Living As If God Exists (Because He Does)

Devotional

DENYING GOD

People often want “proof” of God’s existence. For Christians, this proof lies in creation.

God’s creation demonstrates his sovereignty, wisdom, and benevolence. Everything that exists comes into being through His command, designed so that humans may thrive and flourish.

The book of Genesis tells the story of a world ordered by God’s sovereignty, wisdom, and kindness, and punctuated by the Sabbath (Gen 1:1-2:3). However, the human couple at the center of this story come to view God’s paradise as a prison, led by a shrewd serpent who presents them with a distorted vision of God. The serpent’s first question challenges God’s motives for issuing the command not to eat the fruit of the tree at the center of the garden (3:1).

The woman defends God, saying His prohibition is for their good, as eating from or touching the tree will bring death (3:2-3). Using the combination of “eat” and “touch” associated with handling or eating unclean animals (Lev 11:8; Deut 14:8), the woman affirms God’s motives as good and protective. The serpent then says that God wants to keep humanity from becoming “like God, knowing good and evil,” in which case, death is an empty threat (3:4-5).

The woman is convinced, and she and her husband eat the fruit. In doing so, they deny God’s sovereignty, wisdom, and benevolence. They reject God’s command and set their own course, hoping to obtain more than God has provided. By eating the fruit, the humans decide that obedience is nothing more than a fool’s errand, keeping them under the thumb of a vulnerable deity who seeks to limit human potential. Humanity falls (3:7).

The world’s stories are often compelling. Yet, these stories, if they acknowledge God’s existence at all, distort God by denying or diminishing His sovereignty, wisdom, and goodness. Such stories make obeying God seem unnecessary or absurd.

God’s people are not only to reject such stories, but to offer an alternative to them. We do so by engaging in practices that demonstrate our respect for God’s sovereignty, our commitment to His wisdom, and our trust in His goodness. We do so by refusing to be “conformed to the passions of our former ignorance,” but “as obedient children” pursuing holiness in all things (1 Pet 1:14-15).