Deism damns how to fill dams
By Spencer D Gear PhD
A friend copied me into his email to the Federal Treasurer of Australia, the Hon. Josh Frydenberg:
Thankyou for your newsletter and for the concern you show for Dino the Stanthorpe Apple Grower suffering from the effects of drought. This concern is admirable but without action it is as meaningless as the Green’s political party concern.
Dino is suffering because of a failure to supply Water. It is the responsibility of Government to ensure that sufficient water is stored to meet domestic, industrial, irrigation and environmental needs.
Unfortunately we have to go back to the 1960’s Ord scheme to find evidence of Federal Government active intervention to supply water on a large scale. Tony Abbott talked a lot. ALP is only concerned with their voter base which no longer includes farmers.
Tino is suffering because past governments have failed to build dams not because it is not raining.
The 1940’s and 1950’s Bradfield scheme if implemented would have solved the problem. Vince Gair was advocating this scheme in 1950’s and I personally heard Dr. Colin Clark praise the scheme.
As an absolute minimum to show true support for Dino please organise for a full investigation into the scheme with an undertaking to build if viable.
My reply was: There’s no point in building dams unless the Lord God Almighty sends the rain.
We should have people in droves, who believe in the power of prayer, flooding our churches to pray for rain. Of course we need national repentance. See: Australia is in deep trouble: Droughts, floods and fires
His comeback was:
I am not on the same wavelength as Spencer’s response to me.
I personally do not think God interferes with the running of his creation and I see our lack of rain as a natural part of that creation. Our failure to store it however is a failure by humans and has nothing to do with sin other than greed when allocating government resources.
1. Which theology did he promote?
His was the God who created the world and left it running and did not involve himself in the creation any longer. The problem is a human one where not enough dams have been built and water stored.
He provided zero explanation for the lack of rain, except it was a natural part of what happens in our world.
Is this the God of the Bible in action or has he gone to sleep.
1.1 Deism damns how to fill dams
Who or what sends the rain so that we have water to store in dams?
Yours is the God of Deism. My understanding of creation is one where ‘God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords’ sustains the universe (1 Timothy 6:15). God the Son sustains ‘all things by his powerful word’ (Hebrews 1:3).
Why does the world continue to exist? It is not because he set it running and then doesn’t interfere. Rather, Scripture is clear: ‘For in him [Christ] all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together‘ (Colossians 1:16-17).
The Bible does not support your view that God does not interfere with the running of creation. Instead, God is active in holding all things together in creation, including the sending and withholding of rain.
For the Israelites under the Old Covenant, Amos 4:7 states: ‘I also withheld rain from you when the harvest was still three months away. I sent rain on one town, but withheld it from another. One field had rain; another had none and dried up’.
God is not the weak absentee landlord. He continues to be active in his creation. He is the God of action and not inaction when it comes to sending the rain: ‘He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous’ (Matthew 5:45).
1.2 Atrocious reasoning
What do you think his come back would be to my exposure of his Deism? It was simple: ‘Thank you for your reply. I have removed you from my e-mail contacts. You should get nothing from me from now on’.
Instead of dealing with the negatives and positives of his Deist beliefs, he resorted to removing me from his email list.
I thoughtfully replied:
So you are unprepared to deal with your unbiblical view of God. Instead of dealing with the issues with your Deism, you removed me from your mailing list. You have used an Appeal to Invincible Ignorance Logical Fallacy. It involves a situation where …
the person in question (you) simply refuses to believe the argument, ignoring any evidence given. It is not so much a fallacious tactic in argument as it is a refusal to argue in the proper sense of the word, the method instead being to make assertions with no consideration of objections.
Deleting me from your email list demonstrated your use of this fallacy.
I hope that one day you’ll be able to man up to a critique of your Deism and see its distance from Christianity.
2. What are the beliefs of Deism?
God made the world and does not interrupt its continuing with supernatural events. Thus, the statement by my friend, ‘I personally do not think God interferes with the running of his creation and I see our lack of rain as a natural part of that creation’.
There are several forms of deism. Some of their basic beliefs include (Geisler 1999:190):
Deists object to orthodox Christianity over their views on:
- God (the non-Trinitarian God of Deism);
- Origin of the universe;
- Relation of God to the universe;
- Human destiny;
B A Robinson (1999-2018) of Religious Tolerance summarised the beliefs of Deism. They include:
So Deism is quite different from Judaism, Christianity and Islam because these 3 religions are ‘based on revelations that Jews, Christians and Muslims believe mostly came from God to prophet(s) who then taught it to humans’.
It’s a ‘bottom-up’ faith, which means it was created by humans about God. Deists regard revealed religions as ‘top-down’ for the reason ‘their followers believe that they were created by God and delivered to humans’.
Faiths that are the opposite of Deism are Atheism because it does not believe in the existence of God or gods. Another opposite is Theism which is ‘seen in the beliefs of most Theists who conceive of God as a deity who is all-present, all-powerful, all-loving, all-knowing and has a personal interest and involvement in every human on Earth’. Robinson explained:
Many Deists reason that everything that exists has had a creator — from a wristwatch, to a television set, to the Internet itself. Thus it is logical that the universe itself must have been created by God:
2.1 Positive contributions of Deists
With such a low view of God and a perspective that is contrary to the Scriptures, how could I contemplate any positive benefits by Deists? Geisler (1999:191) states these three:
- The importance of reason in considering matters of faith (cf. Isa 1:18; Acts 17:17; 1 Pet 3:15); claims made about miracles and supernatural relation need verification.
- The existence of God is reflected in a Designer of the cosmos.
- Exposing religious deception and superstition.
2.2 Critique of Deism
What are the major objections to this view of God and the universe?
2.2.1 Admit creation but refuse to accept lesser miracles
A being who could [as deists believe] bring the universe into existence from nothing could certainly perform lesser miracles if He chose to do so. A God who created water could part it or make it possible for a person to walk on it. The immediate multiplication of loaves of bread and fish would be no problem to a God who created matter and life in the first place. A virgin birth or even a physical resurrection from the dead would be minor miracles in comparison to the miracle of creating the universe from nothing [as deists believe]. It seems self-defeating to admit a great miracle like creation and then to deny the possibility of lesser miracles (Geisler 1999:191).
2.2.2 Scientists and natural law
Scientists’ views on natural law have moved past the Deists’ understandings. The Deist view is outdated as scientists regard the natural law as general today and not necessarily universal. Natural laws indicate how nature generally behaves but it is not fixated on that response.
If God created the universe for the good of his creatures, it seems that he would miraculously intervene in their lives if their good depended on it. Surely their all-good Creator would not abandon his creation. Instead it would seem that such a God would continue to exercise the love and concern for his creatures that prompted him to create them to begin with, even if it meant providing care through miraculous means (Geisler 1999:191).
The possibility of supernatural revelation through Scripture cannot be excluded if one admits to the possibility of miracles.
C S Lewis wrote: ‘A naturalistic Christianity leaves out all that is specifically Christian’ (Lewis 1947/2012:108).
2.2.3 Abuse is no excuse
Because some religious people have abused religious beliefs on miracles and other Christian beliefs does not make it legitimate to reject miracles. One bad tomato or even a bad bag of tomatoes does not stop people from eating tomatoes.
There have been abuses in science. See: Uses and Abuses of Tuskegee. That should not and has not prevented our engagement with the scientific disciplines.
An all-powerful, all-knowing God could conceivably overcome these problems. At least such problems should not rule out the possibility that God has revealed himself, either verbally or in written form. Again, the evidence should first be consulted….
The deists’ case against Christianity and the Bible has been found wanting…. What anti-supernaturalist has adequately answered such Christian theists as J. Gresham Machen, and C. S. Lewis?… They have built an extensive and solid case from science, philosophy, and logic against the belief that miracle stories in the Bible are necessarily mythical….
For example, [Thomas] Paine’s belief that most of the books of the Bible were written by people other than the ones who claimed to write them and written very late is still proclaimed as indisputable fact by many critics. But there is not one credible shred of evidence that has not been rejected for good reason by archaeologists and biblical scholars. More than 25,000 finds have confirmed the picture of the ancient world given in the Bible …. There is sufficient evidence to support the authorship claims and early dates for most biblical books (Geisler 1999:192).
I found it interesting to have interaction with a friend whose belief is that of Deism. When I exposed that, he cut off communication with me.
In the above, I’ve discussed the positives and negatives of Deism when compared with biblical Christianity.
The foundation of a Deist world view is not based on Scripture and the God who intervenes with our world.
My view is that my friend’s statement summarises the despair of a Deist world view: ‘I personally do not think God interferes with the running of his creation and I see our lack of rain as a natural part of that creation’.
 It was dated 6 October 2019. Typographical errors have been corrected.
 Received 15 October 2019. Typographical errors were corrected.
 Email received 15 October 2019.
 Based on Geisler (1999:189-192).
5. Works consulted
Geisler, N L 1999. Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books.
Lewis, C S 1947/2012. Miracles: Do They Really Happen? London: William Collins (a division of Harper Collins).
Robinson, B A 1999-2018. Deism: A world religion. Religious Tolerance (online). Available at: http://www.religioustolerance.org/deism.htm (Accessed 15 October 2019).
Copyright © 2019 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 19 October 2019.