All concepts of objects and things have three levels of origin and existence.
Though we can’t trust our senses, we can trust the fact that we think and therefore exist. But what about the world around us, given that we receive knowledge of it through our senses? What is its nature?
First, it’s important to note that we can actually understand some things that exist in the world purely with our minds. Take geometrical forms: triangles, cubes and circles. Humans can grasp these concepts without necessarily having to encounter them in their true form in the physical world.
For another example, take the concept of the sun. If we use astronomy, based on our knowledge of geometry and mathematics, we know that the sun is a huge planetary body – knowledge which we wouldn’t gain from seeing it with our eyes or feeling it on our skin.
On the other hand, many ideas do come to us from the outside world. These things force their existence onto us, doing so independently of our own actions and thoughts. For example, we feel warmth when we’re sitting by a fireplace whether we want to or not.
But as we know, we can’t trust our senses. So the truth of any concepts we perceive with our senses is less reliable than the truth of concepts that we can understand with our minds alone.
Take the sun again. When we see it in the sky it looks very small. If we took this sensory information as knowledge, we might think the sun was very small, perhaps even smaller than a tree that’s closer to us.
There are also other concepts that we create ourselves. These ideas, like hippogriffs and satyrs, are combinations of ideas we know through our minds or from the outside world. These imaginary ideas have the smallest degree of reality.
With these three different levels of our realities in mind, how can we approach the biggest existence question of all: Is God real?