“There is no one thing whatsoever more plain and manifest, and more demonstrable, than the being of God. It is manifest in ourselves, in our bodies and souls, and in everything about us wherever we turn our eye, whether to heaven, or to earth, the air, or the seas. And yet how prone is the heart of man to call this into question! So inclined is the heart of man to blindness and delusion, that it is prone to even atheism itself.”
~ Jonathan Edwards, “Man’s Natural Blindness in Things of Religion” quoted by James S. Spiegel in The Making of an Atheist (Chicago, Ill.: Moody, 2010), 9.
“A community cannot be made or preserved apart from the loyalty and affection of its members and the respect and goodwill of the people outside it. And, for a long time, these conditions have not been met. As the technological, economic, and political means of exploitation have expanded, communities have been more and more victimized by opportunists outside themselves. And as salesmen, saleswomen, advertisers, and propagandists of the industrial economy have become more ubiquitous and more adept at seduction, communities have lost the loyalty and affection of their members. The community, wherever you look, is being destroyed by the desires and ambitions of both private and public life, which for want of the intervention of community interests are also destroying one another. Community life is by definition a life of cooperation and responsibility. Private life and public life, without the disciplines of community interest, necessarily gravitate toward competition and exploitation. As private life casts off all community restraints in the interest of economic exploitation or ambition or self-realization or whatever , the communal supports of public life also and by the same stroke are undercut, and public life becomes simply the arena of unrestrained private ambition and greed.”
~ Wendall Berry, Sex, Economy, Freedom & Community (New York, NY: Pantheon Books, 1992), 121.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience (Romans 8:18-25).
“The meaning of all misery in the world is that sin is horrific. All natural evil is a statement about the horror of moral evil. If you see a suffering in the world that is unspeakably horrible, let it make you shudder at how unspeakably horrible sin is against an infinitely holy God. The meaning of futility and the meaning of corruption and the meaning of our groaning is that sin — falling short of the glory of God — is ghastly, hideous, repulsive beyond imagination.
Unless you have some sense of the infinite holiness of God and the unspeakable outrage of sin against this God, you will inevitably see the futility and suffering of the universe as an overreaction. But in fact the point of our miseries, our futility, our corruption, our groaning is to teach us the horror of sin. And the preciousness of redemption and hope.”
– John Piper, “Subjected to Futility in Hope, Part 1” (sermon preached at Bethlehem Baptist Church on April 22, 2002)
“There is nothing truer to the portrayal of Satan than a determination to undermine the word of God, to get people to live on any other basis than revelation.”
– J. A. Motyer Look to the Rock
“At the root of every temptation lies the glimpse of the possibility of reaching divinity by a shorter road than that of reality; by a road that one should self-invent, in spite of the prohibitions imposed by the laws of Creation, the divine order and the nature of man.”
~ Denis De Rougemont, The Devil’s Share (New York, NY: Meridian Books, 1956), 32.
Consider this testimony by J. Budziszewski in light of Romans 1:21-22 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools . . ..
“[E]verything goes wrong without God. This is true even of the good things He’s given us, such as our minds. One of the good things I’ve been given is a stronger than average mind. I don’t make the observation to boast; human beings are given diverse gifts to serve Him in diverse ways. The problem is that a strong mind that refuses the call to serve God has its own way of going wrong. When some people flee from God they rob and kill. When others flee from God they do a lot of drugs and have a lot of sex. When I fled from God I didn’t do any of those things; my way of fleeing was to get stupid. Though it always comes as a surprise to intellectuals, there are some forms of stupidity that one must be highly intelligent and educated to commit. God keeps them in his arsenal to pull down mulish pride, and I discovered them all. That is how I ended up doing a doctoral dissertation to prove that we make up the difference between good and evil and that we aren’t responsible for what we do. I remember now that I even taught these things to students; now that’s sin.
It was also agony. You cannot imagine what a person has to do to himself — well, if you are like I was, maybe you can — what a person has to do to himself to go on believing such nonsense. St. Paul said that the knowledge of God’s law is ‘written on our hearts, our consciences also bearing witness.’ The way natural law thinkers put this is to say that they constitute the deep structures of our minds. That means that so long as we have minds, we can’t not know them. I resisted the temptation to believe in good with as much energy as some saints resist the temptation to neglect good. For instance, I loved my wife and children, but I was determined to regard this love as merely a subjective preference with no real and objective value. After all, love is a commitment of the will to the true good of another person, and how can one’s will be committed to the true good of another person if he denies the reality of good, denies the reality of persons, and denies that commitments are in his control?
Visualize a man opening up the access panels of his mind and pulling out all the components that have God’s image stamped on them. The problem is that they all have God’s image stamped on them, so the man can never stop. No matter how much he pulls out, there’s still more to pull. I was that man. Because I pulled out more and more, there was less and less that I could think about. But because there was less and less that I could think about, I thought I was becoming more and more focused. Because I believed things that filled me with dread, I thought I was smarter and braver than the people who didn’t believe them. I though I saw an emptiness at the heart of the universe that was hidden from their foolish eyes. Of course I was the fool.”
~ J. Budziszewski, “Escape from Nihilism“
“Could there really be any such thing as horrifying wickedness [if there were no God and we just evolved]? I don’t see how. There can be such a thing only if there is a way that rational creatures are supposed to live, obliged to live. . . . A [secular] way of looking at the world has no place for genuine moral obligation of any sort . . . and thus no way to say there is such a thing as genuine and appalling wickedness. Accordingly, if you think there really is such a thing as horrifying wickedness (. . . and not just an illusion of some sort), then you have a powerful . . . argument [for the reality of God].”
~ Alvin Plantinga, quoted by Timothy Keller in The Reason for God (New York, NY: Dutton, 2008), 26.
Posted in Atheism, God, Sin