Original Research

Einstein the deist and Flew the theist viewed from a Christian perspective

Raymond Potgieter
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 51, No 1 | a2199 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v51i1.2199 | © 2017 Raymond Potgieter | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 September 2016 | Published: 28 June 2017

About the author(s)

Raymond Potgieter, Department of Systematic Theology & Apologetics, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, South Africa

Abstract

Both Albert Einstein and Antony Flew had various religious influences during their adolescent years. But both turned away from Christianity due to rational inconsistencies that, in their views, made faith incompatible to science, on the one hand, and to reason, on the other. Einstein retained a deistic sense of appreciation of the universe while Flew retreated into atheism. The former expressed his deism in Spinozian terms and never actually seriously questioned the god of Spinoza. Flew, on the other hand, embarked on atheism based on rationality on the Socratic premise that he would follow where the evidence led. While Einstein remained a deist to the end, Flew followed the evidence converted to deism and then to theism. Insights into these two great rational thinkers will serve to remind the church and zealous evangelicals that a more deliberate account needs to be taken of a person’s background, their personal philosophy and reasons for commitment to alternate beliefs. Knowing what draws thinking persons to their commitments allow for a more insightful approach to be adopted by Christians wanting to state the case for Christian theism as fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

Keywords

Deism; theism; Flew; Einstein

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