Thomas Jefferson on God & Creation

Below is a quote from Thomas Jefferson on God and creation, from the National Archives, in a letter from Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, 11 April 1823: [emphasis added]

I hold (without appeal to revelation) that when we take a view of the Universe, in it’s parts general or particular, it is impossible for the human mind not to percieve and feel a conviction of design, consummate skill, and indefinite power in every atom of it’s composition. the movements of the heavenly bodies, so exactly held in their course by the balance of centrifugal and centripetal forces, the structure of our earth itself, with it’s distribution of lands, waters and atmosphere, animal and vegetable bodies, examined in all their minutest particles, insects mere atoms of life, yet as perfectly organised as man or mammoth, the mineral substances, their generation and uses, it is impossible, I say, for the human mind not to believe that there is , in all this, design, cause and effect, up to an ultimate cause, a fabricator of all things from matter and motion, their preserver and regulator while permitted to exist in their present forms, and their regenerator into new and other forms. we see, too, evident proofs of the necessity of a superintending power to maintain the Universe in it’s course and order. stars, well known, have disappeared, new ones have come into view, comets, in their incalculable courses, may run foul of suns and planets and require renovation under other laws; certain races of animals are become extinct; and were there no restoring power, all existences might extinguish successively, one by one, until all should be reduced to a shapeless chaos. so irresistible are these evidences of an intelligent and powerful Agent that, of the infinite numbers of men who have existed thro’ all time, they have believed, in the proportion of a million at least to Unit, in the hypothesis of an eternal pre-existence of a creator, rather than in that of a self-existent Universe. surely this unanimous sentiment renders this more probable than that of the few in the other hypothesis some early Christians indeed have believed in the coeternal pre-existance of both the Creator and the world, without changing their relation of cause & effect. 1

Regarding the intelligence of Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the US Declaration of Independence, US President Kennedy said at a dinner honoring Nobel prize winners ...

I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone. 2

Also, from a 1901 book:

Jefferson had more or less knowledge of anatomy, civil engineering, physics, mechanics, meteorology, astronomy, architecture, and botany. He was so familiar with every subject discussed by ordinary men and talked so fluently and with such confidence that the people of Virginia considered him a monument of learning. The story goes that on one occasion, while stopping at an inn, he spent an evening with a stranger from the North, a highly educated man, who was so charmed with his conversation and amazed at his learning that he inquired of the landlord who his companion might be. "When he spoke of law," said the stranger, "I  thought he was a lawyer; when he talked about mechanics, I was sure he was an engineer; when he got into medicine, it was evident that he was a physician; when he discussed theology, I was convinced that he must be a clergyman; when he talked of literature, I made up my mind that I had run against a college professor who knew everything." 3