Argument V

Natural theology is not enough. David Hume and Immanuel Kant both object to theistic natural theology on the grounds that the God that appears in natural theology is not sufficient to justify belief in the God of theistic tradition. So, while Kant is impressed by an argument from design, one of his objections is that the God evidenced by design would not thereby be shown to be omniscient, omnipotent, essentially good, and so on. Kant writes:

The proof could at most establish a highest architect of the world, who would always be limited by the suitability of the material on which he works, but not a creator of the world, to whose idea everything is subject, which is far from sufficient for the great aim that one has in view, namely that of proving an all-sufficient original being. If we wanted to prove the contingency of matter itself, then we would have to take refuge in a transcendental argument, which, however, is exactly what was supposed to be avoided here. (Kant 1998, p. A627)

Hume also proposes that the tools of natural theology are unable to fashion a concept of a "supreme existence" that would befit the divine. Building a case for a God that resembles human minds would seem to be hopeless given the limited, elusive, and fluctuating nature of human minds.

All the sentiments of the human mind, gratitude, resentment, love, friendship, approbation, blame, pity, emulation, envy, have a plain reference to the state and situation of man, and are calculated for preserving the existence, and promoting the activity of such a being in such circumstances. It seems therefore unreasonable to transfer such sentiments to a supreme existence, or to suppose him actuated by them; and the phenomena, besides, of the universe will not support us in such a theory. All our ideas, derived from the senses, are confessedly false and illusive; and cannot, therefore, be supposed to have place in a supreme intelligence. (Hume 1988, p. 27)

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