The Very Idea of Design: What God Couldn't Do

Document Type


Publication Date



This paper argues for the proposition that there is fundamental incoherence in the idea of a divine designer. Such a being would have to have intentions and thoughts prior to designing and making a world. But it is a necessary truth that thought - of the complex and articulated kind necessary for the design of a cosmos - presupposes possession of language. It is further necessarily true that language is impossible, save for beings who inhabit a public world containing other linguistic subjects. The divine designer would be the impossible exemplar of the private language, whose incoherence was demonstrated by Wittgenstein. Objections to this line of argument are noted and rebutted.