Deism (əm/ DEE-iz-əm[1][2] or əm/ DAY-iz-əm; derived from Latin "deus" meaning "god") is a philosophical belief that posits that God exists as an uncaused First Cause ultimately responsible for the creation of the universe, but does not interfere directly with the created world. Equivalently, deism can also be defined as the view which posits God's existence as the cause of all things, and admits its perfection (and usually the existence of natural law and Providence) but rejects divine revelation or direct intervention of God in the universe by miracles. It also rejects revelation as a source of religious knowledge and asserts that reason and observation of the natural world are sufficient to determine the existence of a single creator or absolute principle of the universe.[3][4][5]

Deism gained prominence among intellectuals during the Age of Enlightenment, especially in Britain, France, Germany, and the United States. Typically, these had been raised as Christians and believed in one God, but they had become disenchanted with organized religion and orthodox teachings such as the Trinity, Biblical inerrancy, and the supernatural interpretation of events, such as miracles.[6] Included in those influenced by its ideas were leaders of the American and French Revolutions.[7]

Deism is considered to exist in the classical and modern forms,[8] where the classical view takes what is called a "cold" approach by asserting the non-intervention of a deity in the natural behavior of the created universe, while the modern deist formulation can be either "warm" (citing an involved deity) or "cold" (citing an uninvolved deity). These lead to many subdivisions of modern deism, which serves as an overall category of belief.[9]


Deism is a theological theory concerning the relationship between a creator and the natural world. Deistic viewpoints emerged during the scientific revolution of 17th-century Europe and came to exert a powerful influence during the 18th-century Enlightenment. Deism stood between the narrow dogmatism of the period and skepticism. Though deists rejected atheism,[10] they often were called "atheists" by more traditional theists.[11] There were a number of different forms in the 17th and 18th centuries. In England, deists included a range of people from anti-Christian to non-Christian theists.[12]

For deists, human beings can know God only via reason and the observation of nature, but not by revelation or by supernatural manifestations (such as miracles) – phenomena which deists regard with caution if not skepticism. Deism is related to naturalism because it credits the formation of life and the universe to a higher power, using only natural processes. Deism may also include a spiritual element, involving experiences of God and nature.[13]

The words deism and theism both derive from words for "god": the former from Latin deus, the latter from Greek theós (θεός).

Prior to the 17th Century the terms ["deism" and "deist"] were used interchangeably with the terms "theism" and "theist", respectively. ... Theologians and philosophers of the 17th Century began to give a different signification to the words... Both [theists and deists] asserted belief in one supreme God, the Creator... . But the theist taught that God remained actively interested in and operative in the world which he had made, whereas the Deist maintained that God endowed the world at creation with self-sustaining and self-acting powers and then surrendered it wholly to the operation of these powers acting as second causes.[14]

Perhaps the first recorded use of the term deist (French: déiste) occurs in Pierre Viret's Instruction Chrétienne en la doctrine de la foi et de l'Évangile (Christian teaching on the doctrine of faith and the Gospel, 1564), reprinted in Bayle's Dictionnaire (1697) entry Viret. Viret, a Calvinist, flagged the term as a neologism (un mot tout nouveau),[15] and regarded deism as a new form of Italian heresy.[16] Viret wrote that a group of people believed in "some sort of God" like the Jews and Turks but regarded the doctrine of the evangelists and the apostles as a mere myth.[citation needed] According to him Deists wrongly misinterpreted the liberty given to them during the reform period.

In England, the term deist first appeared in Robert Burton's The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621).[7]

Lord Herbert of Cherbury (1583–1648) is considered the "father of English deism",[17] and his book De Veritate (1624) the first major statement of deism. Deism flourished in England between 1690 and 1740, at which time Matthew Tindal's Christianity as Old as the Creation (1730), also called "The Deist's Bible," gained much attention. Later deism spread to France (notably through the work of Voltaire), to Germany, and to North America.

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Deïsme
العربية: ربوبية
asturianu: Deísmu
azərbaycanca: Deizm
বাংলা: শ্বরবাদ
Bân-lâm-gú: Lí-sîn-lūn
башҡортса: Деизм
беларуская: Дэізм
български: Деизъм
bosanski: Deizam
català: Deisme
čeština: Deismus
Cymraeg: Deistiaeth
dansk: Deisme
Deutsch: Deismus
eesti: Deism
Ελληνικά: Ντεϊσμός
español: Deísmo
Esperanto: Diismo
euskara: Deismo
français: Déisme
Frysk: Deïsme
Gàidhlig: Diadhachas
galego: Deísmo
한국어: 이신론
հայերեն: Դեիզմ
हिन्दी: देववाद
hrvatski: Deizam
Ido: Deismo
Bahasa Indonesia: Deisme
interlingua: Deismo
íslenska: Frumgyðistrú
italiano: Deismo
עברית: דאיזם
ქართული: დეიზმი
қазақша: Деизм
Кыргызча: Деизм
Latina: Deismus
latviešu: Deisms
Lëtzebuergesch: Deismus
lietuvių: Deizmas
Lingua Franca Nova: Deisme
magyar: Deizmus
മലയാളം: ഡീയിസം
مصرى: دييزم
Nederlands: Deïsme
日本語: 理神論
Norfuk / Pitkern: Daeohism
norsk: Deisme
norsk nynorsk: Deisme
occitan: Deïsme
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Deizm
پښتو: ډئيزم
Patois: Diyizim
polski: Deizm
português: Deísmo
română: Deism
русский: Деизм
Scots: Deism
shqip: Deizmi
Simple English: Deism
slovenčina: Deizmus
slovenščina: Deizem
српски / srpski: Деизам
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Deizam
suomi: Deismi
svenska: Deism
Tagalog: Deismo
татарча/tatarça: Деизм
Türkçe: Deizm
українська: Деїзм
Tiếng Việt: Thần giáo tự nhiên
Winaray: Deismo
粵語: 理神論
Zazaki: Deizm
中文: 自然神论