During the history of humanity, there were different conceptions of human essence. I will focus on the idea of ‘humanity is God’s children’ because it is the only one relevant for the purposes of this paper. Being a God’s child implies being created. The conception of God, whether among philosophers or on the level of people who believe, indicates that he is omnipotent and omniscient.
The Christian philosopher and theologian Anselm in Ontological argument describes God as ‘being than which nothing greater can be conceived.’1 When God creates something he knows what he does. One can compare God’s creation with an artist working on a painting, where everything is in its place and every object is important. Similarly to an artist if God made a human in some way, added this and removed that then it means he had reasons to do this. God made man according to his plan and every human is the realization of the divine conception.
Thus every man has an essence which refers to the divine conception of a Man. As a result, the existence of human being, every action, choice and thought predetermined by an essence made according to the God’s project. Sartre accepts this idea but he adds that if there is no God then human is not determined in his essence, because God is the only one able to establish human nature together with future according to his plan2. For him argument does not work in which God created man with essence but also provided with freedom to choose.
For Sartre, either man’s essence determined by God and, as a result, human actions conditioned by God’s plan or man is not created and free3.Starting from certain moment humanity became suspicious about religion and God. For instance, Darwin’s evolution theory put into test idea of the divine act of creation and of man made in the image of God. God as a guarantor of universal truths, One who provided humankind with purpose and meanings, One who should have been the creator was a mere creation of human mind. The idea of God served in the past for the explanation of the world human lives in. Even today many people refuse to accept the idea of indifference of the universe and accidental character of life.
In particular, Sartre provides with own argumentation for the impossibility of God’s existence, firstly, maintaining that concept of ‘God’ is in self-contradiction, secondly, stating that Anselm’s Ontological argument for the existence of God is inaccurate. In regard to self-contradiction, it arises when one thinks about God as self-caused, because if God causes himself then he becomes contingent. In contrast, God is independent and cannot be dependent on anything even on himself4. Alternatively, God – is ‘impossible union of the for-itself with the in-itself.
‘5 On the one hand, God is whole, being-in-itself, on the other hand, as theists conceive him, God is conscious, being-for-itself. Being-in-itself is that what exists and cannot be other than what it is6. However, being-for-itself exists as a constant negation of what exists, it always intends something. To clarify, being-for-itself understands everything in terms of lack, that is, for consciousness being lacks of something. Consequently, it rejects the past or what being is and projects itself to the future or to what is not yet.
Being-for-itself is in constant change because of the desire to be not what it is7. Therefore, union of being-in-itself and being-for-itself is impossible because the unchangeable object cannot be at the same time the object which is in a constant change8. In like manner, being-for-itself requires something that it can negate in order to exist as negation, that is, it depends on what it negates, whereas God cannot be dependent9.