Deism refers to a philosophical and theological view of God, Man, and religion. The present paper aims to provide a conceptual analysis of Deism in the 17th and 18th centuries through exploring its etymology and following an analytic-descriptive method. Moreover, it is More
Deism refers to a philosophical and theological view of God, Man, and religion. The present paper aims to provide a conceptual analysis of Deism in the 17th and 18th centuries through exploring its etymology and following an analytic-descriptive method. Moreover, it is intended to present a general classification of Deism based on Clarke’s classification. An encyclopedic definition of deism suffers from ambiguity, and a reference to etymological dictionaries reveals that the etymological subtleties of this term have not been taken into consideration in the conversion of dues into deism. However, through Clarke’s classification, one can develop a better grasp of the distinction of the deism of his time from theism and its different types. Clarke’s four-fold classification, as the first comprehensive report of deism, claims that the proximity and similarity of deism to Christianity, from the first type to the fourth type, proceeds stepwise from a minimum to a maximum. Deists of the first type reject divine providence but believe in unity, creation, and God’s knowledge. The second group of deists, while believing in the deistic propositions of this type, consider physical laws to be ruled by divine providence but reject its rule over ethical laws. The third group believe that God’s providence is related to His moral perfections, and He governs the world relying on His moral attributes including justice, benevolence, and honesty. Finally, deists of the fourth type, in addition to the above doctrines, believe in the immortality of the soul and otherworldly reward and punishment. According to Clarke, all types of modern deism deny the Christian revelation, and one of the main differences from revealed religions is conceptology and believing in divine revelation.