Questions about the philosophy of the Ontological Argument

A version of The Ontological Argument was what made me believe in God. However, rather than showing that there must logically be an upmost Good and since this is by definition God, therefore He exists, I used a different version after pondering over what we mean by ‘Good’. And it seems to me that something is ‘good’ if it is, to whatever degree, loved. The Highest Good, then, could be simply defined as the Highest Love since the greatest value is that which is most loved. And this could be defined as God, since God is Love. Indeed, the greatest kind of Love (I am aware there is much more to say on this subject- particularly that the Love He most resembles is probably Agape).
This version taken by itself, however, leads one to a different kind of God to the one of traditional theism. For if God is Love and Love alone, this needn’t by definition be a God who helps us, guides us and has powers to save us from Death- for love ALONE is not lessened by inability to save the beloved or in the face of suffering.
But it seems to me logically correct to say that the furthermost Good is in fact that which is most loved- and this need only be a concept of what is loved. The rational Ontological Argument, therefore, is not about the highest Good but the Highest Love.

But the God it entails is quite different. So where am I logically going wrong?

How do you know whether or not Good or Love can go higher and higher so that there is not a highest, but always something that is higher. Take for example the integers: 1, 2, 3, 4, … For any number you give me, i can always find a higher one. But there is no highest integer.

How are you defining the verb love?

  1. feel deep affection for (someone).
  2. like or enjoy very much.


Love always wants good for the beloved. So is Good alone lessened by inability to save the beloved or in the face of suffering?

I am not disagreeing, just trying to understand why this is a problem for Love, but not for Good.

There are many kinds, aren’t there! In this instance I’m reffering to both (and all) kinds, simply because I believe that what we mean by Greatest Good is ‘most lovable’, ‘to be most loved’. But this means that the Highest Good could be conceptual rather than physically ‘there’. So, for instance, the fact I wish I could fly like Superman- whilst logically all of what Goodness is must exist- doesn’t entail that I actually can. It remains an concept. This is because what makes the idea good to me is my love for it, rather than its goodness relying on its actual physical coming into being. Goodness seems to me to be a product of love alone but, for this reason, this argument doesn’t seem to entail the traditional powers and abilities normally attributed with God. As I’m still learning, I’m assuming my logic is going wrong somewhere.

If I think of the best thing imaginable (the most good thing I can think of) it won’t amount to a clear concept of God (theology tells us He is unimaginable) but it does make me wonder about our definition of goodness. Because the classic argument says that all of goodness must exist, logically, or we would have no concept of it. You can’t say something is less good than a goodness that doesn’t exist! That would be like saying this object is lower than something but there is nothing that exists which is higher than it.
BUT I feel as though what goodness actually exists as is the most loved concept- that which deserves most love. In this instance it is NOT illogical to imagine the highest good as a concept rather than an actual power with abilities. What would be illogical is to deny the highest extent of Love. For all value is a form of love and thus nothing has higher value than the most loved, even if that love is for something only conceptual.

I hope I’m explaining myself alright!

There is a difference between the meanings of those two terms one as a noun and the other as a verb. There needs to be more precision. With malice, a person chooses a spiritual evil.

I mean love itself as opposed to a person who loves. So a noun, I suppose. You’re right- clarity is important.

Here is a version you might like (although i do not personally like the ontological argument)

  1. It’s possible for there to be a being that cannot fail to exist

  2. A being that cannot fail to exist must exist since it cannot fail to be

Conclusion: If it’s a possibility, then such a being must exist because it cannot fail to exist.

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