Limitations of Nature to Lead Man to Ultimate Truth Part 4By Pastor Boffey on Sunday, July 17, 2022.
V. It has been said that God designs to instruct men by general revelation (phenomenon and logic) and by special revelation (inspired prophecy). The former deals with observable things to which human reasoning is applied, the latter deals with information communicated from the Supreme Intellect (God) directly and includes information which must be accepted by faith since it is beyond human ability to test it. A. Some analogies that have been suggested to describe these fields are: 1. They are like two blades of scissors cutting through information to get to the truth. 2. They are like two witnesses in a court case to prove a matter. 3. They are like two legs walking towards the true house of worship. B. There is validity in such analogies but it must be always remembered that one blade of the scissors, one witness, and one leg are inherently flawed because of the bondage of corruption. ROM 8:20-22. 1. General revelation and special revelation may work together towards a positive result in discovering ultimate truth. We utilize grammar and logic in both disciplines but the disciplines are not exact equals. 2. General revelation must be overruled by special revelation since God only is not corrupted nor corruptible. 3. As noted earlier, general revelation unguided by special revelation may lead only to idolatry and baseness. ROM 1:21-26. 4. General revelation by reasoning may generate a logical conclusion of the necessity of a unique Creator God but it will never of itself lead men to Jesus Christ as the Answer of all things. C. Where men were not familiar with the special revelation which only was to the Jews (PSA 147:19-20), Paul did make reasoned arguments from the nature of things but consider Paul’s experience on Mars’ hill. ACT 17:16-31. 1. Paul did not here argue Hebrew Scriptures with the Athenians but addressed them on the basis of what they themselves had conceded and was evident in nature. 2. But the whole scene was set up by Paul preaching Jesus and the resurrection. v. 18. 3. It is by preachers and preaching of the gospel that men are brought to the knowledge of Christ and the need to repent unto Him. ROM 10:13-17; 1CO 1:21. 4. Impressive intellectual arguments alone will never convert someone to Jesus Christ. 5. It should not be overlooked that there is spirit-to-spirit power at work in conversion; it is not merely a matter of logical deduction from facts. 1CO 1:18; 2:14; 2CO 2:15-16. 6. The one leg of general revelation may be useful in leading a sincere inquirer to “...feel after him...” (ACT 17:27), even to bring the inquirer to a monotheistic conclusion but the wisdom of God in Christ resides in the gospel which must be preached. D. There is not only a “knowledge” component in conversion to the truth of Christ, there is a moral component also. 1. One may have all the facts needed to add up to Christ, may even believe all pertinent data, but not submit to the same by denying sin and self and being baptized unto the government of Christ as a “separated” saint. ACT 24:24-25; 26:27-28. 2. One must hunger and thirst after righteousness and this sincere desire, upon coming to terms with the inadequacy of self-righteousness, concludes Christ as righteousness. MAT 5:6 c/w PHIL 3:8-9; ROM 10:4. 3. Mentally conceding that one is a sinner and that Christ is his only hope of salvation is not loving Christ. Loving Christ is submitting to His will. JOH 14:15, 21. a. Men will generally cleave to that which they love, and what they cleave to the most says a lot about their “first love.” REV 2:4. b. The minister of the Ephesian church was plainly told that there would come a time when some would no longer be satisfied with the doctrine of God and would therefore seek other teachers. 2TI 4:3.
VI. As noted at the beginning of this outline, we do not disparage extra-Scriptural knowledge and education. But neither should we glorify human intellect, especially where it counters God. A. Good instruction in language-arts and logic can be beneficial for better comprehension of Scripture so that “...when ye read, ye may understand...” (EPH 3:4). B. Education can be beneficial for the sake of apologetics (defence of doctrine) by enhancing knowledge in the tangible sciences that actually confirms the existence of God and the testimony of Scripture. C. A system of education which teaches just laws and a system of government that applies and enforces them will restrain wickedness. DEU 13:11; 17:12-13; 19:20; 1TI 1:8-10; 1PE 2:13-14. D. There are limits to what can be accomplished by education. 1. No matter how qualified the teacher, nor how correct the method, nor how good the curriculum, a stubborn fool will not learn. PRO 1:7; 17:16; 27:22; JER 17:23. 2. Education will not change man's nature. Only God can do this. 3. Education in phenomenon is not what perfects man. It is conformity to Christ that perfects men (EPH 4:13). Sir Francis Bacon sagely observed that the chief virtue of the O.T. was wisdom but the chief virtue of the N.T. is Christlikeness. 4. Education will not produce paradise on earth. 2PE 3:13. E. There are some types of education to be avoided. PRO 19:27. F. The instruction that causes to err from the words of knowledge includes the teaching of: 1. Folly. PRO 16:22 c/w GEN 34:7; JDG 19:22-23; 2SAM 13:12; JOB 42:8; PSA 49:11-13; PRO 14:8, 29. 2. Lies. ISA 9:15. 3. Rebellion. JER 28:16. 4. Idolatry. JER 12:16 c/w 1CO 10:7 c/w EXO 32:5-6; COL 3:5. G. Satan is always seeking to direct our attention away from the word of God to other sources of knowledge. GEN 3:5-6; 2CO 11:2-3; 2TI 3:7. 1. Other sources of knowledge which complement the word of God are not the danger; it is other sources of knowledge which contradict, deny or forbid the word of God that represent the danger. 2. “I am afraid that schools will prove to be wide gates to hell unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures, engraving them in the hearts of youth. I advise no one to place his child where the Scriptures do not reign paramount. Every institution in which men are not constantly occupied with the word of God must become corrupt.” (Martin Luther) 3. History and Scripture essentially bear out Luther's observation in that education and wisdom exclusive of God and His word yields corruption. ROM 1:22-32.
VII. The foundation and source of true education is God. PRO 1:7; 9:10. A. To rule God out of the educational process is to rule out the very source of wisdom, knowledge and understanding. PRO 2:6. B. True education comes from fearing the Lord and not by simply studying the world we live in. JOB 28:12-28. 1. Wisdom “cannot be gotten for gold.” 2. More money is not the solution to man's educational problems! C. Jesus Christ had God the Father for His teacher and He confounded the learned men of His day. JOH 8:28; 7:14-15, 45-46; MAR 6:2-3. 1. A learned man knows letters. 2. The Greek word translated “letters” in JOH 7:15 is gramma from which we derive our word “grammar.” 3. Grammar is a vital part of learning and facilitates understanding of the truth of Scripture. 2TI 1:13. 4. An everyday God-fearing believer who studies his Bible and hears it expounded by preaching can have more understanding than enemies, teachers, and the ancients. PSA 119:98-100. D. 2CH 15:3 describes modern, secular education. 1. The secular schools are “...without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law.” 2. Consequently, we are witnessing unrest, great vexations, and destructions. 2CH 15:5-6. 3. Some have wondered why God didn’t stop a mass shooting in a school but He hasn’t been allowed in there for about 50+ years. What has been allowed in schools is: a. Atheistic humanism. b. Darwinian evolution which equates man with the brute creation and denies him hope and purpose that exceeds the limits of biological life. c. Promiscuous sexual activity and the benefits of abortion. d. Drag queens to confuse young minds about their very nature. e. Race-based agendas. f. Conformity to the state is the chief end of education. 4. Parents need to be alert to the pervasive corruption that a child will be exposed to in secular grade-school or which a young adult may face in a secular institution of “higher” learning. 1CO 15:33. E. The person best fitted for processing all the competing voices and challenges of modern education is one who is grounded in the doctrine of God’s word, committed to Christ and holds steadfast to “...let God be true, but every man a liar...” (ROM 3:4).
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