Psalm 14:1 – What the Fool Says In His Heart

“The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds; there is none who does good.” – Psalm 14:1

Psalm 13, 14, and 15 were supposedly written during the Babylonian invasion. [i] I didn’t mention this in my post about Psalm 13, but I probably should have. My apologies. Even though we don’t accurately know when this Psalm was written, having somewhat of an idea can be so helpful as we try to understand it to the best of our ability. We can entitle Psalm 14 “Concerning Practical Atheism.” [ii]

We’ll be in verse 1 of Psalm 14 today. 

According to David, the fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” 

The “fool” David talks about in this verse is what we call an atheist today: “a person who does not believe in the existence of a god or any gods: one who subscribes to or advocates atheism.” [iii

What’s interesting here is that one can be a secret atheist, even within a church context. They can worship God with their lips, but in their hearts they can say, “there is no God.” They may boast to their parents that they read the Bible and to their student pastor that they have a close relationship with Jesus, but the position of their heart tells a different narrative. 

The atheist David writes about in this verse is not merely troubled by intellectual objections to the existence of God. The root of his atheism is in his heart.  “For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved” (Romans 10:10). He fails to believe in Christ because the Holy Spirit isn’t in him, enabling him to love God with his heart and mind. 

The next part of this verse briefly describes what happens when one renounces God: they are corrupt and do abominable deeds. 

Spurgeon writes, “When men begin with renouncing the Most High God, who shall tell where they will end?” 

“Everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed” (John 13:20), but we as Christians know that the power of the gospel can change even the most adamant atheists.

With this in mind, what should we as Christians do? How do practically we go about reaching the atheists we know with the gospel? 

At the moment, I don’t have an answer. Well, maybe I do, but I want to take the time to thoughtfully consider it before I share it on the public sphere of my blog.

I want you to take the time to think about this question too. Will you?

Atheism has doubled among our generation, so there is no doubt that we will encounter an atheist teenager in our classrooms or church. [iiii] May we gain clarity on how to love, listen to, and effectively share the gospel with the atheists we know and will encounter.


[i] https://www.blueletterbible.org/study/parallel/paral18.cfm

[ii] https://www.christianity.com/bible/commentary.php?com=spur&b=19&c=14

[iii] https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/atheist

[iiii] https://www.barna.com/research/atheism-doubles-among-generation-z/

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