The Existence Of God Chapter

ORIGIN OF OUR IDEA OF GOD?S EXISTENCE.

God is the infinite and perfect Spirit in whom all things have their source, support, and end.

On the definition of the term God, see Hodge, Systematic Theology, 1:366. Other definitions are those of Calovius: ?Essentia spiritualis infinita?; Ebrad: ?The eternal, uncaused, independent, necessary Being, that hath active power, life, wisdom, goodness, and whatever other supposable excellency, in the highest perfection, in and of itself?; Westminster Catechism: ?A Spirit infinite, eternal and unchangeable in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth?; Andrew Fuller: ?The first cause and the last end of all things.?

The existence of God is a first truth; in other words, the knowledge of God?s existence is a rational intuition. Logically, it precedes and conditions all observation and reasoning. Chronologically, only reflection upon the phenomena of nature and of mind occasions its rise in consciousness.

The term intuition means simply direct knowledge. Lowndes (Philos. Of Primary Beliefs, 78) and Mansel (metaphysics, 52) would use the term only of our direct knowledge of substances, as self and body; Porter applies it by preference to our cognition of first truths, such as have been already mentioned. Harris (Philos. Basis of Theism, 44-151, but esp. 45, 46) makes it include both. He divides intuitions into two classes:

1. Presentative intuitions, as self consciousness (in virtue of which I perceive the existence of spirit and already come in contact with the supernatural), and sense perception (in virtue of which I perceive the existence of matter, at least in my own organism, and come in contact with nature);

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