The Bible uses many strong terms to describe unbelief, including hardening, twisting, blindness, deafness, unnaturalness, lies, deception, folly, rebellion and madness, but none repays reflection more than Paul’s phrase in Romans.
At the heart of sin and disobedience, Paul says, is a flagrantly deliberate and continuing act of violence to truth. Sin and disobedience lay hold of truth, grasp it roughly, and will not let it be what it naturally is or say what it naturally says. In this way, the deliberate dynamic of unbelief is to suppress the truth, stifle truth and hold truth hostage. What may be known about God, Paul says, is quite evident still, but it is adamantly denied by the determined act of will that is sin and unbelief.
Furthermore, unbelief abuses truth in these ways:
- It abuses truth through a deliberate act of suppression. Unbelief seizes truth, grasps it roughly, silences its voice and twists it away from God’s intended purpose.
- Unbelief abuses truth through a deliberate act of exploitation. Unbelief not only suppresses the real truth and twists it away from God’s true ends, but wrests it toward its own ends and its own agenda.
- Unbelief goes further still and abuses through a deliberate act of inversion. Unbelief not only suppresses truth and exploits it for its own ends, but seizes it and turns it completely upside down, inside out and the wrong way around, and then holds it there for its own purposes.
- Unbelief abuses truth through a deliberate act of deception that ends its own self-deception. Unbelief seizes God’s truth, twists it away from God’s purposes and toward its own, and is therefore forces to deny the full reality of the truth it knows.
Taken from Os Guinness’ book A Fool’s Talk: Rediscovering the Art of Christian Persuasion.