Psalm 14:1a; 53:1a
by Rod Jackson
All verses are quoted from the NASB anything in [square brackets] is added by me for clarity.
In this article I want to look at a verse that is often quoted, sometimes as a "put-down" of atheists.
"The fool has said in his heart,`There is no God' " Psalm 14:1a; 53:1a
This is a verse that is often quoted and applied only to atheists but is that really what this verse is saying?
"as it is written,`THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE;' " Romans 3:10
Here as part of a long argument Paul appeals to the old testament to prove the point that, all people who live are sinners. They are not righteous. All people of the past, present and future, with the exception of the God/man Jesus the Christ, are evil. But where in the old testament is Paul quoting from? There is no exact quote that is in the old testament that literally uses these exact words. Rather their meaning is found in numerous spots.
"There is no one who does good, not even one." Psalm 14:3b; 53:3b
Here are the two verses where Paul quotes from! These are the same two Psalms that the first verse that we are looking at, which talks about fools, comes from.
"The fool has said in his heart,`There is no God' They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; There is no one who does good. The LORD has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men To see if there are any who understand, Who seek after God. They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt; There is no one who does good, not even one." Psalm 14:1-3
"The fool has said in his heart,`There is no God,' They are corrupt, and have committed abominable injustice; There is no one who does good. God has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men To see if there is anyone who understands, Who seeks after God. Every one of them has turned aside; together they have become corrupt; There is no one who does good, not even one." Psalm 53:1-3
Here we see the context of these verses. We have already seen that no one being righteous is talking about all people, not merely atheists. Therefore we can conclude that the fool as mentioned in the verse is a reflection of all people. When a person sins, they are in effect saying, `I do not believe in God' OR `there is no God'. All people sin, therefore all people are fools. In this sense it can be said that all people have a little atheist in themselves.
The bible is consistent in its definitions for it says,
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;" Psalm 111:10a & Proverbs 9:10a
So if the beginning of wisdom is the fear of God. Obviously someone who does not believe in God, does not have the beginning of wisdom. And someone who does not even have the beginning of wisdom is, by definition, a fool.
And as we have seen, we all live our lives like fools every time we sin. When a person sins, they do not have the "fear of God" or they would not be sinning!
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