Is there anything more surprising than the logic of these divines, who, instead of confessing their ignorance of natural causes, seek beyond nature, in imaginary regions, a cause much more unknown than that nature, of which they can form at least some idea? To say, that God is the author of the phenomena of nature, is it not to attribute them to an occult cause? What is God? What is a spirit? They are causes of which we have no idea. 0 wise divines! Study nature and her laws; and since you can there discover the action of natural causes, go not to those that are supernatural, which, far from enlightening, will only darken your ideas, and make it utterly impossible that you should understand yourselves.
Nature, you say, is totally inexplicable without a
God. That is to say, to explain what you understand very little, you have need of a cause which you understand not at all. You think to elucidate what is
obscure, by doubling the obscurity: to solve difficulties, by doubling them. 0 enthusiastic philosophers! To prove the existence of a God, write complete treatises of botany; enter into a minute detail of the parts
of the human body; launch forth into the sky, to
contemplate the revolution of the stars; then return to the earth to admire the course of waters; behold with transport the butterflies, the insccts, the polypi, and the organized atoms, in which you think you discern the greatness of your God. All these things will not prove the existence of that God; they will prove only, that you have not just ideas of the immense variety of matter, and of the effects, producible by its infinitely diversified combinations, that constitute the universe. They will prove only your ignorance of nature; that you have no idea of her powers, when you judge her incapable of producing a multitude of forms and beings, of which your eyes, even with the assistance of microscopes, never discern but the smallest part. In a word, they will prove, that, for want of knowing sensible agents, or those possible to know, you find it shorter to have recourse to a word, expressing an inconceivable agent.