The Idea of God

  • Errol E. Harris
Part of the Tulane Studies in Philosophy book series (TUSP, volume 26)


Every attempt to conceive the real as restricted within finite limits either explicitly or by implication denies itself and impels our thought beyond all limits to the postulation of an infinite being, on which all else depends and in which everything lives, moves and has its being. There must be, as Spinoza insisted, an infinite whole—call it what you will—in which alone anything can be, and through which alone anything can be conceived. It is in this inescapable fact that all the traditional proofs of God’s existence are rooted. They maintain in effect, first, that the fact is inescapable (the Ontological Proof) ; secondly, that the finite nature of the world as we experience it, and of ourselves, as we know ourselves, makes the fact inescapable (the Cosmological Proof) and, finally, that whatever is intelligible is so only by virtue of its supplementation and amplification into that infinite whole, of which its intelligible structure is evidence (the Tele-ological Proof). It is one ultimate fact, and only one, that all three forms taken by the traditional proofs of the existence of God explicate and demonstrate.


Human Personality Transcendent Ideal Moral Perfection Finite Nature Religious Devotion 
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  1. 1.
    Cf. my paper The Problem of Self-constitution in Idealism and Phenomenology’ in Idealistic Studies, Vol. VII, 1977.Google Scholar
  2. 1.
    Christianity and Evolution (London, 1971), p. 100.Google Scholar
  3. 1.
    Op. cit., pp. 16–17.Google Scholar
  4. 1.
    See below pp. 117, 130 and especially 154.Google Scholar

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© Tulane University New Orleans 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Errol E. Harris

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