Deism is a worldview that believes that God created the world, but is no longer involved in it. Often, we as Christians can fall into a deistic mindset. Because of prayers that seem to go unanswered, troubles that seem so meaningless, and emotions that are devoid of God’s presence, we begin to doubt God’s love, presence, and concern for our well-being.

I have preached sermons on “Christian deism.” The Scriptures, oddly enough, give us comfort as they illustrate through the lives of God’s people that the temptation to move into Christian deism is and will be common for us.

The Psalmist says in Psalm 10:1, “Why, Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you pay no attention during times of trouble?” While I believe all the Scripture is without error, I know that not all of Scripture is meant to be understood the same way. This particular passage of Scripture is not affirming God’s absence during trouble, but the real perception of His absence that can be felt when the world begins to crumble around you. Often times, life’s difficulties cause us to ask the question, “Is God really involved? Does He really care? Can He be in control and let this go on?”

The Psalmist goes on about the wicked, “For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul, and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the Lord. In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, ‘There is no God.’ His ways prosper at all times; your judgments are on high, out of his sight; as for all his foes, he puffs at them. He says in his heart, ‘I shall not be moved; throughout all generations I shall not meet adversity.'” (Ps. 10:3-6)

It seems that this is often the case. God’s judgments are on high. God’s judgments do not find their way to the mundane happenings as we believe they should. We think to ourselves, “Has God gone on vacation?” “Is God taking a rest?” “Has God been defeated and we did not get the memo?” “If not, how can He allow this to happen to me?”

I have seen those who entertain such thoughts abandon the Christian worldview in favor of deism. They decide that God is absent from their lives. They turn to other means to help them deal with their troubles.

While this adoption of deism is understandable, it is unfortunate. It is understandable because the Scriptures confirm to us that it often seems as if God has taken a break or gone on vacation. Yet, the Scriptures never confirm this to be the case. While we might join with the Psalmist in our perception of God’s absence, it is never actually the case. God is always present, even when it seems as if His judgments are on high. He may not reveal to us why, during times of trouble, He does not show His power more, but the simple fact that so many passages such as these are included in Scripture is God’s way of telling us, “My children, even though it will often seem as if I am unconcerned with your situation, do not let your perceptions be elevated above my word to you. I am with you. Be patient. I will make things right.”

Christian deism is a temptation, but not an option for the believer. God is with you even when He seems absent. Let us take hold of this truth this memorial day as we continue to find ourselves in the difficulty of war.

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Find him on Patreon Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Join his Patreon and support his ministry

    4 replies to "Christian Deism"

    • Carrie Hunter

      I find it funny (funny ironic) that when it doesn’t “feel” as though He is there, I call out to Him. In essence, even though I don’t necessarily feel it, it is still within me to know He is there and as a result I call upon Him.

      Even with David, when he would question “Where are you God?”, he still knew God was there and listening, otherwise he wouldn’t have bothered calling on Him.

      I thank God for giving me the knowledge that He is there and He is not silent (even in those moments of weakness and despair, if left to my own feelings, I would think otherwise.)

    • stpattykid


      Well, you know this can’t be good. A response from me after midnight is usually half coherent gibberish but I will still give it the old college try.

      Something occurred to me this evening that seems to dove tail into your post. For the longest time I have equated “faith in God” or “belief in God” with “TRUST in God”. I may be wrong but I believe that many Christians would agree that they are the same thing. I have faith that God is in control. I have faith that Christ is who He said He was. I believe. But do I trust God? Most of the time…no.

      This is going to be a crude analogy, so forgive me, but here it goes. If you kick a dog six days out of the week, and go to pet it on the seventh, how will he react? He will cower. He will expect the kick. It doesn’t matter that you are planning on showing affection. The dog expects what he knows.

      Now I’m not saying that God is cruel. But if my experience and learning of God is somehow skewed through misguided teaching, tragic events and/or through relationships; then this issue of trust becomes paramount in dealing with both nominal Christianity and deism. But how do you engender REAL trust when so often I do those things I’m called to do hoping just to improve my condition in this life?

      As I embark further into theology I realize how little I know about God and about Christ and even less about what it means to live “Christ like”. It’s hard to know what is significant and what is…happening in different ways for different people.

      This response is “crap-tacular”. I am once again committing never to post after midnight. All the best.

      B.A. Hill

    • Rusty Hudelson

      Michael, I stumbled across your blog while researching some Christian Deist sites. I am a retired college professor and after way too many years believing, then sort of believing, then barely believing, I have gone on a several years long quest looking for truth. For much too long I’ve operated out of fear and guilt and have come to a place where real peace is hard to find. Nor did I ever find it in organized churches, where service and compassion are preached on Sunday, but rarely made practical. Too many people preaching (along with their huge salaries and more than comfortable lifestyles) about a Jesus who heals bodies, raises dead, and generally operates daily in their lives in miraculous and semi miraculous ways. I have been on this earth almost 65 years and I’ve never seen anything supernatural. Only occasional anomalies in hospitals, while myriads of others die of similar and same diseases. The God who supposedly intervenes in peoples lives in a miraculous way sure is picky about whom he chooses to help miraculously. Now we have Haiti and some lunatic preachers claiming that God chose that forsaken place to make a statement. Forgive me if my doubting is disturbing to you or anyone else who reads this, but I would sure welcome any serious answers that might address my quandary. Sincerely from my heart.

    • Ed Kratz

      Rusty. Thanks for the comments. This blog post is fairly old so I doubt you can expect much interaction. Besides, the comments are for discussing the points of the post only.

      However, we do have a great theological discussion site called Theologica. I am sure you can get some good meaningful interaction there.

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