Crusoe’s Query

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“As I sat here some such thoughts as these occurred to me: What is this earth and sea, of which I have seen so much? Whence is it produced? And what am I, and all the other creatures wild and tame, human and brutal? Whence are we?Sure we are all made by some secret Power, who formed the earth and sea, the air and sky. And who is that? Then it followed most naturally, it is God that has made all. Well, but then it came on strangely, if God has made all these things, He guides and governs them all, and all things that concern them; for the Power that could make all things must certainly have power to guide and direct them. If so, nothing can happen in the great circuit of His works, either without His knowledge or appointment.”

So muses Robinson Crusoe one day on his deserted island, and in so doing, he reveals the central thinking of theistic belief. Note the assumptions:

“Sure we are made by some secret power.”

Why sure? Only because this book was written at the beginning of the 18th century when scientific explanations of the why and the how were still being tentatively formed.

“Then it followed most naturally, it is God that has made all.”

Follows naturally only if the notion of God is already to hand. No need to explain the God part of it? Who made God? How did God make all? Here is the fill-in explanation for all that cannot or is not explained.

“…for the Power that could make all things must certainly have power to guide and direct them.”

Well, the Deists of the 18th century would explicitly reject this notion, so it’s not even necessary for the concept of God.

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