What Do Agnostics Believe? What Do They Say About Jesus?

by Robert Driskell on August 17, 2013 · Print Print · Email Email

The word ‘agnosticism’ comes from the Greek language. It is a combination of the Greek word for knowledge (gnosis) with the prefix ‘a’ which stands for ‘without’ or ‘no’. Thus, the Greek word ‘agnosis’ means either ‘without’, or ‘no’, knowledge. Webster’s online dictionary defines an agnostic as, “a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (as God) is unknown and probably unknowable; broadly: one who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or a god” (www . merriam-webster. com/dictionary/agnostic).

Agnostic Wordview

The basic premise of the agnostic’s worldview is that nothing can be known about God. He may indeed exist, but we really cannot be sure or know anything about Him for certain. Therefore, we should simply live our lives according to our own morals and ethics…and hope everything works out in the end. If they believe Jesus existed at all, they accept Him as a great moral teacher, while they claim it is impossible to know anything of His deity.

Much of the basis for agnosticism comes from the idea that for anything to be ‘real’, it must be scientifically verifiable. Therefore, since we cannot put God under a microscope, we can’t really prove He exists. Even many atheists, who do not believe in God, will say they are agnostics simply because they cannot prove the non-existence of God either. In a nutshell, the agnostic says, “I just don’t know because there is no proof.”

However, there is much verifiable, tangible, and otherwise real evidence for the existence of God, and it is on this that I would like to turn our attention. This evidence comes from the Bible; therefore, one must believe in its truthfulness. There are many good articles in support of the veracity of God’s Word on this website.

The inner witness of the heart

The apostle Paul, speaking about people who did not have access to the Word of God, as the Jews did, wrote, “They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them” (Romans 2:15 ESV). This tells us that God places the knowledge of Himself, and His laws, within everyone. Earlier, the apostle Paul says that no one has an excuse for rejecting the truth of God (Romans 1:20).

When Jesus was teaching His disciples about the Holy Spirit who was to come, He said, “And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged” (John 16:8-11 ESV).

“The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world” (John 1:9-11 ESV). These passages leave us with the clear teaching that God has placed the knowledge of Himself within the hearts of every man, woman, and child who has ever existed.

For His 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.

For His 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.

The witness of nature

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his 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. So they are without excuse” (Romans 1:18-20 ESV). This passage tells us that everything about the environment in which we live points to the reality of God. It even goes so far as to reveal specific things about God’s nature and character. It is a sad commentary on humanity which shows the heart of mankind would rather willfully deny the evidence of God that surrounds them every day.

There is no good thing that did not come from God (James 1:17). These good things serve as a witness to Him and His love. “Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness” (Acts 14:17 ESV).

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard” (Psalm 19:1-3 ESV, cf. Psalm 50:6). The very skies above us shout the truth of God. Atheists and agnostics simply refuse to acknowledge that, rather than being the result of random chance and chemical processes, it was God who created everything.

The witness of God’s providence

“And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us…” (Acts 17:26-27 ESV). God even works in the everyday details of people’s lives in order to give them the greatest opportunity accept His offer of salvation.

The witness of the Bible

As Jesus prepared His disciples for His departure, He said, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come” (John 16:12-13 ESV). The Holy Spirit taught these followers of Jesus everything they needed to know in order to write what is now the New Testament. God spoke directly to, and through, His prophets in the Old Testament. In this way, the Words of God are contained within the Holy Bible. Our culture gains so much information by reading books; shouldn’t the book from the Creator of the universe be considered the most important book of all?

The Bible makes this claim concerning its importance, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV). Only the person who has decided already in his or her heart to reject the truth could read the words of the Bible and not know they are the words of truth.

Conclusion

The good news of God’s saving grace is evident all around us; God wants us to know Him and to respond to Him. The agnostic believes that there is no evidence either proving or disproving the existence of God. However, there is plenty of evidence, but it is not the kind of evidence the agnostic will allow. There is the evidence of nature all around us; nature was either created by a Creator or it simply came into existence by accident…what’s more reasonable? There is the evidence within our hearts; which the Bible says no one is without. Each of us must decide to accept or reject that evidence; and that decision carries eternal consequences. In addition, the witness of God’s Word, the Bible, and the working of His providence in our lives, leaves the agnostic with no reason to doubt the reality of God or of His love for us.

Take a look at this similar and related article; also written by Robert:

Do Atheists Really Believe There is No God?

Resources – The Holy Bible, English Standard Version “Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”



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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Jack Wellman August 17, 2013 at 2:11 pm

Perfectly done and stated my brother. This is so true and why we are without excuse for those who deny God and His magnificience. There is no doubt of His existence and their conscience testifies of Him. It is sad that they suppress this knowledge Robert. Well done again. Thank you and I thank God for you.

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Robert August 17, 2013 at 9:33 pm

You are too kind, brother. God bless you.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

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Mr A Cotton January 29, 2014 at 11:39 am

I was listening to Will Kinney about John MacArthur on YouTube.
Here is just one of many examples of John MacArthur`s Biblical Agnosticism. In one of his sermons about Matthew 6:13 he has this to say: “The doxology is simply this;
“For thine is the Kingdom,The Power,and the Glory Forever Amen.
That`s a Doxology. You just say it,you just think it,you just offer it to God. You don`t dissect it.
And by the way,there`s manuscript evidence that Jesus didn`t evan say this,that`s why it`s not included in some of your versions of the bible. We don`t know whether He said it or not.
“Some manuscripts have it, some don`t”
This man evan makes fun of Judas,and says you would not evan call a dog that which got a ripple of laughter from the congregation. I don`t think this is very funny at all.
Where has John Piper is very good in what he say`s,and you can tell God is with him.
He puts his heart and soul into what he is saying and he is shattered at the end.

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