, that is imperfect by nature, but of the reason, which created it. This reason is God, who does not need to be maintained.


To my mind, it is rather difficult to say whether Descartes believed in God or not. It must be said, that he was a mathematician and his proofs of God’s existence reminded the logical exercises rather than the pure faith. As for me, all his arguments that the existence of God may be explained just by the mere fact of thinking about it, sound rather conditional.

Works Cited

Descartes’ Proof for the Existence of God. n.d. Web. 2105.

Principles of Philosophy. Rene Descartes. n.d. Web. 2015.

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Premium Papers. 2023. "Descartes' Proof of the Existence of God." September 29, 2023.

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