David Van Inwegen
What has really puzzled me for some time is that there are actually some who refer to themselves as "atheists". And I wonder, is there really any such thing as an "atheist"? I've heard there are no atheists in foxholes and there are no atheists in the hereafter. Here is the Dictionary.com defintition: "An atheist is one who denies the existence of a deity or of divine beings". Now, bear in mind, as Christians we believe, that an atheist is created in the image of God..just as is the believer. In other words we all..atheist or believer..bear the marks of the One who has created us, e.g., with faculties of rationality, affections, a sense of morality, spirituality, etc. Paul says, "that which is known about God is evident within them.." (Rom 1:19) Dictionary.com also has a definition for us concerning God: "the one Supreme Being, the creator and ruler of the universe".
As a Christian, of course, I come with a Christian point of view..simply because I DO believe in the Christian God. And..I probably cannot be totally objective about this subject, at least in the mind of an atheist, because I presuppose God..and I presuppose the Christian God...so therefore I will use what I consider to be His Holy..and Truthful Word. Again, the question: Is there any such thing as an "atheist"? And if so, upon what is his understanding based?
What would a universe based upon chance, without a creator and ruler, look like? Do you suppose it would be orderly or chaotic? I’ve visited my granddaughter’s playroom recently. It is normally in a chaotic state, ...toys, games and yo-yo’s (TG&Y) in a random state. I wasn’t disappointed. If I were to see it in an orderly state I would have to conclude that someone intervened in the normal course of events...mother or daughter. It is not normally in an orderly condition. Would a universe, without a creator and ruler, be in a orderly or a chaotic state? Surely the atheist would have to agree with the Christian believer that it would be in a chaotic state, random and unorganized. But..what do we actually observe about the universe? Chaos or order? Dependable laws and rules or ever changing and undependable physical laws? Magnificent and wonderfully made creations..or chaotic abstractions. Even our logic and reasoning are the results of an ordered, ruled, purposeful universe that has been brought into existence by One that must have the qualities of logic, reason, order and purpose. This is not "rocket science"! The atheist must muster logic and reasoning to make his anti-God statement. Ultimately, he must be omniscient (an attribute of God) to KNOW..there is no God.
So therefore, St Paul is able to say in the book of Romans Chapter 1, verse 20 without any hesitation, "they are without excuse". It is interesting, to me, that the word "excuse" can be literally translated "without an apologetic". An "apologetic" is the basis for a statement. To propose an "apologetic" one must use.."reason, logic, purpose and order" which are not the attributes of a chaotic, unpurposeful or random, godless state. One might even say.."how dare you use the things of God (purpose, logic, reason) to disprove the God of reason, purpose and logic"? God might just say to them: “Get your own apologetic!".. However, here is what He does say to them (to quote from my presupposed book of authority): "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 they are without excuse."
And... amazingly God graciously pleads with him(us), "Come now, and let us reason together...though your sins be as scarlet..they shall be white as snow, though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool". (Isa 1:18) And I would simply add this.."repent, and believe the Gospel". (Mark 1:15) Christ died for sinners!
“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” (I Tim 1:15)
(originally posted Mar 25, 2009)