Limitations of Nature to Lead Man to Ultimate Truth Part 2By Pastor Boffey on Sunday, July 3, 2022.
H. Nature can not teach heaven nor heaven’s spiritual truth. 2CO 4:18; 5:7; HEB 11:1. 1. Observational reasoning obviously has limitations: it can only deal with phenomenon (a thing that appears or is perceived by any of the senses, or by the mind). 2. The things that are not seen (2CO 4:18) can only be known by special revelation from God Who is superior to the creation and has infinite knowledge not limited to the revealed order of things. 1CO 2:9-11. 3. The unobservable things of God revealed by the Spirit cannot be perceived by natural man who has not the Spirit, one who has not been regenerated spiritually. 1CO 2:14 c/w TIT 3:5. a. The carnal (not spiritual; material, temporal) mind is averse to God Who is Spirit. ROM 8:7-9. b. (JOH 3:6) That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 4. Even the regenerate spiritual man is limited in his perception of spiritual things by a lack of repentance to the acknowledging of the truth. 2TI 2:25. a. Repentance is the first command of the gospel, even before faith. MAR 1:15. b. Sin must be laid aside in favor of the sincere milk of the word. JAM 1:21; 1PE 2:1-2. c. Genuine rational thought is an outgrowth of repentance: the mind being reconciled to God’s sovereignty over human interests opens the door to sound thinking. LUK 15:11-19; DAN 4:34-37. 5. The critical elements for ultimate truth are not from the natural order of things but are: spiritual birth from God, special revelation from God, repentance to the acknowledging of truth, faith to accept whatever God’s word declares, and a humble, holy life which prevents one from being turned over to delusions. 2TH 2:10-12. 6. The way of holiness is such that “...the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein” (ISA 35:8). a. A superior intellect is not needed, but rather a humble mind like Christ’s. PHIL 2:5-8. b. (JAM 3:13) Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.
I. Therefore, phenomenon and intellect/reasoning alone cannot lead one to ultimate truth and may actually lead one to vain worship of an impersonal Force or to warped polytheistic idolatrous conclusions about deity. ROM 1:22-23. 1. “Life is the greatest mystery, and deity must therefore be life. All life depends on the sun. Therefore we worship the sun from which all blessings flow.” 2. “All observable life demonstrates a male and female principle. This principle must derive from male and female deities.” 3. “The sun is the manifestation of male deity which fertilizes mother earth with its light and heat.” 4. “Male-female intercourse flows through all, from the heavenly to the earthly.” 5. “This solar male-female principle goes through a repetitive cycle of birth, maturing and death (spring, summer, fall, winter), death being the last thing that revives the cycle of life back to spring.” 6. “The deity therefore is telling us that death is needed to invoke his blessing.” 7. “The highest form of observable life is man and there can be no better sacrifice therefore to please deity (and it is preferable to use an unsullied infant).” 8. “We must honor the generative power of deity by sex and killing.” a. Pagan religions commonly featured both. b. Mind how much this parallels a depraved culture today which affirms atheism as the highest expression of the human mind. There is not a huge difference between idolatry and atheism. c. The polytheistic idolater at least acknowledges a higher unseen power.
9. An alternative or adjunct to these previous points is amazement at the genius of the natural order which fosters a conclusion that human intellect is the supreme manifestation of deity and the “wisest” men are most god-like. a. Of this inclination we must be cautious lest we exalt intellect or learning over Christ-likeness. COL 2:6-9, 18. b. A little child of God by Scripture can be sufficiently wise. 2TI 3:15; LUK 2:46-47; 2KI 5:2-5; MAT 18:3-4. c. “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God...” (1CO 1:21). d. Athens was the citadel of human wisdom but also the citadel of superstitious idolatry (ACT 17:16). God called their wisdom ignorance. ACT 17:30. e. Satan/Lucifer is “...full of wisdom...” (EZE 28:12) but not godly. f. The things of greatest importance are hidden from the eyes of such wise ones. MAT 11:25. 10. The Jews who had God’s oracles (ROM 3:1-2) displaced them by rabbinical wisdom and sophistry, making God’s word of none effect. MAR 7:13. 11. The Greeks were enamored with the likes of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle: the great minds of reason. But Paul sets the cross and gospel over such. 1CO 1:17-25. 12. Catholicism was driven not by Scripture alone but by (among other things) Scholasticism (The doctrines of the Schoolmen; the predominant theological and philosophical teaching of the period A.D. 1000–1500, based upon the authority of the Christian Fathers and of Aristotle and his commentators.). Thomas Aquinas (aka, Doctor Angelicus) notably wedded Aristotelian logic to Christian faith. a. Some of the best information on reason and logic may be found in the vast knowledge base of Catholic writers and teachers. But that system is largely built on a logical fallacy. b. It does not hold that the truth of Scripture is the final authority but rather that the Church is an infallible institution of Christ which determines inspired truth through its leaders. The position may be summarized as follows: (1) Christ established an infallible Church from which came the inspired Word. (2) How did Christ establish this infallible Church? He did so through His Word. (3) Why was this Word trustworthy to begin with? Because the infallible Church says so. (4) This is circular reasoning, the logical fallacy of one assuming the truth of what he is trying to prove: his proof ends up being his assumption of the truth he is trying to prove. 13. God’s people will suffer for lack of knowledge (HOS 4:6; ISA 5:13) not so much the lack of knowledge of temporal things but of Himself as revealed in Scripture. 2PE 3:15-18. 14. There are few things that perturb the intellectual elite more than to be caught in a logical fallacy by a simple, God-fearing man with good arguments. JOH 9:30-34. 15. It is a sad thing to see a saint become enamored with intellect, wisdom, philosophy, etc. to such a degree that plain gospel truth is set aside in favor of the intelligence or wisdom of men. a. Paul’s most prolific warnings against worldly wisdom are found in his letters to the Corinthians. b. He was fitted by training to philosophize them better than Aristotle but he had seen the vanity of that approach and repented of it. PHIL 3:7-8 c/w 1CO 2:1-5. c. He warned them about being corrupted from the simplicity (The state or quality of being simple in form, structure, etc.; absence of compositeness, complexity, or intricacy) in Christ. 2CO 11:3.
16. Many have made shipwreck of their faith (or of others’ faith) by the wisdom of men which masquerades as being superior to the wisdom of God revealed in Scripture. Consider: a. the “accommodation” theorist who vainly “bends and blends” Scripture to satisfy the intellectual peers whose Darwinist approval he craves. b. the Christian psychologist who is enamored with the “self-esteem” theory which, in the absence of real scientific evidence, holds that the lack of self- denial is not the real barrier to abundant living. c. seminaries and bible colleges which churn out highly-trained unbelievers who once thought they had God’s word in hand. d. “When Christians unto Carnal Men give ear, Out of their Way they go, and pay for’t dear. For Master Worldly Wiseman can but shew A Saint the way to Bondage and to Wo.” (John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress, p. 17)
17. Human wisdom, intellect, logic, etc. have their place and use but Scripture dare not be overruled by such. ROM 3:4. a. The lively oracles were Israel’s chief advantage. ROM 3:1-2; ACT 7:38. b. The Scriptures contained their wisdom and understanding. DEU 4:6. c. Education’s great goal should be to justify God’s wisdom. LUK 7:29, 35. d. Solomon’s wisdom needed a great reset. ECC 1:17-18; 12:12-13.
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