Unbelievers can come to some knowledge of "earthly things" from observation of God's creation. When it comes to knowledge of heavenly things, however, unbelievers are blind.-Keith Mathieson
This weekend, one of my pastor's finished up a two week apologetics series. The first week, he sought to answer the question whether faith in God is reasonable and the second week he addressed evolution. It was a great series. I am often thinking through similar issues, but they have been particularly in the front of my thinking over the past couple of weeks because I taught a series on Why I Believe for our college ministry last Thursday.
These events have led me to wonder, how is it that theists (e.g., Christians) and non-theists (e.g., atheists) can look at the same information and arrive at vastly different conclusions. I look at the evidence, including statements made by non-believers themselves, and I simply cannot fathom how they cannot see truth. To me, a divine Creator, Intelligent Design--God--seems as plain as the nose on my face. So I wonder, why can they not see it?
Although there is evidence for God everywhere we look, non-believers must actively suppress that knowledge. Nobel Laureate Francis Crick for example, has written, "Biologists must constantly
keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved." It says in Romans 1:18-24, "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator." Considering Romans 1, philosopher James Spiegel in his book The Making of an Atheist argues that unrighteousness may serve as a catalyst for suppression of the truth. (See also Ephesians 4:17-19).
Sometimes, though, I wonder if it is even more significant. In warning about the coming antichrist, Paul wrote in 2 Thessalonians 2, "The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness." (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12). So, there will be a time when not only will people suppress truth, God will actively give them over by sending them a strong delusion. A delusion is a false belief that is deeply held as true. It seems to me that some delusional thinking already exists.
So what are we to do? We faithfully preach the word. We lavishly throw out seed and trust that God will cause the growth of those whom He will.