In terms of proving the existence of god, Descartes uses the method of analysis. Descartes
holds that analysis is the best and truest method of teaching. He acknowledges analysis as
being the correct way in developing a metaphysically idea:
“Analysis shows the true way by which a thing was methodically discovered and derived, as it
were effect from cause, so that, if the reader care to follow it and give sufficient attention to
everything, he understands the matter no less perfectly and makes it as much his own as if he
had himself discovered it. But it contains nothing to incite beliefs in an inattentive or hostile
reader;” (Objections II, Descartes).
Essentially Descartes is explaining how a person must come to the knowledge of god as if they
discovered it themselves, because one who comes to the knowledge of god by themselves will
have a better understanding. Descartes emphasizes that this type of knowledge must be
internalized for an elevated understanding and clarity of the existence of god.
In the third meditation, Descartes meticulously establishes the proofs for god’s existence.
Descartes talks about objective and formal reality, objective reality being in virtue of
representing something else and formal reality is the principle that determines how much
actuality something has based on its independence. Descartes attributes these qualities to
ideas, such as the idea of god which has both infinite objective and formal reality. God is not
dependent upon anything for existence, so god must have infinite formal reality and
consequently infinite objective reality.
Descartes also discusses the concept of cause and effect, being that an effect must have a
cause. This means that something cannot come from nothing, because the claim is illogical. An
effect derives its reality by its cause and the cause must have the reality of the effect in itself,
essential something that is more perfect cannot result for something less perfect. For example,
Descartes talks about how a stone cannot exist unless the cause possesses within itself all that
is required for producing the stone. The cause must have equal or greater reality to create the
stone. Through this successive chain of cause and effect it leads to an archetype, which means
the first cause of an object or an idea. When going up the chain of causes, the reality of each
cause becomes greater until it reaches a cause that has infinite reality. This leads to a primary
cause or idea, which Descartes holds as the idea of god.
In Descartes’ third mediation his first proof establishes that the idea of god was giving by god,
because the idea of god has more objective and formal reality than humans. This is true,
because the idea of god has both infinite objective and formal reality, whereas humans have a
finite reality. Since the idea of god is an idea that has the utmost reality, its cause must be a
result of something more perfect. When examining the idea of god, one inevitably realizes that it
has infinite reality. Therefore it must be the result of god, because god is the only being left that
has enough reality in terms of creating the idea of god. Descartes also says that “I see that
there is manifestly more reality in infinite substance that in finite, and therefore that in some way
I have in me the notion of the infinite earlier than the finite”(Med III, Descartes). Through this
quote Descartes is explaining how he knows himself as a finite being and is a result of
something infinite. The quote itself implies that the finite and infinite are two inseparable ideas.
And that if Descartes was to think of himself as a finite being and deny the existence of an infinite one, and then he can no longer think of himself as being finite. Therefore the infinite
being must necessarily exist, because humans are finite.
Once Descartes establishes that the idea of god was giving by god, he contemplates his origin.
Descartes proposes that he might be the author of his own existence, a result of his parents, or
something less perfect than god. Upon examining whether he is the author of his own existence,
Descartes realizes that he would of have bestowed himself with all perfections and