In the first post in this series, I noted that atheists have responded the same way to the gospel for millennia. Another observation I made when equipping our college students about the new atheists is how mankind goes through great lengths to suppress God’s truth. Romans 1:18-19 states “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.”
All mankind inherently knows about God. This knowledge is not dependent upon mankind’s efforts to discover knowledge. Revelation is dependent upon God Himself. God “made it evident” to us” God did this in part through what has been made—creation (Rom 1:20).
Suppressing the Truth
In the New Atheist movement, the suppression of the truth is on glorious display. Dr. Dawkins book, The God Delusion, is dedicated to the memory of Douglas Adam (of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy fame) and uses one his quotes:
“Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?”—Douglas Adams
How would you begin to respond to this statement? What is the intended message about creation and God when compared to a beautiful garden and fairies? Did you notice the sleight of hand that would make a magician proud? Maybe you can see it clearly if I were to rephrase the quote:
“Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there is a gardener behind it?”
The sleight of hand is actually clear suppression of truth. Christian Dr. Lennox in his debate with Dr. Dawkins dismantles this quote in his closing arguments. Now read carefully Dr. Dawkins’ response to Dr. Lennox.
When we go into a garden and we see how beautiful it is…and we see colored flowers and we see the butterflies and the bees…of course it’s natural to think there must be a gardener. Any fool is likely to think there must be a gardener. The huge achievement of Darwin was to show that that didn’t have to be true. Of course it’s difficult. Of course it would have to wait until the mid-19th century before anybody thought of it. It seems so obvious that if you got a garden, there must be a gardener who created it and all that goes with that. What Darwin did was to show these staggering counterintuitive fact that this not only can be explained by an undirected process … . He showed not only a garden but everything in the living world and in principle not just on this earth but on any other planet wherever you see the organized complexity that we understand that we call life that it has an explanation which can derive it from simple beginnings by comprehensible rational means. That is possibly the greatest achievement that any human mind has ever accomplished. Not only did he show that it could be done but I believe that we can argue that the alternative is so unparsimonious and so counterintuitive to the laws of common sense that as reluctant as we might be because it might be unpleasant to admit it—although we can’t disprove that there is a God, it is very very unlikely indeed.” –Dr. Richard Dawkins
So what have you just read? You have read Romans 1:18 in action–the sophisticated lengths that mankind will go through to suppress the truth. Dr. Dawkins agrees that the most “obvious”, “natural” explanation is that there is a gardener behind the garden. He will agree that even “fools” would believe this. But then Dr. Dawkins will reject the obvious and opt for the seemingly impossible –that which is “staggering counterintuitive.” Then after exercising his faith in Darwin’s interpretations of the evidences he will assert that his new explanation is “comprehensible” and “rational”, and the original design argument which he had previously asserted as “obvious” is now “counterintuitive” and goes against “common sense.”
As John Piper points out, it takes a real “believer” to believe like Dr. Dawkins.
A Singular Hope
Now, what should we take from all of this? Mankind is deluded and deceived because of our rebellion against God. We all actively suppress the truth in unrighteousness because we desire to make our own way in this word and not live under the good, Creator God. We don’t want to be accountable to God. We don’t want to see reality for what it really is. Therefore, God has turned mankind over to his desires and plunged him into blindness. No amount of fancy argumentation or even apologetics can rescue mankind from his delusions. Only an act of God to impart the gift of sight to the blind will rescue mankind from his predicament. This is the gift of faith that enables one to see.
“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else” -CS Lewis