Philosophy: Do I Exist?

WARNING: Heavy thinking ahead 😉 For a school paper, I am exploring my personal worldview. As part of that, I have to address the question of identity and origin. One of my paragraphs deals with the topic of existence.

Though I am afraid that it will appear disjointed and trivial, I publish it here with the hopes that it will make you think a bit about a oft-overlooked idea.

Before tackling the question of my origin, I must first decide if I exist or not. If I do not exist, my origin is meaningless. The first possibility is that I am I am simply an imagination. As Tweedledee said to Alice in Through the Looking Glass, ‘Why, you’re only a sort of thing in [the Red King’s] dream!…if that there King was to wake,’ added Tweedledum, you’d go out— bang!— just like a candle!’”

In the same way, what if I am only an imagination in the mind of God, and not real at all? Yet if that were so, I would have no free will, for God would control all my thoughts and actions. Thus, I must be separate from God. What then, am I?

Rene Descartes once spoke a brilliant quote, Cogito ergo sum, or in English, I think, therefore, I am.” I must exist, yet in what form do I exist? Some have taken Descartes’ quote and made the argument of solipsism, or that the mind is all that exists; the physical is only my imagination.

This argument is remarkably difficult to disprove, and yet, it is equally difficult to prove. If all my experiences are illusory and exist only in my imagination, then any evidence I might produce for either side is automatically discarded, because it has to be a product of my senses. If I accepted solipsism, I would forever be troubled by the question of what truly exists.

Yet there is a better way. I have accepted the Bible, God’s written repository of knowledge, as eternal, unchangeable truth. What does it have to say about existence and trusting our senses? In the book of Genesis, God created the world, man, and everything else. Nothing in the text indicates an allegorical meaning. Rather, it gives a straightforward account of a creation that truly exists.

In addition, in Matthew 11:21, Jesus proclaims woe on the people of Chorazin and Bethsaida because they did not change their actions based on what they perceived through their senses. Clearly, the Bible both implies and assumes that mankind exists, and thus it follows that I must exist.

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About Me

I'm a high school student, a teen, who seeks to follow God with everything he has. I've got so many questions and so often I feel like I'm hitting a wall in my beliefs, my actions, and my creativity. And that's OK.

Being surrendered is more of a process than a destination. I'm not perfect by any means, and I struggle a lot. But the daily act of "presenting my body as a living sacrifice," fully surrendered to the will of my King, is what will get me through.