How does Anselm prove God’s existence and how his proof relates to the rest of the Proslogion.

Anselm makes it clear in his preface that his contemplative work seeks to demonstrate that a. God truly (i.e. in reality) exists, b. That he is the Supreme Good and the Divine Substance. One of the ontological proofs of God’s existence is due to the fact that God cannot be thought not to exist. Adding merit to the thesis of God’s existence is his omnipotence, even though He does not impose his will on many natural phenomena.

It is only the proverbial Fool who could ever doubt God’s existence. It is only the Fool who in his heart cannot conceive of that which is the greatest. The Fool would also think that since God is not found in any corporeal form, he does not exist. But “”alone existing through Hmself, He makes all other things from nothing.

Further evidence for God’s existence comes from the fact that he is merciful and impassible. Only the supreme authority governing the cosmos can deliver mercy upon various life forms graced to live on earth. Indeed, God’s magnanimity is such that he even condones the misdeeds of those that have committed evil acts. The grand compassion of God does not discriminate between the sinners and the faithful. At the same time, God does not evade delivering justice in order to maintain the moral order of the cosmos. Anselm captures this sentiment through the words “All the ways of the Lord are mercy and truth, yet, the Lord is just in all His ways”.

The other forceful proof of God’s existence comes from his eternal qualities. God is not located in time or space and yet all things material are contained within Him. It is He who breathes life into beings, transferring them from physical objects to souls. Indeed, the trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit represent all that is good. For us humans, it is nearly impossible to even guess the nature, complexion and scale of this divine benevolence. Through all these assertions, Anselm makes a strong case for the existence of God.


Anselm of Canterbury, Proslogion, Complete Philosophical and Theological Treatises of Anselm of Canterbury, Translated by Jasper Hopkins and Herbert Richardson