When communicating with or praying for those who profess atheism or agnosticism, we do well to remember that the issue primarily involves the heart rather than the mind.
"This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil" (John 3:19).
"The invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things which are made, even His eternal power and godhead" (Romans 1:20).
This does not imply that we fail to intellectually "be ready always to give an answer to every man for the reason of hope that is in you" (I Peter 3:15). God's truth passes and surpasses every test by which fallen humanity (as motivated and energized by fallen devils) challenges His living and written Word. However, those who disbelieve or profess ignorance of God do so not as affirmation of "I cannot intellectually believe," but rather of, "I will not spiritually and morally believe." Indeed, everybody knows. Deeply within the heart of all human beings, the Spirit of God bears witness through creation, the Scriptures, and the church that God exists, and that response to Him comprises the most important privilege and obligation of our existence. As the Apostle Paul plainly stated, the things of God are "clearly seen." Faith in the Lord Jesus thus involves the choice to devotionally believe that which is conceptually known at the deepest level of every person's being.
I thought of this while praying this morning for a gentleman who claims atheism. The thought occurred to me of the advantage Christians hold in the matter of evangelism to such people. The Lord precedes our intercessions and witness with the Light that shines in darkness from the moment of conception and throughout the span of human lifetimes. I thus prayed from a position of strength. "Father, Joe knows. Deeply within, he knows that You are, and that as Your creation, You privilege and charge him to respond to You in faith and submission of his being and life." My prayer thus involved the spiritual and moral issues embraced by Joe as his means of hiding in the trees with his original forebear of antiquity: "Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden" (Genesis 3:8). Most importantly, our Father calls to Joe, just as He beckoned Adam, "The Lord God called unto Adam and said unto him, Where art thou?" (Genesis 3:9).
Mark Twain, not a believer, nevertheless wisely stated, "It is not the things in the Bible I do not understand that most disturb me, but rather the things I do understand." Like many others, Twain ran from the truths the caused him consternation. He hid in the trees. But he knew. At the deepest level of conscious awareness, he knew. Like all others…
"The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth His handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world."
Weekly Memory Verse
I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.