Archive for the ‘deism’ Category

Einstein’s Pantheism

August 24, 2009

I believe in Spinoza’s God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings.

In 1929, Einstein was asked in a telegram by Rabbi Herbert S. Goldstein whether he believed in God. Einstein responded by telegram with the words quoted above.

Whilst Einstein may be cited as a pantheist, the lack of interest in man’s day to day affairs may also be consistent with Deism. However, it is certainly not Biblical theism, despite many Christians and other theists attempting to co-opt him as their own.

Theistic Evolution

August 7, 2009

When Darwinists say that their theory does not deny “the existence of God” and claim that they are saying nothing about “religion,” they usually mean that they are willing to allow deism as a possibility for people who are unwilling to give up God altogether. Many evolutionary naturalists see no harm in making this concession, because a God who confines his activity to the ultimate beginning of time is unimportant to human lives…
The important question is not whether God “exists”; it is whether God cares about us, and whether we need to care about God’s purposes. Deism answers no to these questions. For that reason even George Gaylord Simpson found deism to be perfectly consistent with his Darwinian doctrine that our true creator is a purposeless material system.

Philip Johnson, Defeating Darwinism  (IVP, 1997)  pp. 16-7

Calvin on Deism

August 6, 2009

…to make God a momentary Creator, who once for all finished His work, would be cold and barren, and we must differ from profane men especially in that we see the presence of divine power shining as much in the continuing state of the universe as in its inception. … Faith sought to penetrate more deeply, namely, having found him Creator of all, forthwith to conclude He is also everlasting Governor and Preserver-not only in that He drives the celestial frame as well as its several parts by a universal motion, but also in that He sustains, nourishes, and cares for, everything He has made.

Calvin, 1960. Institutes of the Christian Religion, John R. McNeil, (ed). Translated and indexed by Ford Lewis Battles. Philadelphia: Westminster, Vol. I, Book 1, Chap. XVI, pp. 197-198.

The deist separates creation from providence. In the Bible, however, the God of creation is also the God of providence.

Deism contrasted with the God of the Bible

August 6, 2009

We see clearly that a new conception of man, wholly incompatible with the Christian faith, had been introduced. God the architect who produced and maintained a marvelous order in the universe had been discovered in nature, and there was no longer a place for the God of the Christian drama, the God who bestowed upon Adam “the power to sin and reverse the order.” God was in nature and no longer in history; he was in the wonders analyzed by naturalists and biologists and no longer in the human conscience, with feelings of sin, disgrace, or grace that accompanied his presence; he had left man in charge of his own destiny

Emile Brehier, a historian of philosophy, quoted in The Universe Next Door, James Sire, p.53

Sire comments:

The God who was discovered by the deists was an architect, but not a lover or a judge or personal in any way. he was not one who acted in history. He simply left the world alone. But humanity, while in one sense the maker of its own destiny, was yet locked into the closed system. Human freedom from God was not a freedom to anything; in fact it was not a freedom at all.


The Clockwork Universe: Deism

August 6, 2009

The Clockwork Universe: Deism

1. A transcendent God, as a First Cause, created the universe but then left it to run on its own. God is thus not immanent, not fully personal, not sovereign over human affairs, not providential.
2. The cosmos God created is determined because it is created as a uniformity of cause and effect in a closed system; no miracle is possible.
Closed to God’s reordering, because he is not interested in it
Closed to human reordering, because it is locked up in a clocklike fashion (de-emphasized)
3. Human beings, though personal, are a part of the clockwork of the universe.
4. The cosmos, this world, is understood to be in its normal state; it is not fallen or abnormal. We can know the universe, and we can determine what God is like by studying it.
5. Ethics is limited to general revelation; because the universe is normal, it reveals what is right.
6. History is linear, for the course of the cosmos was determined at creation.

James Sire, The Universe Next Door, pp.55-56

Deism

August 6, 2009

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, deism grew out of a strong belief in the implacability of physical laws – God created the universe in accordance with a set of deterministic laws governing the motion and behaviour of every particle. He does not need to intervene with these particles since their paths within time have been mapped out from the beginning:

‘God created substances and gives them the force they need, and after that he leaves them to themselves and does nothing but conserve them in their actions.’

Paul Mills, (quoting Liebniz in para.2)

Deism – Benjamin Franklin

November 23, 2008

Benjamin Franklin was a deist – God did not watch over all the details of men’s lives

I see with you that our affairs are not well managed by our rulers here below; I wish I could believe with you, that they are well attended to by those above: I rather suspect, from certain circumstances, that though the general government of the universe is well administered, our particular little affairs are perhaps below notice, and left to take the chance of human prudence or imprudence, as either may happen to be uppermost. It is, however, an uncomfortable thought, and I leave it.

George Whitefield: The Life and Times of the Great Evangelist of the Eighteenth-Century Revival, Vol.2 by Arnold Dallimore, 452