Deism is the conclusion that God likely exists based on reason, experience, and observation of the natural universe. The term deism is derived from the Latin word deus, which means God.
The following are core deistic concepts from World Religions at Your Fingertips:
- Belief in a single Creator based on reason.
- The order and complexity of nature and the universe make God self-evident.
- God’s full nature is incomprehensible due to limitations of the human mind and language.
- God gave humanity reason and conscience so we could develop our own moral and ethical principles.
- Human beings should be free to find, know, and worship God in their own way. All views of God should be respected, so long as they do not cause harm or oppress the views of others.
- All human beings are created equal under God, with the same natural rights.
Key Subcategories of Deism
Classical Deism views God as separate and distinct from the natural universe. This view of deism is most associated with the watchmaker analogy of the Creator, who no longer intervenes or interacts with the natural universe.
Pandeism, literally, means “All is God.” In practice, pandeism equates the universe, or a multiverse, with the “body” of God. Pandesim posits the Creator as the dynamic union of energy and natural laws, intentionally forming all of existence. A small subset of pandeists belief God blew itself up to become the universe, which is in the process of reassembling itself to provide God with experiential knowledge of itself.
Panendeism holds that the universe, or multiverse, is part of God but not all of God.
Key Deistic Terms
The Creation: The natural universe we observe.
Creator: A synonym deists often use for God.
Dogma: A principle or set of principles laid down by a religious authority as incontrovertibly true, such as the trinity or the supposed inerrant words of God found in some holy books.
Natural Rights: Inalienable rights endowed on humanity by the Creator without distinction in time or space and without regard to age, gender, nationality, or race. Government cannot repeal natural rights.
Nature’s God: A synonym deists often use for God.
Revelation: There are two types of revelation in deism: general and special. General revelation posits that God has revealed itself to all through the order and complexity of the natural universe. General revelation is commonly accepted by deists and underpins the importance of observing nature. Special revelation refers to divine knowledge granted by God or angels to a chosen individual or small group. Deists reject special revelation as a credible source for God’s existence.
Revealed Religions: A religion founded on special revelation, such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.