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Bible Commentaries

The Church Pulpit Commentary

Psalms 53

Verses 1-2

THE FOLLY OF ATHEISM

‘The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God,’ etc.

Psalms 53:1-2

There seems to be something intentionally emphatic about the charge against the atheist in the text, as though the wickedness of a man in saying, ‘There is no God,’ were lost in the folly of it, as though when David heard a man sneeringly remark that there was no God he forgot for a moment the man’s sensuality and licentiousness in his astonishment at his weakness.

I. Suppose a man to say absolutely, ‘There is no God,’ thus going beyond the heathen, as some few profess to have done, then in this case the folly is so palpable that all nature seems to protest against it. The question, Who made all these things? confounds such miserable atheism.

II. The denial that God rules and governs the world by just laws, punishing the wicked and rewarding the just, may also, without much difficulty, be convicted of folly, for consider, is it possible to think of God as being otherwise than perfect?—An imperfect God is no God at all; if perfect, then He must be perfect in goodness, in holiness, in truth.

III. There is one other manner in which a man may deny God.—He may refuse homage to that God whom we worship as revealed to us in the Lord Jesus Christ. Notice two or three points from which the folly of such a man may appear open and manifest. (1) Most holy and thoughtful men have found in the revelation which God has made to man through the Lord Jesus Christ the satisfaction of all their spiritual wants. (2) Observe the wonderful power that this revelation has had: how it has unquestionably been the mainspring, the chief mover, of all the history of the world since the time that Christ came. (3) If Christ be not ‘the Way, the Truth, and the Life,’ at least there is no other. Either God has revealed Himself in Christ, or He has not revealed Himself at all, for there is no other religion in the world which any one will pretend to substitute.

—Bishop Harvey Goodwin.

Illustration

‘There is the man who, bursting with his own prodigious wisdom, rides roughshod over evidence of every kind, and dashes madly, blindly into the battle of life, with “No God!” as his battle-cry; until he falls, at last, wounded by the Lord of Hosts, whose existence he has denied. In his conceptions of life—“No God!”; in thoughts of marriage—“No God!”; in conduct of his business—“No God!”; and in the training of his children—“No God!” Such an one sought to wed his little girl to his disbelief. One day he was ill in bed, when the child came into the room with her slate from school. He wrote upon it, “God is nowhere!” and asked her to read it. The little one in her innocence spelled it out, “God is now here!” ‘Twas but a trifling change, but eternal issues hung upon it.’

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Bibliographical Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Psalms 53". The Church Pulpit Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cpc/psalms-53.html. 1876.