Atheism, Unbelief And Scripture
Before I begin this exposition, I want to assure my readers that I have no hatred or malicious intent in what is written below. I believe there is hope for any person who will repent of their sins and put their faith in Jesus Christ alone for their salvation! We are all given this lifetime to get right with God. What we do with that is strictly on us! None of us will be able to blame anyone else for our decision concerning putting our faith and hope in Christ or rejecting the gift of salvation offered throughout the scriptures. As with any gift, it is up to the person who is being offered the gift what they wish to do concerning it.
My first thoughts concerning Atheism are found in Psalms 14:1 because it is not merely an issue of intellectual perception but an issue of the heart. Psalms 14:1 states; "The fool has said IN HIS HEART, there is no God." The scripture is very clear throughout that the issues of mankind whether good or evil begin in the heart and then proceed out of the mouth. So, it is in the heart of those who claim to be atheists, skeptics or unbelievers of all stripes before it is ever spoken by them openly. There are scriptures that deal with rejection of God and by extension rejection of wisdom itself. It would be profitable to examine them in both the Old and New Testaments for the benefit of our own well being.
The most extensive text dealing with the rejection of wisdom is Proverbs 1:20-30, and it has some very startling statements of admonition and warning in it. Beginning with verse 20 this portion of scripture tells us that wisdom is crying out. In other words, wisdom is shouting to the human race to pay attention. Verse 21 speaks of the venues where the voice of wisdom is speaking. Wisdom speaks in the chief places of concourse, in the openings of the gates and in the city. In other words, every place where people gather and share ideas.
But the message of wisdom is harsh. Verse 22 speaks to the simple minded and scorners asking how long they will continue in their ignorance. Verse 23 cries out again calling the simple minded and scorners to turn from their foolishness. Wisdom offers these people a return to rationality and instruction in true wisdom. The next verse tells the manner of reception wisdom receives and the ensuing reaction from wisdom.
Verse 24 shows an all out refusal to turn form foolishness, and verse 25 states that the people being addressed by wisdom refused to listen and would have nothing to do with the correction wisdom offers. Then a tragic pronouncement begins.
Verses 26-28 should strike fear into the ignorant, but in every generation there are those whose hearts are hardened against wisdom and who will continue in their folly even if angels came from Heaven to announce their foolishness to them and call them to repentance and salvation. So wisdom says, "I will laugh at your calamity and mock when your fear comes."
Wisdom continues to show the magnitude of their problem in verse 27 and then in verse 28 tells the foolish and wicked that the door will be shut in their face. "Then shall they call upon me but I will not answer." This is the state of absolute hopelessness when wisdom is removed from unbelievers forever. At this point the wicked will greatly desire wisdom but wisdom will not come to them. To me this is frightening! How sad to pass into eternity wanting to taste wisdom desperately and not being able to attain to it. It reminds me of the story of Voltaire, an ardent and self-professed opponent of the gospel who wrote a compendium against Christianity in his obsession to discredit it. He was on his death bed. The nurse attending him as he was dying stated that she had never heard anyone in such desperation in her life. It's recorded that Voltaire cried out desperately; "Oh God, Oh God, Lost and without hope and without Christ" before passing into eternity. He saw his folly but was so hardened he couldn't turn from it.
Verse 29 puts an exclamation point on the reason for the despair of the wicked and all who refuse the wisdom of God. It states; "For that they HATED KNOWLEDGE and didn't choose the fear of the Lord." Verse 30 continues with the accusation "They would have none of my counsel; they despised all my reproof." This then is the end of those who have lived a life separated from God and will continue to be separated from God both through time and all eternity. It is a choice they made and refused to turn from. When these bow low before God in judgment they will know clearly why they are being judged.
The same accusation is made clearly throughout the book of Proverbs over and over through comparisons between the workers of righteousness and the workers of iniquity. The apostle Paul, in Romans chapter one makes a similar statement as found in Proverbs Chapter one.
Beginning with Romans 1:18-28 Paul writes a scorching indictment against those who choose to rebel against God and live to please themselves. In verse 18 the scriptures declare plainly, "The wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness." In other words, those who have chosen to reject truth and mock and scorn truth leading God to bring his wrath to bear on them through their willful ignorance of truth. As it is with earthly judges, when people are brought before them and found guilty they must pass sentence, so the sentence that God must pronounce on the rebellious is eternal damnation - a far more serious sentence than any earthly judge can hand down.
Verses 19 and 20 hold a very important revelation that all mankind should acknowledge. "That which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed 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." Here is a powerful declaration that God has put within every person born the knowledge of himself and that knowledge is clearly seen. It reinforces the scripture in Psalms 14:1 about the fool because only foolish people refuse truth when it is evident to them. It is God's trademark, in a sense, upon humanity and all his creation. Animals know it by instinct, but men, who should know far better than the animals, refute truth that is planted within them from the very beginning of their existence. That is foolishness indeed!
Verse 21 continues with the indictment when it states; "Because that when they knew God, they refused to give glory to him, refused to be thankful, became vain in their imaginations and THEIR FOOLISH HEART was darkened. Here again; it is a matter dealing with human hearts that are wicked and unbelieving.
Verse 22 is in agreement with Psalms 14:1 when it states; "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools." This is God's assessment of those who reject him. Amazing as it might seem, puny mortal beings shake their first in the face of an infinite God and continue to the day they die in rebellion against him sealing their own doom. This doesn't have to be the way it ends, however, sadly, it will be the case for many.
Verses 23-25 continue the indictment with the accusation that men changed the glory of God into images far inferior to him, were filled with their own lusts and changed the truth of God into a lie while worshiping the creature more than the creator. The depravity of mankind runs deeper and deeper as men race toward eternity oblivious to their danger.
Verses 26 and 27 speak pointedly about sexual depravity and perversion. While some loudly seek to defend homosexuality and lesbianism and look for every loophole and excuse to continue on in their sexual activity, it will be of no avail on the day when mankind of all ages will bow before the throne of God in judgment. There will be no gay pride when men and women bow in fear before a holy God. Every vestige of pride of all kinds will be gone when we come into the presence of God in all his holiness and power!
Although these verses are plain and simple there will always be those who would still live in sin and die without hope of redemption in order to fulfill their lust and please themselves rather than obey God. A brief look at these verses will reinforce their message to those who have ears to hear and hearts to obey. God will never tolerate any sin in his kingdom. We must change before the day we die or face his wrath!
Verse 26 - "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;" Can this be any more clear about what is intended? There's nothing here to justify women with women. Vile affections, natural use and that which is against nature is impossible for the honest person to misunderstand.
Verse 27 - "And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the women, burned in their lust one toward another, men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet." Once again we see the words natural use ( or what was intended to be - my note ) Who can honestly be in doubt about what the words "burned in their lust" mean? Only those who choose to live in bias, denial or bigotry could find some other meaning in those words. Notice that the end of the verse speaks of the personal error of rejecting what is written in the sacred text. Nobody will be giving an account of someone else's sin but all mankind will give an account of their own, and all our judgment will be based on our record during our time on earth without exception. We are responsible for our mistakes as well as our right thinking and acting. Those who live to love and serve God will be judged accordingly as will everyone else.
Verse 28 is another frightening verse in scripture. To me it is the most terrible state any person could find themselves in while living on earth. Because men did not choose to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind. I believe this means that they come to a place in their lives where they can no longer discern between good and evil. They've gone beyond hope of redemption and have shut God out of their lives completely. What a horrible state to be in!
Conclusion of the Matter
So here in only two examples are powerful indictments against all who choose to reject wisdom and the God who alone gives wisdom and understanding to mankind. I believe with utmost certainty that man apart from God only has "wisdumb." True wisdom only finds a home in those who seek God for it. The Bible concurs when it says; "The wisdom of men is foolishness to God." In Isaiah 55:8-9 God declares that his thoughts and his ways are not like the thoughts and ways of man because his thoughts and his ways are far above that of men. The difference between finite intellect and infinite Omniscience and Omnipotence is as vast as the light years of space.
Further scriptures dealing with wisdom and knowledge
Psalms 32:8 - "I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go."
Psalms 119:105 - "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path."
Proverbs 1:7 - "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction."
Proverbs 2:10-11 - "When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul, discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee."
Proverbs 4:23 - "Keep thy heart with all diligence for out of it are the issues of life."
Proverbs 8:11 - "For wisdom is better than rubies, and all the things that may be desired cannot be compared to it." (my note: many live for the things of this life exclusively)
Proverbs 9:10 - "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the holy is understanding." Is Proverbs 9:10 declaring inadvertently that up until a person fears the Lord they are devoid of any true wisdom? I strongly believe it is saying just that.
A simple word of advice to anyone who rejects God's word and the wisdom that is contained in it is – Be wise! Search out what I am presenting and ask God to grant you the ability to discern the truth he has to offer even if it is coming through a person you may think to be inferior to you or simple minded or whatever else you might think. I am merely a vessel of clay bringing God's truth to those who will receive it. Get past the messenger and examine the message by itself. Then decide what you will do with it, if anything. I pray God will be gracious to you as he has been to me and reveal truth to your heart before your physical death and subsequent move into eternity.