Agnosticism is the view that the existence of God, the divine, or the supernatural is unknown or unknowable. An agnostic neither believes nor disbelieves in God, arguing that there are insufficient grounds to justify either conclusion.
This viewpoint presents a challenge to Christianity, which asserts that God can be known through divine revelation, especially as recorded in the Bible. What, then, does the Bible have to say about agnosticism and agnostics? This article will examine the biblical perspective.
- The Bible asserts that God’s existence is clearly seen in creation and conscience.
- Scripture warns that foolishness and sinful suppression of truth can lead to denial of God’s obvious reality.
- Agnostics exhibit foolishness and rebellion against God according to biblical reasoning.
- The Bible instructs Christians to evangelize agnostics graciously, with gentleness and respect.
- While agnostics may seem “open-minded,” Scripture views them as clinging to sin and ignoring God’s clear revelation.
God’s Existence is Evident in Creation
The Bible unequivocally states that God’s existence and divine attributes are plainly evidenced in the creation. King David wrote, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork” (Psalm 19:1). The apostle Paul contended that God’s “invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made” (Romans 1:20). Based on this biblical perspective, God’s existence is so obvious that denial indicates rebellion against the Creator. Paul contends that those who deny God’s clear revelation are “without excuse” (Romans 1:20).
According to Scripture, anyone sincerely seeking evidence of the Creator should be convinced by the testimony of creation alone. The intricacy, complexity, and design of the natural world point undeniably to an intelligent Designer. The Bible asserts that those who look at creation and deny the reality of God are engaged in willful ignorance. The evidence is before them, yet they intentionally suppress, ignore, and reject it due to their foolishness and rebellion (Romans 1:18-23).
Human Conscience Indicates God’s Reality
In addition to creation, Scripture teaches that God has endowed humans with a moral conscience that bears witness to His existence. The apostle Paul stated that even Gentiles without the Mosaic Law show the work of God’s law written on their hearts, their consciences bearing witness (Romans 2:14-15). God’s moral code is embedded in every person, giving internal testimony that a divine Lawgiver exists. According to the Bible, the moral conscience present in all humanity serves as further inexcusable evidence of the Creator’s reality.
Those who deny God’s existence must suppress the truth inherently obvious not only in creation, but also within their own consciousness. Scripture portrays such suppression as the epitome of willful rebellion against the Creator. The biblical authors view agnosticism and other forms of denial not as intellectually sophisticated rationality, but as foolishness stemming from depravity. The apostle Paul wrote that professing themselves as wise, unbelievers become fools and exchange the glory of the Creator for corrupted reasonings (Romans 1:22-23).
Biblical Perspective: Agnosticism as Willful Ignorance
While agnostics often perceive themselves as open-minded seekers sincerely examining the evidence, the Bible paints a very different perspective. Scripture asserts that God’s existence and nature are plainly manifest, so denial indicates irrational rejection of obvious truth. The apostle Paul taught that unbelief stems from suppression of plain truth and is inexcusable (Romans 1:18-20).
Biblically, genuine open-mindedness would lead one to acknowledge the Creator’s reality attested in creation, conscience, and Christ. Rather than intellectual sophistication, the Bible equates agnosticism and other denials of God’s existence with foolish rebellion deserving of divine judgement (Psalm 14:1; Romans 1:18-20).
Scripture teaches that humans reject God’s plainly evident reality because they love darkness and sin instead of light and truth (John 3:19-21). The possibility of divine judgement and accountability before a holy God is offensive to the fallen human mind. Thus, denials of God’s existence serve to remove moral constraints and accountability – easing the way for uninhibited moral autonomy. The desire for moral freedom leads many to irrational and inconsistent reasoning that denies the very Author of logic and morality.
According to Scripture, agnosticism and spiritual blindness are not due to insufficient evidence, but the willful ignorance of those whose depraved nature inclines them to irrational reasoning and rejection of obvious truth. Apart from God’s gracious work, the sinful human heart consistently relegates God’s revelation to foolishness (1 Corinthians 1:18-25).
The Bible Instructs Gracious Evangelism
Despite the Bible’s stern warnings against unbelief, Scripture also provides guidance for how Christians should engage agnostics graciously. Christians are instructed, “in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).
Additionally, the apostle Paul advised, “the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 2:24-25). Christians are to share the truth of Christ winsomely and gently, patiently reasoning with skeptics and pointing them to the gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.
While avoiding compromising on biblical truth, Christians must be charitable and humble in evangelistic conversations with agnostics. Arrogance or hostility when contending for the faith only alienates unbelievers further. Christ’s ambassadors must balance bold proclamation of absolute truth with gracious, respectful humility – depending on the Spirit to open eyes and change hearts.
Agnostics: Open-Minded or Clinging to Sin?
Agnostics often perceive themselves as the only truly open-minded ones in discussions of God’s existence. In contrast, Christians are viewed as closed-minded, clinging rigidly to religious dogma. However, the Bible contends that it is in fact the agnostic who exhibits closed-mindedness by ignoring or rejecting God’s plain revelation. Like all unredeemed sinners, unbelievers cling to their own autonomy and love for sin which motivates their irrational denial of God’s reality.
Conversely, Christians cling to God’s special revelation in Scripture. Far from displaying closed-mindedness, Christians embrace the truth revealed by the divine Logos Himself. God alone possesses the omniscience to declare objective reality, so reliance on His flawless self-revelation is the epitome of open-minded rationality. Only God provides an Archenstone of absolute truth amidst the subjectivity of finite perspectives. Sinful suppression of He who declares “the way, the truth, and the life” is the true closed-mindedness (John 14:6).
Though claiming enlightened neutrality, agnosticism reveals a foolishly closed mind that rejects the special revelation of the all-knowing God. The pretend neutrality of man’s wisdom is exposed for what it is – irrational darkness disguising itself as light. As Christians humbly yet passionately proclaim the exclusive truth claims of Christ, they must remember that only God’s Spirit can shine light into the darkest recesses of men’s hearts to extract the idol of intellectual autonomy.
Trusting God’s Special Revelation
Some agnostics portray Scripture as purely man-made rather than divine revelation. If the Bible is not God’s inerrant word, denying its spiritual truths would not constitute rebellion against the Creator. However, the biblical authors uniformly testified that Scripture comes directly from the breath of God himself (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21). Jesus affirmed the divine authority of the Old Testament (Matthew 5:17-19). As God incarnate, Christ validated the Scriptures as the unbreakable word of the Almighty.
Based on this biblical perspective, agnostic rejection of Scripture equates to calling God a liar. Unbelievers deem the eternal God untrustworthy and deny his capability to communicate objective truth to mankind. But just as God alone determined how to form eyes capable of seeing visible light, only He can reveal spiritual truths to finite minds. For creatures to deny their Creator’s capability to make himself known is the height of arrogant foolishness.
The Bible never defends God’s existence through intricate philosophical proofs. Instead Scripture rests on the foundational presupposition that what God speaks and reveals is inherently true. His divine words alone are trustworthy, being from the very source of Truth. As Creator, the heavens and earth obey His voice. All that He declares He will bring to pass.
Therefore, the validity of the Bible cannot be judged by finite skeptics whose minds God created. To assume neutrality or superiority over Scripture’s truth claims is to usurp God’s rightful place as King over all. Christians embrace the Bible not with close-minded blind faith, but with open-minded trust in the One who alone sees and declares absolute Truth.
Longing for Christ’s Light
Apart from God opening their eyes, agnostics remain in spiritual darkness unable to see the light of His truth. Scripture repeatedly depicts unbelievers as living in darkness, blindness, ignorance, and separation from Christ who is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6; Romans 1:21; Ephesians 4:17-19; 1 Peter 2:9).
Despite harsh biblical warnings against unbelief, Scripture also conveys God’s profound love for the lost. Christ lamented over rebellious Jerusalem, longing to gather Israel to Himself like a mother hen gathers her chicks (Matthew 23:27). On the cross, the Son absorbed divine wrath so God could justly forgive sinners. By grace through faith, unworthy rebels become adopted children rather than objects of wrath (Ephesians 1:4-5).
While Christ’s exclusivist declarations provoke skepticism, He alone possesses the loving words of eternal life (John 6:68). The Giver of life laid it down to redeem those hostile to Him. No other belief system in human history portrays absolute, limitless love of the Supreme Being toward morally corrupt creatures. In the light of God’s love revealed through the cross, doubts melt away.
Christians plead with agnostics to open their hearts to His amazing grace purchased at infinite cost. Jesus is the true Archenstone who alone provides refuge for lost souls. May the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness” shine His light into blind hearts to illumine the glory of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6).
The Bible paints a very different perspective on agnosticism than the popular cultural view that it represents intellectual neutrality. According to Scripture, denial of God’s plainly evident existence constitutes irrational rejection of obvious truth. While biblical authors warn severely against unbelief, Christians are also called to engage agnostics with grace, humility, and compassion.
Rather than sophisticated open-mindedness, the Bible contends that agnosticism reveals the foolishly closed mind of rebellious sinners clinging to autonomy. Yet there is hope in Christ, whose light penetrates the most profound darkness. Christians plead with agnostics to open their hearts to the Savior whose gracious love dispels all doubt.