Summary: There are only two approaches to God: crowd out or cry out.
Godlessness is easier than you may think. You don’t have to murder, steal, or commit adultery. In fact, you can maintain a sterling Christian reputation while living a life completely devoid of the influence of Jesus Christ. To live a godless life all you need to do is leave God out of the picture. You can believe in His existence, but don’t bring Him into your day to day living and … viola … godlessness.
Take the cursed line of Cain for example. Were they practicing anything we’d label evil? No way! Cain built a city and named it after his son. Nothing wrong with that. Jabal raised livestock and lived in tents. Maybe he was the first environmentalist. Nothing wrong with that. Jubal gave us the gift of music. Tubal-Cain advanced our technology. See anything bad in their efforts? Not at all! Even Lamech, the hardcore great, great, great grandson of Cain, was respectable by our standards. He never cheated on his two wives. He did encourage vengeance for any wrongs committed against himself. He’d fit in quite well with our culture. After all, we lap up movies and TV shows where the bad guy gets what’s coming to him. America is a personal injury paradise. Nothing wrong with that is there?
Nope. There’s nothing about these people that you could say was overtly evil. They demonstrate how easy godlessness can be. Did you notice what was missing from all their activity? God. He’s no where to be seen in their planning or purpose. They simply lived their lives without Him. That’s a-theism, without God. They believed God existed. But they were practical atheists. They knew God, but didn’t allow Him in their day to day lives. That’s godlessness. See how easy it is?
You can be godless and get along well in life. You can be godless and raise a great family, build a successful career, and be labeled a good person living a good life by most people. Heck, if you’re skilled or wealthy enough, you could probably be godless and lead a church committee or two. The only drawback is the emptiness of godlessness. Your life will have had no purpose or lasting value and you will feel it. Even worse, you will stand before Christ, who you said you believed in, and say something like: “Lord, Lord, didn’t I prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?” But because you did them without God’s authorization and power He will respond: “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” (Matthew 7:22-23)
“But wait!” you’ll say, “I didn’t do evil things. I followed the 10 commandments. I served. I tithed. I read the Bible. I attended church regularly. I wasn’t an evil person.” Maybe not evil by most people’s definition, but evil by God’s standard. Evil is godlessness. Living a good life without God is godlessness and, therefore, evil.
In the Genesis account there was only one thing that separated the godless, cursed line of Cain from the godly line of Seth. It was their approach to the Lord. There are only two approaches to God: crowd out or cry out. This is one of those cases where you really have to dig to derive any application from the scriptures. Seth’s descendants began to “call on the name of the LORD” while Cain’s crowded Him out with a whole lot of activity. Those who cry out to God are the godly. Those who crowd out God are the godless, evildoers. Psalm 14:4 makes this concept clear: