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Deism refuted

deismDeism (from Latin deus ‘god’) is the belief in the existence of a supreme being, specifically of a creator who does not intervene in the universe. Deism is based on nature and reason.

Deists are ready to acknowledge a Creator. In order to account for the existence of the material world , it is necessary to assume the existence of a First Cause, at whose command creation took effect and the cosmos entered on its life. But the Deist’s conception of creation is essentially restricted. The fabric of the universe is supposed to stand to God in the relation which the instrument bears to its maker. The heavens are the work of His hands, just as the watch is the work of the watchmaker. As the craftsman determines the characteristic properties of his machine, the correlation of its parts, their positions and their functions, so is God conceived to have dealt with the world. He brought it into being and ordained its laws. He imparted to it once of all the energy which serves as the driving power of the stupendous mechanism. In other words, according to Deists, God left Nature to work itself out in obedience to laws originally given. Deists, therefore, deny the possibility of occasional interferences on the part of God. In other words, they believe neither that God takes care for the universe nor that He can do miracles.

As for the Deistic conception of the relation of God to the moral world, they affirm that God is the author of the moral law and that the moral law is sufficiently well known by all for the practical purposes of life. Pain and pleasures, present and future, are attached respectively to its infringement and its observance. Men are automatically punished and rewarded, in strict accordance with their deserts. In the moral as in the physical world there is neither need nor room for the special interposition of the supreme Governor. Deists don’t need a special divine revelation, so they don’t need the Bible.

Refutation

The Holy Scripture teaches that God did not leave the universe to work itself out in obedience to laws originally given without intervening in it, because God takes care of all the things He created and rules them personally. Let us consider the following passages of the Scripture: “He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth” (Job 37:6 – NKJV); “By the breath of God ice is given, and the broad waters are frozen. Also with moisture He saturates the thick clouds; He scatters His bright clouds. And they swirl about, being turned by His guidance, that they may do whatever He commands them on the face of the whole earth” (Job 37:10-12 – NKJV); “He scatters the frost like ashes” (Psalm 147:16 – NKJV). Do they not confirm that God is not away from the world but He is present and causes the natural phenomena to happen by His power and wisdom? And I could quote many more passages like the ones just quoted, but the time would fail me to do it. It suffices to read the answer God gave to Job to realize, in case you need to realize it, that God is the author of every natural phenomenon which takes place on the earth.

And on certain occasions God intervenes in the universe abolishing for a certain period of time the natural laws He Himself has ordained. For instance, after God brought the Israelites out of Egypt, God divided the Red Sea (cf. Exodus chapter 14); in the days of Joshua God caused the sun to stand still, as it is written: “Then Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel: ‘Sun, stand still over Gibeon; and Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon’. So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the people had revenge upon their enemies. Is this not written in the Book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day. And there has been no day like that, before it or after it, that the Lord heeded the voice of a man; for the Lord fought for Israel” (Joshua 10:12-14 – NKJV); in the days of king Hezekiah God caused the shadow to go backward ten degrees, as it is written: “So Isaiah the prophet cried out to the Lord, and He brought the shadow ten degrees backward, by which it had gone down on the sundial of Ahaz” (2 Kings 20:11 – NKJV); and in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, God caused a virgin to conceive and bring forth a son, who was His only Begotten Son, namely Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:18-25).

Let us now talk about men; who directs their steps? God, as it is written: “A man’s steps are directed by the Lord” (Proverbs 20:24 – NIV). Who gives life to men? God, for it is written that He is the One “who gives breath to the people on it [the earth], and spirit to those who walk on it” (Isaiah 42:5 – NKJV), and also that “in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28 – NKJV). No, God is not away from the world He created, He is not far from men for Paul says that “He is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:27 – NKJV). According to the Scripture, when we pray to Him He hears us because His ears are open to our prayers; He knows when we are afflicted and troubled (because His eyes are in every place keeping watch on the evil and the good) and He comforts us; the very hairs of our head are all numbered by Him, He numbers our steps and He puts our tears into His bottle. God is not a God who lives somewhere in the Universe and does not take care of His creatures and when they pray to Him He does not hear their prayers, but He is a God who fills the heavens and the earth, and He is near us, He loves us, He cares for us giving us food, clothing us, keeping us, guiding us, delivering us from all sorts of distresses, comforting us when we need to be comforted, punishing us when we need to be disciplined, and doing many more things. We see His hand working on our behalf continually. How great is the love that God shows toward us! Blessed be His Holy name forever. Amen.

Now, let me say something about the moral laws: deists claim that they don’t need any divine revelation to know the moral laws of God because they can be discovered by human reason. Well, that’s not true, for God at a certain point of the human history gave or revealed the law to the Israelites on Mount Sinai. Why did He give the law? That through it man might know sin, that is to say, that man might know what is sin in the eyes of God. For Paul said: “I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said: You shall not covet” (Romans 7:7 – NKJV). Therefore, man is unable to know God’s moral laws without the law of Moses. However, after God made known sin to men, it was necessary for Him to reveal to men the way of salvation. And that’s what He did through His Son, for Jesus Christ was sent by God the Father into this world to tell men what they must do in order to be saved. Jesus spoke the words of His Father, as He said: “For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak” (John 12:49-50 – NKJV). That’s how God revealed to men the Gospel of salvation, that is, the way of salvation!

In the light of all these things, therefore, we conclude that Deism is a wrong belief, and thus the God of the Deists is not “the only true God” (John 17:3 – NIV) who created the heavens and the earth. Deism is a work of the devil, for it is one of the lies the devil has conceived to keep people far from God. Expose and refute it.

Giacinto Butindaro

[From the blog ‘He who has ears let him hear’ by G. Butindaro]

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