9/7/16 Collin about 40
What is one thing humans do that separates us from animals? We make excuses! At times I find myself saying things I hadn’t thought of before while reaching out with the Gospel, and this is what I told Collin, an atheist, in a friendly sidewalk conversation today. I went on to explain that even if animals could speak I find it hard to imagine them making excuses for immoral behavior. Yet one thing that makes us uniquely human is that we have an innate sense of accountability that causes us to want to appear to be good people and to make excuses when we are not.
Collin had been stating his belief that we are no different from animals, that we are without an eternal soul, without a Creator and without any kind of purpose outside ourselves. Yet he did claim to have a purpose for living. “All we leave behind is our legacy” he said, and he was adamant that it is important to leave a positive one. Why the concern for a positive legacy if there is no God and nothing matters?
Unlike animals, we have a conscience, as evidenced not just by our good behavior at our best but by also by our excuses at our worst. Our conscience “sometimes accuses us and at other times defends us” Paul wrote in Romans 1, and in so doing it shows itself to be an impartial judge or referee, existing independent of us, reminding us that we will be held accountable to God for our actions. True, all are at different levels of sensitizing or desensitizing ourselves to this unavoidable truth, but like when Adam and Eve realized they were naked and hid just after they ate from the forbidden fruit, we can run but we can’t hide from God. There will come “a day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:16) and on that day, claiming that we are no better than animals will be no excuse.