Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall." Proverbs 16:18
In "Against the Heathen," early Church Father Athanasius reveals that pride and haughtiness preceded pre-flood man's fall into idolatry and paganism. A haughty spirit led them to make light of the higher, unchanging things of the personal Creator, and deliberately disregarding what they knew to be true they began to seek in preference things in the lower or natural dimension. Thus they fell into worship of energies, elements, autonomous self, sexual pleasures and acquisition of status and things to the living God and higher things.
The truth as to evil said Athanasius,
"....is that it originates, and resides, in the perverted choice of the darkened soul" which, "materialized by forgetting God" and engrossed in lower things, "makes them into gods," and thereby "descends into a hopeless depth of delusion and superstition," whereby "they ceased to think that anything existed beyond what is seen, or that anything was good save things temporal and bodily; so turning away and forgetting that she was in the image of the good God, she no longer... sees God the Word after whose likeness she is made; but having departed from herself, imagines and feigns what is not (and then) advancing further in evil, they came to celebrate as gods the elements and the principles of which bodies are composed...." (Against the Heathen, New Advent)
Having descended into delusion and superstition they imagined that "all that exists" is the natural dimension — a divine One Substance, watery abyss, chaos, or void, primordial matter, serpent powers, forces, and deterministic laws, all of which they celebrated and attributed miraculous powers to.
This is naturalism which is the belief that there is neither living, personal God nor heavenly realm outside of the space-time dimension.
Most nature worshippers resented Christianity. Thus the advent of Christian theism brought not only accusations of atheism but persecution and sadistic torture. Followers of the Way, as Christians were first known, were atheists with respect to their committed disbelief in and rejection of naturalism and its’ nature philosophies, Mysteries, natural and occult sciences, dehumanizing evolutionary cosmogonies and nature deities comprising the Greek and Roman pantheons.
Eventually, Western civilization and America rose to heights of unprecedented individual freedom, prosperity, and glory on the wings of Christianity. But from the Renaissance to our own age a still unfolding and spreading rebellion against the God of the Bible eventuating in the declaration of His death during the Enlightenment has killed the soul of Western and American civilization and reversed the meaning of atheism.
Today the term atheism once again denotes commitment to a concept of the universe (nature) that is open to anything but the God of the Bible. Just like the pre-flood generations, modern evolutionary atheists and their pantheist counterparts are naturalists. Therefore, whatever oddities nature brings before us, for example, meaning, laws, dreams, demons, voices speaking into minds, mind itself and extraterrestrials, it must always be nature alone that has somehow produced them.
Only the natural dimension is allowed, thus evolutionary materialist Dr. Scott Todd wrote in the science journal 'Nature:'
"Even if all the data point to an intelligent designer, such a hypothesis is excluded from science because it is not naturalistic." (Naturalism in the Light of Reality, Robert Gurney, creation.com, June 14, 2012)
Todd is not a voice of reason. He is not a seeker of truth but one who conceals truth. Todd is a prevaricator, an agent of falsehood fueled by will-to-power.
Early conservative intellectual Richard Weaver foresaw this eventuality. In his book, "Ideas Have Consequences," (1945) Weaver writes that 14th century Western man had made an "evil decision" to abandon his belief in the transcendent God and universals and thus the position that "there is a source of truth higher than, and independent of man..." The consequences of the rejection of "higher things" were catastrophic:
"The denial of everything transcending experience means inevitably...the denial of truth. With the denial of objective truth there is no escape from the relativism of 'man is the measure of all things." (The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America, George H. Nash, pp. 32-33)
The brilliant visionary, Robert Hugh Benson (1871-1914), an English Catholic priest saw through the scientific pretensions of one-dimensional natural science and its' primary doctrine, evolutionary theory. Benson predicted that naturalism and evolutionary thinking would prepare Westerners and Americans not only to embrace but to worship and adore Antichrist, for this human-god (Mr. Felsenburgh) is the first perfected product of nature and evolutionary forces. Mr. Felsenburgh has arisen and he is,
"....the first perfect product of that new cosmopolitan creation to which the world has labored throughout its history..." (p 85)
He transfixes men, and they excitedly declare they have seen,
"...the Son of Man,' the 'Savior of the world,' we knew Him in our hearts as soon as we saw Him, as soon as He stood there. It was like a glory around his head (and now we) understand it all... It was He for whom we have waited so long; and He has come, bringing Peace and Goodwill in His hands." (pp. 85, 89)
It divided people. Original sin made men feel guilty and the Ten Commandments made self-love, covetousness, envy and unrestrained libido into sins. But now Jehovah is finally gone. Liberated men are now free to declare that He never existed at all except as a hideous nightmare. Now at long last man's natural Savior has arisen:
"The reign of God has really begun (and) we are all partakers of God" because God is in everything, including all men...."Jehovah has fallen. He is in His grave." In His place is the evolved Son of Man, a god indeed and a man as well..."a god because human and a man because so divine." (ibid, pp. 93, 95)
The moral of the story is threefold. First, just because men have declared the death of God does not make it so. Contrary to the wishful thinking of man, reality is not within the unrestrained imagination of man but outside of and beyond reach of man. Jehovah God is Ultimate Reality, which means that reality (i.e., heaven, hell) is unaffected by the vain reasoning of man. Pre-flood generations learned these lessons the hard way. And finally, the man who refuses to submit to his Creator and willingly rejects His offer of salvation by grace will submit to the devil.