Arguments for the Existence of God: The Argument of Degree of Perfection
We, as humans, assign degrees to various things in life. For example, we think of the lighter as approaching the brightness of pure white, and the darker as approaching the opacity of pitch black. This means that we think of them at various "distances" from the extremes, and as possessing, in degrees of "more" or "less," what the extremes possess in full measure.
[First it must be given, that color B is whiter than color A. B need not be pure white, or superlatively white. Then any color X is between A and B if and only if both X is closer to A than A is close to B and X is closer to B than B is close to A. If X is between A and B,then X is whiter than A, and B is whiter than X. If X is different from both A and B and is not between A and B, then (1) X is whiter than B if and only if X is closer to B than X is close to Aand (2) A is whiter than X if and only if X is closer to A than X is close to B. Two colors, X and Y,can be compared with respect to whiteness by (1) comparing X with the initially given pair in the manner just described and (2) similarly comparing Y with either the pair A and X or the pair B and X.]
The entire concept of "good, better, best" lies within here. The sheer fact that we can assert that something is "bad" means that there is something that is "good". We hold that things can be hotter or cooler, i.e, my coffee coming out of the pot is hotter than the coffee in the sink from yesterday.
To formulate this:
- Objects have properties to greater or lesser extents.
- If an object has a property to a lesser extent, then there exists some other object that has the property to the maximum possible degree.
- So there is an entity that has all properties to the maximum possible degree.
- Hence God exists.
But if these degrees of perfection pertain to being and being is caused in finite creatures, then there must exist a "best," a source and real standard of all the perfections that we recognize belong to us as beings.
This absolutely perfect being—the "Being of all beings," "the Perfection of all perfections"—is God.