Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2014 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Deus Otiosus

  • David A. LeemingEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6086-2_165

In many religious traditions, the creator god essentially retires from the world he has created and leaves it to others to run – to humans or lesser gods. In short, he does not interfere with the world once he has created it. His mythological relative is the Deus Absconditus who more actively absents himself from his creation. For the purposes of psychological interpretation, the two types can perhaps be considered to be synonymous. Many African creator gods leave creation to tricksters or to their sons. Sometimes, as in Greek, Anatolian, and Indian mythology, the old high god is forced out and is replaced by young upstart deities. Christian theologians, such as Thomas Aquinas and Martin Luther, have used the hidden god concept to emphasize that God is unknowable but that we can know God through the tangible “living” Christ, Jesus. Deists, on the other hand, find in the Deus Otiosus – the clock-make God who made the world, wound it up, and then left – simply a rational explanation for...

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  1. Eliade, M. (1978). A history of religious ideas: From the stone age to the Eleusinian mysteries. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of ConnecticutStorrsUSA