And 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).
On April Fools Day it is appropriate to study the foolish men and women who deny the Lord and refuse the light, so that they may justify their evil habits. David said it this way: The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. . . . They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy (Psalm 14:1,3).
Which comes first, the atheism or the reprobate lifestyle? The question, of course, is a deep theological dilemma, and the answer differs from individual to individual. While we recognize that each of us possesses the sin-nature inherited from Adam (which makes us unable to do good in any ultimate sense), we must also recognize that there is a near one-to-one ratio between especially vile persons and atheists (or fools, Biblically). Many examples could be cited of those who have adopted a mind set of atheism once having become involved in an overtly sinful lifestyle, yet other examples abound of those who first give mental assent to atheism and then play out that creed in sinful activity, recognizing no responsibility to a holy God.
Perhaps it is not too far from the truth to recognize atheism and evil deeds as a vicious circle, each fostering and, in turn, feeding off the other. Honest, searching, agnosticism (to the extent that such a mind set exists) does not necessarily produce wickedness, but emotional atheism almost always does, just as surely as overt wickedness frequently produces a denial of the existence of a higher authority, thus the circle is complete.
Davids wise son wrote, The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction (Proverbs 1:7). JDM