But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. —Acts 19:9
Many atheists are obstinate people. Not only do they refuse to believe, but many of them find it necessary to malign those who do believe. Not only that, for some reason they feel it necessary to attack that which is Christian. If they don’t believe that is their choice. Do they attack the tooth fairy? Surely they don’t believe in the fairy! Why do they attack Christianity, the very thing they say they do not believe in? It is because they do believe and their attacks prove their rebellion against God! An atheist is only “a theist” in rebellion against God. Does an atheist have all information? Of course not! If they say they do, then they are lying. If they do not have all information then they would have to say there is a possibility that God does exist and that they just do not know it!
The context of the verse above was when Paul was at Corinth sharing God’s Word. There were those who “became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way.” It was not that they could not believe, but that they made the choice and refused to believe. So it is with atheists. They simply refuse to believe. They evidence is available and plain to them, but like we are told in Romans 1:18-32 that they “suppress the truth by their wickedness.” They would rather “worship” created things, including themselves rather than worship God.
In Second Peter 3:3-9 we are told “Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
This passage gives us insight to the atheist. 1- They are scoffers—they like to ridicule and deride those who do believe. 2- They want to follow their own evil desires— Here is the main reason they do not want to believe. They want to do their own will and not God’s will. They want to be the god of their own lives. 3- They mock the coming of Jesus. 4- They deliberately forget that God is the Creator. This is interesting because many atheistic scientists have to remind themselves that just because things appear to have design does not mean there is a designer. They have to tell themselves this! 5- They also do not want to acknowledge that there was a world-wide flood.
As followers of the Lord Jesus, we know God is an Awesome God and He is able to do whatever He desires. May people who are atheists “come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will” (II Timothy 2:26). Here something the atheist does not understand— though he does not want to yield to God and do His will he is actually yielding to the devil and is doing His will! May God grant them mercy to escape that trap!
Dear Father, oh that you would help those who claim to be atheists to come to their senses and trust the Lord Jesus. May it be so!