At the Battle of Hastings on October 14, 1066, William, the Duke of Normandy, invaded England and conquered the island nation by defeating the Anglo-Saxon King Harold. This began the Norman Invasion of England and changed the country in many ways, linguistically, economically, politically, but also spiritually. One of the first things William the Conqueror did was establish St. Anselm as the new Archbishop of Canterbury.
Anselm & Ontology
This propelled Anselm into the public light. In those days, high ranking clergy were as well-known as kings and nobles. If not for the Norman Invasion, Anselm may have been a quiet cleric in some hidden monetary or hermitage. But being a celebrity of the Medieval period made it possible to put his thoughts out there for the public and for history to consider. Anselm’s greatest contribution to world thought is his argument for the existence of God by Ontology.
The Ontological argument as presented by Anselm of Canterbury is a purely logical argument. He contended that by the very definition of God, He must be the greatest of all possible beings. Further, to exist in reality is greater than existing only in the imagination. So if there is no God, then He only exists in our imagination, but that would make Him less than the greatest of all possible beings. Therefore, as Anselm stated, God as the greatest of all possible beings must exist because man can conceive in his mind the thought of the idea of God.
The biggest argument against this is someone can also imagine the greatest pizza possible, so it must also exist. This is a false comparison. The argument isn’t about the best of anything, but the greatest of all possible beings that ever could exist. God is still greater than the best pizza in existence. The argument goes to the very nature of the Being of God.
Lesser arguments against Ontology are that if this is true, it doesn’t mean specifically that the Jehovah of the Bible is that God. It’s also said that this argument allows for a plurality of gods or even an impersonal and insentient god. These rebuttals miss the point completely. If Ontology proves a god exists without identifying him, then the Bible does. The Bible can be proven to be the perfect and inspired word of God, and it identifies the true God.
But remember than Ontology goes to being. This means that more than a transcendent divinity is proven, but a God who is the greatest of all possible beings. This means that the God of Ontology will be all-holy, all-loving, all-powerful, and all-knowing. This is how the Bible describes God, and it is far from how man’s mythology describes their idols. And this greatest being must be singular, sentient, and personal, or it cannot be the greatest of all possible beings. Far from being a weak defense, the Ontological argument for the existence of God is quite formidable.