Deism, is a metaphysical philosophy which originated around the 1600's. Its earliest Founders included, the Philosophers John Locke and Baruch Spinoza. For the past 4 centuries Deism has helped to reexamine and diversify the very definition and concept of God.........(from a distinctly Modern perspective).

However, is Deism much older? If one examines Aristotle's metaphysical language, one may recognize his Immovable Mover/Unmoved Mover, as the earliest known evidence of the Deistic God. Although Aristotle's "Metaphysics" was central to the various Religious Theologies of Medieval Europe, perhaps his discussions on the Immovable Mover, were, in actuality, more consistent with and a forerunner to........the Modern Metaphysical Philosophy of Deism.

  • 2
    Please amend your question to provide the definition of deism you want to use. Once amended, the question should probably answer itself.
    – virmaior
    Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 5:44
  • Historically, deism refers to post-Christian type of God, which Aristotle's unmoved mover is not (his nous might be closer). But some, e.g. Conservapedia, now use deism expansively to designate vague belief in any uninvolved deity knowable through reason, in which case Aristotle fits.
    – Conifold
    Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 22:22
  • @Alex. There's now an answer to your (very interesting) question.
    – Geoffrey Thomas
    Commented Jan 6, 2018 at 14:58

2 Answers 2


I think we can do a bit of work to help the questioner here. The quick answer is that there are elements, prefigurations, of deism in Aristotle's ontology, his account of reality.

Deism I take to be the view that God, separate from the universe, creates a universe fully determined by a set of invariable laws. By initial impetus God sets the universe going but has no further concern with it.

Theism I take to be the interventionist view that God, separate from the universe, creates a universe in which God is continuously active.

Deism generally posits a physical universe in which, none the less, human beings are special - exempt from deterministic laws to the extent of having free will.

The Aristotlian universe is generally considered to be 'aion', timeless, which would appear to mean that it was not created by God or anything else. The Aristotelian God does not intervene in the universe but acts in a sense to be explained just below as the 'unmoved mover'. God is perfect; there is no other perfect object for God to contemplate than Godself; and contemplation is the perfect activity. Therefore God does nothing but contemplate Godself (Aristotle, 'Metaphysics', Book Lambda, ch. 9.

However, Aristotle has a teleological view of nature. All nature strives for such perfection as it is capable of. Everything therefore is moved to aim at its own perfection. Nature has an intrinsic 'telos' or goal of imitating God as best it can. This explains all change and motion in nature. So, while God does not intervene, God provides (with no intention) the impetus to movement and change; God is the first, unmoved mover (to proton kinoun akineton : 'Metaphysics, Lambda 8). Motionless, God initiates motion through the need, the inherent tendency, of nature to imitate God's perfection as best it can. If this seems a God of surpassing strangeness, it probably is.

Back to your question. Aristotle's God is definitely not theistic since God is not active or interventionist in the universe. God is not quite deistic because God does not create the universe but there is a strong parallel with, or prefiguration of, deism in God's separation from the universe and non-intervention in it.

Hope this helps.


Yes, Aristotle was the first deist. Aristotle did not believe in miracles and felt that G-d does not interfere in human affairs.

According to Aristotle, G-d formed the world out of pre-existing matter that, like him, existed for all eternity. This would imply that G-d created the world and is no longer involved with the world. Why? Nobody knows.

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