God in Berkeley's Philosophy

The role of God in Berkeley philosophy is that of the foundation of existence. Everything that exists, exists because exists in the mind of the Eternal Spirit/God. In Berkeley’s words this is expressed as follows: ‘All the bodies which compose the mighty frame of the world, have not any subsistence without a mind, that their being is to be perceived or known; that consequently so long as they are not actually perceived by me, or do not exist in my mind or that of any other created spirit, they must either have no existence at all, or else subsist in the mind of some Eternal Spirit’ (Berkeley 1710, I.6).

Perception, Reality and God

This extended quote from Berkeley tells us that when there is no created mind in one place to perceive it, and so for that place to exist, that place continues to exist because of the mind of the Eternal Spirit. When we are not there to perceive them they do not go away. Their ‘continued existence’ (Moore 2011, 118) is sustained by the mind of God; this is a proof of God’s existence according to Berkeley. ‘God always perceive everything’ (Russell 2009, 519).
On the other hand Berkeley argues that when we imagine ‘trees in a park, or books existing in a closed, and nobody to perceive them’ (Berkeley 1710, I.23) we prove that we have ‘the power of imagining or forming ideas in our mind’ and this power is from God. The objects exists not because of our minds but because of the mind of Eternal Spirit, and we call this Spirit, God (Melchert 2011, 398).

Berkeley, George. 1710. A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge. Dublin: Aaron Rhames.
Melchert, Norman. 2011. The Great Conversation, A Historical Introduction to Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Moore, Brooke Noel, and Kenneth Bruder. 2011. Philosophy, The Power of Ideas. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Russell, Bertrand. 2009. History of Western Philosophy. Oxon: Routlege.

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