Atheists often level the charge at Christians that the Bible is a book of fables and myths, that Christianity is a man-made religion, and that God does not exist. Does their accusation make any sense at all? Put on your thinking caps, warm up your common sense, and let’s take a practical look at this issue.
Why would anyone create a religion consisting of standards that they could not possibly meet? The religions that man creates are always based on something we can do to justify ourselves: meditation, good works, abstaining from certain things, participating in others. When humans create their own standards, they are always within reach; they are always something we can obtain by our own effort. False religions consist of rules, regulations, and tenets that we are capable of meeting (performing, executing, etc.) by ourselves, under our own power that enable us to attain to whatever ideas these religions ascribe to.
Christianity is different; the Bible tells us that there is nothing we can do, no works or good deeds, that can gain forgiveness for the sin we each are born in and commit every day. “There is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one” (Rom. 3:11-12 NASB).
God even has to give us the ability to have faith in Him; “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Eph. 2:8-10 NASB).
God, through His Son, Jesus Christ, has done everything necessary for the forgiveness of our sins; we must simply put our faith in Him, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:16-17 NASB).
Skeptics, atheists, unbelievers, scoffers, and mockers say that the idea of Christianity, Jesus paying the debt for our sins, is ridiculous. When we look into the Bible, we see that the concept of ‘foolishness’ and ‘wisdom’ addressed. Let’s take a closer look.
Unbelievers know the truth
“For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (I Cor. 1:18 NASB). The Bible says that those who reject God’s Word also consider it to be foolishness. Now, the order is important here: these non-believers do not reject His Word because they think it is foolishness; rather, they first reject God’s Word claiming it to be foolishness. In their hearts, they know the truth concerning God; therefore, they are willfully rejecting that truth, “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. 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 honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened” (Rom. 1:18-21 NASB). Not wanting to appear ignorant for rejecting what they know to be true, these skeptics claim that they are rejecting ‘foolishness’ instead of life-giving truth.
Are we wiser than God?
We consider ourselves to be wise; we think we are smarter than God. This isn’t a new concept at all. Often, skeptics and scoffers claim that modern science has eliminated the need to believe in outdated religious myths, books written by uneducated simpletons, and invisible deities. These unbelievers trust in their own intellect as adequate to unravel the mysteries of the universe; they consider themselves to be ‘wise’.
What does the Bible have to say about such ‘wisdom’? “For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will set aside. Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” (I Cor. 1:19-20 NASB). Any so-called ‘wisdom’ that leads away from God is not Wisdom at all, but human foolishness that leads to an eternity of misery and separation from the love of God, “Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (I Cor. 1:25 NASB). Often, our pride makes us think we are too smart to allow ourselves to believe the truth of the Bible; however, it is this pride that also separates us from God and leaves us condemned when He judges humanity, “Professing to be wise, they became fools” (Rom. 1:22 NASB). Anyone who thinks they are wise to reject God should consider this fact, “The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God”” (Psalm 14:1, 53:1 NASB). Anyone who rejects God is revealing the fact that they are foolish, not wise.
All in God’s plan.
So, what’s the point in all this talk about wisdom and foolishness? The point is that it is God’s plan to provide for our salvation in a manner that makes it clear that He did it all; we simply participate in His plan, we are the creatures, He is the Creator. “…but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong…so that no man may boast before God” (I Cor. 1:27, 29 NASB). It is not what we claim is right, but what God claims is right, that is important, “There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death” (Prov. 14:12, 16:25 NASB).
So, how should we respond to this knowledge from God? There are only two responses possible; we can accept God’s ‘foolish’ offer of salvation, have our sins forgiven, and live for eternity in paradise with Him. Or, we can reject His offer of salvation, depend on our own ‘wisdom’, and be condemned to an eternity of misery, separated from His love. The choice is ours. But, do not kid yourself, “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. For it is written, “He is the one who catches the wise in their craftiness”; and again, “The Lord knows the reasonings of the wise, that they are useless” (I Cor. 3:18-20 NASB).
Each of us must choose whether we will surrender our pride and selfishness in order to worship God, or whether we will cling to ‘foolishness’, call it ‘wisdom’, and suffer eternal misery. Just as Moses presented God’s offer of salvation to the Israelites, so now they have been presented to you, what will you choose?
“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants…” (Deut. 30:19 NASB).
Article by Robert Driskell