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

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Don Stewart

There are those that hold a view of God's nature called deism. Deism believes that a person God created the world, set it in motion, but then backed off. 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. 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.

Deism Contradicts Scripture

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, God spoke to Moses in a bush that was burning with fire but the bush was not consumed. God guided the children of Israel supernaturally with a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. 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, upon which Christianity is based.

God Is The Master Clockmaker

The deist position would have God as a master "clockmaker." He made the clock, wound it, 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:

Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you and you shall glorify me (Psalm 50:15).

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

This Is 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.

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple (Isaiah 6:1).

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

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. 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.

Summary

Deism believes that a personal God does exist and this God created the world. 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. He does not supernaturally provide for humanity. He is 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. He has worked miracles and has provided for the sin problem of humankind by sending his Son to die for the sins of the world. God has also sent the Holy Spirit to reside inside those who trust Jesus. Consequently the god of Deism is not the God of Scripture.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.