by Ken Yates
God has revealed Himself to mankind in different ways. We know from Romans 2 that one way God has done that is through the conscience. Men and women in all cultures know that certain things are right and certain things are wrong. They know these things even if they often do not do what is right. This knowledge of righteous acts was placed in us by a perfectly righteous Creator.
One of my favorite Psalms is Psalm 19. This Psalm does not deal with the conscience, but it does tell us two other ways in which God has revealed Himself to mankind. One way is through creation. The other is through His Word. Theologians often refer to these two revelations as general and specific revelations respectively.
In the first six verses of the Psalm David speaks of creation. In creation we are told about the “glory of God” (v. 1). When people look at creation they see that it was created by something or Someone all powerful and all wise. David says that this revelation goes out to all the earth.
Even though words are not used (v. 3), the message is clear. It is also a revelation that never stops. It is declared every day and every night (v. 2).
The “glory” of God here refers to the fact that He is worthy of worship and praise. The word has the basic meaning of “heavy.” The Creator is “heavy” in importance. In fact, there is nobody more important. Sometimes this Psalm is referred to as a hymn of praise. When one looks at creation and contemplates the works of the Creator (v. 1), it should result in worship.
In recent years I have seen various conferences where leading atheists argue that there is no God. One of the more famous was a man by the name of Christopher Hitchens who recently died of cancer. An extremely well read man, he often pointed out the hypocrisy of Christendom. He famously attacked Mother Theresa as a greedy person. He also pointed out her hypocrisy because she “ministered” among the poorest people of the world. To make matters worse, she taught that these destitute people should not use birth control. This resulted in the birth of many people whose parents had no means of caring for them and these babies were doomed to a short life of pain and disease.
Hitchens also pointed out that the Catholic Church was also hypocritical when it hid and protected priests who had sexually molested boys. The Church also supported the Nazis during World War II in Germany.
But Hitchens was an equal opportunity accuser. He also had a disdain for how Protestant preachers such as Jerry Falwell and Billy Graham made millions off of religion.
In the latter years of his life, his strongest attacks against the idea of a Creator were directed towards Islam. He said that all theistic religions are bad because they are based upon myth and not reason, but not all religions were equally bad. Because of terrorism and the treatment of women and minorities in Muslim countries, Hitchens had a particular disdain against the Allah of Islam.
From my understanding, men such as Hitchens have had a major impact on the youth of today. Anybody who listened to him can understand why. It is hard to argue that many throughout history who have identified themselves as being a part of Christendom (and even those in other religions who believe in a creator) did not, and have not, lived moral lives. In the case of Christianity, we would say that many who have carried the name of Christ, did not live like Christ did. There are more than enough examples of hypocrisy.
But I have noticed something else about men such as Hitchens. While their arguments against the hypocrisy of those who believe in a creator often are direct and convincing, their arguments based upon creation itself were, and are, weak. The view that the universe we live in is one great accident of chance, or as I heard one say, the result of space men from another galaxy bringing life here, are absurd. The irony here is that such men claim to value logic and reason. To deny the idea of a creator of some sort is to deny what is right before our eyes. In this area, they throw logic and reason in the trash.
It is interesting to me that David does not argue for the existence of God based upon the conduct of His people. Jesus did teach that people will see God in us when we act righteously and when His disciples love one another (Matt 5:16; John 13:35). However, the power and wisdom of God do not exist because we do those things. He is all powerful and wise whether we do them or not. He is so great and wise, so worthy of glory, that even when those who bear His name are hypocritical, the evidence is there for all to see.