The God of the Theologians Composed of Negations which Lead to Atheism

Hanover Historical Texts Project
Baron D'Holbach,
Good Sense: or, Natural Ideas Opposed to Supernatural; being a Translation from a Work Called "Le Bon Sens"
corrected and carefully revised by H. D. Robinson

(Boston: J. P. Mendum, 1856) Pages 16-17

Scanned by Aaron Gulyas, February, 1998.

IN view, without doubt, of confounding things the more, theologians have not been pleased to declare what their God is; they tell us only what he is not. By means of negations and abstractions, they think they have composed a real and perfect being, while, in truth, it is only ideal. Mind is that which is not body. An infinite being, is a being who is not finite. A perfect being, is a being who is not imperfect. Indeed, is there any one, who can form real ideas of such a mass of privations, or absence of ideas? That which excludes all idea, can it be anything but nothing?

To pretend, that the divine attributes are beyond the reach of human conception, is to grant, that God is not made for man. To assure us, that, in God, all is infinite, is to own that there can be no thing common to him and his creatures. If there be nothing common to God and his creatures, God is annihilated for man, or, at least, rendered useless to him. "God," they will say, "has made man intelligent, but he has not made him omniscient;" hence it is inferred that he has not been able to give him faculties sufficiently enlarged to know his divine essence. In this case, it is evident, that God has not beeii able nor willing to be known by his creatures. By what right then would God be angry with beings, who were naturally incapable of knowing the divine essence? God would be evidently the most unjust and capricious of tyrants, if he should punish an Atheist for not having known, what, by his nature, it was impossible he should know.

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