Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Terminology Tuesday: Deism

Deism: The belief that understands God as distant, in that God created the universe but then left it to run its course on its own, following certain "laws of nature" that God had built into the universe. An analogy often used to illustrate the deist view is that of an artisan who creates a mechanical clock, winds it up and then leaves the clock alone to "run out." Deism became popular in the early modern era and was prevalent among several of the founding fathers of the United States of America, including George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson.1

1. Stanley J. Grenz, David Guretzki & Cherith Fee Nordling, Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999), p. 36.


Mr. Guthrie said...

One cannot include Washington in the ranks of the deists. He constantly referred to "Providence" guiding what happened on the battlefield. His belief in God's direct involvement in human affairs gave him the assurance that he was under God's protection on the battlefield. He was fearless during battles. He not only in public pronouncements, but in private correspondence, stated his belief that the revolution would be blessed by God if Americans acted virtuously. There are several examples of him writing to those who had lost loved ones enjoining them to acceptance, after grief had subsided, because God had his reasons for allowing the loved one to die.

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