chapter  3
9 Pages

The possibility of atheism

Descartes and God

Well, it depends how you read him. Most of the time he plays safe by avoiding theological issues and concentrating on the science, leaving it to others to decide how to fit them together, and that gives rise to the familiar picture which I shall refer to as God the clock-maker. But later on in life he does suggest a theological reading of his world view which may have been just a sop to the authorities, but which if taken seriously points to a different, stranger, and more interesting story which I shall call the God of Science. This chapter will focus on strictly metaphysical issues, on the question of how Descartes thinks of God and of God’s relation to creation. In Chapter 5 we will look at the question of whether we have any good reason to believe there is such a thing as God at all.