Now, the Ontological Argument is controversial (still; after all these years!) However, some leap to defend it. I am not here to prove or disprove how valid it is. But surely this following defence of it is wrong, based upon the reasons I shall give… On the Ontological Argument, Peter Kreeft said 'Consider the following common objection. The idea of God can easily arise like this: we notice degrees of perfection among finite beings—some are more perfect (or less imperfect) than others. And to reach the idea of God, we just project the scale upward and outward to infinity. Thus there seems to be no need for an actually existing God to account for the existence of the idea. All we need is the experience of things varying in degrees of perfection, and a mind capable of thinking away perceived limitations.
But is that really enough? How can we think away limitation or imperfection unless we first recognize it as such? And how can we recognize it as such unless we already have some notion of infinite perfection? To recognize things as imperfect or finite involves the possession of a standard in thought that makes the recognition possible.’
But surely this can be contested?
1.‘How can we think away limitation or imperfection unless we first recognize it as such?’ We can recognise the goodness in objects (the beauty of a creature) whilst seeing the negative (the creature that is beatiful is poisonous to touch)…As imaginative animals, surely we then desire that the negative didn’t exist and that experiencing that ‘goodness’ never reached a halting point where there is a negation of it? It’s practical that we should want an utter good. We therefore desire a good ‘not to be had’ because every good, even seemingly perfected as an object, eventually we tire of and therefore is not ‘perfect’ and that is percieved as a negation?
2.I can imagine ANYTHING has an infinite degree. I can concieve of the idea of infinite horror, disgust…and, likewise, as I can imagine a Plato-like world where every object and idea is perfected boundlessly, I can imagine terrible things like disfigurement or pain having endlessly horrid qualities. These are not ‘of God’ and the Devil (surely- as He is far less than God) is not infinite. Therefore, one must assume one CAN imagine an infinite without that infinite existing.
It is true that I cannot actually picture the infinite torment of which I speak as an image. But, you know, the same can be said of infinite goodness.