TO CHEW ON: "The fool has said in is heart, 'There is no God.'
They are corrupt,
They have done abominable works,
There is none who does good." Psalm 14:1
Why would someone deny the existence of God?
I can think of several reasons:
- He is invisible. He appears and feels absent because we can't apprehend Him with our senses. Even believers sometimes grapple with this (Job 13:24; Psalm 89:46).
- The way He is defined and the way the world runs appear to conflict. A big objection I encounter for the existence of God is "How can an all-loving, all-powerful God permit evil?"
- We don't want anyone, not even God, to tell us how to live. We want to be god unto ourselves, to live like we please. My Bible's footnotes allude to this reason in its explanation of Psam 14:1:
"The fool is not someone of diminished intellectual capacity nor a court jester, but one who makes an intellectual decision to choose moral perversion as a lifestyle" - K.R. "Dick" Iverson (in the study notes on Psalms) New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 694.
How does David expand on his psalm's opening statement?
The rest of the psalm seems to be his attempt to explain the behavior and outlook of the people around him. Why do they act the way they do? Because they don't believe God will ever hold them accountable. But, David reassures himself, time will change all this. When the fortunes of the poor man who has stayed true to God turn around, when God shows Himself true to His word by restoring His people (the Jews), then 'we'll see who's laughing.'
In many ways our situation is like David's. In our society the majority of people either deny the existence of God outright or have redefined Him. Very few are open to being convinced of His existence. When it comes right down to it, the reason for that is because of the lifestyle implications ("If He really exists, then the way I live my life will have to change—and I'm not ready for that!").
Of course God has His ways of intervening in lives to convince people of His reality. That is, in the end, a job the Holy Spirit does, not you and me with our apologetics and arguments (though those things may help).
The caution for me in this verse is the possibility that I might say I believe God exists, but then live as if He didn't. Fools may come in more than one guise.
PRAYER: Dear God, I believe You exist and have revealed Yourself through Jesus and the Bible. Please help me to live my life consistent with what I say I believe. Amen.
MORE: An argument from logic
In his article "The Presumptuousness of Atheism" Paul Copan makes the following four points to counter atheist Antony Flew's statement that the "onus of proof (for God's existence) must lie with the theist," and Michael Scriven's assertion that "The lack of evidence for God's existence and the lack of evidence for Santa Claus are on the same level":
1. First, even if the theist could not muster good arguments for God’s existence, atheism still would not be shown to be true....
2. Second, the "presumption of atheism" demonstrates a rigging of the rules of philosophical debate in order to play into the hands of the atheist, who himself makes a truth claim.... The atheist assumes that if one has no evidence for God’s existence, then one is obligated to believe that God does not exist—whether or not one has evidence against God’s existence...
3. Third, in the absence of evidence for God’s existence, agnosticism, not atheism, is the logical presumption...
4. Fourth, to place belief in Santa Claus or mermaids and belief in God on the same level is mistaken...
Read all of "The Presumptuousness of Atheism."
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.