For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Through natural revelation, all unbelievers have received the knowledge of God. But they rejected it, and instead they engaged in their own speculations about who runs this universe. Romans 1:21 says, “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”
A great example of that is the theory of evolution. Not all evolutionists are atheists, but every atheist is an evolutionist. And why is he an evolutionist? Not because the evidence has led him there; he is an evolutionist by default. Evolutionists believe that creationists are ignorant, uneducated rubes who cannot possibly make a sound argument for creationism because we have presuppositions about God that blind us to the evidence for evolution. Now, there is a certain amount of truth to that. When we come to the debate about evolution, we do come with our own presuppositions. We come with a presupposition that the Bible is the Word of God. We come with a presupposition that there is a God, and He did create the heavens and the earth. So it is fair to say we have presuppositions in the debate about evolution. But what evolutionists will not tell you is they come to the debate about evolution with their own presupposition that there is no God. Science is built on naturalism, which is the belief that says nature is all there is. So the evolutionist comes to the debate with a presupposition that there is no such thing as the supernatural. And that is why I say the evolutionist takes his position by default. He is open to any possibility for the origin of the universe except the one that leads us to a divine Creator, and he rejects that no matter where the evidence points. That is what Paul was saying in Romans 1:21. The atheist has received a knowledge of God, but he has rejected that knowledge of God.
Why has he rejected it? In his book “The Psychology of Atheism,” R. C. Sproul lists three reasons that people are naturally opposed to the existence of God. First, people rebel against God’s sovereignty. The unbeliever does not like the idea of a God who is in control of everything, because if that is true, then it means the unbeliever has to submit his life to that sovereign God. Second, we rebel against God’s holiness. God is holy, and we are not. We feel awkward in His presence. The atheist runs from a holy God. Third, we rebel against God’s immutability. People change, and cultures change, but God never changes. Unbelievers want God to be just as changeable as they are. They want God to change his mind about adultery, premarital sex, and homosexuality. “God, don’t You know the culture is changing?” Or they want God to change His mind about the exclusivity of Christ. “God, don’t You understand the importance of tolerance?” When people realize God is not going to change, they reject Him. And as a result, they reject the knowledge they have received about God.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “What Every Atheist Knows” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.
R. C. Sproul, “The Psychology of Atheism” (Ada, MI: Bethany House, 1974).
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.