Notes on Deism 

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  • Created by: bethanym1
  • Created on: 20-05-16 11:36
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England, 17th
and 18th centuries
Galileo, Kepler and Newton
World governed by universal, regular laws of nature
Altered worldview World runs like clockwork. Once wound up it was entirely
What role does God play in the World?
Simon Laplace: "I have no need for God as a hypothesis"
Significant deists: Thomas Hobbes, Thomas Paine, Voltaire, Benjamin Franklin
Idea 1
Reconciles this new worldview with God
God as a first cause ­ this material world cannot have come into existence by itself;
something cannot have come from nothing. Thomas Paine
Belief in creation ex nihilo ­ out of nothing
Some eternal, transcendent and allpowerful being exists.
Idea 2
Reason, not faith, is the ultimate source of truth
Reason is the highest faculty in humans and marks us off from other humans.
It is a Godgiven method to achieve knowledge
We cannot experience God but only feel awe at His creation
Idea 3
Observation tells us there is a designer of the World.
He intentionally created the World for a purpose
This is shown by the order and purpose of the cosmos and living organisms.
This leads us to believe in a `supreme architect'
Idea 4
God is a supremely powerful, spiritual being who is the ultimate origin of all that exists
Since the Universe operates in accordance with the laws of nature, God has not
intervened since the time of creation.
The course of this World is casually determined
Idea 5
God is not a sustainer , like in the theistic understanding. They believe this is inconsistent
and irrational.
Idea 6
God is wholly transcendent and never immanent.
All forms of divine intervention are rejected . This includes prayers, miracles and belief in
Jesus as God incarnate. Jesus was seen as a moral teacher who was guiding people
towards God.
Idea 7
Deists of the day saw religion as a corruption of an original, pure religion
They saw it their mission to `strip away the mysteries of faith' ­ i.e. Quakers

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Idea 8
Deism began to decline in popularity in the 19th century
However, it still exists and there are modern deists
They believe it offers the best explanation to the nature of God and his relationship to the
Avoids the problem of suffering, as it is not within the nature and therefore the power of
God to do so
Idea 9
Acceptance of current scientific theories
Big Bang with God as the first cause (idea 1)
Set up the laws of nature including Evolution…read more


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