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Many of Us Are Closet Atheists
We have a strong belief in what we can see and touch but almost zero belief in the invisible.

In answering the question, "What is an atheist?" some wag came up with the answer: "An atheist is a person without any invisible means of support."

"If not God, then whom?"

Regardless of an outward profession of religion, I am afraid that many of us are closet atheists. We have a strong belief in what we can see and touch but almost zero belief in the invisible. Such an attitude of course rules out God.

However, though God is indeed invisible, the whole of creation testifies to his existence. The very use of the term "creation" embraces the idea of a creator. If the universe just came together by chance, then what resulted is not a creation. What it would be, I do not know.

The English poet William Cowper (1731-1800) penned the following words, "God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform. He plants His footsteps in the sea, and rides upon the storm." And the last stanza of his poem says, "Blind unbelief is sure to err, and scan His work in vain. God is His own interpreter, and He will make it plain."

Of course Cowper was really just echoing the thoughts expressed in Psalm 19:1-2: "The heavens are telling the glory of God and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech and night to night reveals knowledge."

What a pity it is that we should marvel at and revel in the beauty of a glorious sunset or the grandeur of a clear star-studded night sky and have no one to thank for it! But how satisfying to realize that all this was created by a loving God for the enjoyment of us humans—if not for us, then for whom? Someone has said, "A cow cannot appreciate the beauty of a sunset nor a pig the scent of a rose."

The Apostle Paul reiterates nature's strong witness to the reality of God's existence. Speaking of humankind's denial of God's existence from ancient times, he says: " … that which is known about God is evident within them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

For even though they knew God they did not honour Him as God or give thanks but they became futile in their speculations and their foolish heart was darkened" (Romans 1:19-21).

The orderly operation of the universe and the reliability and immutability of the seasons and the laws of nature all testify to the existence of a creative and controlling power over all. If not God, then whom?

That very reliability and immutability are the basis for the development of scientific investigation as we know it. Unfortunately it seems the more we humans learn about the marvels and mysteries of creation—and we know tons more than any generation before us—the less credibility we give to the Creator.

And this of course is why we need more than just general revelation about God (that which we see in nature) in order to know Him, and is also why He sent His only Son (Jesus Christ, the God-man) to reveal Himself to us and to die for our sins.

Life is short, death is sure, sin is the cause, but Christ the cure.

Believe in Him today.

Bert Warden is a freelance writer and a retired missionary and C&MA pastor. He is a member of Sevenoaks Alliance Church. To comment on this column, e-mail

Originally published in the Langley Times, March 10, 2006.




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