What Does Hegel Prove in His Lectures on the Proofs of God's Existence?

Philosophy and Theology 20 (1/2):85-97 (2008)
Even though Hegel rejects Kant’s criticism of the classical proofs for God’s existence, he is far from joining the followers of St. Anselm.What is needed, he suggests, is the rational account of the transition from the final notion to the infinite Being. The Lectures in its central treatment of the Cosmological proof present us with an explanation in rational terms of the fact of religion, i.e., the elevation of the finite spirit to infinite God, rather than with a proof in a narrow logical sense. Hegel is not so much asking the question ‘Does Godexist?’ but rather ‘How is the elevation of the finite spirit to God possible?’ The Hegelian ‘proof,’ I argue, consists in a demonstrationof the necessity of movement from finiteness to infinity, that is, the demonstration of the necessity of religion itself. Religious faith in this context is not juxtaposed to reason, but appears as a mode of imperfect knowledge, which is superseded by the further development of the rational concept
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Philosophy and Religion
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ISBN(s) 0890-2461
DOI 10.5840/philtheol2008201/24
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