It is a popular thing nowadays for some people to declare that there is no God or that they do not believe in God. Obviously, they are giving an opinion but act as though it were authoritative or intelligent. They seem to feel that because some politician, philosopher, entertainer, author, sportsman, or even theologian said those words they are to be accepted as credible. The thought is that if one can say that there is no God it brings to an end any discussion on the subject of religion. It is a way of slamming the door shut on any further dialogue. People have said to me, “I do not discuss politics and religion.” Yea, right, how smart that is?
People deny the existence of God mainly because they cannot perceive him with their five senses. A university student told me so some years ago in Jamaica. He said to me when I spoke to him about God, “I can believe with my five sense.” I wonder how much he really learnt at school because abstract ideas are invisible as well as intangible. I suppose I am to believe that COVID-19 exists because I perceive it with my five senses. Its existence is proven by tests as well its effects on the bodies of those infected by it. Nobody has ever seen the virus except under a microscope by the pictures shown in the media. To declare publicly that it does not exist is both foolish as well as dangerous.
I met a physicist on an airplane while traveling from California just last year. We got into an interesting conversation about faith and he also came out with the same spiel about not believing that which cannot be seen. I asked him if he had ever seen a zircon. He knew that I had him cornered. A zircon is postulated by physicist, theoretically, but has never been seen. They are using particle colliders such as that of CERN in Europe in order to prove its existence. Scientists believe in Higgs Boson or the God-particle but cannot prove its existence. They seem to have greater faith than most people think and are not simply rational professionals.
The denial of God’s existence seems to be one of the games that people play in order to escape moral responsibility, gain acceptance, and be made accountable for their behaviour. One scientist, Dr. Richard Leuwenthal, stated that they “did not want a divine foot in the door” while Aldus Huxley said that the existence of God would mess up his sensual pursuits.
The book of God, the Bible, has a message for all God-deniers. It states very simply in Psalm 14 that, “The fool hath said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” People do not understand that to deny God is to ignore the implications of such a conclusion. Even Carl Jung admitted that we should live as if there is a God, because as a psychiatrist he recognized the ramifications of rejecting the existence of God. In Psalm 14 the bible reveals some of the consequences of denying God’s existence: men go aside, men become filthy, there is no good, there is no knowledge, and there is great fear.
Friedrich Neitzsche in his parable of the Madman in 1882 recognized the implications of a world without God.
Nietzsche and The Madman – “I Seek God
“Have you not heard of that madman who lit a lantern in the bright morning hours, ran to the market place, and cried incessantly: “I seek God! I seek God!”–As many of those who did not believe in God were standing around just then, he provoked much laughter. Has he got lost? asked one. Did he lose his way like a child? asked another. Or is he hiding? Is he afraid of us? Has he gone on a voyage? emigrated?–Thus they yelled and laughed.
“The madman jumped into their midst and pierced them with his eyes. “Whither is God?” he cried; “I will tell you. We have killed him–you and I. All of us are his murderers. But how did we do this? How could we drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What were we doing when we unchained this earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving? Away from all suns? Are we not plunging continually? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there still any up or down? Are we not straying, as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is not night continually closing in on us? Do we not need to light lanterns in the morning?”
A world where there is not God will not be anything like John Lennon imagined. It would be an unimaginable disaster.
Blaise Pascal, French scientist, philosopher, and theologian was also the originator of probably thinking. Wikipedia summarizes Pascal’s Wager as follows:
“Pascal argues that a rational person should live as though God exists and seek to believe in God. If God does not actually exist, such a person will have only a finite loss (some pleasures, luxury, etc.), whereas if God does exist, he stands to receive infinite gains (as represented by eternity in Heaven) and avoid infinite losses (eternity in Hell).”
Indeed, the one who dies without believing in him will suffer infinite losses in hell.
Finally, to declare that there is no God may seem cool because that idea is trending; but it will not be so cool when you are facing death. For one thing, hell is an uncool place. Ask Voltaire:
“The noted French atheist, Voltaire, died a frightening death. Let me quote for you the exact record as published, “When Voltaire felt the stroke that he realized must terminate in death, he was overpowered with remorse. He at once sent for the priest, and wanted to be ‘reconciled with the church.’ His infidel flatterers hastened to his chamber to prevent his recantation; but it was only to witness his ignominy and their own. He cursed them to their faces; and, as his distress was increased by their presence, he repeatedly and loudly exclaimed, ‘Begone! It is you that have brought me to my present condition. Leave me, I say; begone! What a wretched glory is this which you have produced to me!’
“Hoping to allay his anguish by a written recantation, he had it prepared, signed it, and saw it witnessed. But it was all unavailing. For two months he was tortured with such an agony as led him at times to gnash his teeth in impotent rage against God and man. At other times in plaintive accents, he would plead, ‘O, Christ! O, Lord Jesus!’ Then, turning his face, he would cry out, ‘I must die-abandoned of God and of men!’
“As his end drew near, his condition became so frightful that his infidel associates were afraid to approach his beside. Still they guarded the door, that others might not know how awfully an infidel was compelled to die. Even his nurse repeatedly said, ‘For all the wealth of Europe I would never see another infidel die.’ It was a scene of horror that lies beyond all exaggeration. Such is the well-attested end of the one who had a natural sovereignty of intellect, excellent education, great wealth, and much earthly honor.” (Dying Testimonies of Saved and Unsaved by Rev. S B Shaw, pp. 49-50.)
Jesus said, “Believe in God, believe also in me.” To believe in God is to believe in Jesus Christ. In him God took on physical form and was experienced by men. John the apostle declared in I John 1:
“1That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;
2(For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)
3That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.”
The beloved disciple of Jesus experienced him first-hand and testified about it. His was a hands-on faith, if you will. Yet, he believed mainly because he accepted the words and works of Jesus as evidence of his deity and identity with the Father. He believed with his heart and not merely with his hands and eyes.
Both the bible and history attest to the fact that God exists because of his revelation in Jesus Christ who was an historical figure. Secular writers such as Pliny and Tacitus referenced Jesus in their works. If you want to know God then look at Jesus Christ who is God the Son. Believe in him and receive him as your Saviour from sin and its consequences. He gives eternal life to all who believe in him. He says, “He that believes in me has eternal life.”
Pastor Alfred Horsford