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.
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.
The human mind wants control. It brings arguments against Divine revelation. The argument is that you could be deceived if you look to God for Divine revelation. The reality is that there are only two alternatives to Divine revelation. One alternative is the fallen human mind, one’s own or other’s, that is deceitful and desperately wicked. The other alternative is demonic deception. The two alternatives to Divine revelation assure deception. Yet, the problem of Divine revelation is indeed discerning the difference between Divine revelation and these other sources. Both of these sources try to mimic Divine revelation or else to denigrate it.
Regarding Divine revelation, here are some of the arguments that are used by Secularists:
- Your own mind could be deceiving you.
- A demon could be deceiving you.
- You must process that Divine revelation using your own mind. You don’t get it directly.
As far as demons, they are real and they are deceptive—as is the human mind. For that reason, demons and the failings of human intellect are really the same problem. In fact, if Divine revelation depended on human intellect, we would indeed be lost. There would be no scientific progress, because there could be no knowledge at all. However, discernment is not a matter of intellect. It’s the matter of the sovereign impartation of something that is called “faith” to those who acknowledge God when He’s speaking.
To clarify, God defines “faith” for us. It is not conceptual. It’s part of reality. It’s absolute proof. It’s certainty. It is progressive. It gives access into God’s grace, which is the power of God for righteousness. Grace is the free gift of righteousness.
For these reasons, Neither Münchausen’s trilemma nor Descartes’ demon present a problem for Divine revelation. They do present a problem for theological positions that add anything to what God is saying. It’s very easy to make assumptions. Assumptions are often hidden with various smokescreens. Münchausen’s trilemma and Descartes’ demon do present a problem for all Secularists. In fact, as skeptics argue for disbelieving everything or disbelieving God, the skeptic falls prey to both the trilemma and the demon.
A chain of thought is only as strong as its weakest link. An assumption is an unknown that’s treated as a known. Assumptions have no place in a premise. To put them there is irrational.
Divine revelation is ongoing and progressive. God has revealed that if any person thinks he or she knows anything, that person doesn’t know it as it ought to be known. In other words, there is room for correction by the Holy Spirit. The entire issue of Divine revelation isn’t to prove one person right and another person wrong. Divine revelation has much more to do with having a relationship with God than being the one who is correct. In that relationship and in the humility and openness to correction of the human, the Holy Spirit with teach, correct, and lead.
As far as deception is concerned, we can all be deceived. God has promised that if we ask for bread (a type of Christ), God won’t give us a stone (a type of the human intellect). If we ask for a fish (a type of Christ), He won’t give us a serpent (a type of Satan). Yet, we do get confused. If we continue to seek God, He will lead and correct us. When we think that we’ve arrived or we think that we know certain things, we stop seeking Him. We become stiff necked and dogmatic. The Holy Spirit won’t force Himself on anyone, so we get spiritually stuck. We know many things, but we don’t know any of them as we ought. We need to be open to correction.
Jesus reveals Himself and His will. He reveals the history of the world through the Bible. He speaks this into your innermost mind. Only those who are rebellious and don’t want to follow Him will reject what He’s saying. Sometimes, they add to His words. Sometimes they negate His words. He will show them to be liars.
Add not unto his words, lest he reprove you, and you be found a liar. Proverbs 30:6
Revelational apologetics isn’t presuppositional, but revelational. It doesn’t depend on presuppositions or any other kind of suppositions. It depends on God. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths. Suppositions come out to the human intellect, the human heart. God forbids a vision out of our own hearts. He has all the vision we need. Let Him impart it. Then, go out and tell people about it. Let it shine out from you as He does His works of love through you. Sometimes you can say more without words if that’s how God is leading.
Divine revelation itself is like observation in a sense, but it’s very different in another sense. Observation depends on the human observer. Divine revelation depends on God.
So many people work to try to prove God’s existence to other people who don’t want God to exist. Every person knows that God exists. God reveals Himself to them through the things that He has created. They insist that He hasn’t. In the judgment, their arguments won’t stand. God knows that they have been willingly ignorant.
Rather than working so hard to prove God to people who love darkness, consider entering into the Spirit of Christ and becoming a point of His Light in a dark world. Let Him lead your every thought, word, and deed. Yield to His Spirit and let Him lead you beyond any theology that you may have learned. There are higher heights and deeper depths in Christ than we have ever imagined.
When assumptions are the basis of thought, the best you can have is opinion. A Secularist refuses to acknowledge God, so this rules out acknowledging Divine revelation. Yet, God is good and doesn’t allow all Secularists to die. God preserves them to allow them time to find Him. God reveals many things to Secularists, including the fact that He exists and that He judges evil, for instance. Secularists know, by Divine revelation, many things about good and evil. Yet, several differences exist between the way a Secularist reacts to Divine revelation and the way that a follower of Christ reacts to Divine revelation. While someone who is following Christ will acknowledge Christ as the source of all knowledge, the Secularist will assume that he or she has somehow deduced this knowledge through observation and take the glory for himself or herself. The person following Christ has the possibility to learning to discern the difference between that which his or her own mind fabricates and that which God reveals. The Secularist rejects God. Therefore, the Secularist believes that every interpretation of reality is based on human intellect. Interpretation adds to what can be observed, what God has revealed. For this reason, a Secularist can’t tell the difference between reality and fantasy.
I’m referring to made-up stuff as fantasy, since that’s what it is. Assumptions are fantasy. Bare assertions are fantasy. Circular reasoning is just a way to hide bare assertions, which are fantasy. False bravado is a way to hide bare assertions. Message control, which is carefully practiced on university campuses and among the scientific hierarchy, is a way to keep bare assertions from being exposed as being bare assertions. In fact, all logical fallacies are either some form of making stuff up or else they are ways to hide the fact that what’s being presented as “fact” is simply made-up stuff.
Consider a Secularist finding a fossil. The Secularist thinks of all the things that Secularist has learned about the rocks around the fossils and the age of the Earth and stories about molecules turning into people over time. The Secularist thinks that these are all facts. He or she was taught them as if they were facts. However, these so-called “facts” were derived using the same process that I’m about to define. If you think about this, it’s the way that most people try to reason.
Then, the Secularist tries to derive new learning from the fossil. The Secularist examines the fossil and comes to one or more conclusions about the fossil. The process is, “I am seeing this fossil and I observe [insert whatever the Secularist observes]. Therefore, [insert whatever the Secularist decides based on the Secularist’s worldview, a worldview based on all the previous learning that was based on the same kind of thinking].
The Secularist observes A. Then, the Secularist says that A means B. How does the Secularist know that A means B? Well, A means B because C is true. How does the Secularist know that C is true? C is true because of D. How does the Secularist know that D is true? Because of E, of course. This process goes on infinitely. There’s no way for a Secularist to prove a premise to be true. All Secularists can do is to hide the fact that they have no basis for thought. This is then called “science.”
Yet, we see many advances that are based on science. We see phones, cars, airplanes, and many other things. How can this be? Doesn’t this prove that Secularists can base thoughts on assumptions and find out things that are true and that work? No. It doesn’t prove any such thing. Let me explain.
Many years ago, God revealed the scientific method to scientists who were following Christ. They gave glory to God and discovered many things. Other scientists, who weren’t following Christ, were also able to use scientific method. God has revealed many things to humanity through scientific method. Revelation is true. The Secularist refuses to acknowledge God or to thank Him, so the Secularist can’t tell the difference between reality that has been revealed and fantasy that has been made up. Secularists can do science. They think that the many revelations that God has given, which make science possible, are simply assumptions. They call these revelations, “axioms.” Given these “axioms of science,” God reveals many things to Secularists using the scientific method. However, Secularists also tried to apply scientific method to things that can’t be observed, such as the past or the spiritual realm. As soon as the Secularists did this, the role of interpretation became much larger and the role of observation became much smaller. They distorted and misused the scientific method that God had revealed.
When checking to see if a certain engine design works well, interpretation plays a small role while repeated experimentation and observations plays a huge role. When calculating the age of the Earth, observations play a small role and interpretation determines the answer. The role of interpretation becomes huge. Those scientists who say the Earth is young and those scientists who say the Earth is millions or billions of years old are all observing the same things. The only difference is in interpretation. The Secularist intellect’s interpretation may contain some revelation, but it also contains speculation, which is made-up stuff. Some defend the use of assumptions using many irrational arguments. Some try to hide the fact that the entire thought-process is a house built on sand without a foundation.
There have been scientists who have given God the glory. In the process, they invited the Holy Spirit to be involved in their work. They asked Him to explain the things they were observing. As a result, many wonderful strides were made in science. No benefit has ever been gained through speculations about the past or speculations about the spiritual realm. God has, in His great mercy, revealed many things to scientists who were hindered by their worldviews and speculations. They weren’t granted those discoveries because of their speculations but in spite of their speculations.
In closing, let me say that the same principles apply in theology. Theologians can oppose each other fiercely while quoting from the Bible. The differences lie in the interpretations of Scripture. (pun intended) There are two ways to interpret Scripture. One is to allow the Holy Spirit to interpret it and to guide and to teach you. The other is to speculate. The human mind doesn’t have the ability to know the difference between reality (revelation) and fantasy (made-up stuff). This is actually the difference between good and evil. (Hebrews 5:14) The person who continually holds loosely to his or her theology and asks the Holy Spirit to reveal those beliefs that are false and to reveal the truth–that person who so humbles himself or herself will receive ongoing unfolding revelation of God’s will and of God’s knowledge. Since God is infinite and we are finite, this ongoing revelation is going to continue. We, as humans, must resist the urge to declare that our doctrine is the correct one. We must rather be open to the correcting influence of the Holy Spirit.
In all your ways, acknowledge Him. He has given the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth. Don’t be so sure that you currently have all truth. Hold your theology loosely enough that the Holy Spirit will be able to correct you if you’re wrong. Knowledge can only come through Divine revelation. Without Divine revelation, you can’t ever have proof for any statement or conclusion. Otherwise, how would you prove your proof. Yet, Jesus is with you everywhere you God. He is even in you; halleluia!