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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: When the God of the Bible Is Rejected

Don Stewart :: Could God Have Created the World and Then Backed Off?

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Could God Have Created the World and Then Backed Off? (Deism)

When the God of the Bible Is Rejected – Question 14

There are those that hold a view of God’s nature called “deism.” This view believes in the existence of a personal God, but the God of deism does not become personally involved with His creation. He is a God who is uninvolved.

The Beliefs of Deism

The beliefs of deism can be summarized as follows:

1. God Created the World

Deism believes that a personal God created the world, set it in motion, but then backed off from his creation. The god of deism does not play an active role in his world, but allows the universe to run by natural and self-sustaining laws that he established.

2. God Does Not Get Personally Involved in the World

Although the deists believe in a supernatural creation of the world, they do not believe in supernatural intervention in the world. Because there is no supernatural intervention by God, the deists believe that miracles do not occur. Hence they deny the miraculous accounts given in Scripture.

Problems with Deism

There are a number of insurmountable problems with the deistic position on the nature of God when compared with the teaching of Scripture. They include the following:

1. Deism Contradicts Scripture: God Performs Miracles

Deism is in contradiction to the God revealed in Scripture. If God can create the universe as the deists agree that He did, then He certainly is capable of performing other miracles of less magnitude. This is what the Bible says occurred.

For example, the Bible says that God spoke to Moses in a bush that was burning with fire but the bush was not consumed. Scripture also says that God supernaturally guided the children of Israel on their way to the Promised Land by means of a cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night. This list goes on and on.

Indeed, the Bible, from the first page until the last, is an account of God intervening miraculously in human history. To admit the miracle of creation, and then to deny other miracles is an inconsistent position.

The most important miracle deism denies is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. However, this is the particular miracle upon which Christianity is based. Basically, deism contradicts the main truths of Scripture. Contrary to deism, God has been involved with humanity from the beginning.

2. The God of Scripture Is Not the Master Clockmaker

The deist position would have God as a master “clockmaker.” He made the clock, wound it up, and then left it alone. But the Bible portrays God as much more than a great “clockmaker.” He is a loving Father who is personally interested in His children.

God desires that humanity call out to Him when they have a need. The psalmist records God saying,

“...and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.” (Psalm 50:15 NIV)

The deist position, that God created the universe but does not participate in the running of it, is contrary to what the Bible says. God is intimately involved in the affairs of the universe.

3. Deism Has a One-Sided View of God

The Deist position of God is only one-sided. The Bible teaches two important truths with respect to God relationship to the world.

First, He is separated from, and exalted above the world and humanity. This is also known as His “transcendence.” We read the following in the Book of Isaiah:

In the year King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord. He was sitting on a lofty throne, and the train of his robe filled the Temple. (Isaiah 6:1 NLT)

God is high above the human race in His nature.

Scripture also teaches that God makes His presence known in the world and is near to humanity. The technical term for this is “immanence.” The psalmist wrote,

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1 RSV)

The Contemporary English Version puts it this way:

God is our mighty fortress, always ready to help in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1 CEV).

Deism overemphasizes the first truth and rejects the second. God is indeed separate from the world that He made, but He is also in the world.

The main message of the New Testament is that God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to come to earth and to die for the sins of the world. He also sent the Holy Spirit to be in those who trust Him. He is intimately involved in His creation.

Therefore, the God of the Bible is above His creation in one sense while personally involved in it in another sense. The deistic view of God is not the biblical view.

Summary – Question 14
Could God Have Created the World and Then Backed Off? (Deism)

One of the many inadequate views of God is deism. Deism believes that a personal God does exist, and that this personal God created the world. So far, so good.

However, the god of deism left the world to be governed by natural law. He does not intervene in his creation. This god is a non-miracle worker. Furthermore, he does not supernaturally provide for humanity. In deism, humans are left to themselves to figure out all things. There is no help from the god of deism.

The god of deism is certainly not the same God who has revealed Himself to humanity through the Scriptures. The God of the Bible is separated from the world, but He is also intimately involved in it. We discover this in a number of ways.

For one thing, He is a miracle-working God. From the first page to the last, the Bible reports that God has intervened in our world with miraculous works. He did not merely create the world and then back off from His creation.

We also discover that the God of Scripture is intimately involved in His creation. He cares for His own. Indeed, He is intimately involved in every aspect of our lives.

In addition, He has also provided for the sin problem of humankind by sending His Son to die for the sins of the world. We are not helplessly wallowing in sin because God has done something about it.

Furthermore, God has also sent the Holy Spirit to reside inside those who trust Jesus. In all things, He looks after the believer. God is involved with us!

The God of the Bible is a God of action and a God of involvement. The god of deism is not. Consequently, the god of deism is not the God of Scripture.

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