Atheism is a sin as it leads to failure to honor God as God and failure to give thanks to Him, and it has consequences. Paul having argued that there is no such thing as an atheist or someone who genuinely doesn’t know that God exists, he now moves on to give us three consequences that follow after one has decided to suppress the truth about God that they know. You see once you convince yourselves that God doesn’t exist, despite knowing that He exists and having no excuse, then from then onwards, it is a slippery slope for you. As I said, there are three consequences and in this message, we will deal with the first.
Consequences of Atheism
Romans 1:21-23 (ESV Strong’s)
21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
Once you suppress the truth about God because you want to continue living in unrighteousness, how you relate to God will definitely be affected. In verses 21-23, Paul tells us what kind of relationship people who suppress the truth have with God.
In verse 21, Paul once again starts this verse by saying that these people who suppress the truth about God, know this truth, but although they know the truth about God, they do not honor Him as God or give thanks to Him. Instead of honoring God as God and give thanks to Him, their thinking becomes worthless and they become destitute (extremely poor) of real wisdom. This means they simply become foolish in their thinking. Their thoughts begin to be directed at useless and worthless things.
Not only their thinking that becomes affected but their hearts also become darkened. This means that not only their thinking becomes worthless but their behavior becomes immoral. Their behavior reflects those who are void of any sense of morality.
It gets worse, in verse 22, once their thinking becomes worthless and there no longer exist any sense of morality in them, they declare themselves to be wise, and that makes them fools. You see, once your thinking and morality doesn’t align to that which God has revealed, and you think that is wise, Paul says that is foolish and that makes you a fool.
This foolishness leads them further and further away from God to false gods. In verse 23, Paul tells us that they start to give glory to the creation or things that God has created, instead of giving glory to God as the creator. They choose to worship creation instead of the Creator.
Refusal to acknowledge the truth about God that we all know and, refusal to honor Him as God and give thanks to Him, leads us to a position were our minds and hearts are affected negatively. Our thinking becomes worthless and our behavior becomes immoral. We start to think that we are wise and we instead becomes fools who start to worship the creation instead of the Creator. Mind you that we worship the creation knowing that there is a creator who created what we are worshiping. We worship the creation knowing very well that we should actually be worshipping the creator.
This is the first of the three consequences that Paul highlights to us regarding atheism and being an atheist. Atheism leads to idolatry, it leads to the worship of false gods, it leads to the worship of the creation instead of the Creator.
Refusal to acknowledge God as God, giving thanks to Him and honoring Him as God, and instead falling into atheism, that is convincing yourself that God doesn’t exist, and therefore you are an atheist, that has consequences. One of those consequences, is one becoming worthless and loosing any sense of morality. One becomes deluded into thinking they are wise and that leads them to become fools. This then leads a person to worshipping false gods instead of the true and only God who is the creator. Therefore that is why Paul says that the wrath od God is revealed against all unrighteousness and ungodliness of men, who by their unrighteousness, suppress the truth (Rom. 1:18). The wrath of God is revealed against those who by their unrighteousness, have refused to honor God as God and give thanks to Him. All of you who do this, need to repent and put your trust only in Jesus Christ.