Deism is a philosophy of religion, not an
organized religion. It claims that reason and observation of the natural world can determine that the
universe is a creation and has a creator. Deism does not believe in a supreme being who can intervene in
human affairs or ‘suspend’ the natural laws of the universe.
Newton’s scientific study of reality disclosed
a machine - the Newtonian world machine. Gravity was viewed as a motor that kept the machine of matter – from
stones to stars - in motion. Since the world machine worked by itself, science perceived the observer and
even God outside it. This point of view undermined the Church’s position in society. Unless God is inside the
universe, steadily controlling its operation and using it as the theater of man's moral pilgrimage, there is no
Providence (“God's activity in the world”). Revelation becomes an illusion, the law of the Prophets and the
grace of the Gospels appear as man-made things.
A natural religion called Deism developed – a
system of thought based on human morality and reason rather than divine revelation. Deism posits a God, not
of love, wrath, or justice, but of supreme artisanship; a streamlined God who was the first practitioner of
automation. In the end Deism amounted to a clumsy compromise position. It embraced science without
Deists reject supernatural events such as
prophecy and miracles. That a god (or "Supreme Architect") does not alter the universe by intervening in the
affairs of human life. This idea is also known as the Clockwork universe theory, in which a god designs and builds
the universe, but steps aside to let it run on its own. Deists believe in the existence of a god without any
reliance on revealed religion, religious authority or holy books. Two main forms of deism currently exist:
classical deism and modern deism.