About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

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Deism or Interactive Theism


Many of America's founding fathers, including Thomas Jefferson, adopted a popular concept of their day called Deism.  In part, Deism asserts that a deity (call Him God if you like) created all things, but once created, He removed Himself from creation and let it proceed to exist by natural laws.  Consequently, Deists believe that God does not interact with humanity, which includes Him becoming human in the form of the Lord Jesus Christ. 


I am convinced that God created all things but I am far from convinced that Genesis 1 is an account of material creation.  I am also convinced that God does interact with His creation more than we think, something King David addressed in Psalms 139:13.  "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my motherís womb."  You may question whether David was expressing his own opinion or God's opinion concerning this issue.  That is a matter of your view of Biblical inspiration.  I believe David was expressing the mind of God.  


The common western world consensus concerning conception and embryonic growth is a matter of biology and natural law, which Deists affirm.  It's simple.  Two cells unite, and the rest is biological history as natural law takes its course.  David had little to no concept of biological science.  He understood that it was God who created him.  God, not just biology, knit him together in his mother's womb.  That implies God's active involvement in the process by which he came into existence, something Deism rejects.  


With some validity one might argue that David was expressing the cultural consensus of the non-scientific age in which he lived.  All ancient near-eastern cultures, including Jewish culture of David's day, believed that the gods, or God, were intrinsically active in creation.  Ancient near-eastern culture had no concept of God or the gods existing apart from creation.  Deistic thought concerning this is a product of a scientific era, thus its rise to popularity in the 17th century.    


Hebrews 1:3, which was written centuries after Psalm 139, confirms David's theistic view of God's interaction with creation.  "The Son is the radiance of Godís glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word."  According to the author of Hebrews, Jesus is an exact human representation of God.  Furthermore, He sustains or holds all things in place by His powerful word.  Hebrews 1:3 provides Biblical evidence that God is constantly involved in His creation. 


According to the above two passages and others like them, God, who is separate and distinct from His creation, exists and interacts with His creation.  Although science now tells us that the newly discovered, so-called "God particle" sustains and holds all things in their place, from a Biblical perspective, there is more to this issue than that.   I am not discounting the science, but from a Biblical perspective, God ultimately sustains, knits, and holds all things together.  Whether they are subatomic particles or the planets in the universe, God is the Sustainer of all things.  


Biblically speaking, the Bible states that it is God who knits a preborn human within the mother's womb.  It is God who sustains all things.  It is God who holds the subatomic particles in their place.  It is God who keeps the universe from exploding out of existence until such time when heaven and earth will flee from His presence (Revelation 20:11).


As Christians, we should be careful not to discount science.  On the other hand, we cannot, and must not, confuse Deism with what I call "Interactive Theism."  We are not Deists.  We believe that God is actively involved in every aspect of creation.  He entered humanity in the form of the Lord Jesus Christ.  He enters the believer's life in the form of the Holy Spirit.  We were created to participate in God's divine nature.  "Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4). 


I, like the Apostle Paul, thank God for His involvement in my life.  "But thanks be to God, who always leads us in Christís triumphal procession and through us spreads the aroma of the knowledge of him in every place" (2 Corinthians 2:14). 


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