Berkeley on God

In Samuel Charles Rickless (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Berkeley. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 177-93 (2021)
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Berkeley’s appeal to a posteriori arguments for God’s existence supports belief only in a God who is finite. But by appealing to an a priori argument for God’s existence, Berkeley emphasizes God’s infinity. In this latter argument, God is not the efficient cause of particular finite things in the world, for such an explanation does not provide a justification or rationale for why the totality of finite things would exist in the first place. Instead, God is understood as the creator of the total unity of all there is, the whole of creation. In this a priori argument, we should not focus on the specific objects that God creates, for that requires that we think that God knows each finite thing as distinct from every other. Rather, we should recognize how God creates all things in creating the complex, infinite totality of finite perceivings, each of which exists in virtue of the distinctions and relations it expresses.



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Stephen H. Daniel
Texas A&M University

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