Tuesday, January 22, 2008

They Are Without Excuse

"For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse." Romans 1:20

On Sunday evening our family watched a debate between the well-known proponent and leader of "New Atheism", Prof. Richard Dawkins, and creationist and scientist Dr. John Lennox, about Dawkin's latest tirade against organized religion, The God Delusion. (held in Alabama in October 2007) If you're interested in being amused by atheist irrationality then this debate fits your needs. ;)

I would love to dive into some of the issues instead of skipping over the surface, but for now I want to share something that became glaringly obvious throughout the course of the debate. Dawkins holds to the widespread misconception that for Christians, faith and reason are mutually exclusive--we turn off our rational side whenever we go to church. Dr. Greg Bahnsen would have called that "bogus!" As one who holds to presuppositional apologetics, I understand that Christian faith is THE ONLY foundation for right reason.

Dawkins illustrates this truth quite nicely, though unintentionally I'm sure. ;)

Anyways, he said some very interesting things about the beauties of the universe and the natural world (being at one time an aspiring naturalist) which immediately reminded me of Romans 1. To paraphrase Dawkins, "For centuries as people have observed and studied the earth they have the urge to attribute it's wonders and intricacies to a supernatural being, which urge I admit is very strong, but this is really just wishful thinking on our part. With Darwin we discovered a way of explaining these things in a purely naturalistic, scientific manner which puts God out of the picture." ("And we're really really thrilled about it!") Well, he didn't say that last part, but clearly they are quite pleased with their little theory which denies God the glory due his name.

I think Calvin provides a better explanation and refutation of this idea than I could hope to in his masterful exposition of Paul's letter to the Romans. (Quoting Calvin's commentary on the book of Romans, pgs. 70-73)

"God is in himself invisible; but as his majesty shines forth in his works and in his creatures everywhere, men ought in these to acknowledge him, for they clearly set forth their Maker: and for this reason the Apostle in his Epistle to the Hebrews says, that this world is a mirror, or the representation of invisible things. He does not mention all the particulars which may be thought to belong to God; but he states, that we can arrive at the knowledge of his eternal power and divinity; for he who is the framer of all things, must necessarily be without beginning and from himself. When we arrive at this point, the divinity becomes known to us, which cannot exist except accompanied with all the attributes of a God, since they are all included under that idea."

"'So that they are inexcusable.' It hence clearly appears what the consequence is of having this evidence--that men cannot allege any thing before God's tribunal for the purpose of showing that they are not justly condemned..."

"'For when they knew God.' He plainly testifies here, that God has presented to the minds of all the means of knowing him, having so manifested himself by his works, that they must necessarily see what of themselves they seek not to know--that there is some God; for the world does not by chance exist, nor could it have proceeded from itself. But we must ever bear in mind the degree of knowledge in which they continued; and this appears from what follows. 'They glorified him not as God.' No idea can be formed of God without including his eternity, power, wisdom, goodness, truth, righteousness, and mercy... He then who has a right notion of God ought to give him the praise due to his eternity, wisdom, goodness, and justice. Since men have not recognized these attributes in God, but have dreamt of him as though he were an empty phantom, they are justly said to have impiously robbed him of his own glory... 'But they became vain,' that is, having forsaken the truth of God, they turned to the vanity of their own reason, all the acuteness of which is fading and passes away like a vapor. And thus their foolish mind, being involved in darkness, could understand nothing aright, but was carried away headlong, in various ways, into errors and delusions. Their unrighteousness was this--they quickly choked by their own depravity the seed of right knowledge, before it grew up to ripeness."

What atheists and evolutionists hate to admit is the fact that they, like everyone else, actually have PRESUPPOSITIONS! They come to the table with a few assumptions and foundational beliefs and then look at us in disbelief when we expose their godless 'faith.' But that's just what it is. A faith. We Christians believe that God is, and the atheists believe that He isn't, and as they go about touting their open-mindedness to the evidence they exhibit a fundamental hatred of God which they cling to stubbornly. All this under the guise of "science" and empirical observation. It is clear that they have disavowed God and precluded any notion of His existence before they enter the laboratory, "And thus their foolish mind, being involved in darkness, could understand nothing aright, but was carried away headlong, in various ways, into errors and delusions."

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