The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
Psalm 14:1 is a common verse that has been widely referenced when talking about atheists and skeptics who disregard the existence of God. Perhaps the verse is quoted most on 1st April, the fools day. It’s clear that those in the Christendom have used this as a verse not referring to themselves but to those who verbally rebel against God. By no means can we be the fool!
We, however, admit and agree that all of Scripture is useful for our correction and training in Godliness. Why then have we removed ourselves from the description in Psalm 14:1? Are we missing something? Let’s fit ourselves into this description for a moment. Are we the fools who say in our hearts that there is no God?
A life lived as though there is no God is a life that disregards His commands and statutes. God gave the statutes in Deuteronomy 6:4-6“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.” From the text, God first makes the undeniable statement of who He is and the autonomy of His existence then goes forth to give His commands.
One who disregards the existence of God goes ahead to live oblivious of God’s laws and the judgement that is assured to His enemies. Outside the reverence of God there is no reason for being moral. One may go ahead and sin all they want, obey their heart’s desires, and do what pleases their eyes. There is no fear of the impending judgment of God on all unrighteousness.
When we sin, we behave in the same way. The ways in which we sin are an expression of our unbelief. Practical atheism bests suits as the label, for our lips profess the existence of God but deny him in our actions and deeds. We have been promised good by virtue of believing in our risen Savior but our vision is too blurred to see these glorious promises, our hearts too stiffened to believe in them. Therefore, we end up disregarding the promises of Christ to us and digressing from the truth.
Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” The unknown author shows us the heroes of faith and in verse six he talks of how it is impossible to please God without faith. Faith is the hand that grabs the future promises of God stated in His word and makes the heart delight in those words, living with the assurance and satisfaction that what God has spoken He will do. The writer then states that this drawing near to God is a product of biblical theism and he promises to reward them that draw nigh.
My husband, (who has by now listened to a hundred thousand sermons) tells me of an example of unbelief/practical atheism that Pastor Alistair Begg gives during one of his sermons. A guy confessed to him about his struggles with pornography. The pastor asked when he is most likely to fall in sin. He said that he watches porn mostly when he is alone at home, and the family is away shopping, at school or at work. Basically in the secrecy of his solitude. “I see you don’t believe in God!” the pastor told the young family man. The guy was shocked and wondered where that came from. His pastor explained that had he believed in the Omnipresence of God, then sinning before God who is everywhere, every time, would be much more detestable.
All our sin is a result of a lie about God and about us, the biggest fool is the one who thinks he deceives others in living a lie only to deceive himself that final day. May the belt of truth hold us together. Happy new month!