Sunday, February 28, 2010

David Hume on identity and the idea of a deity

What is the soul of man? A composition of various faculties, passions, sentiments, ideas; united, indeed, into one self or person, but still distinct from each other. When it reasons, the ideas, which are the parts of its discourse, arrange themselves in a certain form or order; which is not preserved entire for a moment, but immediately gives place to another arrangement. New opinions, new passions, new affections, new feelings arise, which continually diversify the mental scene, and produce in it the greatest variety and most rapid succession imaginable. How is this compatible with that perfect immutability and simplicity which all true Theists ascribe to the Deity? By the same act, say they, he sees past, present, and future: his love and hatred, his mercy and justice, are one individual operation: he is entire in every point of space; and compleat in every instant of duration. No succession, no change, no acquisition, no diminution. What he is implies not in it any shadow of distinction or diversity. And what he is this moment he ever has been, and ever will be, without any new judgment, sentiment, or operation. He stands fixed in one simple, perfect state: nor can you ever say, with any propriety, that this act of his is different from that other; or that this judgment or idea has been lately formed, and will give place, by succession, to any different judgment or idea.

from Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion Section vi

another stray piece of quotation from my desktop


  1. Yes that seems to dispose of the idea that man is made in the image of God.

    1. Yes, ive always been attracted to the poetry of the quote as much as the rationalisation but I agree it does a pretty good job at drawing a gulf between a human cognition versus an idea of what God's existence is conceived to look like. Definitely not a man in the clouds!