Bertrand Russell was a famous atheist philosopher who was once asked what he would say to God if he found himself standing before Him after he died. Russell said that he believed that he could charge God with not giving him enough evidence to believe in Him. Russell’s argument, however, goes against a fundamental truth found in Romans 1 that explains that God has revealed Himself to all of mankind so that they are all without excuse.
Romans 1:18 states that the “wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.” The wrath of God is revealed against men because they choose to suppress the truth of God’s existence. All of mankind knows that God exists (whether they claim to or not) because “that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them” (Rom. 1:19). An atheist denies with his words what he knows to be true in his heart. The Bible states that “the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead…” (Rom. 1:20). God’s wrath is revealed against all the ungodly who suppress the truth of God’s revelation of Himself so “…that they are without excuse” (Rom. 1:20b). Wrath comes because of rejected revelation. There are two ways in God has revealed Himself: 1) General revelation 2) Special revelation. In general revelation, God has made Himself known through creation and man’s conscience (Rom. 2:14-15) to all of mankind. The Bible declares that “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handiwork” (Ps. 19:1). Through the observation of nature’s order, complexity, and design, one is left without excuse that there is a Creator. Romans 1:20 states that God’s eternal power and Godhead are “clearly seen” and “understood” from all that has been created. God’s special revelation is the Word of God.
There is enough evidence in creation and conscience to condemn all men for rejecting God. However, general revelation alone can never save a person. It takes the special revelation of God’s Word applied to the heart by the Holy Spirit and received by the person to bring salvation to one’s soul. Whether men have heard the gospel or not, they are all “without excuse” and under the wrath of God. That is why it is imperative that we go to all men and bring them the truth of salvation as revealed in God’s Word. Romans 10:14 says “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” We must be active in sharing God’s special plan of salvation to all people. We must support missionaries to go to foreign lands with the gospel. We must always be preaching the gospel!