Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Who does He think He is?

I was having a conversation with a woman who told me she was an atheist.  As we discussed God's existence it emerged that she didn't have any good reasons to believe He didn't exist, and had nothing to say to the evidence I gave for His existence.  The reason she said she was an atheist was because she didn't like God.

I tried to show her that her like or dislike of a person has nothing to do with whether that person exists.  This led to her changing tack and saying that if He does exist then she doesn't want Him and won't bow her will to Him.  This gets down to the root of atheism - a rebel will that does not want God. 

I asked her why she was so bitter against God, and she told me that she thought it was such a shocking example of pride to create people just so they could worship Him.  "I know", I said sarcastically, "Who does He think He is?!" 

She tried to parody the scenario by picturing herself demanding worship, and what I tried to point out was that the reason that is so ridiculous is because she isn't worthy of worship, and to demand it would show that she was out of touch with reality.  Every attribute of God is perfect and glorious, He is self-sufficient, not dependent on anyone or anything, He is the epitome of every virtue - He is worthy of worship, and to create beings to worship Him is an act of grace - there could be no higher occupation or more thrilling pursuit than the worshipful contemplation of infinite goodness and glory.

What she failed to realise was that God is the ultimate good and the source of true fulfilment.  Worship of God and fellowship with God bring the most transcendent joy to the human soul - that's what we've been made for.  God doesn't seek worship from us because He needs it, but because we do - we'll never know true satisfaction apart from a right relationship with God.  The idea of worshipping God and fellowship with God seemed completely undesirable to her.  This is because, by reason of our fallen nature, we are enemies of God.  Sin has made us hostile to the One who gives and sustains our lives, and has set us running away from the One who is the fountainhead of real joy and satisfaction.

This is where the miracle of regeneration is evident - when someone recognises his need of forgiveness and reconciliation, and bows his knees to Jesus Christ, he comes to see the glory and beauty of this God he had previously hated.  Nothing brings the saved sinner more joy than worshipping such a wonderful God.  Nothing can explain this transformation apart from the life-changing, soul-saving power of the Gospel - we don't worship because we have to, but because we want to, and yet before conversion we had no desire to do any such thing!

This woman I have told you about thought God's attitude was a shocking display of pride, the reality is her attitude is the shocking display of pride - who does she think she is, that she will live in God's world, dependent on God's provision, and she refuses to bow her heart in gratitude to acknowledge Him?  That is pride.  What makes it worse is that this God is not only a faithful Creator, but a loving Saviour, who sent His Son to die for rebels that they might be rescued from perishing and redeemed to God.  She refuses to acknowledge her need of God's Son, her need of His salvation, her need of His grace - that is pride, in all its ugliness.