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!
“Christian” is a term with many meanings. I think it should mean one who has Christ living within. If someone has Christ living within, that person is actually two persons who don’t agree. An inner conflict exists. The flesh is contrary to the Christ. The two can’t be reconciled. The flesh can’t be reformed. It must die. It must be transfigured by the renewing of the mind.
If someone is born again, what happens in the process? We know, from Scripture, that we are created as spirit, mind, and body. Something changes, and it appears to be in the spirit and partly in the mind. We know that we are suddenly seated with Christ in the Heavenly Places. We’re pretty sure we aren’t there bodily, since the flesh is the enemy of God waiting to be redeemed. It appears that the present battle is over control of the human mind. As I said, these are good questions. While denominations are built on solid answers to these questions, denominations disagree because their solid answers depend on interpretations of Scripture. Interpretations of Scripture come from one of two sources. Either they come by extra-biblical revelation from the Holy Spirit or they come from human speculation. There are no other alternatives. Well, they could come from doctrines of demons, I suppose.
Being born again is the beginning of salvation. Some people teach that being born is all that God has for us. However, God tells us, through Scripture, that we are to grow to be adult sons of God, not just babes in Christ. When you are born, you are born a baby. The word, “saved,” is often used as a synonym for “born again.” It seems that it is sometimes used that way in Scripture and sometimes used to indicate a future state. I don’t know anyone who has had Jesus Christ fully formed within. Some people seem to think that when they learn a certain denominational doctrine they are then mature in Christ but that God has finished His work in them the moment they are born again.
I think part of your original question had to do with what it takes to be born again. I don’t think it takes too much. The thief on the cross was born again. The jailer who turned to Christ was born again. The eunuch was born again and then was baptized.
God has a process for righteousness. It’s simple, and He lays it out in Scripture.
The Father draws us in the first place. Hearing His Voice, whether through another Christian, a tract, the Bible, or the dreams and visions that are becoming commonplace in Muslim countries, causes God’s faith to come. Faith is belief, yes. It’s an imparted belief. God says it’s the gift of God lest anyone should boast. It’s the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. That’s a lot of information there. Substance is translated from a Greek word that means it’s part of reality as opposed to a concept. It’s not just a figment of mind. It is of substance, like a physical object. The Greek word from which “evidence” is translated indicates absolute proof and certainty.
We don’t have capability in ourselves to believe in this way. God must impart it. We can believe in things, but we make ourselves believe things. A simple way to think of human faith is that it is make-believe. That’s very different from imparted faith. We have a part in the process of faith coming. We have a will. We can acknowledge our own mind, the minds of others, or the mind of God/Christ. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths. Faith comes when we acknowledge God’s leading. God says, in Romans, that we go from faith to faith. There are levels of faith. Jesus spoke of greater or lesser faith.
“the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.” (Acts 5:32) Note that this doesn’t say that God gave the Holy Ghost to us because we obey Him. Does the Holy Ghost cause the obedience or does the obedience result in the impartation of the Holy Ghost? It could be that both of these are true in some sense, and I think that may be the case. I can only tell you what I know. Theology tends to go well beyond what God reveals, but that’s not fruitful.
First, we need to know the nature of obedience and righteousness. We know all about self-righteousness. We know what it is to have righteousness that consists of filthy rags. We know about dead works.
Righteousness leads to holiness. Holiness opens the eyes. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. The heart is the mind. In this case, it’s the Greek word, “kardia,” which seems to be a specific part of the human mind. It’s likely the innermost mind rather than the reasoning mind. I know that worldviews are impure and blinding. I’ve experienced this in myself and in others, and God has spoken to me and warned me about this a lot. Worldviews tend to keep us from dealing with reality as it really is. They act as filters in each person, and we each have a worldview.
The Holy Spirit is given to lead us into all truth. Truth is reality. Jesus Christ is the Truth. He leads us moment by moment. He reveals the way we ought to walk. When we acknowledge Him, He makes straight paths for our feet. We are to acknowledge Him in ALL our ways. He leads using many means. They are mentioned in Scripture. Perhaps, He leads through some that aren’t mentioned in Scripture. If He does, I don’t know about that.
So, for example, you say something that hurts someone, and the Holy Spirit immediately impresses you that you need to say that you are sorry and wrong and you are to ask for forgiveness. Your own mind justifies what you said. In a split second, you listen to the Holy Spirit rather than your self. You turn your eyes to Christ so to speak. When you acknowledge Him, He imparts His faith into your heart and you know for certain that this is the right thing to do. Satan tells you how you’ll look like a fool and your apology will be rejected. You again listen rather to the Holy Spirit. Faith gives you access into the grace of God, and you yield the members of your body to God’s righteousness that He does through you as you raise your eyes to look into the eyes of the person you hurt and you yield your mouth to the Holy Spirit Who says, “I was wrong to say that. I’m so sorry. Please forgive me.” He says this through you. You speak this by the Holy Spirit. You are just the vessel of God’s grace. The love of God is being shed abroad in your heart by the Holy Ghost.
You have obeyed God, but you have not done the work. God did the work. There’s none good but God. This is not self-righteousness. You have worked the work of God.
In this process, part of the fleshly veil dies within you. Christ is more fully formed in you. You have been transfigured to some degree by the renewing of your mind. Your senses have been exercised by reason of use to discern between good (the Holy Spirit’s leading) and evil (your own selfish desires). In this sense “obedience is the opener of eyes.”