Term for people who believe God once existed but then disappeared?



Reading Wikipedia, I learnt

  • Agnosticism is the view that the existence of God, of the divine or the supernatural is unknown or unknowable.
    Comment: Am I correct if I say an agnostics would say: "I don't know whether God exists or not."?
  • Atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities.

What would someone be called if he/she :

  • believes God or some power or deity created the universe in some point of time, and

  • afterwards disappeared

  • so, there is no one to judge you for your sins or good karma, except maybe your or mine government or international organisations. So good karma gives medals, honorariums, prizes, etc. Bad karma gives punishments, fines, getting listed in criminal lists, etc.


One word for people believing that God once existed and created everything and then disappeared leaving the universe in our hands?

Severus Snape

Posted 2021-02-07T09:19:31.393

Reputation: 241

1By "disappeared", what do you mean? God is just being "made off"? Or God literally no longer exists? – BruceWayne – 2021-02-07T19:43:22.403

ok wow sorry that's a typo, I meant "hands off"! Sorry about that! – BruceWayne – 2021-02-08T01:41:38.137

1Isn't this equivalent to a clockwork god? – DKNguyen – 2021-02-08T02:22:56.143

1@BruceWayne I don't think I mean "hands off" here. English is not my first language. Also, I have just started Philosophy. Dictionary says "hands off" means "not involving or requiring direct involvement or intervention". Going by that definition "hands off" might imply: God doesn't intervene or want to intervene, but He exists. In my case, I want to express a situation that He doesn't exist anymore. I think I might want to say: God has died or is powerless to intervene. So, God can't instead of God doesn't or doesn't want to. – Severus Snape – 2021-02-08T02:32:27.373

1Okay so you mean god really is gone. – DKNguyen – 2021-02-08T03:13:09.707

"Atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities." Not accurate - atheism is the position that there is no proof of a god. There may be one, or many, but we do not 'believe' there is no god. We only point out that no credible proof of one has ever been offered. There is a huge difference between not believing that a god exists, and believing that a god does not exist. Atheists hold the first position, not necessarily the second. – pdanes – 2021-02-09T14:14:10.167

@pdanes I have copied it from Wikipedia. They can't be wrong. – Severus Snape – 2021-02-09T15:08:09.433



"Theothanatologists" - For more information see Wikipedia.

The Death of God movement is sometimes technically referred to as theothanatology, deriving from the Greek theos (God) and thanatos (death).


Blake refused to view the crucifixion of Jesus as a simple bodily death, and, rather, saw in this event a kenosis, a self-emptying of God.

Chris Degnen

Posted 2021-02-07T09:19:31.393

Reputation: 3 038

9I see a distinction between "dead" vs "not around any more" or "not paying any attention to us". This definition clearly addresses the former, but might the latter be something else? The fact that this term is derived from the word "death" suggests it might not apply to the "alive but not listening" case. I guess how well this term applies to the OPs case is a matter of what they meant by "disappeared". – CryptoFool – 2021-02-07T18:44:43.393

This answer is very helpful, though, I would really appreciate another word on "not paying attention to us" if there is one. I didn't think about it earlier :-D @Steve – Severus Snape – 2021-02-07T18:46:54.557

@SeverusSnape - It all comes down to what you mean by "disappeared". Applying our own notion of consciousness to God, one might ask "why does God appear to have disappeared?". One reason would be that she's (pronoun arbitrary) now choosing to be "hands off"...leaving us on our own. If she is "hands off", then she's either still paying attention or she's not. I'm a Pure Agnostic, so I believe that trying to apply any of our worldly ideas to what God IS or IS DOING is pointless. My answer was based on semantics and general logic rather than on anything to do with my own beliefs. – CryptoFool – 2021-02-07T20:44:36.213

I find the notion that God could have existed at one point but now doesn't to be preposterous. Even if it's true, it's irrelevant to us as it is something we can never "know" one way or the other. We can't get close to proving that God exists now, much less that she doesn't but did at one point. I therefore understand the classification Theothanatologist, but I can't see how it can in fact offer any distinction from simply being an Atheist. – CryptoFool – 2021-02-07T20:47:19.327

3@Steve The example given in the post, of the belief that Jesus was real and divine, and sacrificed eternal life for our sake, seems pretty far from atheism to me. Granted, it doesn't make any strong claims about the future, but understanding our world as a purely natural one vs believing in the existence of powers beyond our comprehension that for some reason died (on our behalf or otherwise) seem like very different understandings of how the world works and what is possible. – BThompson – 2021-02-07T21:55:52.567

@BThompson - Anyone who believes that our entire Universe...all the beauty and profound vastness of it all, was created purely for US...is well, again in a word...IMO, preposterous. But I respect that opinion, and admit that it's remotely possible. But to take it so profoundly further as to suggest that an all-powerful God did all of this for us, as imperfect as we are, and then chose to kill herself having done no better than our sorry excuse for a sentient being, is well...in a different word...Crazy. What would make one believe that? I at least get where the rest of it comes from. – CryptoFool – 2021-02-07T22:11:08.340

Sure, I'm not saying it's a logically consistent position in the least. Occam's razor cuts it to shreds. I was just responding to your comment that it doesn't "offer any distinction from simply being an atheist" – BThompson – 2021-02-07T22:13:37.233

@BThompson - but are there enough of these people, with a common, coherent belief system to back it up, to bother to put a term on it? – CryptoFool – 2021-02-07T22:14:32.243

2Based on the fact that a word exists for it... yes? – BThompson – 2021-02-07T22:15:50.983

1Ok...you're right. I'm making this a XY problem. It's a fine word, with a fine definition. Forgive me. Still..we're just talking here, right? ;) – CryptoFool – 2021-02-07T22:17:21.977

The quote about William Blake doesn't make an obvious example of theothanatology, since kenosis has a rather different range of meanings and connotations in traditional Christian theologies. – aschepler – 2021-02-09T04:24:12.927


What you describe is view of some deists who see God as observing humanity but not directly intervening in our lives - for more information see Wikipedia.


Posted 2021-02-07T09:19:31.393

Reputation: 181


I'm not sure if there is a more specific name for this belief. Its not very prominent on the English version of Wikipedia, but its right in the second sentence of the Polish version.

– PawełT – 2021-02-07T18:43:15.973

1What you say suggests that God could be indrectly intervening. What's the distinction between directly and indirectly, in your view? I can't see how there can be one. God is either "hands on" or not. - I see that the Wikipedia article you cite uses the word "indirectly" just once. It never uses the word "directly", or tries in any way to define the difference between the two. – CryptoFool – 2021-02-07T20:48:55.163

2For the case of G/god(s) not paying attention any more, I think deism is as close a fit as you'll find. Rejecting revelation as a valid source of knowledge wouldn't make much sense if they believed omnipotent beings were still in contact with humanity – BThompson – 2021-02-07T21:36:31.567

@Steve I agree if your god is omnipotent and omniscient because then it doesn't matter whether you take direct, indirect, straightforward, roundabout or circuitous means because you will always succeed and you know you will succeed. – DKNguyen – 2021-02-08T02:26:46.933

@DKNguyen - Couldn't have said it any better myself :) – CryptoFool – 2021-02-08T03:00:59.447



The belief in a supreme being who is a creator who does not intervene in the universe.

After establishing natural laws and setting the cosmos in motion, God stepped away.

Michael Richardson

Posted 2021-02-07T09:19:31.393

Reputation: 151


I offer absentee god

It was the first thing that occurred to me and there is evidence for its use.

The theology that has ruled Christendom for fifteen centuries is builded on the conception of an “ absentee God , " a God outside of , detached from , far away from his world. Google Books search - absentee god

Further examples of absentee god

chasly - supports Monica

Posted 2021-02-07T09:19:31.393

Reputation: 182


"Deist" is the closest I can think of.

The 18th Century Deists believed that God created the universe, then basically withdrew from managing it.

Not convincing, but that was their basic belief.

Daniel Wilson

Posted 2021-02-07T09:19:31.393

Reputation: 111

Thanks @DanielWilson Two persons have already mentioned about Deism in their answers though. – Severus Snape – 2021-02-10T16:53:56.990

1Sorry, I was reading too fast ... while on a conference call. – Daniel Wilson – 2021-02-10T16:58:15.673