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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Without God

The consequences of unbelief

We sometimes discuss arguments for the existence of God. But we don't often consider the assumptions we have to make and the kind of world we are left with if we don't believe in God. If you don't believe in God:

• You are left with a cold, impersonal universe. There would be no heavenly Father caring for creation.

• You close yourself off from whatever spiritual assistance might come from God. The Lord God may be with you wherever you go, but you won't reach out to benefit from God's presence.

• There is no realistic reason for hoping that something unexpectedly good or new could occur in a purely material and deterministic world where the future can only be the logical consequence of what has gone before. The God who makes all things new, however, is not trapped by the past.

photodisc• Ultimate forgiveness does not exist. If you want to be moral and just, you will always have the burden of making amends for all of your past harmful words and deeds. There would be no such thing as wiping the slate clean.

• You may never be loved more than you deserve. Only the God of grace can be relied upon to love you that fully.

• You can't be sure that there's a force for good at work in the world, a spirit of self-giving love that makes people genuinely concerned for somebody else and not only if there's something in it for themselves.


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September issue

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