Dr. S. Lewis Johnson conducts an eight part series of study on the essential concepts of Christianity. In this first study, the doctrine and necessity of revealed truth from God is discussed.
[Message] Now today, I want to begin a series of messages on what I have entitled, somewhat reluctantly, “The Eight Most Important Christian Truths.” Obviously, there will be difference of opinion over what are the most important Christian truths, and surely, there are some very important Christian truths that I will not have a chance to say anything about in this series, but this is my idea of the eight most important Christian truths.
And the subject for today is “Divine Revelation in Scripture.” So, just as a basis of the general topic “Divine Revelation in Scripture,” I want to read for a Scripture reading Psalm 19 verse 1 through verse 14. For those of you who are very familiar with this well-known psalm, you know that it is a psalm which speaks of the twofold revelation of God, his revelation in nature, general revelation, and his revelation in the Scripture, special revelation. So let us keep that in mind as we read through this great psalm.
“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof. (Now, he begins to talk about the revelation of God in Scripture.) The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward. Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from great transgression. (Now, the Authorized Version has an article before the expression “great transgression” and so it renders it “And I shall be innocent from the great transgression.” There is no article in the original text at this point, and so I suggest to you that it should be rendered “I shall be innocent from great transgression.” And what evidently is meant is the same thing that is meant in the New Testament as sin unto physical death, that is, persistent sin that leads to divine discipline and may even lead to physical death for believers.) Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.”
May God bless this magnificent portion from his word.
Well, I approach this ministry of the word this morning with a great deal of uncertainty and diffidence because the subject that we’re dealing with this morning is a rather difficult subject. And after I finished this morning, several people said, “Well, you surely lost me this morning.” So that is one of the worst things that anyone can say to someone who is going to have to give the message again without any opportunity to revise it. So, I do, I say, approach this particular topic with a great deal of humility and reserve.
I wish I could change my topic in one sense, but, the subject is extremely important. And I mentioned to Martha this morning as I left before the 8:30 meeting, and she attends this one, I said, “Well, you’re going to have to put on your thinking cap this morning.” I anticipated some difficulty, but you will have to put on your thinking cap, too. I’ll try to simplify as much as I can, but the purpose of this message is not simply to state the facts of the teaching of Scripture concerning divine revelation in Scripture, but to give you something to say to people who might say to you, “How do you know that the Scripture contains the revelation of God?”
So therefore, we’ll have to talk about a few things like the scientific method. We’ll have to say a word about the principle of induction and something about the laws of thought as well, in order to let others know, and you too as well, that people often assume great things about scientific thought when perhaps, not being scientists, they do not really realize the foundation of modern science itself.
Now when we say the eight most important Christian truths as the general theme, obviously there are many, many important truths that we will neglect. And perhaps you will feel that I’ve omitted one that should be in the magic number of eight. These are simply my viewpoint concerning the question at the present time.
The question of divine revelation is, we all I think would admit, is one of the important doctrinal questions. In fact, some theologians and some who have studied Scripture say that we begin the study of divine things by asking three important questions. One: Is there a God? And that question is answered by reference to the existence of the eternal and triune God. The second question that follows naturally from “Is there a God?” is Has he spoken? That, of course, has to do with revelation. And finally, How do we know? That third question has to do with epistemology, which is simply the science of knowing. Epistemi is a Greek word that means to know, so epistemology: logos is discourse, episteme to know, disclose concerning knowing. When one studies philosophy he studies, at one time or another, epistemology, how we know that we know.
Well, putting it biblical terms, it would have to do with and include illumination. So, is there a God? The existence of God. Has he spoken? The revelation of God. How do we know? That is, how can we understand and be sure that what we think we know we really do know.
Modern man has located the revelation of, or located revelation itself in man’s growing enlightenment. That is, as man has developed through the years, and has come to be more and more lightened concerning himself and the world, well, that’s revelation. Men who at least were broad-minded enough to think about the Bible would say, yes, the Bible does describe some of man’s developing experience. And so it would be useful in that sense.
Other men have located revelation in the events of history. Some of our most popular contemporary theologians think that revelation occurs in human history, and would go on to say, even those that were unbelieving, that the Bible does record facts that are important for revelation.
Many current thinkers about revelation would say that revelation occurs primarily in the living personality of Jesus Christ. Obviously, we’re speaking about those who are related in some way, professing or otherwise, to the Christian faith. And they would go on to say that the Bible is a witness to the revelation of God through the living personality of Christ. But the Bible itself in its words is not inspired revelation.
Well, I think you can see that these types of theories, and I don’t speak of all of them, because there are others. These types of theories are subjectivist. There’re unstable in the sense that the standards by which we judge things are not too clear and plain. And further, that they are almost all of them sub-Christian.
Augustine was one of the great Christian thinkers. And testimony to that is a simple fact that people still study Augustine. And even those who may disagree with certain aspects of his teaching nevertheless acknowledge the greatness of his thinking in spiritual things.
Augustine crystalized the historic Christian position putting into God’s mouth in one of his works these words, “Indeed, O man, what my Scripture says, I say.”
Now it is evident from this statement, “Indeed, O man, what my Scripture says, I say,” that Augustine believed that the revelation of God was a written revelation. “Indeed, O man, what my Scripture says, I say.” He believed that the Scriptures did contain a revelation, for he said, “Indeed, O man, what my Scripture says.” And further he believed that the authority lying back of this divine revelation was God himself. “Indeed, O man, what my Scripture says, I say,” so that the authority of God stands behind, according to Augustine’s words, the written Scriptures which we have as our Old and New Testaments.
Now, in order to make this as simple as possible and yet make the truth. You know, you can say things so simply, that you really don’t say anything worthwhile. And I do regard your time as being very important. So for the next thirty to thirty-five minutes, it’s important for me and for you that I say something that is worth your time. So, in order to do this, I want to as succinctly, but yet as truly as I possibly can, as I am capable of doing, talk to you about divine revelation in scripture, so that when you leave you will not only know what the Scriptures say about divine revelation of Scripture, but you will also have a reason for the hope that is within your heart concerning this.
So we begin with the question of the necessity of divine revelation. Why do we need any divine revelation at all? Why cannot we just of ourselves through the scientific method investigate God and come to know him apart from Scripture as a divine revelation? Now there are many men who think that they can do that. But why? What is the necessity of revelation?
Well, I’d like to say that there’re two reasons why divine revelation is necessary. First of all, because of the transcendence and incomprehensibility of God. Now the Scriptures make that very plain. The Scriptures say, for example, in Psalm 145 and verse 3, just to single out one passage, “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, And His greatness is unsearchable.” So, what does that mean? Why, it means simply this, that man by his seeking could not possibly find God. Job puts it this way in chapter 11 and verse 7 of his work, “Canst thou by searching find out God? Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?”
And the Apostle Paul in the New Testament says essentially the same thing in 1 Timothy chapter 6 and verse 15 and 16. He says concerning Jesus Christ first, “Which in his times he shall show (that is, God shall show), who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords.” And then a statement concerning the Lord God, “Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting.”
Now it is obviously a conclusion derived very simply from this that we are finite beings. We are men and women. And because we are men and women and finite, that is, bounded, limited, we cannot possibly discover and grasp the infinite. That shouldn’t be difficult for us to understand. Finite individuals, by definition created beings, can never fully understand the infinite God. I don’t have to put that in Latin for you. Finitum non posit compre infinitum. The finite is not able to grasp the infinite. You can sense that without that.
Emil Brunner, one of the best known of modern theologians of the earlier part of this century, asked a question and then answered his own question using Job’s terms. He said, “‘Canst thou by searching find out God?’ To man’s proud ‘not yet.’ the Bible replies ‘not ever.'” So, we can never know God fully.
Now, that may pose a problem to you. God incomprehensible? I thought we could know God. Well, incomprehensibility is not opposed to know-ability. When we say God is incomprehensible, we mean we cannot grasp him fully. But we can know him. In fact, that’s a truth of everyday life.
Why, there isn’t a husband here, or a wife here, who doesn’t know the difference between know-ability and incomprehensibility. And if you say you don’t, your own words prove you wrong, because you will say, I know my husband. You know, you know your husband. You know all of his strange habits, his disagreeable ones, his agreeable ones. But then every now and then, he will do something which will cause you to say, I just don’t understand you.
Some of you are smiling. The rest of you are hypocrites [Laughter] because you all know that you have said that. Now if you haven’t said it, you have thought it. And in the process of those encounters, we learn some things about one another that we had not really known up to that point. We know, but then we are in a sense, incomprehensible. I’m still hiding a few things from Martha she doesn’t know about. Probably some situation will arise and she will say, Well, I never knew that about you, or I don’t understand you. And she will learn something else. Well, that’s one reason why we need divine revelation. God is transcendent. He is infinite. He is incomprehensible to us in our natural state.
The second reason is very simple. We’ve said it so often here, we won’t have to repeat it, but the fallen nature of man makes divine revelation necessary. Listen, “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: they are foolishness to him: neither can he know them, for they are spiritually discerned.” “The mind of the flesh is enmity against God. It is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”
So, we say the fatal effects of the fall of man at the Garden of Eden touched three areas of our lives: Our minds, our moral motives, our wills. In fact, in man there is discord in our inner being. And what we call it theologically is simply unregeneracy. We are unregenerate. We are individuals afflicted with a sin nature, and we live under divine condemnation because our representative fell in the Garden of Eden.
Now secondly, the nature of revelation in Scripture. Now here is where I’m going to have to be a little complicated. And I hope you will pay attention and follow. I hope that I will be able to explain it at least simply enough for you to catch some of the things that are, I think, ultimately important for us.
You know, people often say religion is different from science. Spiritual things are things that we know by faith. But science has to do with things that we know by the use of the scientific method, and we can rest in the authority of the scientific method. But actually, to live by faith, there is an element always of question. In fact, some people when they think of faith, they think of the school boy’s definition of faith. “What is faith?” a school boy was asked. “Faith is believing something that’s not true.” That’s what many people think is an effective definition of faith: Believing something that is not true.
Now, it’s not as simple as it might sound, because if you were to read today many contemporary theologians, you would find that they would say the same thing. They would say if there is not an element of uncertainty, it’s not faith. Well actually, that’s not the same as saying faith is believing something that’s not true. But faith is believing something of which we have doubts concerning its certainty.
Well, strictly speaking, faith is believing something that is true. That’s what faith is. When we believe that Jesus is the Son of God, we don’t have doubts about that. We certainly don’t believe it’s not true and we’re going to make it true by the fact that we believe it. That’s impossible. If so, Dallas would have won the Superbowl, ’cause they had a lot of people believing in the Cowboys. And they were frustrated and defeated and destroyed, several times during the season and ultimately in the final, when I fortunately by the mercy of God was not here in order to suffer through that.
Now, what I would like to remind you of is this, that all human thinking is based on faith. Now, I don’t know whether you’ve thought through this or not, but it’s something that you should think about and ultimately think through. All reasoning is based upon certain axioms, ultimates. Axioms are ultimates. They’re things that we don’t prove. If we tried to prove them, then the bases of the proof would be the ultimates. But axioms are ultimates. They are things that we choose. You choose axioms. You choose ultimates. And you reason from them.
Well, someone might say doesn’t that beg the question? Well yes. But it’s necessary. Everybody does that, because we’re human beings. Look, no one can even talk without using the laws of thought. Do you know the laws of thought? Most of us don’t. I confess, I was a long time on in this life before I even knew what the laws of thought were. Somehow or other I missed that in my university, college training and even in my seminary training. No seminary professor ever told me anything about this.
The laws of thought, these are laws that everyone assumes when they talk about anything. First of all, the law of identity: Whatever is, is. That’s an axiom. Secondly, the law of contradiction, or as it’s sometimes called, non-contradiction: Nothing can both be and not be. And thirdly, the law of the excluded middle: Everything must either be or not be.
Now you cannot talk about anything without using those laws. But now, they’re impossible to prove. They’re axioms. They’re ultimates. Whatever is, is. Nothing can both be and not be. Everything must either be or not be.
In fact, we live our whole lives by faith. The faith stance is the part of all of our life, personal and scientific. For example, the starting point of all human knowledge is faith. Here is a lovely infant born. And you hold this little infant in your arms. And you watch this little infant grow. And this infant, when it begins to utter words, one of the characteristic words that’s missing is the word “I”. Have you ever noticed that? Little infants when they talk, they don’t use the term “I”. In fact, frequently they’ll speak of themselves in the third person, baby this, baby that.
Now, I don’t know, I’m not up on modern psychology, but I know that in the past I’ve read that there’s a lot of difference of opinion about when infants come to a sense of their own ego. But they come ultimately to the sense of their own ego. We begin life by coming to believe in ourselves, that we are a person. And then from that, we quickly go on to believe in the, we have confidence in our senses. Now, that’s a function of faith.
To have confidence that we are a person and that we can rely upon our senses, those are faith stances. And from that comes all of the learning that we do. In fact, we can never move from the phenomena observation of the things about us to the numina, that is, convictions of certain things in our minds, without faith. Everybody lives by faith. Think about it. It may shock you, ’cause very few people ever tell us that. But it’s very helpful to know that fact.
Do you know that modern science is grounded in, if I may use a Western term, a passel of presuppositions? For example, the universe can be understood by a rational procedure. That’s a faith stance. Second, order exists in the universe and is discernable by finite men. Faith. That nature behaves the same way whether it’s observed or not.
Have you ever wondered when you leave your room and the radio’s on, whether the radio’s still playing while you’re gone? You ever tried to find that out? Tried to sneak back and see if it’s still playing? Maybe it only plays while you’re there, or while someone else is there. Well, those are some interesting things.
How do you know, incidentally, you haven’t just come into existence right now? Right now. And you came into existence with all of this knowledge of your past right now. How can you prove otherwise? This may be the moment of your existence. Well, those are weird things. [Laughter]
Phenomena observed here and now are also valid there and then, that is, they may be valid now, but are they valid tomorrow? The next day? Somewhere else? How do we know that? Well, we generally believe that by faith. The human mind is able to form descriptive concepts of the universe, that’s a faith supposition. That a direct correspondence exists between the events of the universe and our sensory brain responses, we believe that.
That scientist’s fellow workers do and report their work honestly. Now, we know of course that they don’t. If you’ve studied recent scientific history, you know that’s true. Almost always in our newspaper, sooner or later we’ll read about someone who has forged his scientific data. The Sloan-Kettering affair comes to mind, discussed some years past, in relatively more recent times, but some years past now. In other words, science itself provides no a priori basis for these assumptions. Science is a faith activity. Let us remember that. Science is a faith activity.
What is revelation? Well, revelation is the unveiling of God’s truth to men, or the truth unveiled. You can look at it as the unveiling, a process, or what is unveiled. Actually, the biblical term is used of both of these.
Now, when we look at the Bible as the divine revelation, and we are assuming this as a faith assumption, we’ll explain later why, we perceive that Scriptures teach that there are two forms of divine revelation. Actually there’s one book, one work, but it has two volumes. We call them general revelation, special revelation.
Volume one of this one work is general revelation. It’s the revelation of God in nature, in conscience, in history and in providence. Scriptural texts can generally be cited for most of these particular affirmations. Someone once said, “Waterloo is God.” That was an attempt to express the fact that what happened at Waterloo in the nineteenth century was so important for the history of the western world, it was God intervening in the defeat of Napoleon.
People might like to say with reference to World War II, that when that fog fell over the English Channel as the Allied troops were seeking to escape from the continent and faced almost certain defeat and large extermination, the Allies were able to escape and the Germans were unable to see them and destroy them because of the fog that fell over the channel, and some have said that escape was God, that is, God intervening in human history that his purposes might be carried out.
General revelation, that’s addressed to men as men. But unfortunately, we’re not men like Adam in the garden before the fall. We are men who are fallen men. And so in holy Scripture, we have special revelation, that is, it’s the revelation of God addressed to sinners. It’s suitable for Adam’s progeny, in fact, necessary for Adam’s progeny. And for Adam too after he fell in the garden.
Now, there are many ways in which God has spoken to men in special revelation, sometimes in dreams, sometimes in vision, but preeminently in the word of God. And the aim of the word of God, so Paul tells Timothy, is to make us wise unto salvation. All of human religions that are contrary to holy Scripture, all of these religions are the products of men’s attempt to ignore the special revelation of God in the Scriptures. In fact, in the Garden of Eden was the first attempt, when Adam and Eve put on the fig leaves and hid themselves in the bushes of the garden.
Special revelation, what is the characteristic of special revelation? Well, it’s verbal. It’s found in the word of God. Now of course, God may reveal himself by events as well. Modern theologians like to lay stress upon this and say God reveals himself in encounters, not simply in words, the purpose lying back of that to escape the doctrine of verbal plenary inspiration. But strictly speaking, if we don’t have words, we don’t have that which is understandable, ultimately. Well, we can understand some things by events. Certainly the exodus was a magnificent demonstration of God in revelation, but actually we know the exodus for what it is because of the words that accompanied the exodus.
Let me give you an example. If you’re listening to a football game and observing the football game on your television screen, if suddenly the sound track goes and all you’re seeing are just individuals playing on a field, you’ve lost a great deal of the significance of the game, unless perhaps the cameraman flashes on the scoreboard or something like that. But that’s the same as speaking. So strictly speaking, you must have speech as well as event. In fact, the radio is better than the television in times like that. In other words, you can do without sight more easily than you can sound. But at any rate, it’s evident that in order to see and understand, we must have words. This revelation is personal.
Now we can understand one another by encounters, but oh how much easier it is to understand if we speak. If we walk down the street and we bumped into someone and we turned and looked at that person, we might understand something about him. We might say he’s clumsy. But if as a result of our encounter, there’s some words that are passed back and forth, we learn something about them. So if you bump into someone without any comments, you learn far less than if there are comments. So special revelation is verbal. It’s personal. It’s propositional, that is, it’s bound up in specific statements.
Now Scripture has that. So, when we talk about divine revelation we’re talking about the Scriptures as that which affirms a general revelation of God in nature, a special revelation for sinners in the ministry of the word of God concerning our personal salvation.
Now I think that’s a fundamental truth, revelation, the revelation of God in Scripture. In fact, it’s the foundation of all that God does for us.
Now someone might say, “How can you justify that?” How can you prove the credibility of this assumption that God has spoken to men in holy Scripture. Now I could try to support it by human reasoning. I might say, Well, we can learn these things by the fact that God’s words were accompanied by miracles. We could do it that way. We might even say we learn by experience, or the church has pronounced along these lines, or things like that.
Those, of course, are all things that have their difficulties. For example, they’re unclear, varied criteria. The fate of Christianity is put in other hands beside Christianity itself. They only introduce us to probable truth rather than to definite truth. So it’s probably better to say very simply, we assume the Bible is true because this is our axiom, and we’re willing to say that we assume that the Bible is the word of God. And we will affirm that if anyone will study the Scriptures under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, he will come to the conviction that the Scriptures are the word of God.
Now, someone may say, well, that’s not very scientific. That’s not the scientific method. That’s not the principle of induction. Well, that’s true. It’s not. But have you ever thought about the scientific method? Let me just very briefly outline what the scientific method is and its weaknesses. First of all, we observe. And as a result of our observation, through the practice of the principle of induction, we gather material. Then we hypothesize on the basis of the material that we’ve gathered. And finally we construct our theory to explain the facts that we have observed. And thus we arrive at truth. No, probable truth.
Scientific method is very useful, but it doesn’t bring us truth. In fact, no one can prove anything by induction. Unless you were sure you had a complete induction, and unless you’re sure that you understood perfectly the facts that you’ve gathered and that you know for certain that your hypothesis is the only hypothesis that one could have from God. Don’t you see? What you’re talking about is faith. The scientific method is a method based upon faith.
And it has all kinds of difficulties because you cannot know usually that you have a complete induction. That’s why scientists have learned something new about Uranus recently. They hadn’t been able to obtain a perfect induction. They discover rings now that they didn’t know beforehand.
Further, you can never know that your hypothesis, well before that, you can never know that you fully understand all the data that you’ve gathered, perfectly understand. Further, you do not know that your hypothesis is the best hypothesis to explain the data. Can you not see that the scientific method doesn’t bring you to truth? It’s useful. It may bring us closer and closer to truth, but it’s built also upon faith suppositions.
We have a faith supposition. The fact that something happens constantly doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. Let me give you a simple illustration. Let’s say that I’m a chicken. And let’s say that I have a very nice owner. He feeds me from the time I’m a little chick. He shows me where I should go to feed. Every morning I’m fed, day after day after day. I grow to be a nice tender chicken. Every time my master comes out, I know I’m going to be fed until one fatal morning when he comes out and he wrings my neck. Therefore, I learn from experience that more sophisticated ideas about the normal happening events would have helped me on that fatal morning. You see, the fact that something happens all the time doesn’t mean it will happen forever.
Now, when we come to the word of God, well, Carolyn Wells once said something I think is very good. People, as I say, seem to have an exalted idea that science is infallible. She once said we should live and learn, but by the time we’ve learned, it’s too late to live. So, by the time we discover the myth of infallible science, it’s almost too late to profit from it for many of us because we’ve been so fed the idea that science is infallible. And though the scientists may object now, because they know it’s not true, many of them, still that has been communicated to our civilization.
I suggest to you that the way the Scriptures are to be defended is on the basis of internal considerations, internal justification. The Scripture is to be believed on its own evidence, that is, the internal coherence of the unity of its theme and purpose, the moral content of holy Scripture, harmonious with God’s supreme moral excellence by definition, the explicit statements of the word of God. In other words, to believe that the Bible is the word of God is an axiomatic assumption given by God with such power to the saints of God that they cannot fail to believe as they read and ponder the word of God, the harmony of its teaching, the design of its teaching, the wisdom of the one who is responsible for it. When we read the Scriptures, he speaks through his word and we receive the conviction from the Lord God that the Scriptures are the word of God.
I suggest to you that that’s the way Paul regarded the question of “How do we know that the word of God is true?” Listen to what he said to the Corinthians. He said,
“Brethren, when I came to you I didn’t come with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you (the scientific method. Why of course he didn’t say that. He said) the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, in much trembling. (And now notice carefully, he goes on to say,) And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and power.”
In other words, the apostle would not have felt that the important thing is how you say something. The important thing is what you say. What you say, that’s the important thing, not how you say it.
Now, of course, if you can say something in a pleasant way, that’s fine. But the important thing is what you say, not how you say it. In fact, Paul says he didn’t say it too well evidently. But he said this is why, “That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” In other words, the faith of a believer is grounded in the power of God who speaks through the Scriptures. And those who are the recipients of the message of God in the Scriptures, they know that the ultimate basis of their conviction that the Scriptures are the word of God is not some reasoning of human reason, but it is grounded ultimately in the testimony of God the Spirit himself as he testifies to the word of God.
Reformers all believe that. They believe that ultimate authority was the Spirit speaking through the word. Listen; let me read you something of some of the men who have spoken on this point.
James Henley Thornwell, magnificent statement, listen to this. What makes it even better is he was a Southerner. But anyway, Professor Thornwell, who taught for many years at Columbia Theological Seminary in South Carolina, Thornwell said, “But in no case is reason the ultimate rule of faith. No authority can be higher than the direct testimony of God. And no certainty can be greater than that imparted by the Spirit shining on the word. And a credited revelation, like an oath among men, should put an end to all controversy.”
You see, it’s our assumption, but it’s supported by the Scriptures themselves. As we say, Scripture is to be believed on its own evidence for nothing can be as high as the testimony of God to the truth of his word. Oh you say to me, but that’s subjective. No, no, it’s not subjective. It’s internal, but not subjective. It’s as objective as the existence of God the Holy Spirit speaking through the Scriptures to me. In fact, it’s not a new truth. That’s why in the Bible we have no defense like I’ve given you this morning. The kind of defense that I’ve given you this morning is only necessary because of the machinations of human beings. The Bible begins with, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
The Old Testament says, to use the words of the psalmist, “In Thy light we shall see light.” It’s as simple as that. In Thy light, we shall see light. There is no truth on the face of this globe, nor will there ever be any truth on the face of this globe, that is not ultimately harmonize-able with the word of God.
Now don’t ask me to harmonize a lot of the things that may seem to be contradictory. I’m a finite being. I’m a learning being. But ultimately, we shall see that that is true. In Thy light, we shall see light. The absolute ground of the explanation for all human knowledge rests ultimately in the light of God in divine revelation.
Since Plato, some men have believed that the puzzle of the soul of man is solvable in the belief that man may somehow reach the infinite. We even have people talking about the fact that if we continue as we are now, the time will come when maybe we’ll be angels. And ultimately we’ll become divine beings. Think about it, amazing.
Jim Buchinsky was philosopher. I’m right at the end of my message. He said, “Plato once said that the final answer to this question could be given only by God by revelation coming from the next world.” Mr. Buchinsky then says, “This, however, is no longer philosophy, but religion. As in so many other realms, philosophical thinking here poses the question. It leads us to the borderline from which man silently looks off into what he calls the eternal darkness.”
Philosophy is very useful. Science is valuable. Philosophy is useful for it poses questions that we must turn to the word of God for. But ultimately, it can only look off into the eternal darkness. In Scripture, we have light in that darkness.
And the Apostle John expresses it, I think just as about as well as it could expressed when he says in his first epistle in the opening words,
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.”
No man has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has led him forth into full revelation. The Scriptures as the divine revelation of God, how important that is for life. We are ultimately to be judged by them.
If you’re here this morning and you’ve never believed in Christ, we invite you, if you wish to test what I’ve talked about, to read the Scriptures and ponder them. Get acquainted with them and the evidence from Scripture itself. If you are subject to the ministry of the Holy Spirit, it will bring you to the conviction that God speaks through his word in the Spirt. May God help you to come to him whom to know is life eternal and pass from death into life and have light on the darkness that exists for human reason.
May we stand for the benediction?
[Prayer] Father, we are grateful to Thee for the magnificence of the divine revelation in holy Scripture. We bow before Thy word. We know by the teaching of the Holy Spirit, by the conviction that he has brought, by that faith axiom that all Scripture is inspired of God and is profitable for us. If there’re some here, Lord, who have never believed, Oh, we pray that by Thy grace thou wilt speak to them through the Scriptures. Bring to them the conviction the Scriptures are the word of God and bring them to trust in him of whom they speak, our Lord Jesus Christ. For his name’s sake. Amen.