Is there evidence in the Torah of people who did not believe in Hashem or any other god(s)? I am specifically inquiring of those who believed in what today would be called science or atheism/secularism. It seems that the bible refers only to believers of faith whether monotheistic or polytheistic. In other words, when did total rejection of faith and acceptance of scientific or atheistic belief exclusive of G-d or gods develop? Since it is said that Adam believed in G-d, it appears faith was part of creation. By whom and when (if ever) was faith rejected according to scripture?

  • I don't understand what you're looking for. You seem to already be aware that atheism/secularism didn't really exist (though materialism did, see Isaiah 22:13, for example) so are you asking for where the Bible may have predicted a phenomenon that didn't yet exist in its own time? Commented Nov 24, 2014 at 5:56
  • @matt I am not sure if the Torah did or did not address non-believers in G-d or gods. That is essentially what I am asking. If what you are saying is true, that atheism/secularism did not exist during biblical times, then your response answers my question. But are you sure that the Torah never mentioned or implied people who did not believe in G-d or gods? Concerning Isaiah, there seems to be other incidences of materialism in the bible but materialism does not preclude faith in G-d or gods. I am seeking evidence of total rejection of faith, and just what those people believed instead.
    – JJLL
    Commented Nov 24, 2014 at 6:15
  • One more thing Matt. I am not sure why you state that you don't understand what I am asking. Your response clearly says that you do! But to clarify, Adam's belief in Hashem did not mean that pagans were not later identified in the Torah. So I still am asking, but rephrasing, was there any mention in Torah of atheists or people who explained spiritual phenomenon using early scientific methodology?
    – JJLL
    Commented Nov 24, 2014 at 6:27
  • I didn't understand the last sentance of your question, but now I think I do Commented Nov 24, 2014 at 6:27
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    ...though I don't really understand what you mean by 'scientific methodology'. The most 'scientific' thing in the Bible is that God's power is proven by experiment (such as in Numbers 16:29-30 and Kings I 18:24) Commented Nov 24, 2014 at 6:32

2 Answers 2


On the whole, even the wicked people (or idolators) of the Bible do believe in some form of theism, even if not monotheism or the God of Israel, יקוה. To quote the Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception on "Atheism":

The theoretical objection to the idea of the existence of god(s) is beyond the intellectual world of ANE [Ancient Near East] and HB/OT [Hebrew Bible/Old Testament]

Thus, the Bible doesn't speak about atheism or secularism as a widespread phenomenon or something worth warning about. Having said that, though, there do seem to be a few stray references to those 'fools' or 'wicked people' who deny the existence of any God, though some interpret this to specifically be a rejection of the God of Israel.

For example, there's Psalm 14:1 and Psalm 53:2

אָמַר נָבָל בְּלִבּוֹ אֵין אֱלֹהִים - The fool hath said in his heart: 'There is no God' (JPS translation)

and similarly Psalm 10:4, regarding the wicked

רָשָׁע- כְּגֹבַהּ אַפּוֹ בַּל-יִדְרֹשׁ; אֵין אֱלֹהִים כָּל-מְזִמּוֹתָיו - The wicked, in the pride of his countenance [saith]: 'He will not require'; all his thoughts are: 'There is no God.'

  • Thank you Matt. As I stated elsewhere, before marking your answer as "answered" I would like to give it some more time to see if there are any additional insights. As it is almost 2.30 AM in NYC, I don't think there are that many mi yodeyaites up now. I got to wake up at 5 to get to work so I am going to try to get a couple hours of sleep. Boker Tov.
    – JJLL
    Commented Nov 24, 2014 at 7:26
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    @JJLL FWIW, the common term is "Yodeyan".
    – Scimonster
    Commented Nov 24, 2014 at 8:02
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    @Scimonster FWIW, it was suppose to be funny.
    – JJLL
    Commented Nov 24, 2014 at 11:03

The Midrash Rabah on parsha Bereishis:

And Cain said to Hevel: "…There is no Judge and judgment and no World-to-Come and no reward for the righteous and no recompense for the wicked…


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    Midrashim like this appear in multiple places about multiple people (Nimrod, Eisav, etc.) but this isn't in the Bible Commented Nov 24, 2014 at 7:17
  • @ray. Does this suggest that Cain lacked faith in G-d?
    – JJLL
    Commented Nov 24, 2014 at 7:23
  • @JJLL sounds good
    – ray
    Commented Nov 24, 2014 at 18:24

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