There is buried deep in our soul echoes of our former innocence, the desire for God, whether interpreted correctly or not; it includes the faded memory of the eternal purpose of our existence. While many substitute other things for that fundamental aspiration, those replacements are always mere shadows of the reality of God, even for those who deny his existence. The substitutes never satisfy the deeply embedded longing, usually forcing an escalating attempt at quieting the ongoing echo of our connection to the missing ground of our existence, in whom, as Paul noted to the Greeks gathered at the Areopagus, we live and move and have our being.
The Psalmist explained it.
Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.
For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there were none of them. Psalm 139: 7-16
We cannot escape God, even by denial. There is no where to go. Undoubtedly there are those who think that they can embrace hell as the final escape from God. Yet, the psalmist says that even in Sheol, which stands for both death and hell, the echoes of his presence are still there. The longing remains.
As a result, there is really only one question: will you fill that emptiness with its only true reality, God, or will you eternally lament the undying ache? Your choice.