Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing (epiphany) of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Titus 2:13
fearful descriptions of human depravity (Rom. 1: 21-32; 3: 9-19). "All have sinned and come short of the glory [perfection] of God" (Rom. 3: 23). Such depravity makes us weak as to righteousness (Rom. 5: 6; 8: 3). Most graphically is our inability to do perfectly described in Rom. 7: 5, 11, 13-15, 18-25. Our depravity makes us disposed to further depravity and to enmity and disobedience toward God, and makes us unable perfectly to please Him (Rom. 8: 5-8). Such depravity makes people think that spiritual things are foolishness (1 Cor. 2: 14). Without God's help we are unable to think aright of Divine matters, much less to do them (2 Cor. 3: 5). Man's good works, because imperfect, cannot justify him before God, on account of man's depravity (Gal. 3: 11; 22). There is a continual conflict going on between the spirit and the flesh, because the latter is depraved, making one unable to do perfectly (Gal. 5: 17). The following are the effects of human depravity: "adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envying, murders, drunkenness, revellings" (Gal. 5: 19-21). This depravity leads to darkening of the understanding, alienation from the Divine life, ignorance of the Divine Truth, blindness of heart and corruption by lust (Eph. 4: 18, 22). It puts humans under the power of darkness and makes them enemies of good works and lovers of evil works (Col. 1: 13, 21). It brings one into the captivity and snare of Satan (2 Tim. 2: 26). It makes people foolish, disobedient, dupes, slaves of evil, malicious, envious, hateful and offensive (Tit. 3: 3; Jas. 3: 2). It fills us with things alien to God (1 John 2: 16). It makes the whole world lie in wickedness (1 John 5: 19). And it makes people spiritually wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked (Rev. 3: 17). Surely these Biblical teachings prove that the human family is fallen—depraved.
And facts fully corroborate these Scriptural teachings. If human nature were perfect, why do we not see perfect humans—people who are physically, mentally, morally and religiously flawless? Only one such human being has appeared on this earth since sin entered into the world; and one of the strongest fundamental proofs of the fallen condition of human nature is the fact that He was not only not understood and appreciated by His fellows, but was most ignominiously rejected and most foully and wickedly put to death by some of those who considered themselves, deistically like, "not sinners like other men," and were by common consent considered among the best of mankind. The gross mistreatment that all, and the cruel tortures and deaths that some of God's servants have received from their fellow men, are further evidence of the fallen condition of the race. The rejection and persecution that God's Truth has always received from the bulk of the race and the espousal of error by the great majority of mankind attest the same fact. When the varying degrees of degradation in such rejections and espousals are considered, they add further proof of the fallen condition of man. How could the superstitious religions rampant in the world be accepted as true and right, unless their votaries were mentally and religiously degraded—fallen from God's image?
The fearful wrongs prevailing between and against many husbands and wives, between and against parents and children and brethren and brethren, show degradation— depravity—in the family life. The fearful wrongs of many governments against their citizens, and of many citizens against their governments, and the violations of international rights among the nations, show that such depravity marks national and international life. The gross iniquities that prevail in business, industry, finance and labor, show an appalling amount of depravity in the commercial world. The
professions are full to overflowing of examples of wrong and sin. In man's social relations the same depravity is illustrated. Our penitentiaries, jails, reformatories, asylums, hospitals and detentionaries give unanswerable evidence of human depravity. Each clear-thinking person who has made an honest and deep study of himself knows that there are depraved tendencies, motives, thoughts, habits, words and acts in his life. Each such thinker who has sought to stem the tide of depravity in himself knows that his best efforts are imperfect, knows that to will is present in him, but to perform perfectly he is unable. With the best of the fallen race he must in keenest anguish cry out, "Wretched man that I am; who shall deliver me from this dead body" of corruption!
We ask the deist: How can you think of most men as perfect and the rest of them as nearly so, suffering only from inconsequential ignorance and weakness? Do the sin-wrecked homes, so numerous in our times, imply this thought? Do the scoffers of our time exhibit the qualities of human perfection? Do the murders, social, religious, civil, international, commercial and professional, imply any such a thing? Do the hatreds, envyings, jealousies, feuds, cruelties, heart-lessnesses, rivalries and vengeances, that thrust literal or figurative daggers into their victims, argue for man's perfection? Do the stock frauds, gamblings, waterings and manipulations, the legal technicalities, delays and miscarriages, the price fixings, the monopolistic and competitive cut-throat acts, the adulterations of materials and foods for profit, the class control of the press, the landlordistic exactions, the dishonesties of bank and trust officials, the juggleries in bookkeeping, the briberies, the tax dodgings, the freeings of rich criminals, the frauds with trust funds, the scandals of big finance and business, the corruptions of civil officials, the battles of financial giants, the election frauds, the manufacturing of panics and wars
for gain, the robberies and crookedness, the racketeerings of all kinds, the bootleggings, the gangsters, etc., etc., etc., demonstrate man's actual or near perfection? Do the adulteries, the fornications, the brothels, the white-slavers, the white-slaves, the debauchees, the seducers, the rapers, the libidinous, the sodomists and self-abusers, suggest the actual or near perfection of our race? Do the slanderers, the libelers, the gossips, the reputation assassins, the whisperers, the falsifiers, the perjurers and the traitors, conduce to the proof that human nature is perfect or nearly so?
Let the deist face these things as actual facts of human character and human actors, not as he is wont, like the ostrich, hiding them from his sight, but let him look them in the face as revelatory of actual conditions and facts, and he must give up his theory that mankind is perfect in its bulk and nearly so in its remaining numbers. Christianity apart, these facts and conditions give the pessimist a hundred times more arguments for his pessimism than the superficial inductions from a few exceptionally fine specimens of humanity give arguments to the deist for his optimism. The Christian, in contrast with the theoretical pessimist and optimist, is a realist as to present conditions, which unanswerably prove varying degrees of human depravity as the golden middle between Calvinistic total depravity and deistic optimism, while as to the future with its prospective Millennial restitution work, he is an optimist of the first water, and that because of his confidence in God's Oath-bound Covenant to bless with restitution opportunities all the families of the earth, and in Christ's ransom sacrifice as giving Him the power and authority to uplift to human perfection whosoever will of the depraved human family.
What conclusion do the above Scripture proofs and facts of experience on man's physical, mental, moral and religious condition warrant us in drawing? Undoubtedly
they warrant our drawing the conclusion that human nature as it is now is not only imperfect, but fallen, depraved, corrupt. They argue that man is a diseased being, that this disease does not only affect his body, but also, and especially, his intellect, sensibilities and will, both as faculties and as contents of such faculties. In intellect it makes him more or less blind or obtuse as to truth, especially as to religious truth, and easily susceptible to error, especially religious error, in which he habitually lives. In sensibilities it makes him prone to more or less of insensibility to the good, especially to the religious good, to detach his affections from the good, especially from the religious good, and to attach his affections to the evil, especially to the religious evil. In will it makes him more or less weak or powerless to determine to do the good, especially the religious good, and weak or powerless in determination against the evil, especially the religious evil, and strong in determination for the evil, especially the religious evil. Its effects in these respects vary in individuals; but even in the best of them it effects the condition that St. Paul accurately describes in the language of Rom. 7: 15, 19: "For that [imperfection] which I do I allow [approve] not; for what [perfection] I would that I do not; but what [imperfection] I hate that I do … for the good [perfection] I would I do not; but the evil [imperfection] which I would not that I do"; while for the others in varying degrees they more or less hate and avoid the good and delight in, and practice the evil. Hence man sins as naturally as the sparks fly upward. Such being the case, the deist's view of human nature is not only not approved by the Bible and facts, but is thoroughly overthrown by these.
But one may ask: Why discuss deism's view of man while discussing deism as a false view of God? Is such a discussion not foreign to the announced subject? We reply, No; because the attitude that
deism claims that God maintains toward "human imperfection," which expression deism prefers to that of "human sin." The attitude that deism ascribes to God as to human sin may best be set forth in part under the similitude of an over-indulgent and thoughtless father who sees in his son's derelictions things, not so much to call for his disapproval and correctional chastisements, as to wink at, to smile at and even to chuckle over, as proving his son to be "a chip off the old block," and in part under the similitude of an easy-going and careless father who sees in his son's derelictions, not sins to be retributively corrected, but ignorances and weaknesses that his son will later on, through enlightenment, of his own accord put off. That God should become displeased with, resent and punish human sin is as far from the deist's creed of God as the East is from the West. "O," exclaims he, "God is too good, wise and loving for that; for such a course is foreign to God's character!" This proves that according to deism God is neither wise, just nor loving; for a wise, just and loving God could not treat human sin with such indifference. Deism's view of God's attitude toward human sin proves it to be unbiblical and unfactual. We will now, first, proceed to prove that deism's view of God's attitude toward human sin is an unbiblical teaching as to God's character and then, second, we will proceed to prove that deism's view of God's attitude toward human sin is an unfactual teaching as to God's acts toward human sin.
Wisdom tactfully applies efficient means to secure good ends; but deism's God neither uses such means nor does He secure such ends; for His treatment of human sin according to deism is pure indifference, neglect and laziness; hence He is not only not wise, but most unwise toward human sin; for His attitude is one that encourages sin. Nor is deism's God just; for justice is the quality that rewards righteousness and punishes sin, not indeed with eternal torment, as
many blasphemously assert, but with death, which is efficient to stopping the sinner's wicked course and depriving him of the existence that he refuses to use righteously. Nor is deism's God loving; for love is neither mushy nor sentimental, but the unselfish goodwill that delights in good, abhors evil, and labors to advance the former and to repress the latter, while the deist's God not only lacks this Divine quality, but pursues a course that discourages the good and advances the evil. Hence the deist's God in his attitude and acts toward sin is a God unworthy of our appreciation, reverence and obedience, and is a failure as to being a wise, just and loving God. How differently does the Bible describe God's attitude toward human sin. It proves that it is repugnant to, and is punished by Him. It so grieved Him as to bring the flood upon the antediluvian world (Gen. 6: 6, 7). It grieves Him to such a degree that it makes the sinner an abomination to Him (Deut. 25: 16). He does not refrain from such displeasure with the best men and nations, e.g., David and Judah, when they commit sin (2 Sam. 11: 27; 1 Kings 14: 22). Abhorrence is a state of mind that it works in God (Ps. 5: 4-6; 10: 3; 78: 59). Such abhorrence is what the Bible means when it speaks of God hating the wicked (Ps. 11: 5; 106: 40). Seven of the main sins are enumerated in Prov. 6: 16-19 as being especially abominable to God. So much is God displeased with the wicked that their sacrifices, prayers and religious thoughts are abominations to Him (Prov. 15: 8, 9, 26; 21: 27). Sins are burdensome and wearisome to God (Is. 43: 24). They anger Him and provoke Him to punishment (Jer. 25: 7; 44: 4, 22). He can in no wise look upon sin with favor, since it merits His hatred (Hab. 1: 13; Zech. 8: 17). Nor are such thoughts peculiar to the Old Testament; for the New Testament expresses the same sentiments (Luke 16: 15; Rev. 2: 6, 15). These Scriptural delineations thoroughly show that God
does regard sin with repugnance and punishes it, and therefore prove that the God of deism in His attitude toward sin is unbiblical and unacceptable.
Furthermore, the Scriptures plainly teach that God punishes sin correctionally and, when correction is rejected, executes the extreme penalty of death upon the sinner. One of the forms of punishment that He inflicts is to cut off the sinner from His favor and fellowship. This is repeatedly set forth in the Bible (Deut. 31: 17, 18; 2 Chron. 24: 20; Job 13: 24; Is. 59: 2; Micah 3: 4). Sin is punished by the woes of the curse (Gen. 3: 16-19). It led to the destruction of the human race, except one family, in the flood (Gen. 6: 7). Sodom, Gomorrah and the other cities of the plain were given over to destruction because of it (Gen. 18: 20; 19: 13). It brought upon Israel many a chastisement (Ex. 32: 33, 34; 34: 7; Lev. 26: 14-21; Num. 15: 30, 31; 32: 23). It led to the exclusion from Canaan of the generation that left Egypt, except two individuals (Ps. 95: 10, 11). It also led to the driving out from Canaan of everyone of them for 70 years (Jer. 42: 2-6). It also led to their being cast off from God's favor and to their abandonment unto much sufferings throughout the Gospel Age (Rom. 11: 25; Dan. 9: 26, 27). These teachings and facts are in strictest contradiction of deism's view of God's carelessness as to human sin. Then, too, the Bible teaches that as a final penalty God imposes death upon the incorrigible sinner. The following passages directly prove this: Gen. 2: 17; Jer. 31: 30; Rom. 1: 32; 5: 12, 17; 6: 16, 21, 23; 7: 5; 1 Cor. 15: 21, 22, 56; Jas. 1: 15; 1 John 5: 16. The following passages imply death as sin's final penalty: Gen. 3: 19; Rom. 1: 18; 5: 16, 18, 19. Thus God's imposing death as the extreme penalty of sin shows that He is quite a different God from deism's God as to sin.
The facts of human experience also prove that God is not indifferent to human sin, but first undertakes
to correct it with instruction and chastisements; and when the correction will not be accepted, He puts the sinner to death. The extra-Biblical history of Gentile nations during Biblical and post-Biblical times is replete with illustrations of this fact. In Egypt, in Assyria, in Babylon, in India, in China, during Bible times, we have records of sin chastised and destruction wrought at its being clung to. This is apparent in the records of these nations brought recently to light through archeological research, wherein is described how in the domestic, commercial, imperial, religious and social order, sufferings came upon wrong-doers. In Persia, Greece, Rome and its successor nations the same principle manifested itself times innumerable. Within Christendom this principle can be observed as working as markedly at least as in Israel. What have many of Christendom's innumerable wars, revolutions, plagues, pestilences, earthquakes, volcanoes, droughts, famines, tidal waves, panics, etc., with much of their accompanying miseries and deaths, been other than chastisements for its sins? Our penal institutions, insane asylums and hospitals are more or less in existence because of sin's chastisements. Much of sickness is directly traceable to the effects of sin, and all of it is indirectly traceable thereto. Frequently sin is its own punisher in the physical, mental, moral and religious degradation and suffering which it directly entails. All about us we see the wrath of God against sin operating directly or [by heredity] indirectly. We witness it in our aches and pains and decays. We see it in every drug store, physician's office, hospital and undertaker's establishment. The quarantine notices, the crapes on our doors, the funeral processions and cemeteries, one and all, reveal it. Every institution of the healing art, every nurse, every surgical instrument, every dentist's parlor, manifest it. Surely God's displeasure at the original sin and frequently for subsequent transgressions, is seen with an impressiveness
second perhaps to nothing else in the world. All these facts, therefore, inculcate the lesson of God's displeasure at, and punishment of sin. And, therefore, they disprove deism's view of God as to human sin.
As the final point against deism's creed on human sin as viewed by God, we would point out its demoralizing effect on human character. For the proper development of our characters a true view of God's character is necessary. If we think God to be in any way unwise, unjust and unloving, we lose for character development all the inspiration coming from an appreciation of the thought and example of His perfect wisdom, justice and love. If we conceive of God as being in any way unwise, unjust and unloving, we must fail to take Him as an ideal example for our imitation, and will take Him in these respects as an example for imitation far below a proper ideal, with the result that we will develop more or less in unwisdom, injustice and selfishness; for people never rise in character above their ideals. How could we really respect, let alone reverence such a God as that of deism, as manifested by His attitude toward man's sin? How could we appreciate Him from a delight in good principles? How could we really trust one with such a weak character, especially amid trials in which our circumstances seem not in harmony with His promises? How could His weak character draw out our obedience? Who would ever think of consecrating himself wholly to such a Being? And how could He influence one to carry out his consecration to Him? Such a weakling of a God is a failure as an inspiration to moral and religious development of a worth-while kind. Herein He fails us at a most vital point; therefore we must say such a God does not correspond to mankind's deepest needs, and cannot fit in with the aspirations of the saintly, which things disprove the actuality of such a God. His unsatisfactoriness as a God will become all the more
apparent when we come to consider the third principle of the deist's creed—human immortality.
Deism's view of the hereafter for man, implying such a false view of man's nature as to be opposed to a right view of God and as to advance a false view of Him, justifies our study of its hereafter for man. As to man's hereafter, some few deists deny it altogether, thinking that death ends all for man. Then there are deists who hold that the most degraded of mankind will have no hereafter, but they expect a hereafter for the others. But the large majority of deists believe in natural inherent human immortality, according to the teachings prevalent in all heathen lands, to the effect that man does not really die, but at what seems to be death he changes into a spirit being and lives on. According to this view, he seems, it is true, to die, but by the necessities of his constitution he actually lives on in a changed form. He now, according to this view, has become a spirit and as such lives on endlessly. The fact of there being wicked, as well as good humans, has moved the few deeper-thinking deists to reject this view, as necessarily involving the eternal torment of the wicked; while the shallow and optimistic deist, who accepts his longings and desires for mankind's eternal happiness as proofs of the fact of such a happiness, and who does not bother his brain as to the requirements of justice against the wicked, holds that all having suffered much in this life, and that largely without their fault, it coming to them mainly by heredity and environment, God is in justice obligated to give dead humans a compensation for these earthly sufferings by bestowing eternal felicity upon them. These deists have no faith in a resurrection, which is the last thing they want, since they believe the weaknesses of human character are due to the corrupt tendencies of the body, of which if one is freed, his character blemishes no more exist. Hence they claim that all the dead can and do enjoy eternal
felicity in virtue. Fundamental to this view of man's natural immortality in eternal felicity is the wrong view of God implied in His being obligated in justice to give man endless, death-proof and happy life in righteousness for man's suffering while in this life. Against this view of mankind's inherent immortality and certain eternal happiness as spirits, allegedly necessitated by the justice of God, there are many cogent reasons which in brief form we will here present, hoping later to give this subject more detailed examination.
Against such a view the silence of the Bible and opposing passages of the Bible may be argued. Certainly the writers of the Old Testament are entirely silent on the subject, their only hope for a hereafter being based on their belief in a resurrection and not on man's not actually dying. The same silence of the Bible applies to the teachings of Jesus, the Apostles and the non-apostolic writers of the New Testament, despite opposing teachings of sectarianism set forth by literal interpretations of parables and visions, none of which without travesty may be interpreted literally, since they are of necessity by their very nature expressed in symbolic language. Such a view of man is contrary to numerous Scriptures. Of these the following are some samples, which prove man to be dead and not alive, while in death: Josh. 20: 3, 9; Job. 36: 14; Ps. 56: 13; 78: 50; 116: 8; Ezek. 18: 4, 20; Matt. 26: 37; Jas. 5: 20; Rev. 8: 9; 16: 3. This doctrine of man's inherent immortality and of his consequent living when dead, is contrary to the passages that speak of dead souls. This is shown in proper translations as given in the A. V., as the following passages by their contrasts show: Ps. 22: 29; 30: 3; 37: 18, 19; 66: 9; Is. 56: 3; Ezek. 13: 18, 19; 20: 27. This is likewise shown in passages in which in the Hebrew the expression, dead souls, is translated in the A. V., dead bodies: Lev. 21: 1; Num. 6: 6; 9: 6, 7, 10; 19: 13;
Hag. 2: 13. The contrariety of this doctrine to the Scriptures is further proven by those passages which teach that wicked souls are destroyed (Lev. 23: 30; Josh. 10: 28, 30, 32, 35, 37, 39; Ps. 35: 17; 40: 14; 63: 9; Prov. 6: 32; Ezek. 22: 27; Matt. 10: 28; Luke 6: 9, 56; Acts 3: 23; Jas. 4: 12). It also contradicts the Scriptures that teach that wicked souls are consumed (Is. 10: 18), devoured (Ezek. 22: 25), perish, which word in the Bible means to die (Job 31: 39; Matt. 10: 36; 16: 25, 26; Mark 8: 35, 36; Luke 9: 24), and are cut off (Ex. 12: 15, 19; Lev. 22: 3; Num. 15: 30, 31). These proofs sufficiently show that deism's doctrine on the hereafter as being, apart from a resurrection, a conscious one due to man's alleged immortality, is unscriptural.
Again, such a view is contrary to God's character and Christ's ransom. It blames God for making man sinful, which would make Him the cause of sin and, therefore, unjust; whereas God originally made man good and man made himself bad by the fall into sin (Eccl. 7: 29), which by heredity has been transmitted from generation to generation, to man's increased depravity. Man's original good creation likewise clears God's character from the charge of injustice, in that it proves, as against deism's claim that sin is due exclusively to the body, that it is due to a fall in man's disposition (Matt. 15: 19). It also charges God with injustice, in making man suffer in this life without his fault and giving recompense for this injustice in the next life; for recompensing for a former injustice implies the commission of such an injustice, of which God is incapable. Certainly the whole view involving injustice in God from various standpoints likewise involves unwisdom, lovelessness and weakness in God, which contradicts His character as being wise, loving and powerful. This teaching likewise impinges against the ransom (Matt. 20: 28; 1 Tim. 2: 5, 6). The Bible teaches that Jesus gave His soul as the
ransom, which the Greek of Matt. 20: 28 expressly says, and which 1 Tim. 2: 5 shows, for it says He gave Himself (the soul, not the body, is the real person) a ransom for all. The same thought is taught in Is. 43: 4 (see margin); 53: 10, 12. The same is also shown by the Greek of John 10: 11, 15, 17; 15: 13. Accordingly, Jesus' soul died as the ransom, which proves that men's souls died; otherwise to become their ransom Jesus' soul would not have died, which proves that the soul is not alive when dead.
This teaching is also contrary to the development and practice of godliness. If God were, as deism holds, responsible for imprisoning the real man in a "clod of earth," as they speak of man's body, making ignorance and imperfections inevitable, why should one desire to become godlike and imitate Him? If one will become rid of all such ignorance and imperfections immediately on or by leaving his body, why should one not wait for the deliverance from ignorance and imperfection then coming, rather than undergo the inconveniences, losses and sufferings due to fighting against error, ignorance and sin now? And if riddance of error and imperfection is accomplished by deliverance from the body, why not suicide and thus gain the coveted deliverance? Not only so, but why not begin a suicide propaganda world-wide in scope and show the easiest means of suicide so as to make the attainment of almost omniscience and perfection attractive? If deism's view of the hereafter were true, certainly the above would be the logical course to advocate and practice. But this very fact proves that it is inimical to the development and practice of godliness and therefore must be wrong. Certainly its belief in its cure for all evils and in its door to all good—death—must have the effect on the average person to make him postpone the difficult task of cultivating godliness until at death it can be attained without effort! It cannot but lead to disrespect for God and
for our parents as the ones responsible for our ignorance and imperfections. As a hope it leads to pride, as Eve under the influence of its deception through Satan exemplifies, in her grasping for its hope in self-exaltation. And without doubt it undermines the sense of moral responsibility. All these considerations prove it to be a teaching subversive of godliness and, therefore, it is an erroneous teaching.
Furthermore, deism's view of the hereafter is both incapable of proof and is a baseless assumption. None of the methods whereby facts are proven as such can be used to prove it. Facts are proven by the senses, rational intuition, experience and competent testimony. Our senses do not inform us that people become spirits, and that death-proof in addition, when they die. There is nothing in our rational intuitions that supports such a thought. A few persons have died and were shortly afterward, before the blood could begin to separate into clot and serum, resuscitated, and their testimony is that they were unconscious while dead. Accordingly, experience does not only not prove, but actually disproves, this view. Nor is there any one who has testified to such a thought from observation of the facts of the case. Spiritism purports to give such testimony; but its testimony is demonstrably unreliable, because most of its suggested proofs have been demonstrated to be slight-of-hand tricks in which the mediums have taken a guilty and fraudulent part, and because of the rest of its proofs being demoniac frauds in which demons—the fallen angels, the lying spirits described in the Bible—palm themselves off as the dead. And certainly the Bible, as the source and rule of proof to the Christian, does not prove it, but contradicts it from every Biblical standpoint, as we have in part seen and shall for the rest yet see. Hence deism's view of the hereafter is unprovable. As it is unprovable, so is it also a baseless assumption. There is nothing in nature to suggest it; there is nothing in
the death of any being on any plane of existence that suggests it; there is nothing in reason that implies it. There is no analogy that requires it. It has simply been assumed as true, because people shudder at the thought of death being extinction, and because they long to continue to exist. Fear and hope, not reason and truth, make some people believe it. And certainly, fear and hope are poor, baseless and delusive foundations for truth and faith.
For the Bible believer deism's view of the hereafter is untrue because it is contrary to many Bible doctrines. We will briefly set forth with terse proofs some of these doctrines that are contrary to deism's view of the hereafter. First, the Bible teaches that only beings who have the Divine nature are immortal. By immortality we understand a death-proof condition to be meant, a condition in which it is impossible to die. In the Bible it is defined as life in oneself, self-existing life, a life that depends on no external condition or thing for continuance (John 5: 26; 6: 53). Immortality, which is the equivalent of Divinity, was originally in God alone (1 Tim. 1: 17; John 5: 26). Then He offered it to Jesus on condition of His being faithful unto death (John 5: 26, 27; Heb. 1: 3; 12: 2). Hence before the resurrection of the saints Jesus is the only one given it (1 Tim. 6: 16). In their resurrection the saints, but no one else, will be favored with it (2 Pet. 1: 4; 1 Cor. 15: 53, 54; 2 Cor. 5: 4; 1 John 3: 2), because it is a thing not inherent in man, but must be sought as a reward by patient continuance in well doing; hence it is a thing given only to saints (Rom. 2: 7). Since, generally speaking, deism predicates immortality of all humans, it does this contrary to the Bible, which says that God alone originally had it and then gives it as a reward to Jesus and His faithful followers only. Since, then, only Divine beings have immortality, it is no inherent possession of humans; and this proves deism wrong. Again, the
Bible contradicts deism on this point, because it teaches that the truth on immortality was first revealed by our Lord through the Gospel (2 Tim. 1: 10), while the error of deism on a conscious immortal existence for all men in death was believed in for over two thousand years before Christ came until He came, and since, as is evident in the false religions of Egypt, Babylon, India, China, Persia, Greece, Rome, etc., which fact is another disproof of deism's hereafter. This doctrine of deism is contrary to the Bible teaching that death, extinction, is the penalty of sin, whereas deism, instead of teaching extinction to be the wages of sin, holds that sin and righteousness are alike rewarded with eternal, immortal and blissful life at death, apart altogether from a resurrection. That death is the wages of sin, the Scriptures quoted above abundantly prove. Hence on this point the Bible contradicts deism's view of the hereafter.
There are numerous other Biblical doctrines that contradict deism's hereafter. The Bible teaches that eternal life—everlasting, perfect, blissful existence—is a gift conditioned on faithfulness to God through Christ's merit and ministry. The following are a few from among many passages that give us this thought: Matt. 19: 29; Rom. 2: 6, 7; 5: 21; 6: 23; 8: 13; Rev. 2: 10. But deism, in contradiction to these and numerous other Scriptures, asserts that eternal, immortal, perfect and blissful existence is a natural endowment of man and is realized at death. Again, it contradicts God's judicial statement that the sinner will really die—not seem to die, but actually live on when he dies (Gen. 2: 17). It also contradicts the clear Scriptural statements that death is an unconscious state in which men know nothing, do nothing, remember nothing, think nothing, feel nothing and will nothing (Ps. 6: 5; 146: 2, 3; Eccl. 9: 5, 6, 10; Job 14: 21; Is. 63: 16; Dan. 12: 2; John 11: 11-14; Acts 7: 62; 1 Cor. 15: 6, 18, 20, 51). It likewise contradicts the true view of
what dies. The Scriptures teach that it is the soul, the person, who dies (Gen. 3: 19; Job 36: 14 [margin]; Ps. 56: 13; 116: 8; 78: 50; Is. 53: 10, 12; Ezek. 18: 4, 20; Matt. 26: 37; Jas. 5: 20), while deism claims that the soul does not die but, on the contrary, lives on in eternal immortal bliss. Hence it is unbiblical.
In contradiction of deism, which teaches that the reward comes at death, the Bible teaches that the reward is given at the resurrection (Is. 35: 4; 62: 11; Dan. 12: 1, 3; Matt. 16: 27; 19: 29; 25: 14-23; Luke 14: 14; John 14: 3; Rom. 8: 23; 1 Cor. 5: 5; Col. 3: 4; 2 Tim. 4: 8; 1 Pet. 1: 3-8, 13; 1 John 3: 2; Rev. 11: 18; 22: 12). Deim's view of the hereafter also contradicts the Bible view that a hereafter is entirely dependent on a resurrection; for the Bible teaches that if there is no resurrection there is no hereafter (1 Cor. 15: 18, 32). It also contradicts the idea of a resurrection, which implies the restoration of the soul to life in a body suited to its character (1 Cor. 15: 35-38), a thing completely at variance with deism's view of the hereafter as a conscious life of a spirit everlastingly from death onward, without a resurrection. It also contradicts the resurrection as the Biblical basis of the hope of a future existence (Acts 23: 6; 24: 15; 26: 6-8), whereas it teaches that man has inherent self-existence which goes on in death. The Bible teaching of a day of judgment (Rev. 20: 12) also strikingly contradicts deism's hereafter, in which there is no place nor need for a day of judgment. The Bible's teaching of the destruction of the wicked (Ps. 145: 20; Phil. 3: 19; 2 Thes. 1: 9), including that of Satan and his angels (Heb. 2: 14; Is. 27: 1; Matt. 25: 41), violently contradicts deism's hereafter, in which the wicked will live on, no more wicked, since they have shed "the clod of earth" that made them sin. But if it is "the clod of earth," the fleshly body, that is responsible for sin, how comes it that Satan and his fallen angels, who do not have "a clod of
earth," sin, and that worse than mankind? Why have they not been sinless these 6,000 years, seeing they are spirits? This shows another contradiction between the Bible and deism on the hereafter of mankind in death. On each one of the above points there is violent conflict between the Bible and deism on the hereafter. This means a rejection of deism's unbiblical hereafter.
Deism's view of an existence of dead humans as spirits apart from a resurrection is a heathen, a pagan, belief inculcated by every heathen and other false religion on earth. This, among other reasons, led the Apostle Paul to speak of the heathen religions as a worship of devils (1 Cor.
10: 20). Certainly we should wish to be free from devil worship and, accordingly, should eschew deism's view of the hereafter. Deism's view of the hereafter is based on, and is an expression of Satan's first lie (Gen. 3: 4, 5; John 8: 44) told in direct contradiction to God's law as to sin's penalty (Gen. 2: 17). It is well to note the three features of this lie: (1) "Ye shall not surely [really] die [you will only seem to die, without actually dying]"; (2) "ye shall be as the gods [angels, spirits, (Heb. 1: 7, compared with Ps. 97: 7), while seemingly dead]"; (3) "knowing [experiencing, while seemingly dead] good [bliss]." The deist does not quote the rest of the falsehood's third part—"and evil [torment]"—for he does not believe in the torment of the wicked dead. But he has accepted and endorsed Satan's threefold original lie, except the last half of the third. His hereafter, accordingly, is exactly that of the first lie, with the exception noted. This proves its falsity. It is also, apart from the above stated exception, much the same teaching as the counterfeit of the death state that Satan palmed off on the world through the papacy, which also proves its erroneousness. Deism's hereafter is much in harmony with the principles of evolutionism, which is another reason for its erroneousness. It is certainly
based on a false view of man, which, denying that man is a human soul, claims that man is a combination of a human and a spirit being, while the Bible teaches that man is a human soul.—Gen. 2: 7; 12: 5; 14: 21; 36: 6; 46: 18, 22, 25-27; Ex. 1: 5; 16: 16; 21: 23; Lev. 5: 1, 2, 4; 6: 1, 2; 17: 12; 22: 11; 23: 30; Num. 19: 18; 31: 35, 40, 46; Deut. 10: 32; Josh. 10: 28, 30, 32, 35, 37, 39; Is. 53: 10, 12; Matt. 20: 28; Ezek. 18: 4, 20; Jer. 52: 29, 30; Acts 2: 41, 43; 3: 23; 7: 14; 27: 37; Rom. 13: 1; 1 Pet. 3: 20.
The above arguments sufficiently, from Scripture, reason and fact, refute deism's view of the hereafter. Accordingly, we have proven its three principles—the deistical God, the deistical virtue and the deistical hereafter—to be errors; and thus we have proven deism from these three standpoints to be a false view of God, directly from the first standpoint and indirectly from the second and third standpoints, because they are pivoted upon the first, which is false.
And while bright visions of Thy power
The shining worlds before us bring,
The earthly grandeur, fruit and flower,
The praises of Thy bounty sing.
But not alone do worlds of light
And earth display Thy grand designs;
'Tis when our eyes behold Thy Word
We read Thy name in fairest lines.
Wide as creation is Thy plan,
Deep laid in wisdom's mighty rock;
The course of Ages is its span;
'Tis for Thy universal flock.
It compasses the wants of man,
And lifts him from the mire of sin;
It starts him on the way to life,
And shows him how to enter in.