The Fool’s Tale
The fool has said in his heart,
“There is no God.”
They are corrupt, and have done abominable iniquity;
There is none who does good.
God looks down from heaven upon the children of men,
To see if there are any who understand, who seek God.
Every one of them has turned aside;
They have together become corrupt;
There is none who does good,
No, not one. (Psalm 53:1-3)
If I were the devil, I would do exactly what the devil has sought to do in our society: make Christianity seem like a foolish children’s story, believed in only by those who have failed to wake up to the realities of modern life and the “hard realities” of science. I would have talk show hosts, like Bill Maher, make fun of and belittle Christians openly, inviting as guests some of the more popular entertainment personalities to use as either foils or accomplices in his attempts to ridicule the biblical narrative.
Furthermore, I would do as he has done in the halls of higher education and have henchmen like Richard Dawkins, former Oxford don and author of the wildly popular book, The God Delusion, openly deride people of faith and encourage others to do the same. I would have those who espouse a materialistic worldview (meaning that our universe is nothing more than a product of matter, plus time, plus chance) intimidate others in the academy with a biblical worldview, so as to shame them into being silent or risk being perceived as naïve and intellectually inferior.
I would have our society espouse a tolerance that borders on total permissiveness, tossing aside all former definitions of “right and wrong,” and “good and evil.” In fact, the only taboo would be for anyone to hold on to antiquated conventions that dared to challenge another’s behavior by calling it “sinful” or, even worse, “ungodly.” I would endeavor to have those who held to their religious convictions to be labeled as the new bigots of our society, who want nothing more than to staunch the true self-expression of others, while holding on to a hypocritical sense of their own moral superiority.
If this sounds familiar to anyone, it is because it is the direction in which our culture is moving. This should not surprise us, since Satan is called the god of this world (see 2 Corinthians 4:4), and the “prince of the power of the air” who steers the course of this world through “the desires of the flesh and of the mind” (see Ephesians 2:1-3). His influence can certainly be felt in every sector of society from our educational institutions, to the marketplace, to our halls of government, and even, most frighteningly, in some of our churches. Those who desire to shed the “restrictive” cords of biblical Christianity laud this progressive secularization of our society, wanting only to be happily free from absolutes, free from restrictions, free from God.
This is all well and good for the secularist, unless of course there IS a God. If there is a God, as the Bible declares, then there IS a moral lawgiver who has drawn definite moral lines by immutable absolutes as the scriptures teach, and to which all men are accountable. If there IS a God, then He has given evidence of Himself, not only in the myriad of Bible prophecies that have come to pass with chilling accuracy, but in the very universe itself, which declares the glory of God and has His divine fingerprints on it from one end to the other. If there IS a God, then the many qualified scientists who have found evidence of intelligent design in both the macro as well as the micro worlds of scientific exploration need not feel bullied by the less convincing arguments of a dead Darwinism that has long ceased to hold up in the light of more recent discoveries.
More than all this, if there IS a God, then it is neither bigoted nor narrow-minded to say that God’s righteousness does not reconcile itself to all the willful ways of men. It is, in point of fact, love of the highest degree to risk being marginalized and maligned to point out that man is sinful, desperately wicked, and unable to save himself. Only a calloused and loveless person could watch so many heading blindly to the brink of destruction and not sound an alarm, warning that the boundaries God has drawn are not intended to be restrictive as such, but rather protective and even instructive. God’s law not only gives us a template of justice upon which to base our society, but it also reveals a standard of righteousness only possible through the redeeming work of God in the human heart. That redemption is in His Son. In fact, the scriptures boldly declare that there is salvation in no other (see Acts 4:12, John 14:6). This is not a righteousness any government can legislate or any system of religion can impute through the keeping of rules, but one which comes only by an unfathomable wellspring of grace, purchased by the greatest sacrifice the world has ever known.
Needless to say, this idea of man’s dependence upon a transcendent God for his salvation does not set well with everyone, least of all those who are fighting hard to keep their moral autonomy. In fact the scriptures declare that, “the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18). To the world our faith may be but a fool’s tale, but to us who have unlocked the gospel’s power through faith, it is the message of life abundant, life eternal. So, it seems to me that we can either reject the wisdom of this world and be regarded a fool in the eyes of the men for the gospel’s sake, or keep to our own wisdom, rejecting the mercy and benevolence of a loving God, and be a fool as the scriptures describe.
In 1 Corinthians 1:19, Paul quotes from an Old Testament passage in Isaiah, in which God says, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” God is going to have the last word in this great debate. At that time there will be no bravado, no counterpoint, no pithy comebacks from the anti-theist, and no smugness. There will be only two groups of people on that day: those who chose what seemed a fool’s tale and those who were truly foolish in dismissing the grace and mercy of an all-knowing God.