The idea of God

Reflecting on the nature of a supreme being has generated a constellation of divine attributes. Can we make sense of them? The idea that a maximally perfect being exists necessarily is expressed in the distinctive ontological argument for the existence of God. Is the argument successful and how should we treat it? But is the idea of God really an idea that reaches out to something beyond, and distinct from, the familiar? Perhaps ‘God’ is merely the product of mundane social and psychological processes.

In this module you will study the following notions of God


God’s Divine Attributes| Proof for God’s existence | God as a necessary being


Click on the above links to be taken to these sections.


The department is aiming to update these topics so that you will be able to access information about your course from this website. If you cannot download something or are having problems using the site, please contact Mr. Winter.

The divine attributes

  • God has been described as possessing omnipotence, omniscience and supreme goodness. He is said to be transcendent and immanent and His existence has no beginning or end, being either eternal or everlasting.
  • What are we to understand by these attributes and how do they apply?
  • Are these divine attributes singularly or mutually coherent?
  • What are the origins of the term ‘God’?

The ontological argument

  • Is it logically possible to demonstrate a priori that if God’s existence is conceivable then God must exist?
  • What are the strengths of this argument?
  • How has it been criticised?

God’s being is necessary.

  • Is it possible to claim that ‘God’ is innate within all of us?
  • What are the difficulties surrounding that claim?
  • How have philosophers attempted to explain the idea of ‘God’ as merely a human construction?
  • To what extent is God a projection that emerges from mundane social or psychological processes?