Psalm 14:1 – “No God”

I think many of us know Psalm 14:1 by heart: “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” But apparently I did not know the meaning of this verse by heart. Actually the two words, “there is” are not in the Hebrew text. The verse should more accurately be translated: “The fool says in his heart, ‘No God.’” It’s not that the fool does not believe in God’s existence but that for him/her God is unnecessary. As Lawson writes,

“The term is a synonym for sinner, and it describes everyone who has no place for God in his or her life. The fool’s problem is that his heart refuses the knowledge of God. To be sure, he is not an intellectual atheist, denying the existence of God, but a practical atheist, living as if there were no God (Pss. 53:1; 74:18,22; Isa. 32:6).”  [Holman Old Testament Commentary: Psalms 1-75, p. 75]

16 thoughts on “Psalm 14:1 – “No God”

  1. Hi tony Are you sure your in the right place?This is for atheist not religious people.Shame on you.You are wasting your time.i do not need your god.I am a very happy and healthy 70 year old with a good mind.My power comes from me not outside myself.I am sorry you are such a sinner.I fine most religious people to be weak.i love atheist people,they are strong and responsible.Not a begging bone in thier body.Your going to teach your children to be weak like you.What a waste.Good luck in life you will need it. shirley

  2. Shirley,

    I am saddened to hear this. No doubt in the coming few years your health will begin to fail. This is a good reminder that in ourselves we will ultimately fail (myself included). Living daily by faith in the sovereign God is the source of all my strength to succeed as I do in this world. I am confident, bold, aspiring and intellectually successful. And there are many more Christians that are superior in intellect and success. Shirley, please reconsider your conclusions and keep an open mind to those that differ and especially those who are pleading with you to consider differently. True and enduring strength is found in weakness.
    Please consider downloading and reading the free book, Come Unto Me from the right column of this blog for more information on the bible’s message.

    Praying for you,

    Tony

  3. Hi! I stumbled across this page, by what I thought was an accident. Tony, your words are extremely inspiring. And Shirley, your heart seems to be very strong. God loves you, and is waiting for you. I will be praying for you.

    Your friend, in Christ,

    Cat

  4. There is a grammatical matter that is generally overlooked in comments on this (and its parallel in Psalm 53): “The fool” is singular. The next part is plural, with “they” supposedly refers to the fool as its precedent. Whether in English or in Hebrew, there must be agreement in number between a term and and it precedent. This is not the case in these verses.
    There is only one term that qualifies as a plural, and that is the Hebrew translated as “God,” and that word is “elohim.” It is the plural of “elohe.” But why would “elohim” be considered corrupt and not doers of good?

  5. Could the solution of the singular and plural usage be something like the following? A person who says “no” to God is a fool. These kinds of people are corrupt morally and their works are abhorrent. Not a one of such kind does good in the sense of pleasing God.

  6. I know this passage, it is one of my favorites. But not many have the courage to say the whole thing. Psalm 14:1 goes further and states that people who say “no god” are corrupt, their deeds are abominations, and that none of them can do good. I have yet to meet the person who can quote the full passage.

  7. Wouldn’t Christians be angry if there was such a thing as a collective book for Atheists and in one of its verses, it said:

    “The fool hath said in his heart, There is a God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.”

    Maybe now you understand why such passages in your Bible are offensive to all those who do not believe in the Bible’s deity.

  8. It would be illogical for an atheist to be offended by a law or judgement given from something or someone that doesn’t exist. If there is no God, as an atheist would believe, then there is no reason to be so angered by a book that claims to be written by this God who does not exist. Is it wrong then for someone who believes to consider this truth? If so, by whose law do YOU judge? Your own? It should hold no power over you; you don’t believe it. The fact that it angers you is evidence that there is more than a shadow of a doubt lurking behind your infallible human logic. The fact that you are judging reveals a system of morality that you have tried to impose on the world. The only difference between you who refuse to believe in God, and us who do believe, is where we derive our compass regarding truth. We are not so arrogant as to regard ourselves as the center of the entire universe.

  9. To believe or not…. mmm, good question! But… does it really matter if there is a God or not?? If we are inteligent enough to enjoy the time we have in this life… that is what matters! Feel good with yourself and do good to others will assure happiness most of the time…
    So, why to fight for a question that will never be responded? Perhaps when we die we will know… but that is not of our business today, cause we are alive! If do no harm to others or yourself you have nothing to fear, does it sound logic??
    Live everyday as it is your last one! That is my religion!!!

  10. The Bible says, God is love. The Originator of love. We all want to be loved. Without God, or shall I correcty say, if this earth is a place where there is love and God is here (love is here because God is here) would it make sense that if God were not here love would not be here either. And of coarse, all the good things that come with love: compassion, good will, forgiveness, etc.
    It’s a shame to not want God but want what is God: love (which includes everything that is love)
    As a human, when someone wants things that I can give (I’m a weathly man) and does not want me, actually despises me, hates me, loathes me, curses me, enjoys my houses, food, pools, hot tubs, cars, mini bikes, my camping grounds, my hiking grounds, my gifts of money, etc., and I, despite the hate, give them of what I have: You can see God

    Tom

  11. I enjoyed reading the comments concerning the passage in Ps 14. The Strongs defines “fool” as Nabal meaning stupid or wicked. Interesting in it self. A fool is stupid or wicked based upon the text. The word “they” in the rest of Ps 14 refer back to the fool. I am a big fan of Chares Spurgeon, his works “The Treasury of David” (based entirely on the book of Psalms) is probably the best work in terms of understanding and application of the Psalms. His, Surgeons’ insights are without refute. Here is the opening to his commentary:

    “The fool.” The Atheist is the fool pre-eminently, and a fool universally. He would not deny God if he were not a fool by nature, and having denied God it is no marvel that he becomes a fool in practice. Sin is always folly, and as it is the height of sin to attack the very existence of the Most High, so is it also the greatest imaginable folly. To say there is no God is to belie the plainest evidence, which is obstinacy; to oppose the common consent of mankind, which is stupidity; to stifle consciousness, which is madness.

    I apologize for the long quote, but I felt that it was necessary to make the point.

  12. Steve, what an excellent comment. I am amazed by those, like you said, that get offended by Ps 14:1 ad yet claim there is no God. Why get upset, why fear? Because deep down in there heart, that place that Solomon calls eternity, the place reserved only for God, they do not want God to be real and fight the truth tooth and nail. If you ask an atheist why he/she doesn’t believe, they either have no answer or it is illogical. For instance, “free thinkers”, what cracks me up about that is to be free one must have been in bondage. If they are free to think, ironically, they actually closed off rational thinking to remove or displace God from the position He created in their heart in the first place. So what were they in bondage to? According to the word of God, unless someone has received salvation, they are still servants to sin. Contrast Rom 6:16 and Rom 6:22, the difference in whom service is given. Whether we like it or not, one is either a servant to sin which leads to eternal death (separation from God in Hell) or become free to serve God unto everlasting life. I chose the latter.

  13. So how do you God does not exist? Have you examined all the evidence, do you just know, are you looking for tangable evidence? Or is there a fear deep withing your heart that if He does exist that you would have to change those things you hold so dear? It is easy to say something and hope that it isn’t true. The Bible is either 100% false or 100% true. Think it through, you would have to have faith on both accounts, right? One can not say without proof that the Bible and it’s contents are false. We know it is true by personal evidence’s, and by the fulfillment of His promises. To try and refute that would be like trying to tell someone that is in love with someone, “your not in love.” Our personal testimony is one of the best evidence’s we have that tells us that God is real and we live our lives as such. And it is part of a bigger picture of the many blessings God bestows upon us. Can you then disprove who I was before Christ, or are you like many that just say it is a delusion?Then the question becomes, who is really delusional? Because you do not know or even understand God Allmighty as we do, your indignation is understandable. If you could only, for one moment open your heart, set aside your presuppostions and biased opions and ask God to make Himself real, and seek it, then, who knows. There isn’t much space here for a Gospel message. If you want to talk more, in a mature fashion, not trying to debate or argue, I hate arguing, I would be happy to talk with you.

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