In a post that I did a couple days ago, I told about an atheist archaeologist converting to Christianity. This conversion took place after he had set out to disprove the book of Acts - http://thesauros-store.blogspot.com/2010/05/16-solution_21.html -
I asked people to think about what might have been the deciding factor in this man’s conversion. Hugo gave me an answer that I guess he thought was suitably ludicrous for an atheist. For when I didn’t immediately respond to his comment Hugo said, "You cannot possibly agree with the way I reasoned about him.”
Well, my response to it now is, Even an atheist can stumble onto the truth without knowing it.
You and I and everyone else have been in a similar situation to the former atheist archaeologist Ramsey. Evidence equal in quantity and quality has been placed before us.
You, Hugo, and others like you look at the evidence and see nothing of import.
I and Ramsey and others look at the same evidence and something dramatic happens. The "something dramatic" has happened TO us, not because of us.
It wasn't what Ramsey did that brought about the change. In fact Ramsey's desired outcome was exactly the opposite of what came about. "It does not depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy." Romans 9:16
The difference is exactly as you stated, Hugo. God intervened.
In Genesis 21 there is an account of Hagar being sent away with her son Ishmael. She and the boy are near death from lack of water.
Verse 19, “Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink.”
Nothing new had been created. She did nothing physical or intelligent to acquire the water. All she did was sit there and call out to her Creator.
The well had been there the whole time.
As happened to the archaeologist Ramsey and me and a couple billion other people, God opened Hagar’s eyes.
The evidence for God’s existence has been right in front of all of us for 14 billion years. In fact, humans have come on the scene at the only time in history (in a cosmological sense of timing) to be able see almost all the way back to the beginning. No one is without excuse when it comes to denying the existence of Creator God. Yet, atheists look straight into this evidence and see nothing.
In fact atheists say, "What evidence?" Many of them are flat out serious.
They can be staring straight at everything they need for life and salvation and see nothing. They are spiritually blind, as well as theologically dull of mind and slow of thought. The blindness however is of their own doing, their own making, their own desire. It is a self-willed blindness. A self-willed inability to think and discern.
God has known from before the founding of the universe who would and who would not accept His offer of forgiveness. For those who will accept, God uses all manner of circumstance to move them toward the day of salvation. As with the archaeologist Ramsey, God will even use their determination to demolish the truth of the Bible as a means of bringing them to salvation.
For those who will not accept His offer of forgiveness, God uses all manner of circumstance to move them farther and farther along the road to their desire to be eternally separated from Him. God will even use an atheists reading of the Bible itself to foster in these people a disbelief that they cannot overcome.
As Pascal once said, “God has given us just enough evidence so that those who are looking for Him will be able to find Him. And He has given us just enough evidence so that those who do not want to find Him will not be able to find Him accidentally.”