Exchanging Truth for a Lie



Atheism is the rejection of belief in the existence of any gods, the claim that any gods do not exist or the absence of belief in the existence of any gods. But atheism is not merely the removal of gods from the equation; it is the exchange of God for something else. And it is the exchange of truth for a lie. Paul writes:
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. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.
Paul writes that unbelief produces an exchange. The word allaso means to exchange one thing for another. To exchange, in this context, is to displace one thing and swap it for another. What is being displaced is knowledge of God since the “the glory of God” refers to the manifestation of God’s attributes of  “eternal power and divine nature.” And what is being installed in its place is creaturely. By creaturely I mean that it is a created thing. This is implied by the contrast of the incorruptible God with corruptible creature. Furthermore the thing installed in the place of the knowledge of the glory of God is “an image in the form of” a creaturely thing. 

Unbelief, therefore, is not synonymous with lack of knowledge. Knowledge of the truth is clear and understood by all human beings. Some human beings, however, suppress what is clear and understood. This is the nature of unbelief; it is not innocent ignorance, but willful denial of the truth that has been made clear and has been understood.

The consequence of such unbelief is not a void, God is not merely displaced, but the truth that is clearly shown and understood is exchanged for another item, the image of which is abstracted from within the created order.

There is, therefore, no possibility of a lack of religious commitment only the possibility of a true religious commitment or a false religious commitment. 

7 comments:

Veritasdomain said...

Thanks for putting atheism in perspective in light of Romans 1.

Benabu said...

I would love to use this post, is it possible for me to copy this post. I was trying to reblog it, but there seem to be no way for me to do so. I will ensure your name is on the post as teh original author.

I love the way you explain this thought and truth. God bless

Ben Holloway said...

Vertiasdomain, thanks for putting my blog in your blog, you are much appreciated. Benabu, please feel free to copy and credit. I am not even sure what it means to "reblog" but I will see what I can do about that. Thanks for reading!

wakawakwaka said...

"Unbelief, therefore, is not synonymous with lack of knowledge. Knowledge of the truth is clear and understood by all human beings. Some human beings, however, suppress what is clear and understood. This is the nature of unbelief; it is not innocent ignorance, but willful denial of the truth that has been made clear and has been understood"

I dont konw what are you talking about iam not supression anything tha ti understand

Ben Holloway said...

wakawakwaka, I wonder how you would know that you are not suppressing the truth. Furthermore, how would I know if you are suppressing the truth? I can't just see you suppressing the truth and, if you are suppressing the truth, you would, presumably, deny suppressing the truth. What both of us needs is knowledge about whether or not we suppress the truth from someone who does know and cannot lie. That someone would be God. God, being all knowing and being the creator of all human beings, would know definitively whether or not you are suppressing the truth. Since God has revealed the truth in scripture and since scripture clearly says that unbelievers know God, but suppress the truth in unrighteousness, I can know that unbelief is marked not by ignorance, but by suppression of the knowledge of God. Just read Romans 1 and, for the sake of argument, presuppose that God is there and that it is him who is speaking to you through the words of Paul. You can see that my claim is not based on whether or not you think you are suppressing the truth or on what I can know about you without scripture. It is based on what God knows about you. So, ask yourself this: if you are suppressing the truth in unrighteousness what would make you realize this? My suggestion is that God is well qualified and that you should consult him. Thanks for reading and commenting. It is greatly appreciated.

wakawakwaka said...

Sorry but Paul was just so blinded by his own fanaticism that he thinks that everyone knows his "truth"
" if you are suppressing the truth in unrighteousness what would make you realize this?"

because i am not trying to supress anything

Ben Holloway said...

wakawakwaka, thanks for your challenge. May I just point out again that, if you are suppressing the truth, you would need someone to point that out to you. That is what Paul is doing. And Paul speaks for God who is qualified to know whether or not a person is suppressing the truth. He is revealing a truth about you that you have been suppressing.

In regards to Paul's fanaticism, it turns out that we are all fanatical about something. I dare say that if I kept on talking about suppressing the truth in unrighteousness and sin and all else found in Romans 1 you might realize I am also a little bit fanatical. But you are equally so. You might find your fanaticism rising to the surface as you read. You might find yourself angry at Paul, perhaps even me. The very idea of a God who is displeased enough with sinners to condemn them might rupture your temper to such an extent that you will feel very strongly that bloggers who believe in the Bible should be ignored. You are not there yet (and I hope you keep reading). However, you will find yourself fanatical about what you think is true in the same way that I am fanatical about what I think is true. It is not really a question of whether or not we are fanatical; it is really a matter of what we are fanatical about.

If we are all just as gripped by our versions of the world, what is it that accounts for that? A deeper question is: how on earth would I know what to be fanatical about? I could just as easily be fanatical about cheese as God. And in a world without God (perhaps the world you believe in) it would not matter one whit what one chooses to be fanatical about. There would be no God (who knows all things and is thus qualified to judge) and so there would be no reason to get annoyed at what another is fanatical about. But then we have a problem: It seems it does matter (even to you) what we are fanatical about. It matters to me because the God in whom I believe loves you enough to send his Son to die for you. But, if there is no God, no ultimate judge of what one is supposed to be fanatical about, then what makes you care?