God's Ultimate Weapon

Pastor Arlee Turner Jr.

                      Atheism And The Creed Of Fools

Listen, we need to consider the various forms and phases of unbelief, and, understanding the nature and force of skeptical objections to the existence of a divine Being, disprove ardent unbelievers by the positive assertions of Scripture found in the Word of God.  There is so much doubt and unbelief in respect to God and it is necessary to be sure of our theistic position in order to meet the challenge of those who affirm that there is no God!  If we are to win the unbelieving to faith in God, we must have a firm basis for our own faith.  

While the doctrine of God is one of the most profoundest subjects for the human mind to ponder, it has elicited differing responses.  As Dr. T. Whitelaw so tersely expressed it:

  • The Atheist asserts there is no God.
  • The Agnostic says he cannot tell whether there is a God or not.
  • The Materialist boasts that he does not require a God.
  • The Wordly Fool wishes there were no God.
  • The Christian answers that he cannot do without a God. 

Well, let us begin by taking a look at atheism.  The Church's creed reads, "I believe in God."  The fool's creed says, "There is no God" (Psalm 14:1).  The term atheist is a compound of two Greek words: a, meaning "no" and theos meaning "God."  The phrase Paul uses, "Without God," is Atheos in the Greek.  Theism is the belief in the existence of God with or without a belief in His special revelation, such as the Bible presents.  Atheism is the rejection of the existence of God, carrying with it the utter rejection of the Bible as giving the complete revelation of God.  Atheism, then, is the negation of theism, and denies the reality and knowledge of a divine Being.  As an atheist of a past generation wrote, "There is no heavenly Father watching tenderly over us, His creatures.  He is a baseless shadow of a wistful dream."  Atheism, as you will soon find out, assumes many forms.

                         The Many Forms Of Atheism

There is classical atheism.  In classical literature of a past age an "Atheist" is described as one who denied, not the God the Bible sets forth, but who denied the reality of the god of a particular nation.  Thus, the Christians are repeatedly charged with "Atheism" in the early days of the church because of their rejection of the gods of heathenism.  And because of this rejection, they were often subjected to the most cruel and determined persecution.

There is dogmatic atheism, which consists of the absolute denial of a supreme Being.  In our enlightened age there are those who boast that they are "Atheists."  To them there is no God who rules over the earth and sky.  But Dr. A. T. Pierson wrote: 

  • "There is nothing more absurd and unreasonable then atheism.  Faith in God is sometimes charged by these people as being credulous, but there is no credulity like that of incredulity...had sin not obsured and biased the mental vision, all infidelity would have been impossible.  It is because the nature of man is corrupt, his works abominable, his understanding alienated from God, his whole life filthy, that he delights in the inconsistencies and apostasies of disciples and seeks to bring himself to believe that there is no God."

There is critical atheism, which deniess that any divine Being has been shown to exist.  No one can demonstrate His existence.  Professor Huxley, who once wrote of himself in a letter to Charles Kingsley as, "exactly what the Christian world called, and, so far as he could judge, was justified in calling him, an atheist and infidel," might be taken as an example of a critical atheist.

"I cannot see one shadow or tittle of evidence that the Great Unknown underlying the phenomena of the universe stands to us in the relation of a Father, loves, and cares for us as Christianity asserts."

There is philosophic atheism, which finds refuge from the questions of faith in the assertion, "If there be a God, we cannot know Him because the human faculties are incapable of verifying His existence."  But as Dr. Scott Lidgett states it:

  • "Christians cannot afford to allow their doctrine of God and the world to be construed for them by so-called natural philosophers or by obsolete political thinkers.  The fomer conceive God as a Cause armed with a sufficient power to execute a material task; the latter as a Governor, whose motives and methods are explained by those of earthly sovereigns.  Such doctrines of God are both adequate and misleading.  They cannot be stretched to include Christ, the world of spiritual religion, or the whole of the universe of which Christ and religion are the supreme features.  Our theology must work from Christ outwards and downwards; not from nature upwards and inwards." [italics mine - atj]

The Bible affirms, as I will prove in a future article, that God is a Person, a self-concious Being, One who can be known, loved and obeyed, and not merely some First Cause or Force (Hebrews 11:3).

There is practical atheism.  The dogmatic atheist is guilty of the atheism of infidelity, but the practical atheist is guilty of the atheism of impiety.  The latter believes there is a God but lives as if He did not exist.  Look how prevalent this form of atheism today!  (See Isaiah 31:1; Jeremiah 2:13,17,18; 18:13-15).  Commenting on the Psalmist's phrase, "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God" (Psalm 14:1), Dr. Pierson says -

  • "The moral atheism of impiety is probably what the Holy Spirit is here rebuking.  The impious fool hath, in his heart said, "No God."  And it may be understood not as an affirmation but as an exclamation, as though he had said within, "Would there were no God," or "Let there be no God."  The inward tendency and drift of all impiety is to get rid of God.  With him who is determined to sin, it is an object to banish God from the moral universe."  [italics and underline mine - atj

Whatever phase of atheism we may think of, the same is a system of negation, destroying the faith upon which all human relations are built.  If there is no God, then there is neither right or wrong, and human action is neither good or badAtheism leaves human society without a basis for order and human government without foundation (Romans 1:16-32; Psalms 10:4; 53:1).  As to the professed causes of atheism, one could dwell on unanswered prayer, the inequalities of life, the inconsistencies of professing Christians, natural phenomena in which the created is worshiped more than the Creator (Romans 1:25).  But this "Creed of Fools" is contrary to reason and devoid of satisfaction and hope.  Charles Darwin, father of the unproven theory of evolution, was a committed Christian before he became an avowed influence, and wrote an impressive account of the influence of the Gospel in missionary lands he had visited.  He died rejecting faith in a future state.  Here is his sad confession before he died:

  • "Disbelief crept over me at a very slow rate and at last was complete.  I am like a man who has become colorblind.  Though once capable of wonder, admiration and devotion in the presence of the works of God, now, not even the grandest scene could cause any such convictions and feeling to rise in my mind.  For myself, I do not believe that there has every been any revelation."  [italics mine - atj]

Atheism is also contrary to our human intuitions.  Deep, religious instincts within the human breast cannot be dismissed as deceptive or unreasonable.  What a convincing evidence Solomon has given us of the innate desire for God - "He hath set Eternity in their hearts" (Ecclesiastes 3:11 R.V. Margin).  Further, atheism fails to account for the origin and order of the universe.  Atheistic philosophy has no adequate explanation for design, beauty and provision so evident in nature.  The intellectual absurdity of atheism leaves -

  • Creation without a Creator;
  • Design with a Designer;
  • The Universe without a Controller;
  • Human history without a Ruler;
  • Morality without any basis of Authority;
  • Iniquity without any adequate restraint;
  • Death without any hope hereafter

The eminent physicist, Lord Kelvin, once said -

  • "I have many times in my published writings within the past fifty years expressed myself decidedly on purely scientific grounds, against atheistic and materialistic doctrines...If you think strongly enough, you will be forced by science to believe in God, which is the foundation of all religion."

There is no doubt that the evil leaven of evolution has had much to do with the bowing of God out of His universe.  Infidel evolutionists brazenly affirm that, "Evolution necessitates an entire recasting of the foundations.  If the doctrine of evolution be true, not one of the doctrines formerly taught and believed by the church are tenable."  But as Professor Agassiz, of Harvard once expressed it -

  • "Any man accepting the doctrine of evolution ceases thereby to be a scientist."

Let us now consider some of the "springs" issuing forth from such a polluted source as atheism:

There is MaterialsimMateria is the Latin word for matter.  Thus anything "material" as in contrast to that which is "spiritual."  In substance, materialism denies the independent existence of spirit, and of the spiritual.  There is but one element, namely matter.  A materialist is one who finds in material forces a complete explanation of life.  To him, there is no guiding principle, or controlling intelligence presiding over the affairs of the universe, no sin and no resurrection.  To quote Bachner, a renowned materialist -

  • "Not God, but evolution of matter is the cause of the order of the world.  There is no God, no final cause, no immortality, no freedom, no substance, no soul.  Mind, life, light, heat, electricity or magnetism, or any other physical fact is a movement of matter."

Materialism cannot account for the origin of matter, force and the intelligence that guided their operations in building the universe and fashioning man.  How could dead matter produce life?  Where did the human consciousness come from?  Where did our human intuitions and moral obligations come from?  Dead matter and blind force are powerless to create!  All living things depend upon an everlasting Creator and Lord.

There is RationalismRatio means "reason," and so "rationalism" is a system or doctrine agreeable to reason.  A rationalist, then, is a person who believes he is guided in his opinion solely by reason, and independent of outside authority, especially in religious matters.  A supernatural revelation of God is rejected.  Reason is the sole and sufficient arbiter of faith, and nature, the sole and sufficient revelation of God.  Reason dethrones faith.  Rationalism rejects the miraculous, affirming that God has so bound Himself to the laws of nature as to be incapable of interfering with them.  An ordinary mechanic has perfect liberty to adjust or modify the movements of a machine he made, but God is unable to order His creation as He deems best.  How refreshing and stimulating to faith it is to hold that -

  • "All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of earth: and none can stay His hand or say unto Him, What doest thou?" - Daniel 4:35 KJV

There is Agnosticism.  How prevalent in these apostate days is this phase of infidelity!  The term "Agnosticim," itself was coined by Professor Huxley in 1869.  How he came to adopt is best told in his own words -

  • When I reached intellectual maturity and asked myself whether I was an atheist, theist, pantheist, materialist, idealist, a Christian, or a free-thinker, the more I learned and reflected the less ready was the answer. 

Accordingly, Huxley took the phrase from the altar Paul stood at - The Unknown God (Acts 17:23); and from the word "unknown," which is agnostos in the Greek, he produced his term "agnostic," which is directly opposite to "gnostic," meaning one who professes to know everything.  Gnosticism says, "I know it all."  Agnosticism says, "I know nothing."  The former is that parent of a proud rationalism, while the latter is the parent of latitudinarianism, or the broad, liberal theology of today.  Agnosticism represents a midway position between faith and unbelief, and is a convenient shelter for those who hide their ignorance or indifference under the semblance of scientific doubt.  Huxley's attitude was that he could neither affirm or deny the existence of God; or the immortality of the soul.  The prophets and apostles lived in the air of glorious certitude, "I know that my Redeemer liveth" (Job 19:25.  See the many "I knows" of the epistles). 

Aspects of unbelief just considered are all godless creeds in that no reverence or worship is given to a Deity of any kind.  The blatant assertion of the atheist is, "There is no God."

  • The boast of the materialist is, "I need no God."
  • The position of the rationalist is, "My reason is all the God I need."
  • The less dogmatic attitude of the agnostic is, "I do not know if there is a God."

How different is the sure and certain knowledge of the believer!  "We know that we have passed from death unto life." "We know that, when he shall appear we shall be like Him" (I John 5:14; 3:2).  Bless God, we have a Gospel of certainties to proclaim.

In one of his prayer Psalms, David magnifies both the goodness and greatness of God in a sentence, fittingly summarizing the teaching of the Psalm as a whole -

  • "Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord" - Psalm 86:8 KJV