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by Tim Barnett
During a long drive home from a recent speaking event, I decided to listen to an episode of the Unbelievable podcast. This episode featured Fuz Rana, biochemist with Reasons to Believe, and Luke Janssen, professor at McMaster University. The question under discussion was, “Should modern biology make us rethink theology?”
Early on in the conversation, Janssen said something that caught my attention. Here’s what he said:
One of the things that I often hear Christians say is that all humans have rebelled against God. They’ll emphasize this is true for all humans. But if we look at our collective human history, we see tons of evidence of humans trying to find God. I mentioned all those different religions and religious features of the human species in every chapter of human history trying to find and understand the great Being. It’s one of the strange things that defines what it means to be human. We are a religious species.
We’ve been actively and desperately trying to figure out the great Being and doing this largely on the flimsiest of data. And by that, I mean things like our life experiences, and discussions with our neighbors, chats around the campfire, some private mediation, and even the few glimpses that a few rare individuals will claim to have had of God….
My point being, we haven’t rebelled against God. We’ve actually been trying desperately to find God. And even today, now that we have the Scriptures and Jesus has appeared on Earth, I really don’t see outright active rebellion against God.
The reason Janssen hears Christians say that all human beings, apart from Christ, are in active rebellion against God is because that’s exactly what the New Testament teaches. In his letter to the Romans, Paul writes, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth” (Rom. 1:18). The active suppression of the truth about God is active rebellion against Him.
But this is hardly an isolated verse. Paul goes on to write, “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life (Rom. 5:10). Later in the same letter, Paul writes, “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot (Rom. 8:7). Scripture is clear on this point. Apart from Christ, human beings are enemies of God. They are rebels who are hostile to God.
But what about all of this evidence that human beings are trying to find God? Janssen wants us to consider “all those different religions and religious features of the human species in every chapter of human history trying to find and understand the great Being.” Here Janssen makes a terrible mistake…
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