Volume 82, Issue 1, Winter 2008
Edith Stein’s Proof for the Existence of God from Consciousness
I examine Edith Stein’s argument for the existence of God found in Finite and Eternal Being. Although largely Thomistic in its structure, the proof is unique in its details, starting with the life of the ego (Ichleben) and ascending to the being of God. The ego is shown to be contingent in its being as well as in the meaning-content through which it lives. Stein argues that this dependent being cannot be accounted for without a being that does not need to receive its being, namely, God. She then turns to the felt security of being as a counter to Heideggerian Angst as a revelatory mood, arguing that security puts us into contact with divine being. She concludes by admitting that proofs rarely convince because of the infinite distance between creature and creator, but concedes to them a role, nonetheless, in shrinking the distance between belief and unbelief.