A non-interventionist god is, for all intents and purposes, a god that doesn't exist. If such a god did exist it would be as useful as a non-interventionist plumber at the scene of burst water pipe and not worth thanking in the slightest.



  1. The trick, alas, is to figure out the intervention. Maybe miraculous recoveries are easy, but if unexpected relapses also count (or don’t) how can we be sure even then? Best say “Thanks” whatever happens and hope to occasionally find out what for.

    • Ah, you are referring to a partially interventionist god, John. I’m referring, in the post, to a non-interventionist god, who just doesn’t intervene at any level, full stop, period. Such a god, even it is the primal creator, is worthy of no more veneration than the Big Bang and, therefore, not a god. A non-interventionist god is a contradiction in terms.

  2. So you’re expecting a call from the Queen of the UK of GB and NI offering you the job of Archbishop of York any day now?
    Sucks to just have dogs as substitute offspring and have to live off your wife’s money, doesn’t it?

  3. The job of plumbers is to plumb, so one who can’t is a waste of time. But is it the job of God to intervene?
    Newton and Leibniz argued about this. MP agrees with Newton. Leibniz’s point is that if God created the world and then intervenes in it, sounds like Version 1 had bugs in it. Intervention makes better sense when you have got lots of gods intervening in each other’s handiwork.

    • Agreed, Jonathan. Which is why I do not believe in a “perfect” God capable of doing anything and knowing everything. Why would you thank a being who intrinsically cannot do any wrong? That would be like thanking the sun for shining.

      I also don’t think that the word “god” is synonymous with the word “creator.” The deist god is just a creator. I think a “superior” entity needs to be a whole lot more to earn the title “God.”

      Once a creator becomes a sustainer then it becomes interventionist.

  4. Fair comment. It then becomes a matter of how to define ‘intervention’. A creator god creates frogs. And then intervenes as a sustainer to make them jump around ponds croaking. That makes sense to me, but some people wouldn’t call it intervention. Another kind of intervention is to turn them into princesses. That’s what people call a ‘miracle’, and sometimes stupidly think it’s more impressive.

    • I wasn’t even thinking about healing miracles when I wrote this post. It came out of a conversation I was having elsewhere about Atonement. The point I was making in that conversation was that believing in a non-interventionist god was the same as being an atheist for all intents and purposes.

  5. I take your point. It seems to me that the “clockmaker God” of deism was a stepping stone to atheism.

    As to the nature of God’s action in the world, in my more heterodox moments, I sometimes remember a letter that GB Shaw once wrote to Tolstoy, to the effect that, were he God, he would try to create something greater and more perfect than himself.

    (In my less heterodox moments, I try to avoid any line of thought that begins “If I were God …”)

    • Like you, Father A, I try to avoid imagining myself as God. However, if I was Emperor of the Universe there would be some changes, I can tell you. 🙂

  6. I like the God “pitches hir tent with us” metaphor (John 1:14). Is that intervention? I guess it depends on the size of the tent (and whether it’s raining!).

  7. I was concentrating on atonement and that ‘none of them work’ but I’ll extend the principle. It does matter if signals of transcendence lead to transcendence, because then there is a unity, a relationship, a value. I’m more agnostic than that. But I do know that no God intervened in the holocaust, or the continuing bitter civil wars. There are improvements in the life of the world, but consistent with our actions as are evils. None of that prevents religion, which is reflective, overall, considerate, and comes with gift and exchange theory that does function.

    • The problem with your conclusion about the Atonement is that I believe in it and it works for me. The scapegoat is an archetype that I understand instinctively which, surely, is what an archetype is all about.

      And just as I don’t know that God exists you don’t know if a god intervened in the Holocaust. You are persuaded that one didn’t but that is different to knowing. In fact, we probably don’t know anything. It is indicative of the supreme and dangerous arrogance of so many modern scientists that they think they do.