By Benjamin H. Liles
I'm sitting here this early afternoon and I'm puzzled why so many people claim that God cannot possibly exist. I mean I just saw this post from someone just a bit ago and it left me scratching my head: "Why don't you try actually asking an atheist your questions instead of making up lies about them? We don't hate God. We don't believe your God exists, the same way we don't believe unicorns exist or leprechauns or any other mythical creatures. Your God is just as likely to exist as Zeus or Poseidon or Krishna. To me this likelihood is not at all."
Don't get me wrong I've felt the same way myself, once upon a time. But here's the thing, we all wrestle with certain basic questions, all of us, such as: "Where does evil come from? Why is there so much pain, disease, and discomfort? Did we bring this on ourselves?" and the last is "Does God actually exist?" And here's the thing I've noticed when I talked to atheists, they more often than not take Paul the apostle at his word and claim, "Paul's witness is both valid and credible." But yet they sit there and say what that gentleman is saying in his facebook post.
So, going back to Paul the apostle he tells us, "The god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them" (2 Corinthians 4:4, New King James, italics and bold for emphasis). In other words there is someone there who keeps us from seeing the truth as it truly exists. We can all sit and have a decent discussion about why evil exists, and why so many people are deceived. But if we can't figure out who this "blinding agent" is, we will never truly see God for who He is.
We're told within scripture of the words of Jesus about how we can have access to God: "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father, if not by Me" (John 14:6, italics emphasis). If we take a good look at how Jesus responds it's the same way as how God spoke to Moses: "Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground. I am the God of your father--the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob" (Exodus 3:5, 6, New King James, italics for emphasis). So, we see both Jesus and God saying the words, "I am."
I want to make this point and to make it very clear for everyone, including myself: We all as people take other people's words for what they are, and yet we cannot take God at His word? john pretty much validates this thought, saying, "Even if we accept human testimony, the testimony of God is greater. For this is the testimony that God has given about His Son. The one who believes in the Son of God has this testimony within him. The one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony God has given about His Son" (1 John 5:9, 10, Holman Christian Standard, italics emphasis).
Also within the atheistic camp I see a lot of people claim that the Bible is filled with errors, that it is a book of words from men who are in error, that God doesn't speak to any of us. We need to understand there is something evil walking among us.
I want to switch tactics a moment. Think about how many articles on this site refer to humility. If we were to look at the polar opposite of humility it would be these attributes: arrogance, egoism (like egotistical, egomaniacal, etc, so forth), pride, self-importance. That "something evil walking among us" has no place within the realm of God, he has been cast down. If we look at what God has shown Isaiah, we get a description of this one who walks with every waking moment of every day with evil intent: "How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer (morning star), son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit" (Isaiah 14:12-15, New King James).
I believe a lot of you would agree that in order for us to have access to God the Father we have to be humble and allow ourselves in our humility to receive the power of Jesus is our lives. Before I end this article on deception and why God hates the sin of pride so very much is that it wasn't a quality He instilled in any of the things He created. Humans, both Adam and Eve, were created in His likeness and we're told by God, "Be holy as I am holy" (see 1 Peter 1:16; Leviticus 11:44-45; Leviticus 19:2; Leviticus 20:7). Holiness, in God's description (not just of Himself but for us) means being hallowed, sanctified, blessed, dedicated.
If we look at verses saying believers are sanctified we come away with the idea that we aren't yet made fully holy, but we are in that process of being made holy. And Paul was one of those who had a large amount to say about sanctification: "God has chosen you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and through belief in the truth" (2 Thessalonians 2:13, Holman Christian Standard). "Therefore, put to death whatever in you is worldly: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry" (Colossians 3:5). "But you were washed. But you were sanctified. But you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and in the Spirit of our God" (1 Corinthians 6:11, World English).
I know I cut off the beginning of 1 Corinthians 6:11, but when you think on it once we come to Jesus, taking His death and resurrection as ours by faith we are no longer as Paul describes in the previous two verses, where in verse eleven he says, "Such were some of you." So, what kinds of people cannot inherit life everlasting and a place in glory? "don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit God’s Kingdom? Don’t be deceived. Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor male prostitutes, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor slanderers, nor extortionists, will inherit God’s Kingdom" (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).
I know it hurts to be excluded from certain things in life. I'm not the most athletic person so I wasn't exactly suited for football, basketball or even baseball (I couldn't hit the ball due to my eyesight). But what I am good at are things that are in the creative field: programming, writing, music. Not everyone will be gifted with the talents you expressly have, there's no reason for bitterness or even resentment. But it seems to me atheists are angry with something or even Someone. It comes across to me as they simply don't want to talk about those kind of things as it makes them look bad, or weak, or whatever the case; it's an issue of pride. God refuses to deal with anyone who holds fast to pride, plain and simple.
As I start to end this article I think the best way to make this adequate if not up to par is to say quote why so many are deceived by Satan, his name these days: "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life, and have it in all its fullness" (John 10:10, italics for emphasis). Don't get me wrong what Jesus says about Himself is important: we can have life and to have it in fullness thereof. It is up to us, however, to not be in the camp of people in which "the thief" can steal, kill and destroy. So, this article focused on a work of deception, the cause of it being a created being who is tossed from heaven no longer having access to it, and he's mad at us because we are made expressly in God's image: we have a spirit, and we can have life, but it's a choice we have to make for ourselves. We have a right to be informed, to make objective choices and to live life as God intended, in His power and might. So, I pray in the name of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, that this encourages and builds you up. Amen.