We often note how human beings “play God” and, following the Serpent’s temptation (Gen. 3:5), want to “be God.” But what kind of God do we want to be? We don’t want to be like the real God, who loves, redeems, and saves. Rather, we want to be the detached god of the Deists. My new book, Post-Christian: A Guide to Contemporary Thought and Culture, explores this.
We want to be omniscient, to know everything. We can have this trait of the deity, we think, through the practice of science, in which we carefully observe the external universe so that we can know and understand it. To accomplish this, though, we must be separate from what we are observing. We thus situate ourselves outside that universe, transcending it, like the ever-observing but never-interfering God of the Deists.