Believing In Vs Believing About

Discussion in 'Theology' started by netchaplain, Nov 28, 2017.

  1. netchaplain

    netchaplain Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2012
    Messages:
    1,813
    Christian:
    Yes
    I believe (along with others) there can be no true atheism, regardless the sincerity of such a profession! Children are void of doubting God’s reality when addressed concerning it, and adults always know of it. This is “the light of men . . . which lighteth every man that cometh into the world (Jhn 1:4, 9). I believe the “light” here means that God “shews” us His reality in our conscience—via the material world:

    “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven.” “Because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.” “Since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made.” “Although they knew God, they did not glorify Him” (Rom 1:18, 19, 20, 21). “Even though they did not like to retain God in their knowledge” (v 28) “they are without excuse” (v 20).

    John Gill on John 1:9:

    “It is best therefore to understand these words of the light of nature, and reason, which Christ, as the word, and Creator and light of men, gives to every man that is born into the world; and which serves to detect the Quakers' notion of the light within, which every man has, and is no other than the light of a natural conscience; and shows how much men, even natural men, are obliged to Christ, and how great a person he is, and how deserving of praise, honor, and glory. The phrase, "every man that cometh into the world", is Jewish, and often to be met with in Rabbinical writings, and signifies all men that are born into the world.”

    Since everything we see gives us the undeniable (e.g. “clearly seen”) knowledge of God’s reality, knowing that God is real is not an issue of faith, but of knowledge! During their deliverance and travels many of God’s people knew He was real but chose not trust in Him (Heb 3:12, 18, 19; 4:2, 6, 11). James (partly in opposition to the polytheism of the Gentiles) wrote that if, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble” (2:19). The phrase “doest well” is not in reference to doing good but to merely being accurate, right or correct. In this sense we are discussing believing about God, not believing in God.

    There is only one alternative when not trusting in God—“suppressing” the knowledge of Him (Rom 1:18)!
     
  2. DougK

    DougK Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2017
    Messages:
    33
    Location:
    Peoria, IL
    I believe what you're saying that there can be no true atheism, that it equals suppression of the truth. But I had a spiritual experience that basically I had to learn how to focus so I could believe in God's existence. It didn't come naturally. I was convinced he did not exist, except my heart was crying out to "someone" I desired help from. I assumed it was the God I did not believe existed. It took a looong time before knowing he existed became second nature to me. And I don't think I was suppressing the truth during my conversion. I simply had a hard time focusing on every sentence I read from the word, and on what I heard in church. I had to, in effect, use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to help me learn how to focus. Finally, things are better and I believe very strongly. I think a lot of so called atheists are in the same boat. Their fast moving minds can't slow down enough to take in the simplicity. A lot of atheists and agnostics are seeking the truth. Their minds work against them. But true to his nature, God is drawing them to the truth through apologetics. And if you're seeking the truth, you can't be suppressing it anymore.
     
  3. netchaplain

    netchaplain Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2012
    Messages:
    1,813
    Christian:
    Yes
    Hi DK, and thanks for your reply and good input! I like all you've shared, and I believe it's generally the same for all, esp. for those who come to faith in Christ. Many are unaware they believe in God's existence until something finally causes us realize it, but the thematic thought here is that all, deep inside, believe that God's real. This concerns accepting the reality of God, which can be the start of entering into faith in Him, but as we know only those who choose to believe in God and not just believe about Him are the recipients of His love and provisions.
    [/QUOTE]

    God bless us and God Be Blessed!
     
  4. th1b.taylor

    th1b.taylor Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2010
    Messages:
    14,838
    Location:
    SE Texas
    Christian:
    Yes
    That is why, I believe, it took me better than 23 years to respond to the call of God. Great message.
     
  5. Edward

    Edward Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2012
    Messages:
    9,470
    Location:
    USA
    Christian:
    Yes
    Wow. There's so much truth in what you wrote that it's guaranteed to be offensive to some, lol. I've been suspecting the same thing, and here you come out with it. Thank you Brother! I was saying this recently (something similar) and...someone took offense to it because it was deleted, lol. Not sure why it was offensive, but probably because it is the truth!

    There's no such thing as an atheist. Everyone knows, deep down inside...that God is real. God did this. He put a little "God package" inside each one of us so that we know and are without excuse. That's why atheists hang out on Christian boards! Either they want to pick a fight about it, or garner support from others to make them feel more comfortable with their chosen belief system.

    There are no atheists in foxholes...Thst'd true. Even one never raised in a godly home, will reach out to God in a moment of crisis. Which happens in foxholes a lot. Another one I heard and thought very profound is...If there was really no God, then there would not be any atheists...

    Only because there is a God can there be atheists. Why, you say? Because of the spiritual war, silly! There's a real spiritua war going on behind the scenes and we are a part of it. We have chosen our side in this war and it would behoove us all to think on that level. Atheism is a disinformation campaign. It's a war tactic. Be nice to the atheists. They'll become great Brothers and Sisters if and when we can convince them.

    Great thread, Brother!
     
  6. netchaplain

    netchaplain Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2012
    Messages:
    1,813
    Christian:
    Yes
    HI Brother, thanks for your reply and it's nice hearing from you! Yes, and it doesn't matter how long it is before one is saved because nothing will interfere with it occurring when it is time!
     
  7. netchaplain

    netchaplain Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2012
    Messages:
    1,813
    Christian:
    Yes
    Hi Ed and appreciate your reply and comments! I think at most, there can only be professing atheists but not true atheists!
     
  8. th1b.taylor

    th1b.taylor Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2010
    Messages:
    14,838
    Location:
    SE Texas
    Christian:
    Yes
    Praise God and His persevering.
     
  9. childeye

    childeye Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2011
    Messages:
    6,163
    Christian:
    Yes
    I like your thread and for the most part agree with the sentiments therein. However in view of the applied scripture, I feel more emphasis should be given to the issue that a distinction should be made between, not acknowledging the existence of God, and not acknowledging Him as the Spiritual source of Goodness/Godliness in mankind. 2 Corinthians 4:7. Hence scripture says, Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

    I also believe that there is a case to be made that the knowledge of God is built upon faith, which first acknowledges God as the Eternal power.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2017
  10. netchaplain

    netchaplain Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2012
    Messages:
    1,813
    Christian:
    Yes
    Hi CE, and thanks for your good input! I see the significance to your point about distinctions, this is why the article indicates the difference between believing about God (i.e. that He is is real), and believing in Him (trusting His Word), which two issues are vastly different if one does not come to the latter. I think many among those not saved yet may be of the notion that just believing God exists saves you, which would not seem to uncommon considering this is a thematic teaching of the Gnostic's doctrine of old.

    Good reply and God bless!
     
  11. gr8grace3

    gr8grace3 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2013
    Messages:
    2,100
    Christian:
    Yes
    These were saved people. It is a perfect example of todays believers. They are saved, but never advance to enter into His rest........in TIME.

    Salvation is always in question. Not really saved. Saved but can lose it. There is no rest for these SAVED individuals.
     
  12. childeye

    childeye Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2011
    Messages:
    6,163
    Christian:
    Yes
    God bless netchaplain.

    Thank you for your kind response. The semantics are always an occasion for obfuscation and confusion and there is a difference between the relative and sometimes subjective application of the terms "knowing" and "believing". The distinction I would like to see being accurately drawn, could eventually account for the different courses of reasoning that occur between a mentality based upon the concept of righteousness by works of the law, and that righteousness which comes by grace through faith. Even so as to distinguish between the carnal vanity and spiritual enlightenment.

    To that end, could you please speak to the issue of whether all things are built upon faith or upon knowledge. Since knowledge and ignorance are relative to the Creator of all things, and precept is built upon precept, it seems to me that the perfection of His Person is what would actually form what Truth consists of. But how then would God ever prove to the created that He is an Eternal and Holy Spirit, and/or how can the depth of Eternal Love ever be fully fathomed? I can only prove that it is more rational towards life to believe that He is Holy and Eternal, and therefore irrational towards life to doubt that He is. Subsequently, until proven otherwise, I am forced to conclude that all things are built upon faith and not knowledge, yet this too could be construed as knowledge. 1 Corinthians 13:8.

    So it is that it can be said, that even though we knew God in some capacity, we did not actually understand or comprehend God adequately, since we did not esteem God as God. I therefore would be hesitant to base any dispute with an atheist by categorically claiming that we all know God, since it introduces too many semantical pitfalls which tend to confound communication.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2017
  13. netchaplain

    netchaplain Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2012
    Messages:
    1,813
    Christian:
    Yes
    Hi GG - Thanks for your very probing reply, which reveals a couple significant issues! Among those of the nation of Israel there were always two groups (which metaphor's the saved and unsaved in the world) of people--believers and unbelievers (faithless; never trusted in God), and unbelief always resulted in "willful" disobedience which is always a manifestation of being separate from God and His promises. The "rest" mentioned in Scripture is always symbolic of being a people of God, such as those who did not "provoke" God (Heb 3:16), which was unlike those in unbelief and did provoke Him in "sin" (v 17). Otherwise Abram would have not "went forth to go into the land of Canaan" (Gen 12:5).

    Another significant issue is Hebrews 3:16, which in my opinion is often misinterpreted to read "all who came out of Egypt," instead of "not all who came out of Egypt," which conflicts with numerous related passages, esp. Heb 3:18.

    Always appreciate you directness and deep comments!
     
  14. netchaplain

    netchaplain Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2012
    Messages:
    1,813
    Christian:
    Yes
    Thank you too for your instructional and deep inquiring comments! I think there will always be a certain amount of misunderstanding between attempts to share what is desired to be communicated, as all vary in understanding, esp. concerning the Word. To know about something doesn't necessarily mean you also believe in it, and it's understandable that some obscurity will exist as to understanding an attempt of sharing something between people due to varying levels of understanding.

    Knowledge will always be antecedent to faith because it must first be revealed, then decided upon. I also agree that knowledge alone cannot be built upon without faith, regardless the amount of zeal (Rom 10:2).

    The 1Co 13:8 passage mentioned here is in reference to what we know concerning God's will, not about what we know concerning His existence, thus, the driven point is that there is no "excuse" for not choosing to believing in Him--since all creation manifests the knowledge of His reality. Many will say they don't believe He exists but Scripture shows they can only believe this in ignorance, because they do not understand that Scripture says they cannot genuinely profess not to know His reality (Rom 1:19, 20), verses not knowing His will and desires.

    In a general sense the article refers to the issue of only knowing the reality of God but not knowing the will of God. For example, Israel had no doubt concerning God's existence, but many, if not most did not trust in Him.

    Hope my replies addressed your's close enough, for as we know, using the internet is often difficult to get the main idea we are trying to present!

    Love and blessings!
     
  15. childeye

    childeye Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2011
    Messages:
    6,163
    Christian:
    Yes
    I appreciate this reminder and especially the time you take to read my posts and respond. And for this reason I would like to focus on the central point contained in the following response to my previous post:

    First off let me state that I believe that the "no excuse" in Romans 1 pertains to not glorifying Him as God, and/or not believing in Him as the Light of mankind. I don't believe that Paul was referring to denying the existence of God.

    I therefore do agree that charity/Love would dictate God's will, which is partly why I feel 1 Corinthians 13:8 is applicable, since it shows that while knowledge can vanish, trusting in Love/charity does not ever fail. But it was originally put forth to point out that knowledge is built on faith even though this too can be construed as knowledge. Words are sometimes feeble things. To understand where I'm coming from, I would therefore ask that the context of both knowledge and faith be applied objectively to the sentiment contained in the thought of a righteousness by grace through faith as opposed to a righteousness through knowledge of the written law.

    As to the question of whether the "no excuse" pertains to believing in the reality of God's existence, or whether it pertains to glorifying God as the Light of man, please consider the validity of the following two statements. Love/empathy is manifested in the creation and mankind is aware that Love is the goodness within a person. Since empathy is contrary to the carnal impetus, it should not be assumed that Love/empathy is a product of the flesh, but rather is the Eternal Spirit.

    So keeping in mind that Romans 1:19, 20 speaks of invisible things that are clearly seen so that there is no excuse, please ponder the words in these verses as pertains to knowing God and what is unseen: 1 John 4:8, Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
    1 John 4: 12-13,
    12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. These verses seem to be corroborating that things such as Love/empathy/kindness/patience/longsuffering/mercy/understanding/charity are the invisible things that can be known of God and therefore constitute what we call Godliness, which also makes known to us that which is ungodliness or carnal.

    Now please look at Romans 1:21, Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
    This verse does not indicate any unbelief as pertains to the existence or reality of God, since it says "when they knew God", which would imply, that at this time he is referring to, they acknowledged the existence of God. Instead, it says they were unthankful, and therefore became vain with darkened hearts, which vanity would logically follow if mankind were to take credit for God's attributes, when in fact the glory belongs to God the Creator, Whose Word is both Spirit and Life.

    Romans 1:22 continues along this line of vanity by saying that men professed themselves as wise, 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

    Then scripture points out another following repercussion, and that is that rather than remaining in a truly thankful worship of God for the Spirit that He is, they profaned His Perfect Image in their own foolish minds by claiming His Glory as their own, and worshipping the created over the Creator.
    23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
    Notice that this scripture also does not indicate any unbelief in God as pertains to His existence, but rather affirms that they acknowledge His existence, but only minus His due Glory which they have previously claimed as their own in vanity. Here I am reminded of the parable of the person who planted a vineyard, provided a water tower and put a hedge about it, which also spoke of God sending servants to collect His due, whom those left in charge of the vineyard only proceeded to kill.

    Finally, Romans 1 says that for this reason God gave mankind over to the lusts of the flesh to become abominations, presumably so as to learn that this is what becomes of mankind apart from God and His righteousness which we now only have access to by His grace through faith. Hence elsewhere scripture says we were sold to sin and that His strength is made perfect through our weakness. Therefore we should see why in Romans 2:1, it is also inexcusable for any man to condemn another man concerning weakness and the propensity to sin. It's repeating the same mistake of taking God's attributes for granted through vanity.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2017
  16. netchaplain

    netchaplain Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2012
    Messages:
    1,813
    Christian:
    Yes
    I suppose it's how you interpret it, and we might be semantically parallel but I see it that because they had knowledge of His existence, their not choosing to acknowledge (trust in Him) His being as God was inexcusable. If they believed in Him they would glorify Him as being God (Rom 1:21), and there would have been no issue. Thus, one can be convinced there is a God and yet choose never to trust in Him and believe His Word.

    Knowledge teaches love, and when love is learned, the knowledge of it is no longer needed by the one who learned it, and I believe this is the sense of knowledge passing (1Co 13:10). When the knowledge of something is complete, that knowledge is no longer needed.
     
  17. childeye

    childeye Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2011
    Messages:
    6,163
    Christian:
    Yes
    Thank you for qualifying "acknowledging His being as God" with the phrase "trust in Him" which aligns well with "faith". Trusting God would indeed count as glorifying God as God, and there is no excuse for distrusting one's own Maker since one may as as well distrust one's own self since He made us. In this way coming to know God, is much like learning to truly know one's self made in His Image. Still, while it is thematic, when it comes to atheism I don't see this scripture as indicative of a reference to atheism directly.

    The question becomes why would anyone not want to retain God in their knowledge much less trust in Him, which does trend towards atheism? I think it is because through carnal vanity God represents in the mind an encumbrance upon one's personal freedom. If true, this would indicate an ignorance of God as the bequeathed Love/Empathy that abides in mankind. Hence the prodigal son has a much different image of the Father when he chooses to leave his Father's house then when he chooses to return. It is a rather sobering truth that so often we must learn the value of what we had by losing it.

    Your interpretation of "no excuse" suggests that they should have trusted Him since they knew He existed, while my interpretation is that they should have realized that only the Creator endows the created with goodness and wisdom. They are similar. The reason I see it this way is because I believe that even my faith is probably due to God's grace according to God's promise to Abraham, so that no flesh may glory. Hebrews 10:23. 1 Thessalonians 5:24. 1 John 1:9.

    That's an interesting account. Sounds something like learning to believe so as to walk in the Love that is God.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2017
  18. netchaplain

    netchaplain Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2012
    Messages:
    1,813
    Christian:
    Yes
    Appreciate your interest in this issue and just to simplify my point lest's just start with the definition of atheism, which is generally one professing not to believe there is a Creator (God). My intent of the article is in addressing the concept that Scripture declares that nobody can truthfully claim (even if they believe it themselves) in their conscience that they do not believe there is a Creator, and just believing there is a Creator has no redemptive elements in and of this knowledge itself (Gnosticism). Creation confirms there is a God but cannot confirm faith in Him, which must be "mixed with faith" (Heb 4:2), e.g. believing in Him (which is the redemptive element) and not just about Him.

    We can exclude this argument concerning believers because it's obvious they believe there is a Creator, and we can see in Rom 1:18 that the remnant of the chapter includes the unsaved. Verse 19 shows that the rest of mankind knows the reality ("that which may be known of God") concerning the existence of a Creator, due to the fact that He "shows it unto them," via "seeing" creation (v 20), which causes them to "understand," e.g. "things which are seen were not made of things which do appear" (Heb 11:3). The last passage infers that it's sensible to assume that everything detectable (seen) had to be made by that which is not detectable, because something cannot come from nothing.
     

Share This Page