In Descartes’s Third Meditation, he discusses theexistence of God; an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent being. He continueshis quest of epistemology to find out what he really knows and how he knowswhat he knows. He raises these questions when the Catholic Church is the mainauthority in the western world. Because of that, the argument will eventuallyrefer to God (or some sort of all-powerful being) in order to better explainhis argument. Descartes attempted to prove the existence of God, in theThird Meditation. He wants to provethat there is a God, that God is responsible for the way he thinks aboutthings, and that God is the reason that he exists. The idea of God thatDescartes is using as an example, is the idea that he has in his mind of God.
His idea of God is a being that has no imperfections and has all theperfections that Descartes cannot even fathom yet. In this idea of God, God hasno potential to be more, because he is the being of perfection and always hasbeen. In the 26th paragraph, Descartes questionshimself and poses a problem. He questions his being and suggests that it ispossible that he has the potential to obtain the perfections he associates withGod. The perfections that no one can even grasp to understand. He says that heis constantly learning and gaining knowledge, and there is nothing impeding hisway. Logically this leads to the thought that he has the potential ability tohave the same ‘perfections’ of God.
This raises the question; if he has thepotential to have these ‘perfections’, why can he not produce the thoughts ofthese ‘perfections’ that God has? In the 27th paragraph, he answers thisquestion. He bluntly says that all he said in the last paragraph is notpossible. Although he does acknowledge the existence of his growth of knowledgeand that he does have unknown potential.
This does not matter when discussingGod. God has no potential! God does not need potential because the idea of itrepresents the entirety of everything and there is nothing else after.Descartes also points out the fact that his gaining of knowledge points to thefact that he is imperfect. If he was perfect, then there would be no need forhim to gain knowledge because he would have it all already.
He comes to termswith it and admits that eventually, he would not be capable of adding knowledgeto himself, he is finite. But the idea of God is infinite. And because God isperfect and infinite, he does not need additions to himself. He also says thatit is not possible for a person to look at this objectively, we are restrainedby our ability to see things subjectively.
So that means that a person that haspotential cannot be completely objective because the full potential has notbeen there, meaning only a ‘formal being’ could.