We know that in speaking of others it is not polite to call someone a fool. In fact, there is one place in the Bible that tells us not to call another person a fool. In over 100 verses it describes the words and deeds of a fool, as well as instructions for dealing with such people. We ought not to call people a fool but God sure does and can. God does not actually call a person a fool; what He is really doing is describing them as being a fool by the things that they say and do.
There is a specific understanding in an important verse about the word “fool” and how God sees that persons. The next two paragraphs are two quotes that explain this idea as well as it could be explained when it comes to denying the existence of God.
“I suggest that we human beings play dumb with God. We lie to ourselves, and one of the things we lie about is our knowledge of his reality. Psalm 14 opens with a remark that is often misunderstood: “The fool says in his heart ‘There is no God.’ ” The psalmist is not calling the man a fool for thinking there is no God but for telling himself there is no God, though deep in his mind he knows better. Unbelievers do not disbelieve, they reject.[i]
Paul’s general claim that those who deny the Creator are wicked but his more particular claim is that they are intellectually dishonest. Paul does not criticize nonbelievers because they do not know about God but ought to. Rather, he criticizes them because they do know about God but pretend to themselves that they don’t. According to his account, we are not ignorant of God’s reality at all. Rather, we “suppress” it; to translate differently, we “hold it down.” With all our strength we try not to know it, even though we can’t help knowing it; with one part of our minds we do know it, while with another we say, “I know no such thing.” From the biblical point of view, an atheist is not being honest with himself. He knows there is a God, but he tells himself that he doesn’t.”[ii]
[i] Geisler, N. L., & Hoffman, P. K. (2001). Why I am a Christian : Leading thinkers explain why they believe (50). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.
[ii] Geisler, N. L., & Hoffman, P. K. (2001). Why I am a Christian : Leading thinkers explain why they believe (51). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.
Published on Saturday, January 24, 2015 @ 4:52 AM CDT