Case against Deism.

edited December 1969 in Faith Issues
The following is an argument agianst deism I posted in reponses ot an email I had recieved. For any who are interested.

By definition, Deism is the belief that an all powerful Being does exists, but that such a Being would is impersonal and therefore has no relational connections with the world. The real question then becomes what good reasons are there to believe Desim is true, that God is impersonal and int hat respect, potentially unloving.

      Now remember, as the classic theologian Anselm himself proposed, in order for a Being to be understood as God a being must posses all possible characteristics that would enable Him to be understood as the maximally greatest Being. Thus, it does no good to argue that a God be less than omnipotent, omnibenevolent, omniscient and so forth and so on. For such a being would be anything but God and one could always and subsequentially come to a more complete envisionment of a maximally greater being that one would eventually label as God! For instance, one might imagine an all powerful creature that could have formulated the world, similar to that of an extraterrestrial of some sort, but such a creature would be far from what philosophers have termed the classical definition of "God". Now what about such a proposition; could extraterrestrials potentially have created the world we find ourselves in? Well sure it's possible....but highly improbable. Given the cosmological argument for the existence of God, by the very nature of the case, the origin of the Big Bang must be an uncaused, timeless, spaceless, immaterial and enormously powerful. It must be uncaused because we've seen that there cannot be an infinite regress of causes. It must be timeless and therefore changeless—at least without the universe—because it created time. Because it also created space, it must transcend space as well and therefore be immaterial, not physical. For it were not spaceless, we would see traces of the cause alongside it's effect. Finally, such a cause would need be enormously powerful, for how else could it have come to create such a vast universe with an array of precisely fine-tuned constants?

   Moreover, I would argue that such a cause would need to be personal (and therefore not Deistic). For how else could a timeless cause give rise to an effect laden in time, like the universe? If the cause were a mechanically operating set of necessary and sufficient conditions, then the cause could never exist without the effect. Yet since the cause is spaceless and no traced of the cause are present alongside the effect it follows that this is far from the case. So if the cause is permanently present, then the effect should be permanently present as well. The only way for the cause to be timeless and the effect to begin in time is for the cause to be a personal agent who freely chooses to create an effect in time without any prior determining conditions.

  Yet, if the Cause of the universe is plausibly an unembodied personal mind, then we have good reasons for believing that such a Being is also omniscient and omnipresent. For a Being that created the universe would reasonably have full knowledge of all that He created and would so transcend His creation that He could literally take charge of every instance of the universe's makeup. Now, remember that your initial objection laid claim to no good reason to believe that God was by definition, all-loving. Yet, for a personal Being to so powerfully and meticulously formulate such a finely-tuned universe for the preponderance of Human life, it would follow that He would aslo have significant interest in humanity's existence. Given that God by definition is all-good (omnibenevolent) there would be no legitimate case for why a personal Being like God would manifest the reality of space, time and human existence, if He had no loving desire to do so. Thus, on the very nature of God's existence we have good reasons for believing that God is not only personal, but thoroughly loving.

   While we could stop there, I believe we could take the argument further. For Christianity not only claims that God profoundly manifested a finely tuned and awe-inspiring universe as the very origin of mankind's earthly dwelling, but that He sent His only-begotten Son to the slaughter to manifest an even greater abode for mankind's spiritual dwelling. While I won't go into these for lack of time, philosophers have constructed various arguments that develop a case for four well attested facts of ancient History that help to exonerate the claims of Christ as the messiah, in the encompassing reality of His resurrection; 1. the burial of Jesus by Jospeh of Aramathea, 2. The discovery of the empty tomb, 3. the postmortem appearances,  and 4.) the rise of Christianity. While many explanations have been proffered to explain these facts, the only thoroughly plausible explanation that has not been unraveled is that of the 1st century disciples, namely that God raised Jesus from the dead. So I believe there a very sound philosophical reasons for believing in a personal theistic God and no good plausible philosophical reasons for believing in a Deistic God.
Sign In or Register to comment.