A new ontological argument

God = df. [That being who is eternal, self-existent, omnipotent, omniscient, and morally perfect]

(1.) If God does not exist, then it is true that he does not exist insofar as either (a) the conditions that would bring about the existence of a being such as God have not been met, (b) the notion of such a being is logically contradictory or vacuous, or (c) “God” merely refers to an abstract entity like a number.

(2.) Neither (a), (b), or (c) are true (or at least there are no good reasons for supposing that they are true); (a) cannot be true because God (if he exists) is not the sort of being whose existence is conditioned, (b) does not seem to be true because the concept contains no prima facie contradictions and we more or less understand what we mean when we use the term, and (c) is not the case because no theist (at least the majority of which I’m aware) is conceiving of God to be merely abstract in that way.

(3.) Therefore, God exists.

Let me know what you all think.

i think the “novice” in your name is very appropriate.

i love how people constantly try to prove god’s existence with convoluted word games.
it’s kind of telling about the concept of god if that’s the defense people have to revert to.

Your thinking/post commits a formal logical fallacy -

Affirmative conclusion from a negative premise
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Affirmative conclusion from a negative premise is a logical fallacy that is committed when a categorical syllogism has a positive conclusion, but one or two negative premises.

For example:

No fish are dogs, and no dogs can fly, therefore all fish can fly.

The only thing that can be properly inferred from these premises is that some things that are not fish cannot fly, provided that dogs exist.


We don't read that trash. People who read that trash don't appreciate real literature. Therefore, we appreciate real literature.

This could be illustrated mathematically as

If A ⊄ B and B ⊄ C then A ⊂ C.

It is a fallacy because any valid forms of categorical syllogism that assert a negative premise must have a negative conclusion.

Your conclusion is “God exists.”

WWIII points out a logical problem with arriving at this conclusion, and his objection makes sense to me, like below.

Ultimately I think while this ontological argument may not prove God exists, it can prove that the existence of God would not be logically contradictory.

God does not exist if the conditions necessary for God’s existence are not met.
There are no conditions necessary for God’s existence, so no conditions are unsatisfied.
Therefore God exists.

-C then -G, C, thus G

The affirmation of C is a negative premise in the sense that you don’t actually affirm that conditions are met. You can’t, because there are no conditions. There is no positive affirmation of C, really. So this line of argument is simply inconclusive. At most it fails to prove God doesn’t exist.

If the notion of God is logically contradictory or vacuous, then God does not exist.
The notion of God is not logically contradictory or vacuous.
Therefore, God exists.

If V then -G
thus G

Like in (a), you can’t prove with this line that God doesn’t exist, but you also cannot affirm G, as there might be some other problem with G.

You discard (c) simply on the basis of relevance to God as defined.

This Ontological Argument might be revived if you added the premise, that If (-a, -b, -c) then G. As in, these are the only possible objections to God’s existence. But this would be impossible to defend. As the argument stands now, you don’t say it this way. Instead of “(-a, -b, -c) then G” you say “(a, b, c) then -G.” Thus, by negating a, b, and c, you may only claim that the ontological argument has not successfully disproven the existence of God. (-G does not necessarily follow from the premises)

Riddle of Epicurus:

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?

See Pantheism and Panentheism.

This is an objection to some argument out there, but it is not an objection to mine. The reason is that my argument is not a categorical syllogism; it’s a hypothetical syllogism. Provided a hypothetical syllogism, it is logically valid to infer a positive conclusion even if one of the premises is negative (this is the tautological rule of inference Modus Tollens). For example:

If the President is not alive, then he is a corpse.
The President is not a corpse.
Therefore, the President is alive.

However, even if I formalized the argument as a categorical syllogism, it still would not commit the fallacy that you charge. Watch:

(1) All nonexistent things (presuming we can agree that the term “nonexistent thing” can be used meaningfully) are such that (a), (b), or (c).
(2) God is not such that (a), (b), or (c).
(3) Therefore, God is not a nonexistent thing.

Notice that the conclusion is a negative categorical proposition, which means that it accords with the syllogistic rule that all valid categorical syllogisms containing a negative premise must have a negative conclusion.

These both commit the fallacy of denying the antecedent and thus do not pertain to my argument. My argument proceeds by denying the consequent, in order to show that the antecedent (“God does not exist”) cannot be so.

This doesn’t make sense at all.

First of all, the “if he exists” is already putting his existence as conditional: conditional on his existence.
Second of all, that would be the case even if you didn’t say that.
Existence is conditional.

And how would you know that his existence isn’t anyway?
Where did you get this information from?

Also, there’s one more line of attack:
You posit the existence of a being who has the property of unconditional existence.
I could just say “No being with that property exists.”

Yes you’re right its a negative categorical proposition in which you state the conditions of having a god existing have not been met however it has a positive conclusion.

" the conditions that would bring about the existence of a being such as God have not been met" negative premise
Therefore, God is not a nonexistent thing (double negative, thus making it a positive conclusion), making it a formal fallacy.

You are equivocating on the term “conditional.” A conditional premise is logically equivalent to a negated conjunctive proposition; for example, “If it rains, then there is a cloud” is logically equivalent to “It is false that it rains and there is no cloud.” This has nothing to do with the notion of “condition” being posited in the consequent of the conditional premise itself; the term in this sense refers either to causality or ontological dependence. You and I are conditioned in that sense; we were caused to exist, and as material bodies we are ontologically dependent upon the existence of space and time. This cannot apply to a being such as God, if what you mean by “God” is what I mean by it.

I’ve defined “God” in a certain way, and I’ve made inferences based on the definition that I’ve posited. Any other notion of God that you have in mind is irrelevant to my argument. If you believe that God is not an eternal, self-existent, maximally excellent being, then the being in my argument is not God; fine, I’ll accept that. But what do I care? It’s not God, but it is still eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, self-existent, and morally perfect; whether you choose to call this being “God,” “Flying Spaghetti Monster,” “Vishnu,” or what have you, the being that I have in mind seems more worthy of worship than any other being you can conjure up and label “God.”

And then I would repeat the first premise of my argument: You are tacitly claiming that no being exists with the attributes I’ve described; is it due to (a), (b), or (c)? If not any of them, then on what basis do you posit that this being does not exist?

As far as I know, in syllogistic logic the positivity or negativity of individual predicate terms has no effect on the type of categorical proposition that a sentence may or may not be (correct me if I’m wrong). To use a salient example:

(1) All atheists are A.
(2) Joe is not-A.
(3) Therefore, Joe is not an atheist.

The argument seems to be valid; would you disagree?

Interesting… a brother Logician, but being an altruist, let me see…

If that Hypothesis under question is true, then it is true due to one of the following;
a) the conditions that would bring about the negative of the hypothesis have not been met,
b) the notion of such a Hypothesis is logically contradictory or vacuous,
c) the subject of the hypothesis merely refers to an abstract entity like a number.

My first observation is that (c) is unsupported. One must ground the notion that abstract entities necessarily don’t exist. That subject alone leads to quite a bit of revelation on the subject matter.

So that leaves (a) and (b);
If a statement is true, its negative is necessarily not true (by definition).
The negative, being merely another statement, being true, would necessitate that the original statement was indeed not true.
Thus if the negative is not true (the conditions have not been met to make it true), then the positive must be true.

I think the original wording leads one to get confused by what has been “proven to be “not true”” versus what “actually is not true”. The proposal isn’t that the negative of the hypothesis was not proven, but rather that it is actually not true.

Thus (a) qualifies a falsifiable test.

If a statement is logically false then the statement is false.
If a statement is irrelevant “vacuous”, then nothing is conclusive.

So the first stipulation is tautologically true and the second stipulation isn’t a condition for conclusion in any direction.

Thus (b) is unnecessary and partially false in that it infers that an irrelevant bit of evidence would infer falsifiability.

So from the first paragraph, we are left with:
If that Hypothesis under question is true, then it is true due to the fact that the conditions that would bring about the negative of the hypothesis have not been met, or;

If God does not exist, it is only due to the fact that the conditions that would bring about His existence have not been met.

I can’t argue with that.

Now paragraph B and due to the conclusions of paragraph 1;
The condition (a), that the conditions have not been met for existence, cannot be true because God (if he exists) is not the sort of being whose existence is conditioned.

That is basically saying that God must exist because it is impossible for God to NOT exist.

That is an assertion, but has no foundation provided.

Then paragraph 3;

Therefore God exists, because it is impossible for God to not exist.

Hmm… I see practice in the future. :mrgreen:

Well it would be a. The conditions haven’t been met.

The condition necessary is that a being exists which has unconditional existence. If that condition isn’t met…then it doesn’t exist.

It’s kinda funny, the property of having unconditional existence sorta just cancels itself out like that haha.

If you say a being exists which has unconditional existence, that statement is conditional upon the existence of a being with that property…but since it’s conditional, obviously the existence isn’t unconditional, so it doesn’t exist.

You can’t just define stuff into existence haha.

But, on the other hand, I could even agree to that property being logically possible, and still have it not prove god. You see, that’s not the only property you ascribe to god, you also give it other properties. So, I could grant God’s existence on the grounds of that single property, but still not agree that it has any other properties ascribed to it, like consciousness or the ability to create anything or to even affect matter at all.

Now, if I CAN’T do that, then what that implies is this:

I can just define a being who has the property of unconditional existence, and exists in your brain right now and which immobilizes your whole body. If you respond to this with a message of any sort, I will know that I didn’t just define that being into existence, and that you likewise didn’t define God into existence.


For something to exist, it must have affect.

And you really, really need to start logical arguments with definitions;

If God == the incontestable determiner of all that can be
and if an incontestable determiner exists,
Then God exists.

That depends on your form, your form of the OP is different, it is much more complicated. Lets look at it another way:

Premise 1: If God does not exist, the conditions that would bring about the existence of a being such as God have not been met. (This means there must be conditions for god to exist, because if the conditions haven’t been met, he does not exist)

Premise 2: If God "exists, he is not the sort of being whose existence is conditioned. (This negates premise 1)

Looked at it this way, Your premises have contradicting qualifiers.

Your qualifer for premise 1 negates premise 2’s qualifer thus making premise 2 invalid.

There can be no conditions for the existence of a being such as God insofar as “conditioned” is defined according to causation or ontological dependence. God is self-existent, which means that he has the power to sustain his own existence; in other words, unlike finite beings such as humans, he does not have to rely on air to breathe, food to eat, temperature conditions, a space to occupy, and so on. And as an eternal being, God can neither begin not stop existing; thus, for instance, the existence of God is not dependent upon the fusion of a sperm and egg.

The only sense in which you can say that God is conditioned is if you use a broader definition of “conditioned” which includes individual essences, e.g., the fact that God is so defined as a necessary being (at the very least, necessity de re is logically implied by the attributes aforementioned in the original post) is a condition for his existence. But this seems to amount to a mere tautology; e.g., it seems no different than saying that a basketball player’s playing of basketball is conditioned upon him being a basketball player. So, you’ve done little more than trivialize the notion of contingency in order to say that this also applies to God; this is fine, but it really does not make any interesting points.

I’ve agreed on that point, because the argument in my original post is a hypothetical, not categorical, syllogism.

I think you’ve only raised a syntactical difficulty with my argument, which I can resolve simply by clarification: If God does not exist, then God is a contingent being whose existence is brought on by conditions which have not been met (let’s assume, for the sake of discussion, that we can meaningfully employ the “is” connective to nonexistent things–inasmuch that we are willing to call a thing “nonexistent”); however, since God is not a contingent being, the entire consequent is rendered false; thus, by Modus Tollens, the antecedent is negated.

That’s how ontological arguments work; and so long as God is, by nature, a necessary being, the existential proposition of God founded upon self-justification.