The Biblical Challenge to Atheists

The Biblical Challenge to Atheists

  1. The Bible is unapologetic in its stand on Atheism. It says in no unmistakable terms: “The fool says in his heart, `There is no God’ ” (Psalm 14:1, 53:1 NIV).
  2. The Atheist is challenged to look at God’s creation. The wisdom and power of God is clearly evident in His creation. The infinite variety, the colors, the grandeur, the great and the small; all proclaim the wisdom and power of God.
    1. “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Psalm 19:1 NIV).
    2. “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse” (Romans 1:20 NIV).
  3. There is a warning light which God has kept in the mind of man to guide him to choose right. This warning light is called conscience.Even if a man claims that he had no access to knowledge of God; he is not excused. The reason is that his conscience had warned him of right and wrong. A man can deny the existence of God only after he has strangled his conscience to death.

    “Since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them” (Romans 2:15 NIV).

  4. The atheist denies the existence of God. But he cannot deny the existence of evil and suffering in this world. The atheist is challenged to answer the question of the cause of evil in this world.To this question he will ask a counter-question: “If God is good, why does He permit evil and suffering in this world?” If he asks that question, he is admitting the fact that God does exist. The problem that he has, then, is not the existence of God; but the problem of why a good God allows evil in this world.

    The sad reality is that the atheist while denying the existence of God does not come up with any answer to the question of evil, pain and suffering in this world. He asks questions and leaves them unanswered.

    The Bible is clear on the origin of evil and suffering in this world. It was initiated by Satan when he tempted Eve, and as a result, our first parents Adam and Eve sinned. This sinful nature has been transmitted to us down through the generations. In other words we inherit sin. Therefore we are born with a capacity to sin. As a result of sin, suffering results.

      1. Jesus challenged people when he exposed the true nature of Satan: “Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me” (John 8:43—45 NIV).

    Atheists may note that the question here is the choice between lies and the truth. Jesus also made a claim that no man on earth has ever made: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6 NIV). So, this is an opportunity for atheists to really consider whether they are on the side of truth or whether they are believing a lie and have fallen into the devil’s trap.

    Remember, the devil traps you by allowing you to continue in your deception. Jesus, because of His love for you, challenges you to face the truth and be set free.

      Remember, the devil traps you by allowing you to continue in your deception. Jesus, because of His love for you, challenges you to face the truth and be set free. For He said: “Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32 NIV). (“veritas vos liberabit”).

    1. The Bible clearly mentions that we are born in sin. King David says, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5 NIV). Thus we are born with the capacity to sin. This is why sin continues in this world.
  5. There are many truths in the Biblical account of creation that an atheist is challenged to consider. These truths are not concealed to those who are willing to look with an open mind.
    1. Around the world there is the observance of one day in the week as a holiday. For some it is Saturday (observed as Sabbath by the Jews), for some others it is Sunday (mostly observed by Christians and other nations following the present calendar) and for some others it is Friday (mostly observed in Islamic nations). The question is from where did this concept of rest on one day of the week come from? The Bible says that it came from God: “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done” (Genesis 2:2,3 NIV). God, later gave it as a command to the Israelites to keep the Sabbath day holy. One of the reasons for this was to teach them the need to rest.
    2. The Bible clearly says that man was created in God’s own image and in His likeness: “Then God said, `Let us make man in our image, in our likeness’ ” (Genesis 1:26a NIV). This is the reason why mankind is superior to all other creation. The capacity to love, the capacity to reason and make decisions, the capacity to rule, the ability to talk and communicate, and the wide variety of creative abilities are all unique to man because he was created in God’s image. The Bible says about man thus: “You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet” (Psalm 8:5,6 NIV).
    3. We again find in the Genesis account of creation that God created man as male and female. The Bible says: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27 NIV). And to unite them, God instituted marriage. He made a woman (Eve) from the rib of man (Adam) and brought her to him. And the Bible says: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” (Genesis 1:24 NIV). That is why the Bible speaks of keeping the marriage bed holy: “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral” (Hebrews 13:4 NIV). It is so because when a man and woman unites through sexual union they become “one flesh.” Marriage is therefore a male and female becoming one!And [coming back to our original point,] since God instituted marriage we find it everywhere in the world.
    4. In the first chapter of Genesis we find an important truth being repeated. That truth is communicated through the phrase, “according to its various kinds” (Genesis 1:11, 12, 21, 24, 25 NIV). This phrase is said in connection with the creation of vegetation, of living creatures in the waters and the skies, and of all kinds of animals that move on the earth. This is the reason for the wide variety that we find in vegetation, in birds and fishes and in the animal world. God created them all. He created them “according to its various kinds!”
    5. Even today, whatever God has created originally remains the same. For example, He created day and night, the sky, the earth and the oceans, the sun, moon and stars. He put the sun and moon to separate day and night: “And God said, `Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.’ And it was so” (Genesis 1:14,15 NIV). Has man, with all his explorations of space, found any other new lights in the sky that determine the day and night and seasons and years? No! Because God knew what the earth needed and He created them.
  6. There are many truths in the Biblical account of the first sin of man with its consequences that an atheist is challenged to consider. These truths are also not concealed to those who are willing to look with an open mind.
    1. The Game of Hide and SeekWhen the first parents sinned they suddenly realized that they were naked. The fact was they were naked even when they were created. But the difference then was that they [had] felt no shame: “The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame” (Genesis 1:25 NIV). So they did not feel the need to cover themselves with anything. The nakedness of the human body had no stigma associated with it then.

      But when they sinned this dramatically changed. And they realized their nakedness: “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves” (Genesis 3:7 NIV).

      And then they heard the sound of the Lord God as He was walking in the cool of the day. And then, “they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden” (Genesis 3:8b NIV). After committing some wrong, is not our first instinct to hide, even today? From where did that instinct get ingrained in the human psyche or “collective unconsciousness” of man? Without doubt it came from the Garden of Eden. Therefore its universality!

      And then something significant happened: “But the Lord God called to the man, `Where are you?’ ”(Genesis 3:9 NIV).

      We find here a “seeking” God. Jesus was the final and finest expression of God’s search for man.

      We find here a “seeking” God. Jesus was the final and finest expression of God’s search for man. He said, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10 NIV). 

      Man continues to hide even today from a seeking God. Instead of answering His question, “ Where are you?” man tries to search out gods of his own creation. Instead of creating and worshipping gods of his own, if only man would answer the question of a seeking God; He would gladly save them from the nakedness that makes them hide. The nakedness of sin makes men and women hide even today. Only God can cover this nakedness of sin and shame!

      Man’s clothing is insufficient to cover it. All his going for pilgrimage and giving alms and doing good to cover it is woefully inadequate. The Bible declares: “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6 NIV).

      Since man’s efforts to hide from his shame and guilt can never succeed, God Himself made clothes for them: “The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them” (Genesis 3:21 NIV).

      Are you clothed with the covering garment dipped in the blood of the Lamb of God?

      Are you clothed with the covering garment dipped in the blood of the Lamb of God? The Bible asks you to “clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 13:14a NIV). 

      This is the story of the “Game of Hide and Seek.” Man hides. God seeks. Have you met Him [yet]?

      Whenever you see children play this game or when childhood memories of having played this game come to you, remember that this game had its origin in the Garden of Eden! And He is still seeking you!

    2. The evidence that clothing providesThe original sin of the first human parents created a necessity—the necessity of clothing. If you observe the animal world including animals moving on the land, the fishes or the birds; you will find none of them wearing clothing. It is not because they don’t have skill: There are skillful birds like the weaver or tailor bird which makes beautiful nests and animals like the beaver which makes dams! It is because they did not sin. It was man who sinned. That exposed his nakedness. It created guilt and shame. To cover it he has to wear clothes. The wearing of clothes is one strong evidence of the original sin in the Garden of Eden.
    3. The evidence of labor painsLabor pains was a direct result of the original sin. God said to Eve when she sinned saying: “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children” (Genesis 1:16a NIV). Interestingly this is the first mention of “pain” in the Bible. Mankind is still in search for painless ways of delivery. But the pain will remain as a constant reminder to mankind that the first woman sinned.
    4. The evidence of inequality between the gendersGod created Eve to be a “suitable helper” to Adam (Genesis 2:20 NIV). And she was created from one of man’s ribs. In the brief sketch we have of the Garden of Eden we find no inequality or gender bias. Instead we find that they complement each other perfectly. But when they sinned, God said to her, “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you” (Genesis 3:16b NIV).

      Though it is a sad reality that women have been oppressed and given a secondary status down through all generations, we have to note that it is a result of the first sin. Marriage which should have been such a joy was turned into a ruler-ruled relationship. And generations of women have suffered the ill-effects of the original sin.

      But through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, the authority of the husband over the wife has been tempered with love: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25 NIV).

    5. The evidence of the cursed ground and sweat“Painful toil” became man’s lot as a result of the curse that God put on the ground because of man’s sin. Thorns and thistles came up because of this curse. He was also told that he will eat his food “by the sweat of your brow.” (Ref. Genesis 3:17—19 NIV).

      It is interesting to note that even before man and woman sinned God had given Adam the task of taking care of the Garden of Eden: “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it” (Genesis 2:15 NIV).

      It was then a perfect “work environment.” But all this sadly changed after they sinned. Work became painful. Work created sweat. From that day to this, man has been in search of a perfect “work environment.”

      It was then a perfect “work environment.” But all this sadly changed after they sinned. Work became painful. Work created sweat. From that day to this, man has been in search of a perfect “work environment.” Sadly, not one person ever since the first sin has worked in such a perfect “work environment.” And he never will. 

    6. The evidence of deathWhat is death? It is something that you have no control over. The Bible says: “No man has power over the wind to contain it; so no one has power over the day of his death” (Ecclesiastes 8:8 NIV).

      But where did it come from? Did God create man to die? Definitely not! The Bible says that “He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end” (Ecclesiastes 3:11b NIV).

      So where did death come from if God did not want man to die? It came as a result of God’s curse on man because of man’s sin. God told man that he would eat food by the sweat of his brow “until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return” (Genesis 3:19b NIV).

      Oh, we are nothing but dust. But what makes us different is that divine touch which shaped us. What love that He should stoop down to shape us out of the dust of the ground! Yes, we are nothing but dust except that God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7b NIV). When this breath departs, we die!

      But God has created us with “eternity in our hearts.” Is it still possible to live for ever? Is it possible to overcome death? Yes! Listen to the One who conquered death: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” –Jesus Christ (John 11:25,26 NIV)

      Listen to the One who conquered death: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” –Jesus Christ (John 11:25,26 NIV)

       

      Therefore, those who believe in Jesus Christ proclaim this as their Manifesto of Victory:

      “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” “The sting of death is sin… But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:54b—57 NIV).

      “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23 NIV).

      Thus those who believe in Jesus conquers death and lives forever!

    7. The evidence of a shortened lifespanGenesis Chapter 5 gives us the list of names from Adam to Noah. This list also gives us the number of years they all lived. Most of them lived over 900 years. We may think it surprising and improbable. But remember that God had originally created man to live forever!

      Maybe now you will ask: “Then why don’t we live that much?” The Bible answers this question quite clearly. In the 6th chapter of Genesis we find that God was grieved that He had made man on the earth. This was because of man’s continual sinning: “The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth; and his heart was filled with pain” (Genesis 6:5,6 NIV).

      In this context God set a limit to man’s lifespan: “Then the Lord said, `My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years’ ” (Genesis 6:3 NIV). Thus man’s lifespan was reduced. Even today man is trying to increase his lifespan. But how long can he stretch it? And any improvement that he claims he has made in the increase of lifespan is just a statistical curiosity; and nothing more than that!

      Even today man is trying to increase his lifespan. But how long can he stretch it? And any improvement that he claims he has made in the increase of lifespan is just a statistical curiosity; and nothing more than that!

       

      Many centuries later from/to the time period of Genesis Chapter 6, Moses wrote: “All our days pass away under your wrath; we finish our years with a moan. The length of our days is seventy years—or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away” (Psalm 90:9,10 NIV). So, he further prayed: “Teach us to number our days aright that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12 NIV). Would you like to make that prayer yours?

  7. There is a Judgment ComingSo, what happens after death. Remember that God has set “eternity in the hearts of men.” Death makes you stand before God. The Bible says: “… Man is destined to die once, and after that face judgment” (Hebrews 9:27 NIV). The Bible also says: “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2 NIV).

    That means there will a marked distinction between those who loved God and those who hated God on earth. There will be a qualitative difference in the state of affairs after death between these two parties. The only common factor is that it lasts forever!

    There is only one life. And it continues beyond this life on earth. But the decision to live in heaven or hell is decided here in this one life on earth. There will be no second chance. For there is a judgment coming when every man will be called to give account for their lives to God.

    The Bible speaks of this judgment in very real terms: “And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books… If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:12,15 NIV).

    Isn’t it frightening to know that everything in our lives is being recorded?

    Who then are the ones whose names are found in the book of life? They are those who have trusted in Jesus and washed themselves in the blood of the Lamb. And the Bible says: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1 NIV). What does that mean? It means that God forgives those who trust in Jesus and His blood which He shed on the cross. It means that God will not call that person into judgment. It means that God will write his name in the book of life. It means that He will be with God and live with Him forever!

    What does that mean? It means that God forgives those who trust in Jesus and His blood which He shed on the cross. It means that God will not call that person into judgment. It means that God will write his name in the book of life. It means that He will be with God and live with Him forever!

     

    Without this Final Judgment this world does not make sense. But with it men are reminded that God is in control. And He will reward His saints and punish evildoers. Justice will reign. And God will rule in righteousness!

  8. The Final ChallengeBefore you dared to call the cross of Jesus foolishness, God had already called it so! Are you surprised? You shouldn’t be! The only surprise is that what you call “foolishness” is accepted by God as foolishness itself. But there is a difference. This “foolishness” of God “is the power of God for salvation of everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16 NIV).

    Again, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18 NIV).

    The reason for this is that the world rejected God in its wisdom: “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe” (1 Corinthians 1:21 NIV).

    Therefore, the final challenge is to believe God’s foolishness. Are you ready to accept this challenge? You need not accept God in your wisdom; but can you accept His foolishness? This is the final challenge; and this is the reason why: “For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength” (1 Corinthians 1:25 NIV).

    Would you accept this final challenge? Or would you perish in your wisdom; for God does not deny that you have wisdom? He only points out that your wisdom cannot save you. For that you need to accept His foolishness. Are you ready to do that today?