St. Anselm.
Sunday, May 4, 2008

Adam Burped With Satiety

St. Anselm’s Proslogion is not a philosophical treatise as much as it is an extended prayer, rather in the mode of St. Augustine’s Confessions, that contains philosophy. Anselm says that Adam burped with satiety because in his pre-fallen state he had knowledge of God, and spoke directly with God. Compared to the Edenic state we hunger for that knowledge.

Anselm’s argument for the existence of God, the ontological argument is contained in Chapter 2. He asserts that God is that than which nothing greater can be thought. This precludes geekish arguments such as “Mothra is greater than Godzilla because…,” and focuses on a more abstract chain of reasoning.

Anselm’s proof was immediately attacked by a monk named Gaunillo, who used the concept of a perfect island to parody Anselm’s logic. Aquinas took the proof, if I recall correctly, not as being one of God’s existence, but as proof that the existence of God is self-evident.

I’m not sure if this has been raised or not, but it seems that Anselm asserts that anything that can be thought exists in some form or other. Does this mean, for example that because I can imagine a Pegasus, or a Posleen, that they exist? Alternatively, can I imagine a horse with wings or a Posleen because horse and wings and men exist?

In Chapter 3 Anselm asserts that “if any mind could think of something better than You, the creature would rise above the Creator and would sit in judgment over the Creator—something which is utterly absurd.”

Chapter 25 is interesting because it presents an alternative image of heaven that I find more appealing than the sensual and brutish Islamic heaven of the 72 virgins:

“If beauty delights [you]: the just shall shine forth as the sun. If [you take delight in] the swiftness, strength, or freedom of a body which nothing can resist: [the just] shall be like the angels of God because their bodies are sown as fleshly but will arise as spiritual—[bodies spiritual], of course, in power not in nature. If a long and sound life[delights you]: a sound eternity and an eternal soundness is there, because the just shall live forever and the salvation of the just comes from the Lord. If [you delight in] fullness: [the just] shall be filled when the glory of God is manifested. If intoxication: they shall be intoxicated from the abundance of the house of God. If melody: there choirs of angels sing to God without end. If any pleasure whatsoever that is not impure: God shall grant to them to drink from the torrent of His pleasure. If wisdom: the wisdom of God shall manifest itself unto them. If friendship: they shall love God more than themselves and shall love one another as themselves; and God [shall love] them more than they [love] themselves.”

Next up John Ringo’s Sister Time, followed by Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth.