“THE FOOL HAS SAID IN HIS HEART . . .”
“The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’ ” (Psalm 14:1a). This text is not talking about the avowed atheist who blatantly denies the existence of God. Rather, it is talking about the practical atheist who, while confessing with his mouth that he believes in God, nevertheless in his heart and by his life denies the reality of God. Of such people the apostle Paul wrote: “They profess that they know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work” (Titus 1:16).
There are many of these kinds of fools in the world at large, in the various religious organizations formed by men, and even in the church of our Lord. Consider the following.
The fool professes to believe that Jesus Christ is the divine Son of God and man’s only savior (Matthew 16:16; John 8:24; John 14:6; Acts 4:11-12), but in his heart he says that God may still save those who do not believe in Christ.
The fool claims to believe that the Bible is the divinely inspired word of God (II Timothy 3:16-17), but in his heart he says that it may contain error, that it may be wrong about many things, and that it needs creeds and catechisms written by men to understand it and to supplement it.
The fool says that Christ established His one church (Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 1:22-23; Ephesians 4:4), but in his heart he says that all the different denominations formed by men make up the one church, that they are just different ways to heaven.
The fool professes to believe that those who do not obey Christ and the gospel will be lost (Matthew 7:21; II Thessalonians 1:6-10; Hebrews 5:8-9), but in his heart he says that God will not send anyone to hell, that all “good” people will eventually be saved, regardless.
The fool says that fornication and adultery are wrong (Matthew 5:32; Matthew 19:9; I Corinthians 9:10), but in his heart he is filled with lust and lasciviousness, “having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin” (II Peter 2:14; Matthew 5:27-28).
The fool claims that a Christian should not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of his mind (Romans 12:1-2), yet in his heart he says he can live like the rest of mankind and by his daily conduct demonstrates that there is little observable difference between himself and the people of the world.
The fool declares that he believes that God must be worshiped in spirit and truth (John 4:24), but in his heart he says it is alright to add to or take from God’s divine order of worship.
The fool alleges that Christians should not forsake the assembly of the saints for worship and encouragement to live faithful Christian lives (Hebrews 10:24-25) but in his heart and by his actions he says it is okay to miss the services of the church for sports events, vacations, family outings, etc.
The fool professes to believe that Christ will come again (John 14:1-3; Acts 1:9-11), but in his heart he questions it (II Peter 3:1-4).
The fool claims to believe that there will be a final day of judgment (Acts 17:30-31; II Corinthians 5:10; Hebrews 9:27), but in his heart he doubts it.
The fool will say that hell is a place of everlasting punishment for the wicked and disobedient (Matthew 25:46; Mark 9:44, 46, 48, Revelation 14:11; Revelation 20:15), but in his heart he denies it.
The fool professes to believe that heaven is the place that Jesus has gone to prepare for the redeemed of earth (John 14:1-3; Philippians 3:20-21), but in his heart he wonders if it all might not be just a grand hoax and that whatever “heaven” really exists may be the “heaven” we enjoy here on earth in this life.
Not all atheists are open and blatant about their view of God and spiritual matters. Some are subtle and hypocritical, professing one thing with their mouth, while believing something else in their heart.
Hugh Fulford, July 16, 2019
- July 17, 24: Nashville Road Church of Christ, Gallatin, TN
- July 28: Adams Avenue Church of Christ, Lebanon, TN