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An Atheist Who Believes in God

July 9, 2017 Leave a comment

I have watched a video this afternoon which has inspired me to write this blog post. Frank Schaeffer tells about his spiritual journey and his new belief in a paradox. He believes that God does not exist and God does exist. He talks about the “certainty addicts” who seem to think they have all of the answers. He is still a member of a Greek Orthodox Church in Massachusetts. I can see some of the traces of the Orthodox way of thinking in some of his reasoning. However, although I can agree with him on some points, I cannot fully agree with him on everything.

Here is the video. It lasts about an hour.

As far as certainty is concerned, I think that Jesus taught that it is possible to be certain of some things. He taught that we can know the truth.

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:31,32, NKJV)

Even the Koran teaches that one can be certain of the truth. It says:

There is no compulsion in religion. Certainly, right has become clearly distinct from wrong. Whoever rejects the devil and believes in God has firmly taken hold of a strong handle that never breaks. God is All-hearing and knowing. (Koran 2:256, Muhammad Sarwar)

The prophecies about Christ in the Old Testament and their fulfillment in the New Testament demonstrate that the Bible is the Word of God. The mathematical miracles in the Koran demonstrate that it is a work of Divine Providence and therefore a revelation from God.

However, both the Bible and the Koran teach that we cannot know everything. God is incomprehensible. We can never know everything that there is to know about God.

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! “For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor?” “Or who has first given to Him And it shall be repaid to him?” (Romans 11:33-35, NKJV)

Allah! There is no God save Him, the Alive, the Eternal. Neither slumber nor sleep overtaketh Him. Unto Him belongeth whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth. Who is he that intercedeth with Him save by His leave? He knoweth that which is in front of them and that which is behind them, while they encompass nothing of His knowledge save what He will. His throne includeth the heavens and the earth, and He is never weary of preserving them. He is the Sublime, the Tremendous. (Koran 2:255, Pickthall)

We cannot analyze God in the same way that we can analyze the parts of a frog after dissecting it. We always encounter a mystery whenever we encounter God. God is far bigger than we are.

There are two types of theology: apophatic theology and cataphatic theology. When we use apophatic theology, we define God in terms of what He is not. When we use cataphatic theology, we define God in terms of who He is.

Nature itself teaches us that there is a God. We should not doubt His existence.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. (Romans 1:18-21, NKJV)

The created world in which we live points to a Creator — an Intelligence behind it all. The Contemporary Islamic Music artist, Maher Zain, has expressed this truth regarding the existence of God well in his song, “Open Your Eyes.”

God is in all places at all times. He is everywhere we are.

To God belong the East and the West; whithersoever you turn, there is the Face of God; God is All-embracing, All-knowing. (Koran 2:115, Arberry)

It is He that created the heavens and the earth in six days then seated Himself upon the Throne. He knows what penetrates into the earth, and what comes forth from it, — what comes down from heaven, and what goes up unto it. He is with you wherever you are; and God sees the things you do. (Koran 57:4, Arberry)

Hast thou not seen that Allah knoweth all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth? There is no secret conference of three but He is their fourth, nor of five but He is their sixth, nor of less than that or more but He is with them wheresoever they may be; and afterward, on the Day of Resurrection, He will inform them of what they did. Lo! Allah is Knower of all things. (Koran 58:7, Pickthall)

We indeed created man; and We know what his soul whispers within him, and We are nearer to him than the jugular vein. (Koran 50:16, Arberry)

God “fills all in all.” (Ephesians 1:23)

Faith is necessary in order to draw near to God in prayer. If one wants to know God, he must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him.

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6, NKJV)

Genuine faith is faith without doubt. It is faith that manifests itself in good deeds.

The believers are only the ones who have believed in Allah and His Messenger and then doubt not but strive with their properties and their lives in the cause of Allah. It is those who are the truthful. (Koran 49:15, Sahih International)

Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing. (John 20:27, NKJV)

For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (James 2:26, NKJV)

Those who do not strive to keep God’s commandments do not genuinely know Him.

Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. (I John 2:3,4, NKJV)

Both the Koran and the Bible teach that there will be a final judgment. God will judge everyone at the end of this age.

O ye who believe! Come, all of you, into submission (unto Him); and follow not the footsteps of the devil. Lo! he is an open enemy for you. And if ye slide back after the clear proofs have come unto you, then know that Allah is Mighty, Wise. Wait they for naught else than that Allah should come unto them in the shadows of the clouds with the angels? Then the case would be already judged. All cases go back to Allah (for judgment). (Koran 2:208-210, Pickthall)

Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matthew 24:29-31, NKJV)

When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. (Matthew 25:31-33, NKJV)

Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen. (Revelation 1:7, NKJV)

Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead. (Acts 17:30,31, NKJV)

There can be no paradox that states that God exists and He does not exist. Both Christianity and Islam are revealed religions. Both teach that there is a God who created everything. Both teach that God is omnipresent. Both teach that genuine faith lacks doubt. Truth can be known. There are certainties. We cannot know everything, but we can be certain of some things. The existence of God is a certainty. The knowledge of God is possible. We discover God through prayer prayed in faith that He is there listening to our words. Maybe someday Frank Schaeffer will rethink his theology or the lack thereof. God is his judge. We should not judge him, but we should reject his error.