by Louis A. Turk, B.A, M.Div., Ph.D.
There is precious little agreement between me
and atheists. I
not only believe God is, but also know God personally as my Lord and Savior.
The fact of God’s existence is no longer just faith
to me, but is knowledge. I have experimented with God in the
laboratory of life, and have found Him real; I have personally experienced
the new birth. And I have reproduced the experiment for others; I
have personally led many others to the same knowledge of Christ.
I know the Bible is true. Webster’s Dictionary defines dogmatic as
a teaching "asserted a priori or without proof." I am not dogmatic,
for I do have proof. I speak with the authority of a person who has
experienced what he is talking about.
However, I have recently read an atheist essay
with which I do agree, at least partially. Corliss Lamont,
an atheist, a signer of Humanist Manifesto II, and at one time Honorary
President of the American Humanist Association, Chairman of the National
Emergency Civil Liberties Committee, and a director of the American Civil
Liberties Union, wrote the following in "Equivocation on Religious Issues"
which was published in his book A Lifetime of Dissent (Buffalo,
New York: Prometheus Books, 1988):
Most important of all among questions of
religious belief I consider those of the existence of God and the existence
of immortality. And by God I mean a personal God and by immortality
I mean personal immortality, survival of the individual after death....
It is possible to make a classification of four
different groups. Firstly,
there are those, still powerful in strength and numbers, who affirm the
existence of God and immortality. Secondly,
there is a lesser group which is sincerely agnostic on these questions.
Thirdly, we have a steadily increasing class
of persons who clearly and openly deny the existence of God and immortality.
They frankly acknowledge their atheism, since that term most accurately
describes their position. Then, fourthly,
there is that rather large number who in various ways avoid the issue.
The greater proportion of these do not actually believe in God or immortality
in any ordinary sense of those terms. Most of them, I feel, belong
by rights to the third group and ought to be supporting the group.
It is this forth and last class that I wish particularly to analyze.
The first three divisions for the most part know what they think and say
what they think about God and immorality. But I am tempted to believe
that the members of the fourth division are somewhat muddled, and at least
there can be no doubt that they muddle others.
The easiest and most frequent way of equivocating
on the issue and qualifying for the fourth group is by indulging in the
gentle art of redefinition.
(p. 9-10) [Boldface italic emphasis added]
The Bible Definition of God
Mr. Lamont is right! Any definition of
God in disagreement with the definition of God given in the Bible is really
just disguised atheism. The true God
is defined in the Bible as follows:
God Is Our Creator
The God of the Bible created everything in six 24 hour days: "For
in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them
is" (Ex 20.11). The argument that the six days were actually thousands
(or billions!) of years in which evolution took place is simply atheistic
unbelief, for the Genesis account of creation clearly says "the evening
and the morning were the first day" (Gen 1.5).
God Is Separate From His Creation
The God of the Bible "is before all things, and by him all things consist"
(Col 1.17). So God is separate from the universe, matter is not eternal,
the universe is not God, and pantheism is therefore wrong.
God Is Spirit Not Matter
The God of the Bible is spirit, not matter. "God is a Spirit: and
they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth" (Joh 4.24).
That spirit is not matter is made very clear in Luke 24.39: "Behold my
hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit
hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have."
God Is Prayer Hearing and Answering
The God of the Bible hears and answers prayers asked in accordance with
His holy will. "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee
great and mighty things, which thou knowest not" (Jer 33.3).
God Is Unlimited
The God of the Bible is omniscient, "Thou, God seeth me" (Gen 16.13), omnipresent,
"Do not I fill heaven and earth" (Jer 23.24), and omnipotent, "With God
all things are possible" (Mat 19.26). He can do anything he wills,
including creating humans able to chose between good or evil without His
intervention. "He hath done whatsoever he hath pleased" (Ps 115.3).
"Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have
sought out many inventions" (Ecc 7.29).
God Is Absolute and Immutable
The God of the Bible is absolute and immutable. "God is light, and
in him is no darkness at all" (1 Joh 1.5). "For I am the LORD, I change
not" (Mal 3.6). Thus we can depend on him!
God Is Holy and Just
The God of the Bible is holy and just. "Exalt ye the LORD our God, and
worship at his footstool; for he is holy" (Ps 99.5). "Great and marvelous
are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King
of saints" (Rev 15.3). Because God is holy he hates sin. Because
he is just, "the soul that sinneth, it shall die" (Eze 18.4). "The wicked
shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God" (Ps 9.17).
God Is a Trinity
There is only one God, and He reveals Himself to man as three distinct
persons"Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. "There is but one God, the
Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ,
by whom are all things, and we by him" (1 Cor 8.6). "For there are
three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost:
and these three are one" (1 Joh 5.7).
God Is Living, Personal and Loving
The God of the Bible is a personal being who loves and cares for the people
He created. Therefore God wants to save you from your sins so you will
not have to go to Hell.
God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners,
Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we
shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we
were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled,
we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God
through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
The word atonement implies "at-one-ment." It is the covering and
washing away of sin by the blood of Christ so that whosoever believes in
him shall be reconciled with God, and also receive forgiveness, peace,
and everlasting life.
God Is Knowable
The God of the Bible can be known by humans. "And this is life eternal,
that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou
hast sent" (Joh 17.3).
Know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart
and with a willing mind....if thou seek him, he will be found of thee;
but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever. (I Chr 28.9)
The God of the Bible is the only true God. Any God less then the
God of the Bible is not really God at all, but mere delusion.
Redefining God Away
To define God to be something besides what He really
is is deception. Being an atheist himself,
Corliss Lamont easily recognizes the following definitions of God as disguised
atheism (these definitions are listed
on pages 11-19 of his book):
Kirsopp Lake’s Definition. "God is the sum of all
Julian Huxley’s Definition. "I wish you here to
agree to my giving the name of God to the sum of the forces acting in the
cosmos as perceived and grasped by the human mind. We can therefore
now say that God is one, but that though one, has several aspects."
Jesse H. Holmes’s Definition. God is "that unifying
element within which moves men to unity in a brotherly world."
Henery Nelson Wieman’s Definition. "God is that
interaction between individuals, groups, and ages which generates and promotes
the greatest possible mutuality of good."
John H. Randall, Jr.’s Definition. "There is no
room for God save in the aspirations and imagination of men....We take
the word ‘God’ as the symbol of man’s supreme allegiance....faith in God
may mean faith in the possibility of sharing ever more fully this vision
of the highest perfection."
John Dewey’s Definition. "We are in the presence
neither of ideals that we completely embodied in existence nor yet of ideals
that are mere rootless ideals, fantasies, utopias. There are forces
in nature that generate and support ideals. They are further unified
by the action that gives them coherence and solidarity. It is this
active relation between ideal and actual to which I would give the name
God. And would not insist that the name must be given."
To Corliss Lamont’s list of atheistic definitions of God, I will add
John Shelby Spong’s Definition. "We have come to
the dawning realization that God might not be separate from us but rather
deep within us. The sense of God as the sum of all that is, plus
something more, grows in acceptability. When theologians are pressed,
however, to define that something more, the inadequacy of language becomes
gallingly apparent" (John Shelby, Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism
[New York: Harper Collins Publishers <Imprint: Harper San Francisco>,
John Shelby Spong is a bishop in the Episcopal church. However,
that he is actually not a Christian but a humanist is obvious from the
following quotation in which he redefines Christianity. Lies Spong:
True Christianity ultimately issues in a deeper humanism.
That is why any attitude that kills the being of another person is an affront
to the meaning of Christ. To be a humanist is to affirm the sacredness
of life. (Ibid., 242) [Boldface emphasis added.]
By so redefining Christianity, Spong makes Christianity to be mere atheistic
humanism. And to really nail down the fact that humanism is atheism,
we have yet another quote from Spong. Lies Spong again:
The presence of evil still confronts us with a threat to the reality
of God. It suggests that either the all-powerful God desires evil
or that the presence of evil reveals the impotence of God. Perhaps
it argues that there is no God at all, and that all of us are at the mercy
of a power called fate. (Ibid., 68-69)
Why Atheists Say They Believe In God When They Really Don’t
Why do some atheists say they believe in God when in fact they do not?
The answer to that question is very significant indeed, as Corliss Lamont
points out in the following commentary:
I suppose that the first and fairest question to ask our redefiners
is, What is the purpose and value of this complex and bewildering game?
I imagine that their chief answer is that they do not wish to cut themselves
off from the great and beautiful tradition that goes under the name of
Christianity....They wish to work within the tradition or within the church
and win people over gradually to a new and more acceptable idea of God;
to evolve a religion relevant to modern conditions while retaining the
hollowed and well-loved words of old. All this would be impossible
if they acknowledged themselves as atheists....The attitude of the redefinitionists
perhaps comes most appropriately under the heading of what is sometimes
In other words, some atheists confess to believe
in God so that they will be accepted by Christians so that they can gradually
convince those Christians that they should be converts to the "religion"
of atheism! And Corliss Lamont is correct to use the term
"religion" so, for atheism is a religion---a religion
of falsehood, lies and deceit. Everyone is religious, and
everyone worships someone or thing. Atheists
worship themselves (that is why they often call themselves "religious
humanists" as well as atheists).
Lamont’s contempt for atheists who claim to be theists provokes him
to write yet another truism:
I wonder what God, if there turns out to be one after all, would think
about these people who damn Him with faint praise. Would not He,
too, be shocked? And I wonder if He would not be justified in punishing
these redefiners for breaking the third commandment, that is, for taking
His name in vain....The redefiners mutilate a time-hallowed and well-loved
vocabulary, yet provide very little in return for this questionable procedure.
For their God concepts have precious little religious value. Their
gods cannot be worshipped or prayed to; they do not govern the universe
or the earth, or watch over mankind; they do not do anything, nor do they
possess personality or mind or consciousness. I cannot imagine any
large group of men becoming emotionally aroused over such gods. And
these gods are so distant in meaning from the traditional God of Christianity
that I doubt whether a continuity that resides merely in the use of the
same word is worth bothering about.
How right Mr. Lamont is! To define God
as being something which He is not is to imply that God Himself is not.
A God without the attributes of God is not God. The
redefiners of God are atheists of the most dishonest and deceptive sort.
They muddle (mix up in a confused manner) the thinking
of everyone they influence.
There are important facts made clear by Corliss Lamont which we would be
wise to remember:
There Are Phony Christian Preachers
For centuries humanists have infiltrated the Christian ministry to convert
Christian youth to atheism. Bragged one humanist evangelist:
Humanists could pretend to be Christians and to work within the Christian
context. They were not above using Christianity as a disguise or
as a camouflage for their endeavors. They argued about religion,
defending those aspects of religion which served to promote humanism against
those aspects which threatened it. (Lucien Maumur, The Humanist
Evangel [New York: Prometheus Books, 1982], 4)
The apostle Paul warned of this, as follows:
Such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves
into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed
into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers
also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall
be according to their works. (2 Cor 11.3-15)
The wise soul will therefore beware.
Liberal Religion Is Atheism
Many of the old mainline Protestant religions are now led by atheistic
humanists. They do not believe the Bible at all, but simply redefine
everything in it to mean whatever they want it to mean.
Beware of preachers "having a form of godliness, but denying the power
thereof" (2 Tim 3.5). One atheist rightly described liberal religion
Now the increasing number of those who are liberal in religion do not
take credal statements in a simple factual sense. They agree that
stories of the sun standing still or of devils enter into men or animals
belong to a stage that we have passed beyond. But the real difficulty
goes deeper. It is that the very idea of an originating or intervening
supernatural power is ceasing to have the force that it formerly had.
The liberal theologian may feel that his religion is as real and as important
to him as it ever was but his idea of a supernatural power is undoubtedly
distanced: it has become something more like a philosophical ultimate.
If as many people as ever believe in a supernatural power it is a fair
statement that they believe in it, or him, less immediately and less continuously
than they did, and that there is a wider and wider realm of daily experience
in whose working the conception is not invoked. (Lionel Elvin, "An
Education For Humanity," The Humanist Frame, [New York: Harper &
Brothers, 1961], 279)
Even Humanist Manifesto I & II classifies liberal religion with
Free thought, atheism, agnosticism, skepticism, deism, rationalism,
ethical culture, and liberal religion all claim to be heir to the humanist
tradition. (page 15)
The Doctrine of Salvation By Works Is Really Just Atheism
The Bible says that salvation is "by grace through faith, not of works,
lest any man should boast" (Eph 2.9). But the atheistic Humanist
Manifesto II declares: "No deity will save us; we must save ourselves"
(Ibid., 16) The doctrine of salvation by doing good works is a rejection
of the true God, and should be recognized as atheism, even if it claims
to be Christian.
Dear reader, if you do not yet know God it is because you have not come
to Him on His terms: "For he that cometh to God must believe that he is,
and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him" (Heb 11.6).
the true God is rewarded with knowledge
of His reality.
To learn more about how you can know the true God, read "Ye
Must Be Born Again."
(C) Copyright 1994 by Louis A. Turk. All rights reserved. You may
reprint this article, provided you do not edit it in any way without the
author's consent, and provided this paragraph is printed at the end of
the article. Other publication requires advance permission of the
Louis A. Turk, B.A., M.Div., Ph.D.
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