As a Christian, I occasionally run into people who claim that they don’t believe in God. In this article, I’ll share with you some of their reasonings, and provide counter-arguments. Also, I’ll delve into some of the underlying motivations these people have for claiming to believe that there is no God.
First of all, let’s clarify a few things so you will understand where I’m coming from. I believe in the God of the Bible. I believe in the concept of Original Sin, which plunged the entire creation into a fallen state, and put all of mankind at odds with God. I believe that Jesus Christ is that God, and that He became a man, lived a sinless life, and died on the cross so that you and I could be reconciled to Him. I believed that He proved that He is God by rising again on the third day, and appearing to over five hundred people before finally ascending back to His throne in Heaven. I believe that all who reject Christ’s gift of salvation, all who reject Christ’s rightful position as Lord of everything (including their lives) will spend eternity in punishment, forever separated from God and all of His goodness, beauty and majesty. I believe that those who repent (change their thinking) and turn from their sins, throw themselves on the mercy of Christ, and put Him in His proper place on the throne, as Lord of their lives and of everything, will be granted the privilege of being in His presence forever, reigning and ruling alongside Him.
So, in light of this information, which is publicly available to all, why would anyone reject such a loving Lord and Savior? One word: Ignorance. Most self-proclaimed atheists are ignorant either of the proofs that the Bible is true and accurate, or of the nature of God, or both. But this is a willful ignorance because they refuse to listen to the truth about God. Instead, they avoid anything remotely connected with Him, so that they don’t have to face the truth, and their conscience. Willful ignorance or not, they are in rebellion against the very one who created them and lovingly sustains them, giving them every breath they breathe, every beat of their hearts. How ironic that they would use the very life He mercifully gives them every second they’re alive, to continue in rebellion against Him.
Let’s take a look at this subject from a purely physical point of view. Science tells us that whatever begins to exist, must have a cause. Science also tells us that the universe has not existed forever. In other words, it had a cause. How can matter come into existence from nothing? That is one question that science will never be able to answer. They will forever be saying “we’re getting closer”, but they will never be able to answer how the universe came into existence. The Bible gives us the answer. We can read in Genesis 1:1 that “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” The word for “created” means “made from nothing”. He spoke, and it came into existence. This may seem fanciful or fairytale-like, but it makes more sense than any of the far-fetched theories that so-called scientists have come up with to explain the origins of the universe. To believe most of those, you have to throw out all logic and reason, and turn off your critical thinking skills. Who would you rather believe, some scientists who will live, on average, maybe 70 or so years, or the great God who was there when everything was made, and nothing was made without Him?
John 1:3, King James Version
All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
In talking with self-proclaimed atheists, they present different arguments to support their purported views, none of which hold up under the light of scrutiny. Let’s look at some.
“If God were good all-powerful and all-knowing, then He wouldn’t allow evil, pain, suffering, etc. There is a lot of evil, pain and suffering in the world. Therefore, God must not exist, or at least He isn’t good.” This shows a complete misunderstanding or willful ignorance of the situation. Remember, we (the creation) rebelled against a perfect God. He owes us nothing. Therefore, anything good we get beyond eternal damnation and punishment, is an unmerited GIFT that God chose to give us, even though we deserve punishment and death. We live in a fallen world, and until Christ returns to redeem this world, pain, suffering and evil will continue. The evil is not God’s doing, but our own. Our sin (rebellion against God) has cut off all of creation from His goodness. He is simply letting us experience the natural consequences of our rebellion against Him. Even so, for those of us who love the Lord, even bad things work together for our good in the end:
Romans 8:28, King James Version
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
“When my [friend, relative or pet] was sick, I prayed so much for God to heal him/her, but he/she died any way. I was just a little kid. How could a good God allow an innocent child to suffer such a loss at a such a young age?” Some even tell stories of recent losses they experienced in their adult lives, but the argument is always the same: “How could a good God allow my friend/relative/pet to die?” Or maybe the one who passed on was a very young child. In any case, they’re misunderstanding the nature of God and the nature of man. God is perfect, and everything He does is for the good of others, including us. God owns the entire creation, including each of us. We are His property, whether or not we accept Him as Lord of our lives. He is free to do what He wants with us. But, here’s the thing: His ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. He is continually looking out for the well-being of His entire creation, down to every little individual:
Matthew 6:28-33, King James Version
And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Also, we must remember who defines good and evil. We don’t define it. God does. He is the one lawgiver with authority. We cannot, of ourselves, declare that anything is good or evil. Only God can. We can either agree or disagree with what He has proclaimed, but if we disagree, then it is we who are wrong, not God. He has declared what is good and what is evil, in His word. The Bible is the written Word of God. Christ is the Word of God in person. Christ lived it out for us, as an example for us to follow. We are to love God in spite of our circumstances. This is where all true blessing begins. Being content in Christ, no matter the circumstances, leads to great joy and blessings beyond anything we can achieve apart from Him:
Philippians 4:11-13, King James Version
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
In this fallen world, we each need all the help we can get. Those who call themselves athiests, are on their own. They are trying to live their lives in their own strength. When they die, everything they have accomplished or accumulated, will either pass on for someone else to enjoy, or go to waste. They have stored up no spiritual treasures in Heaven. Indeed, they have rejected the very one who can save them and give them true life:
I John 2:17, King James Version
And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
Fundamentally, atheism in itself is a lie. Those who claim to be atheists are actually liars. The Word of God declares that everyone knows that God is real. He has made his invisible attributes visible in all of creation, and has written His laws on the hearts of men (our conscience). Here’s what God has to say about those who claim not to believe in Him:
Romans 1:18-32, King James Version
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold [as in "hold back" or "suppress"] the truth in unrighteousness;
Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. [A very accurate description of homosexuality, and the resulting AIDS epidemic]
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection [Otherwise, how could a mother bring herself to murder her unborn child, her own flesh and blood?], unforgiving, unmerciful;
Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. [According to this passage, even those who simply support other people's "rights" to engage in abortion, homosexuality and other wicked behavior, are also worthy of death.]
These are very strong indictments. If you’re thinking that this sounds a lot like our current generation, you are exactly right.
But is belief in God enough? Here’s what the Bible says:
James 2:19-, King James Version
Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
So what are these “works” that the Bible is talking about? Well, simply put, it means obedience to God. Putting God in His rightful place, on the throne of our lives. Letting Him have control of our lives. Turning over our own will, desires and passions to God, and letting Him take it all and make something beautiful out of our lives. Letting Christ direct our footsteps daily. Yes, we will stumble, and we will still sin sometimes, but our sinful nature will be changed. Our overwhelming desire will be to obey God and to follow Christ, to bring honor and glory to His name, and to point others to Him so that they too may receive salvation and be counted as righteous Friends of God. On the occasions when we do stumble and fall, Christ is there to pick us up, dust us off, and set us on our way again.
Each of us before God is like an infant, helpless, knowing nothing. Will we trust in the One who knows everything, to take care of us, to guide our footsteps? Or will we, in our ignorance, reject Him and suffer the eternal consequences of our sin?
Precious one, if you’re reading this, God is calling you to repent (change your thinking), accept Christ’s sacrifice for your sins, put God in His rightful place on the throne of your life, and live for Him. Only then will your life have true and lasting meaning and value. This isn’t about praying the Sinner’s Prayer. Of course, that’s a start. This isn’t about “fire insurance” to avoid going to Hell. It’s about changing your whole outlook on life. It’s about laying down your life, and letting Christ live in and through you. It’s ultimately about surrendering everything you have to Christ, asking Him to take it all and make something beautiful out of it. We have nothing to offer but our lives, which belong to Him anyway. He has everything to give in return.
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Copyright (c) 2008 Ronald B. Cemer, all rights reserved worldwide.