Blog 8: 1.4.1 - 1.5.1
Man is God's image. The implanted knowledge of God is universal. Yes, perverted and fragmented by the fall, but still real.. It gives rise to the seed of religion, notes Calvin. An instinct to praise and worship is inbuilt in all men. Testimony to it is seen in distorted form in idolatry (whether devotion to possessions or to the Philadelphia 76rs!) as well as in true worship. In a thousand different ways humanity manifests its lesser devotions. For if we will not worship the Creator we must worship something--the creature (Romans 1:25). As Milton imaginatively expresses it in Paradise Lost, having refused to bow to the Lord and his word, as Eve turns from the tree whose fruit she has stolen "she low obeisance made"--she who refused to worship the Creator (as C S Lewis pointed out in his Preface to Paradise Lost) now worships a vegetable!
In one way or another, as Calvin notes, recognition of God cannot be finally repressed and at times will be forced out of the mouths of even the reprobate. They cannot consistently maintain their denials of him.
At the memorial service for the "atheist" British novelist Sir Kingsley Amis, his son Martin related how his father had been asked by the Russian author Yevgeni Yevtushenko if it were true he was an atheist. Sir Kingsley tellingly replied: "Yes. But it is more than that. You see, I hate him!"
If indeed we are both surrounded and invaded by the revelation of God, the unbeliever's denial of God's existence will eventually show itself for what it really is--a refusal of him.
We should always be on the lookout for that loose thread in the tapestry of the unbeliever's life and speech. It may require patience, but it may prove to be vital.
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