Psalm 14:1 “The fool says in his heart, ‘there is no God.’ They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.”
We Christians tend to smile and get a chuckle out of the brazenness of saying “April Fool’s Day” is Atheist’s Day. It’s critical to note, however, this is the word of Scripture and it’s not just speaking to those who declare themselves “atheists”. Certainly, anyone of any faith would find that foolish.
First, the Hebrew word translated “fool” is nabal. It is a term referring to someone who is senseless but it is not just a reference to intelligence. It is a term that refers to their foolishness because they are godless.1 In their rejection of God, they are made foolish. It is not that they are “stupid” people who simply don’t have the intelligence to know right from wrong. The Hebrew word means they choose to make themselves senseless by the absurdity of rejecting the Author—and source—of wisdom. In short, “fool” (in Hebrew) means someone who chooses wickedness and, as a result, lives as a fool.
To put oneself under God’s condemnation is pretty foolish, isn’t it? Jesus said, “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed” (John 3:18–20).
There is another component to this verse, though. Too many times, I fear, “Christians” live as functional atheists. We act as if there is no God, in spite of our statements to the contrary. To live that way makes us fools. The opposite of this kind of foolishness is to live righteous lives. When we act any other way, we become functional atheists—fools.
Do we dare to deny the practical issues of God’s existence? We may believe God created the Heavens and the Earth (Genesis 1:1), but we refuse to share the life-giving message of Christ with those who are dying without Him. If God is love and we are called to be in His likeness, where would that leave us if we act that way?
How can we say “God is love” when we support causes the Lord has called evil? God is not some great old man upstairs who doesn’t care about what happens on planet earth. Quite the contrary, He was so involved in our world that He sent His unique-and-one-of-a-kind Son to provide redemption for it.
So…as we chuckle at all the times we will hear “Happy Atheist’s Day”, may we ensure we are not living as though God doesn’t.
1 Swanson, James. Dictionary of Biblical Languages With Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament). electronic ed. (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), 5572 (נָבָל).