The Apostles’ Creed begins where the Bible begins. “In the beginning, God….” Everything starts here. No God, no anything. Yet throughout the history of the world, humankind has worked diligently in denying God. Today, the common words in the effort are Atheists, Agnostics, and Evolutionists. There are many more, but I think these could be the big three. Why is there such a concerted effort to deny God? Because the original sin was the act of trying to be God. The knowledge of good and evil in the garden was more than merely knowing good and evil.
“God had given such a sacramental nature and significance to the two trees in the midst of the garden, that their fruit could and would produce supersensual, mental, and spiritual effects upon the nature of the first human pair. The tree of life was to impart the power of transformation into eternal life. The tree of knowledge was to lead man to the knowledge of good and evil; and, according to the divine intention, this was to be attained through his not eating of its fruit.”Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1996), 1:53. Emphasis mine.
Gaining eternal life was not achieved by eating fruit. It was, as stated above, sacramental. Likewise, knowledge of good and evil could not have been attained by eating fruit of a specific tree. The understanding of good and evil came from obeying the word of God, which was tested by NOT eating the fruit. It, too, was sacramental in nature. My point is that there is no knowledge of morality and ethical behavior apart from obedience to God’s word. We know that word is powerful, for the creation of all that materially exists came from God speaking, “Let there be…”
Sin runs rampant in the world because the world does not honestly know good and evil apart from the word of God. Good is who and what God is. Evil is who and what God is not. Humanity was created good. God said so. He even went into greater detail, saying, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’ And God said, ‘Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.’ And it was so. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.” (Genesis 1:26–31, ESV)
In the beginning of all things, God displayed his might in creating by his word. I believe in God the Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth. And God also displayed his fatherly nature by blessing humanity and giving them purpose in maintaining his creation, expanding his creation, and using his creation to bring glory to God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. Any denial through thought or act of this God is damnable sin and worthy of only one end, death.
This is why atheists who deny the existence of God, agnostics who accept the possibility of God but will go no farther, and evolutionists who claim that their scientific minds prove that there never was a God are to be condemned. (An important note, though, is that it is God who judges, not individuals. These God deniers, as with all God deniers, are created by God. Their very humanity grants them some dignity. However, their denial of God is a brutal battle that is waged within all they know in their being. As creatures of God, they deserve to hear the gospel offer of salvation, which to me means to oppose their positions without opposing their personhood.)
Within all of this, there is a cleverness to God. Everyone who exists only finds life and order because God the Father Almighty created them and the world in which they live. For example, anyone who follows the idea of evolution to its logical end must conclude that all morality is merely a convenience. There is no reason a stronger person should not swindle the weaker. In all truth, by evolutionary thinking, the stronger person should actually gain respect for exhibiting their strength. Experience, though, condemns the swindler as a criminal, deserving punishment for their theft of those who are weaker. If evolution is true, there could be no PETA because there could not possibly be an ethical reason to treat any animal “humanely.”
Every God denier lives their life on the borrowed principles of God the Father Almighty. This is the great deception. If science is really about discovering the workings of the world in which we live, scientists must acknowledge a creator-God’s existence. If they do not, the core principle of science, which is the verification of theory by repeatable testing, is just plain stupid. Why should anything repeat with regularity if our very being came from an unrepeatable event, so statistically impossible, end up creating an order in which we can trust the same outcome to be the result of a common cause?
The fundamental problem any God denier has is the inability to discover the first cause of all things. They can make claims to that end, but there is no evidence that can support their claims. This is because science only deals with that which is material. And the first cause of material is the word of God the Father Almighty. The business of science has devolved from investigation into attempts to control the material world. Scientists have become magicians who actually believe their manipulation of human perception is in itself reality.
Magic is very basic to modern science. The Biblical purpose of science is that man should seek knowledge in order that he might exercise dominion over the earth under God. Science in this sense is a necessary activity and sphere of knowledge for Christian cultures. But science today bypasses God and seeks to gain power without restraint and seeks knowledge as a tool of total power. Increasingly, science functions, not under the law of God, but as the new law of creation, as the new source of law and power. Instead of being governed by morality, science seeks to govern morality and to remake it in terms of its own standards. The purposes of science can be summed up as prediction, planning, and control. Science is thus a basic and essential part of the new politics, because their goals coincide; they are both clearly totalitarian. A scientific world is a controlled world, a world of experimentation, and valid experiments require a control of all factors. As a result, scientific society is a planned society, a society in which there is no liberty, because liberty is not possible in a situation of scientific planning. As a result, the more our culture is dominated by this new science, apostate science, the more totalitarian it will become. Modern science not only rests on magic, it is a form of magic; it is the belief that all things can be potentially or ultimately controlled by man.Rousas John Rushdoony, Law & Liberty, (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 2009), 70–71.
I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. This claim is not proof of the existence of God. Faith is the substance of life. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1, ESV) The Greek word translated “assurance,” is hupóstasis. The verb from which it comes does not appear in the New Testament. Hupóstasis is “the essential or basic structure/nature of an entity, substantial nature, essence, actual being, reality…of things: among the meanings that can be authenticated for Hb 11:1 a strong claim can be made for realization.” (William Arndt, Frederick W. Danker, Walter Bauer, and F. Wilbur Gingrich, A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature, 2000, 1040.)
In light of this meaning, I prefer the translation of the King James Version: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1, KJV 1900) Why do I prefer this translation? Because it makes Biblical faith, or saving faith, is more than simple belief. It makes faith the bottom line for all human beings. Faith is substance and evidence. Therefore, faith takes us to things that exist that are not seen, and it makes the Christian hope more substantial than wishful thinking. Faith is what it would take for Adam and Eve to fulfill their created calling and purpose. Faith is what it would take to grow spiritually by the sacramental eating the fruit from the Tree of Life and by sacramentally not eating the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
All of this is wrapped up in the first statement in the Apostles’ Creed. No one can comprehend this kind of faith who does not have it, and no one can deny it who has been granted such faith. What is difficult for all humans to fathom is that everyone who does not have this faith is morally accountable, but everyone who has such faith cannot claim to have achieved it through any effort of their own. Belief in God the Father Almighty is something that becomes ours only by God’s grace. Once again, Fatherhood speaks to this free gift by grace. As loosely paraphrased from Paul in Ephesians 2, faith cannot be earned by working for it, but it is given so we can work toward the godly domain over his creation.
I realize that this post is quite explanatory and didactic. Yet, I would suggest that we are called to know who God is and who we are in relation to him. Apart from that knowledge, we cannot possibly serve God’s glory. And, by the way, knowledge comes by not eating of worldly things but by feasting on the Word of God. By this, we are being recreated and restored to God’s image.