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.
John 1 Berean Study Bible
1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning. 3Through Him all things were made, and without Him nothing was made that has been made. 4In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
The Witness of John
6There came a man who was sent from God. His name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify about the Light, so that through him everyone might believe. 8He himself was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light.
9The true Light who gives light to every man was coming into the world. 10He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him. 11He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12But to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God— 13children born not of blood, nor of the desire or will of man, but born of God.
The Word Became Flesh
14The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
15John testified concerning Him. He cried out, saying, “This is He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because He was before me.’”
Jesus Christ isn’t a theology, concept, or any other sort of unreal supposition. He’s real. We who follow Him know He’s real because we know Him. He leads, teaches, and corrects us moment by moment. Skeptics don’t have to take our word for it. Anyone who seeks Christ finds Christ so they will find out that Christ is real if they simply seek Him in sincerity. Everyone who truly wants to do the will of God receives discernment to know what comes from Christ as opposed to what comes from other sources.
It’s important to know the difference between what we observe and what we imagine. We must do the same with the Bible. We must discern between the vision that the Holy Spirit is revealing through the Bible and what our imagination is adding to the Bible. The human mind is deceitful and desperately wicked beyond our ability to understand. Fortunately, the Holy Spirit provides this discernment. Being almighty, He has no trouble revealing the truth clearly to whoever will yield to Him. We need the Holy Spirit. We only run into trouble when we try to lean on our own ability to understand or when we’re drawn off the path by our own desires.
Nothing can be observed that tells us the age of the earth in any sense. The many indicators vary from a few thousand to billions of years, but they all depend on assumptions. Assumptions consist of made-up stuff. So they all depend on circular reasoning.
Though the Bible seems to indicate an age of a few thousand years, we can’t even declare the universal negative that billions of years didn’t happen. Though there’s no evidence for it, and nothing in Scripture suggests it, there could be something we don’t know. Of course, we also can’t say for certain that God didn’t make a planet inhabited by flying spaghetti monsters. Funny how people want to argue about the age of the earth but not about flying spaghetti monsters.
God has been working with me for several decades concerning how we can know anything about anything. In fact, He’s purged me over the decades.
Here’s what I believe He has taught me. All knowledge and wisdom are hidden in Christ Jesus. Jesus Christ is the truth. Everyone who’s on the side of truth listens to Him. His sheep hear His voice. Sound logic (reason) requires a true (truth) premise. The human mind is deceitful and desperately wicked beyond what we can understand. Christ in us is righteous and holy beyond our understanding. Christ in us can’t sin or be wrong. In His presence, all my arguments are shattered. Our flesh can do no righteousness. Nor can we trust it. At each moment, we choose which one we follow. If Christ didn’t say it, and we believe it, we’re in sin. When we lean on our own understanding, we fall into sin. When we acknowledge Him in all our ways, He directs our paths. Once we add something to our worldviews (fake realities in our minds), that something becomes a stronghold in our minds. It seems more real than reality itself. Whatever is in conflict with our worldviews seems to be against all common sense. It seems insane. God has provided spiritual weapons (not the deceitful and wicked human mind) to demolish our strongholds.
I’m finding God’s process to be one where the Holy Spirit is constantly correcting me and showing me that my long-held beliefs are carnal. One at a time, He demolishes me as I remain in a state of repentance and submission. I don’t see this process ending soon.
Commenting on one of the areas of contention during the Nye-Ham Debate. This is important because it applies universally. How can we know anything about anything? God has revealed many truths through Scripture, but how do we know that Scripture is true? We know by divine revelation. God reveals.
God has a leading, teaching, or correction at every moment of our lives. We may not listen very often, but when we do, He imparts His faith for some work that He wants to do through us if we will yield ourselves to it. As we yield to Him, the Holy Spirit builds Christ in us, and our fleshly nature loses some of its grip on us.
We humans are three-part beings, spirit, mind/soul, and body. The mind isn’t the brain. The brain and nervous system are part of the body. God created our spirits to rule over our minds/souls and our souls/minds to rule over our bodies. We must worship God in spirit and in truth. God deals with us through our spirits, so we sometimes know things without having a naturalistic way of knowing how we know. We might call it a gut feeling or intuition. The real problem is discerning between the voice of God, our own mind, or demonic beings. However, for those who truly want to do the will of God, they know. It’s when we want to do our own wills that we become confused.
It seems that God always speaks to us through our spirits, but He will usually affirm any important truth through several means. One of those means is the Bible. There may be exceptions, but it seems that one of the means is always the Bible on important issues. He speaks to our spirits through the Bible. Our spirits convey the revelation to our minds as we direct our minds toward Christ in willing submission. Another person, e.g. a skeptic, atheist, postmodernist, or Wiccan, may read the same Scripture without acknowledging Christ and come up with a totally different interpretation.
That’s how we know that the Bible is the word of God without error. We know by the Spirit through what some people call intuition. Then, the Holy Spirit confirms this truth through many external and irrefutable signs–not that skeptics won’t keep trying to discredit God and His word. It’s divine revelation. That’s how we know.
But this debate between Bill Nye, who was representing ungodliness, and Ken Ham, who was representing godliness, was supposed to be a debate about Biblical creation. It turned out to be a debate about how reality can be known. It was about how we can know the truth. In this part of the debate, they concentrated on the difference between observations and made-up stuff. It’s easy to challenge the validity of made-up stuff, but ungodly thinkers rely on made-up stuff for the basis of their thinking, so they tend to defend the idea of making up stuff and calling the made-up stuff true. Of course, they won’t say it that way. They’ll talk about making “obvious assumptions.” They’ll talk about “axioms” that they can “reasonably use as facts.” It’s made-up stuff, and they’re calling made-up stuff truth.
We just challenged the Bible and said that we know it’s true because God reveals that it’s valid. Did you know that some people don’t believe that observations are valid? Postmodernism opposes observations. Skepticism opposes observations. Hindus and Buddhists generally believe that what we observe is just part of a dream of Brahma. There are others who feel the same way. We can’t prove, by observation, that observation is valid or that there is a material reality. However, God reveals that there is both a material and a spiritual reality. He reveals this fact in the same way that He reveals that the Bible is true and without error.
Wars about Words
Let’s agree that definitions or labels prove nothing. We’ll go down this path, but only for the exercise. We can observe something, and we can make up a story about something we observed. The story is different from the observation. Suppose we both see the same something. Suppose we each make up our own story about it and our stories conflict with each other. Should we be dogmatic about our stories since we made them up? Suppose that God said one thing and we told a different story; will we allow God to correct us?
The Real Difference and Dropping the Definition Games
The Nye-Ham debate gave the illusion that the disagreement is about terminology and definitions. That isn’t the issue. In fact, focusing on the words and redefining words is part of the deception. It’s part of a red herring fallacy powered by a definist fallacy. This tactic is common. For example, when the atheists realized that they were committing a fallacy by declaring the universal negative, “there is no God,” they redefined “atheist” to be something close to “agnostic.” They then claimed that they just didn’t have enough evidence to have belief. As another example, we used to call political correctness “the new morality,” and we called the new morality “immorality” before that. These are but two examples of redefinitions, but Satan has orchestrated many such changes.
Let’s focus on the realities and the real difference rather than the definist fallacies. What we’ve been calling “historical science” expands on observations of operational/observational science by adding made-up stuff to the observations. The term “historical science” is actual a package deal fallacy in that it combines observation, historical storytelling, and historical divine revelation without making a distinction between the three. The observations aren’t an issue, but the made-up stuff is a serious issue.
Observation is one thing. A story about observation is a different thing. However, if we ignore the terms, the difference is really between observations and stories about observations. Scientists observe the physical world on the one hand. Scientists observe the physical world and then make up stories about they observe on the other hand. Can we see the difference between observation and stories about observation? Yes. Can we see the difference between accurately reporting what we’ve seen versus making up stories that go beyond what we’ve seen? Absolutely! Stories consist of made-up stuff. Observations, though imperfect, are more reliable than made-up stories.
The discussion of the two kinds of science clouded the major questions:
What’s the best basis for interpreting observations?
What’s the best starting point for reason?
The discussion of just observation without purposely adding made-up stuff versus purposely adding made-up stuff to observation does center on these two major questions of the debate. Those who follow Christ say that the best starting point for reason is God’s revelation, but ungodly thinkers say that the best starting point for reason is assumption, which is the art of adding made-up stuff to observations. Sadly, some Christians also say that we must base all reason on assumptions or presuppositions.
Either assumption or divine revelation is necessary for what we’ve been calling “historical science.” We can observe, but we can’t reason beyond our observations without adding information. That information has to come from somewhere. We can get true and correct information from the only all-knowing Source Who can’t lie. On the other hand, we, or someone else, can make up the information. No other ways exist since the human mind has no way to self-generate information other than by making it up. And even if the human mind gets information from what another human mind made up, it’s still made-up stuff. If the information comes in a book, class, video, or another form, it’s still made-up stuff. Science involves interpreting observation and experience, and we do have some ability to observe and experience, though not objectively. We automatically add assumptions from our worldviews, and as soon as we add a single assumption to the observation or experience, we’ve distorted it. Assumptions are deceptive when persuaders use them to speculate about topics like the spiritual realm or the distant past. Often, persuaders keep their assumptions hidden.
Assumptions have a problem in science since we can’t prove that one assumption is better than another if we can’t directly test the assumption. For instance, two assumptions compete for a certain interpretation of the ancient past. Neither assumption conflicts with the current observations. Both assumptions extrapolate beyond the current observations. And we can’t replay the ancient past to test the assumptions. How do we decide?
Ungodly people prove their assumptions by censoring anything the conflicts with their assumptions. For example, Bill Nye tried to prove that the Bible is false by using wild assumptions as the basis for his reasoning. Then he called for censorship of anything that conflicts with his assumptions.
Theories, assumptions, stories, concepts, frameworks, and ideas aren’t known facts. Facts are genuine reality. They aren’t interpretations of observations or the majority opinions of an elite group. And yet facts are often and routinely confused with speculative interpretations or speculative explanations of observations.
I just finished reading a very good book, Faith & Reason Made Simple by Rick McGough. Rick makes the art of explaining the position of faith easy, although the subject is complex. Truth is simple, but the fallen human mind brings up many questions and makes many untrue statements. Faith & Reason Made Simple shows how we can deal with those questions and untrue statements.
Rick says the following:
“People are looking for something more than just what feels good. They are searching for something that is true and trustworthy.”
Everyone has an opinion, but can we explain how we know what we know? Can we do it in a way that makes people want to listen? We get tired of the bare assertions with nothing backing up those claims. We hunger for the real and the genuine.
I was listening to a Christian brother talking about the problem of understanding. He brought up the three-part human nature: spirit, soul/mind, and body. The human intellect is in the soul/mind part of us, but God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. Often, we will know things, and we would say that we know them intuitively. For instance, we know for certain that the Bible is the word of God without error, but we can’t say exactly how we know that. We know for certain that Christ exists, and we might say that we know this because we know Him. But we have trouble explaining how we know that our experience with Christ is real. We might say that we have faith, but we don’t exactly know what faith is or how it comes. That’s because God deals with our spirits, and He ordained that our spirits would rule over our souls/minds and that our souls/minds would rule over our bodies. Since God imparts knowledge through our spirits rather than our minds, we often know the truth but can’t put this knowledge into rational terms. We know by faith, but understanding comes later.
Rick McGough explains how science and observation confirm faith. Faith comes by hearing and hearing comes by the rhema (utterance) of God. And God imparts this supernatural belief that we call “faith.” It’s one of many gifts from God. Jesus Christ is the author and finisher of this faith, and this faith is substance (reality versus concept) and evidence (absolutely certain proof). When faith comes from God, He supplies many confirmations of that faith through what we can observe. Rick gives an amazingly complete overview of these wonderful confirmations.
We can’t uncouple faith from sound reason, and Rick makes that clear. Without faith, sound reason is impossible. We must base all reasoning on truth, or the reasoning is unsound. In other words, we can’t say, “I made up X. Therefore, X is true.” Whatever X is must be true in the first place. And no one can self-generate a true statement. God must reveal truth, which is why all truth is hidden in Christ Jesus. Without that revelation, we humans are stuck in a brute beast existence where we can only react to our senses and memories. Pragmatic reaction to our senses works for survival and creating technology, but we would never be able to reason beyond our five senses without divine revelation. That is, we couldn’t reason beyond what we can observe and test without God to add the needed information. Both Jude and Peter mention this brute beast existence as a problem that happens without the Spirit of God.
Even those of us who have spent our lives testifying of Jesus can learn from Rick’s book. He gives evidence from the created world, the Bible, and history. Faith & Reason Made Simple is a textbook with many tools to learn how to share the Gospel of Christ, deal with questions and criticisms of skeptics, and deal with present social issues and world religions. It’s a training manual for Christian thinking and witness.
I recommend this book. Read it. Study it. Use it for a Bible study or discussion group. Pastors can use it as a source for many sermons and a way to keep young people from leaving the church. The book is available from several sources. I put a link to the Creation Today site below.
God led Rick to leave his pastoral role and to form a new organization to help with the work of spreading the Gospel and answering the questions and criticisms of the skeptics. He’s preparing people, from the youngest to the oldest, for ministry in our corrupted and naturalistic society. As part of this new work, Rick and his team have created http://localchurchapologetics.org/ to make apologetics materials available for children’s ministries, youth ministries, small group curriculum, sermons, college prep classes, and more. All of these materials are designed to assist local churches in incorporating apologetics into their ministries to all ages. He’s developing apologetics materials that are local church friendly and that simplify complex apologetics materials to help train and motivate believers of all ages.
Doctrine is absolutely important. False doctrine hinders our walk. However, correct doctrine without the Holy Spirit is dead and can’t bring life. We need to be aware that our doctrine may be wrong. We may be interpreting Scripture incorrectly. Some doctrines deny what Scripture says. Some doctrines quietly add human ideas to Scripture but claim to be following Scripture.
How does that affect us as Christians? We may have been taught erroneous concepts during our lives and unconsciously added those false concepts to our Christian worldviews. We may have used confirmation bias to prove that those errors are the truth. If that’s the case, those theologies seem more real than Scripture. By the way, this problem is easier to spot in others than it is to spot in ourselves.
When we read Scripture, we filter it through our fleshly mind. That’s one of God’s messages to us in 2 Corinthians 3 if we take the entire chapter in context. The veil is the flesh. The religious people of the day no longer heard Scripture when it was being read, but they only saw this veil of the flesh in front of their eyes. Then the answer comes at the end: but we, with unveiled (open) faces, beholding as in a mirror, the glory of the Lord, are transfigured into the same image from glory to glory even as by the Spirit of the Lord. (I’ve given the literal translation of some words.) God mentions this mirror in three places in the New Testament. James mentions it in relation to the perfect law of liberty. Theology should be based on Scripture, but human interpretations of Scripture lead to many conflicting theologies. The Holy Spirit will always be consistent in His interpretation of Scripture, but we can’t trust human intellect.
God wants us to build on the only Foundation that can be laid, which is Jesus Christ. Eventually, the church will build on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ being the Chief Cornerstone. The letter to the Ephesians mentions this, and it’s part of looking into that mirror. As God speaks to us and leads us in our individual lives, He teaches us in flashes of revelation. We look into this mirror and see ourselves and how we fit into our surroundings. We don’t see after the flesh. Henceforth, we don’t know anyone after the flesh but after the Spirit. We see Christ in us, the hope of glory. (We only see this in glimpses.) He’s showing us who we are in Christ and how we fit into His body. That means that it’s vital that we discern the body of Christ: that we don’t look at our brothers and sisters after the flesh. He knows how to speak in a way that we know it’s Him. We only get confused when our fleshly desires start screaming and jumping up and down. For example, it’s hard to see the ministry/Christ in a brother or sister when we’re angry with that brother or sister. Since we do get confused and have distorted worldviews, we need to hold doctrine loosely and hold Christ tightly. We never want to be so tied to a doctrine that the Holy Spirit can’t correct us in our walk.