God can't be defined
When do we hear it?
This argument is a common companion to "You can't prove God doesn't exist." The theist claiming, "God can't be defined," means to imply that we, as humans, lack the capability to properly comprehend the truth of what God is, and therefore we are not competent to define him, let alone disprove him.
- The first problem with this statement is that the claim of an undefinable entity requires no refutation, so the argument lacks rhetorical power.
- The atheist can point out that the claimant is attempting to 'sneak' premises into the argument. The notion of 'god' has a long history associated with it, and the entity it describes has been given numerous attributes; the theist is assuming that these attributes can be defined for an undefinable God, while there remain other attributes that cannot. The theist is also sneaking in the assumption that a fundamentally undefinable entity can nonetheless exist in reality.
- If something is undefinable, then by claiming it exists is to provide definition, making the argument self-refuting.
- By raising this objection, the theist is admitting that despite being undefinable, he or she believes that God nonetheless exists. How does he or she arrive at such a claim without the capacity to even so much as define the object of the claim?
- If humans lack the intellectual power to define God, how can humans be expected to have the intellectual power to evaluate claims about this god? How did the theist arrive at a specific version of the god claim? Here, some may claim that they have supernatural knowledge of a particular god, but not enough knowledge to adequately define him. Even so, making it supernatural is no more than an appeal to ignorance and a claim of personal revelation.
- If the theist assumes that God created humankind to worship him, why does this God not give us the capacity to define what we are worshiping? Why does he instead demand that we worship an ill-formed, contradictory mess of an idea that doesn't come close to representing his essence? For that matter, if we worship one particular (inadequate) model of him, are we worshiping God or the model of God?