Thinking is Either Based on Made-Up Stuff or Divine Revelation
When people go beyond what God has revealed, the only option is making stuff up.
Someone may think that he or she can reason without Divine revelation. In fact, such claims are the norm. No one seems to want to think that human beings are dependent on God. This is a topic of great importance. It should be approached without emotion and with the covering of the Holy Spirit.
Not only Atheists, but Christians sometimes think that they can reason without Divine revelation. One such Christian tried to give the scripture by which he thinks that God gave is the ability to discern truth: “Sure, when the Bible tells us to give a defense, test prophecies, and, perhaps, follow the lead of Paul who debated with Greek thinkers on their turf in their terms.”
There’s no evidence of an absence of God’s leading in giving a defense, especially looking at the original language meaning of defense and the context of the verse. In fact, it seems as if we are to speak Christ Himself, the One Who lives within us. There’s no leaning on our own understanding when testing prophecies. There’s no implication that this is done with the fallen natural mind and the assumptions that it dreams up. There’s nothing that says that Paul wasn’t led by the Spirit and speaking by the power and authority of the Holy Spirit.
This particular conversation was centered on speculative theology. The main reason that any Christian would lean on his or her own understanding is defense of doctrines that are contrary to what God is saying. They find it beneficial to add to what God is saying or diminish what God is saying. So, they add assumptions and stories. They reason using speculation and conjecture. They divide brother against brother and sister against sister.
If you think that you can riddle out understanding with the human mind, can you give the Scripture by which you think that God gave us the ability to discern truth without receiving discernment from Him?
One of the most common debate tactics from both sides of the Creation-evolution debate is the fallacy of the ad ignorantiam question. For an Atheist who is depending on his or her own mind and knowledge of everything, the inability to answer a question is answered by, “science will find a way one day.” The inability to answer doesn’t disprove “evolutionism” or “no-Godism.” However, the inability to answer does mean that the Atheist ought to be a bit less dogmatic and open-minded to God. The Atheist who isn’t ready to come to Christ already knows that God exists and has made great effort to create a worldview the filters out God’s Voice because of the love for darkness rather than light.
For the person following Christ, it’s another matter. A person following Christ can say, “I don’t know.” The person following Christ hasn’t rationalized a reason to believe that the Bible is the Word of God. The Holy Spirit has revealed that the books of the Bible were selected by God the Holy Spirit moving through God’s people long ago. The Holy Spirit has been speaking to the Christ-follower through those Scriptures, and the Christ-follower isn’t reading dead letter. The Christ-follower is having an intimate, moment-by-moment experience with Christ.
I’ll add that the Christ-follower’s experience with Christ can’t be used to arm-wrestle the Atheist into submission, of course. However, apologetics is actually the flow of Jesus Christ through the follower of Christ to the unbeliever—or to the believer. When the follower of Christ is living and speaking, the testimony of Jesus Christ is the Spirit of prophecy. The unbeliever can receive this Spirit or not. If the Holy Spirit is rejected, Jesus Christ and the Father are being rejected. This is not a rejection of the Christ-follower.
Yet, all of this can be tested by the unbeliever if the unbeliever doesn’t refuse to look at the evidence. Whoever seeks Christ finds Christ. The believer can instruct the unbeliever in how to come to Christ. If the person is truly open-minded, that person will easily find Christ, and then they will know.
Faith is largely misunderstood. It’s thought to be a concept rather than reality. In fact, many Christians spend more time in make-believe faith than in real faith. Real faith is always initiated by God. The Holy Spirit reveals and teaches. If we are listening, God imparts His faith. God imparts His Divine certainty. This Divine certainty is absolute proof of the thing that God said.
Given the problem of the Münchausen trilemma, faith is the only way that anything can be known. Without faith, everything is opinion. If everything is opinion, then whoever has power is able to force others to bow to their opinions. Might makes right. This is why Secularists want control of educating other people’s children. They want to use power to enforce their opinions.
There are different kinds of belief.
People can make themselves believe in things. We call that make-believe. Some people use words like presupposition or assumption to describe this kind of belief. All logic must be based on some form of belief, either make-believe or real. For example, a person can make themselves believe in atheism, evolutionism, naturalism, materialism, or uniformitarianism–this is make-believe.
There is one type of belief that is different from the rest in that it is not human-generated but God-generated. This is the faith of God, and it only comes by hearing the utterance of God. No person can sincerely say that Jesus is Lord except by the faith of God, which is given by the Holy Spirit.
Jesus told Pilate that everyone who is on the side of truth hears Him. Another time, He said that His sheep hear His voice. For a true Christ-follower, hearing Christ’s voice is a continuous stream of revelation of reality, that is, truth, and it leads to more developed spiritual senses and better discernment over time. Today, if you hear His voice, don’t harden your heart as they did when God brought His judgment on Israel.
There are indeed many gods, but only one true God. There are people who worship demons (earth spirits, Hindu gods, etc.). Humanists worship humanity. Some people only answer to themselves so they become their own gods. Others follow such gods as pleasure, possessions, education, or power. Some Christians, even very religious ones, actually become disconnected from Jesus by failing to listen to His voice and obey Him. The true God is exclusive. Whoever seeks Jesus does find Him, and Jesus approaches every person. Some harden their hearts against Him and refuse to hear His voice. They argue against Him and try every mental maneuver to avoid Him. With these, God turns them over to their own natural mind, which is reprobate, deceitful, and desperately wicked.
Secularists often attack Christians who believe what God is saying about Creation as He speaks through Scripture. The flimflam is that Secularists imply that the issue is the Bible versus observation and reason. This is a total lie. The difference has to do with how reason is used to interpret observation. We all have the same observations. We interpret observations differently because we reason differently. Secularists must, by definition, reason without Divine revelation. That leaves only two foundations for their thoughts: (1) bare assertions, and (2) smokescreens to hide bare assertions. Everyone who is following Christ is being led and taught by the Holy Spirit moment by moment–though we don’t always follow as we ought. In any case, those who are following allow the Holy Spirit to interpret observation (also Scripture, events, and everything else) and receive this as Divine revelation from God. The real issue is Divine revelation versus made-up stuff.
That doesn’t mean that we don’t each have a natural mind that is every bit as irrational as the mind of the Secularist. It means that we sometimes have the option of getting it right, but only when we’re submissive to the Holy Spirit. It also means that as we draw near to God, He draws near to us, and we begin to have a better ability to discern between the mind of Christ and our own minds.
Strangely, I sometimes get push-back from Christians on this issue. When Christians have many theologies that depend on this same type of Secularist thinking, those Christians will not want to acknowledge the Holy Spirit and His leading. To do so would put the Christian’s worldview in jeopardy. However, we would all do far better to lay all our theologies and perceptions at the foot of the Cross. We can then let God continually correct us and allow the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth. If we claim to already know all truth, we become very resistant to the Holy Spirit when He tries to teach us.
Actually, Jesus is true wisdom. There is a worldly wisdom, but it’s unreliable, unfair, biased, and based on vapor. In 1 Corinthians 1:30, God informs us that He has made Jesus to be our wisdom. He also tells us that righteousness, holiness, and redemption are what wisdom is. So, Jesus is our righteousness. There is no righteousness without Him. Of course, we all know that. He is the One we receive when we’re born again. His Spirit then guides us moment by moment. When we yield to the Holy Spirit, God’s grace does His works through us. The faith that we received when God gave the guidance is the key to entering into God’s grace and doing God’s works. So, Jesus is the righteousness. Righteousness brings us to holiness. Holiness is a change in what we are. It is being formed into the image and likeness of Christ. Jesus is the righteousness, and He is the holiness. Redemption is being set free from sin and the sinful nature. Jesus is our freedom. Until we knew Him, we were slaves to sin. We could try to be righteous, but we could only be self-righteous.
The following article is actually an excerpt from the book “Reason.” This excerpt is posted here with permission.
The standard method of witnessing to a skeptic is to present various types of evidence (philosophical, scientific, historical, legal) and ask the skeptic to see if he or she can deny the existence of God while interpreting the evidence based on his or her worldview. A worldview is a powerful filter. The skeptic is easily able to interpret the evidence in a way that eliminates God by using the skeptic’s own worldview as a filter.
Because of the fact that, without Divine revelation, it’s impossible to prove any premise true, those who don’t receive Christ are never able to use a true premise in logic. Yet, they have to live life. They come to depend on assumptions, and making stuff up seems normal. Those who bother to give this thought either turn to Christ or develop a philosophy to deal with this. Since those philosophers can’t find a rational philosophy, they settle for an irrational philosophy and that begins to seem to be OK. It becomes part of the worldview that seems like reality and seems to be true. The skeptic is conditioned to base his or her reasoning on assumptions and stories, so the skeptic merely has to fabricate something to make the evidence fit the skeptics worldview. Most of the fabrications are already created, so the Secularist just needs a search engine. The Secularist doesn’t even need to think. Someone else has already made stuff up, and the Secularist uses that made-up stuff.
1 Corinthians 1:17-25 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
I’ve quoted 1 Corinthians 1:17-25 because it doesn’t agree with most of what is called evangelism. In the first part of this passage, “wisdom” and “understanding” are referring to human-generated wisdom and understanding. “. . . hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?” In the second-last sentence of the passage God is speaking about the wisdom and understanding that comes from God when He says, “Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” This wisdom is the Person of Christ.
“For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” The wisdom mentioned here is human-generated wisdom—which isn’t the wisdom of God. In the 30th verse of this same chapter, God says, “But of him [God] are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:” God has made Christ Jesus our wisdom. That wisdom consists of righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.
The term, “foolishness of preaching” sometimes confuses people. This foolishness must be understood in context of, “Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” The word, “preaching” is translated from the Greek word, “kerungma,” which means “a proclamation.” This isn’t preaching theology, excitement, or entertainment, but “we preach Christ crucified.” We proclaim Christ crucified. In this context, it means a proclamation of Christ crucified, not a proclamation about Christ crucified. “For the preaching . . . is the power of God.” “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God;” (1 Peter 4:11a) You are speaking the Christ Who was Crucified. Your words are infused with His Spirit. For every word you say, God commands you to allow His Holy Spirit to speak His Words through you by His Power. This kind of proclamation can only be made by yielding to the Holy Spirit. Anyone who hears this proclamation isn’t hearing you but is hearing God speak through you. Faith comes by this kind of hearing.
1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
This verse is often taken out of context. The command begins with sanctification. Righteousness leads to holiness or sanctification. Righteousness is a free gift from God that comes by grace through faith, but you must yield the members of your physical body to it. It’s part of the “wisdom of God” mentioned in 1 Corinthians 1:30. You must allow God to do His works through you moment by moment. That means you must be in His presence yielded to His will. This is the first step in giving an answer to everyone who asks you for a reason of the hope that‘s in you.
You are to give “an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you” The word that’s translated as “answer” is the Greek word, “apologia,” which means, “a reasoned response” or “a verbal defense.” Watch the context, though. The word that’s translated as “reason” is the Greek word, “logos,” again, which means “utterance.” “In the beginning was the Word (logos), and the Word (logos) was with God, and the Word (logos) was God.” John 1:1 This refers to Christ. Logos is also the Greek word from which we get the word, “logic.” When you speak, speak the Living Word, the Logos, the Christ.
“Hope,” in this sense, doesn’t have the same meaning as when Secularists use the word, “hope.” It’s not, “I hope so.” Real hope is a vision of coming reality from God. It’s the certain vision of your identity in Christ—in the Body of Christ—and how you’ll fulfill that vision if you’re faithful. To think of “hope” as “a concept” is the fallacy of anti-concreteness, since you are treating something that’s real as if it were a concept. In the context of this statement, the hope that’s in you is the Christ in you formed in your innermost mind. Christ isn’t concept. He is reality. He is truth.
The Scripture is literally as follows:
1 Peter 3:15 (literally translated) But be holy in the Lord God in your innermost minds, and be ready always to give a reasoned response, with a gentle spirit and deep respect, to every person who asks you for an utterance from God concerning the firm vision that’s in you of what God is going to do:
Understanding 1 Peter 3:15 in context, it confirms and elaborates on 1 Corinthians 1:17-25. The response is to be reasonable, but not based on human reason without Divine revelation. In fact, the reasoned response comes out of the Lord God in your innermost mind and it’s an Utterance from God. This is a response to a question someone asks you because of your holy walk with God. “Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts.” Holiness is noticed. People want to know what makes you tick. They notice when you’re keeping pace with the Holy Spirit. They can sense it by your very presence, since the Holy One of Israel abides in your being. You can sense His Presence and hear His Voice. They can sense a difference they don’t understand.
Some people say that the problem with Scripture is that it’s subject to differing interpretations. This isn’t a difficulty with Scripture. It’s a difficulty with the natural mind, the fallen human mind. This fallen human mind is deceitful and desperately wicked. It adds to God’s words without our awareness of what it is doing. Reality is subject to differing interpretations, but differing interpretations can’t change reality.
There have always been false prophets, and there is currently a struggle to know the difference between what God is saying and what our human minds are saying. However, we know Jesus Christ. We are sometimes like rebellious and impatient children sitting in the back seat asking, “Are we there yet?” and complaining to God about how long it’s taking. The human mind thinks that it’s about knowledge. It’s not. God’s purpose is about becoming. It’s about a transfiguration. This transfiguration takes place as love builds up. Love is the fulfillment of the law as the Love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost. God has asked us to keep walking with Him, listening to His Voice, and responding in submission. He’s in charge of the Divine revelation, the leading and teaching. We are responsible to acknowledge Him. We are His sheep. We know His Voice. The Atheists also know, but choose not to acknowledge Him. When we, who are His sheep, are deceived, it’s because we want to be deceived. God tells us that we sin when we are drawn into sin by our own desires. When our wills are different from God’s will, we may deceive ourselves so that we can do our own wills.
For instance, if a person who desires to be seen as an intellectual goes beyond what God has said, that person adds to God’s words. He or she isn’t in the dark about this. Such a person knows that God forbids adding to His words. Yet, the person does this and rationalizes away God’s warning and command.
What God has revealed is enough. Why try to expand the human mind to go beyond what God has said? The human mind isn’t capable of such a thing. In fact, the fallen human mind will only make stuff up. Made-up stuff isn’t truth. To make stuff up and claim that it’s true is to lie.
We know very little about the whole of reality. Our sphere where we can test things is very small. How do you test God and the spiritual realm?
Speculation is often dogmatically held and fiercely defended. Many fallacies are used to argue for the speculations. Often, appeal to fear is used, “If you don’t believe my speculative doctrine, then you aren’t even saved.” False dichotomies create extremely speculative illusions of a conflict in the revelation of Scripture. One such false dichotomy says that either the Scripture teaches fatalism or the Scripture teaches that God isn’t sovereign. Scripture teaches that God is sovereign. Therefore, it is claimed that no one can actually choose anything. It is taught that God is in total control of every decision that every person makes. All the Scripture that speaks of choosing–all such Scripture is rationalized away. Then, to add to the selling tactic, fear is used, and you are told that if you don’t believe this speculation, you aren’t saved. You ask why, and you are told that believe that you can accept or reject Christ is belief that you are earning your salvation by believing. Of course, this is a secondary speculation based on a misunderstanding of what belief/faith is and how belief/comes.
This is one of many such speculations. Consider the false dichotomy of Jesus-only, which asks, “Which is it, are there three gods or is God one. If you are serving three gods, you aren’t even saved.” Yet, the unity of the trinity is clearly in Scripture. Other speculations involve end-time predictions, the nature of what happened when Jesus died and rose again, and almost every other aspect of what God has revealed. The human mind seems to like to add to that revelation.
Doctrines that can’t be fully reconciled with Scripture are false teachings. It would be much better to say, “I don’t know,” than to dogmatically teach or believe something that goes beyond what God has revealed. Deuteronomy 29:29 always comes to mind.
Someone will claim that, without speculation, we can’t learn anything new. That’s not true. No new learning of truth can happen with speculation. Speculation muddies the water. If something new is to be known, God must reveal it. God may put on your heart to look at a certain Scripture. In the same way, God may lead a scientist to look into a certain part of His Creation. When God does this, He is starting the process of Divine revelation. Suddenly, He enlightens the mind and Scripture comes alive, or some part of Creation suddenly is known.
Another person will say that Divine revelation is flawed, because some people have claimed Divine revelation in the past and their claims have been false. That, again, isn’t a problem with Divine revelation. That is a problem of human speculation masquerading as Divine revelation. There are multiple examples of this in Scripture. Yet, the false prophets and false teachers never made the true prophets and teaches any less true. Jesus gave the key. Those who desire to do the will of the Father will know the difference. If we are drawn away by our own lusts, there’s a way back onto the path. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins. Forgiveness includes pardon, setting us back on the path, and sending sin away.
We are learning to Hear His Voice and to respond in submission. Divine revelation is from God to us. Our role is a passive role of receiving and acknowledging. God provides the discernment, but our natural mind tries to get involved and assert its own will and opinion. At each moment, the sheep do know Jesus’ Voice. They do know. They are without excuse. When they don’t want to do God’s will, they temporarily suppress the truth in unrighteousness. They end up doing things that they know they should not do. That doesn’t separate them from the love of God. It doesn’t cause them to be un-born-again. It takes them off the Path. Then, God opens the door to get back on the Path.