In Existentialism Jean-Paul Sartre says that God does not exist and that consequently there is no a priori Good, since there is no infinite and perfect consciousness to think it.

If Sartre is right, the future of the world is bleak and uncertain, for then life has no meaning beyond what man gives it, and any meaning he gives it will perish with him.

But is he right? According to Marjorie Grene (Introduction to Existentialism), Sartre sees a contradiction in the concept causa sui and thus holds that the existence of God is impossible. This concept implies, on the one hand, that God exists from the necessity of his own nature alone, and, on the other hand, that he stands in relation to himself, that he is what he is not, that he is in the manner of consciousness, which is aware of not being its own foundation, and thus exists not from the necessity of his own nature but contingently. Neither of these contentions, however, seems warranted. As causa sui there is no inner necessity in God beyond his own determination; and causa and sui are not different agents but one and the same being. God is self-dependent in his existence, not dependent on something other than himself. In him cause and self are one. In view of this, all contingency vanishes.

Sartre’s argument, we must conclude, fails to rule out God’s existence. As far as it is concerned, therefore, God may exist. And if God may exist, then even according to Sartre a priori Good may, too, and the world need not be so bleak and meaningless as his view implies.

But this is not all we can say. We can state reasons for Christian belief, and notably for belief in God, that appear quite cogent when correctly formulated and understood, and it is the purpose of this essay ...

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