Why Do Men Trust Reason Rather Than God's Revelation?
by Robert Driskell
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Throughout history, man has continually elevated his own thinking above that of God’s. Many people, even now, think they know more, or better, than the Creator of the universe. However, God has given us His thoughts in the Bible. Why do so many people think their way is better than His?
One reason people reject revelation is because they cannot control it as they can control the “truth” of their own intellect. By elevating human reason above all else, man believes he can decide what is true and what is not. He imagines himself to be the final judge of what is true and what is false. He believes he can adjust truth to suit himself. Craig A. Loscalzo writes, “For to understand is to control, to control is power, and power is ultimately the quintessential human motivation.” (Apologetic Preaching. InterVarsity Press, 2000, 31.)
Much human philosophy is believed to be factual, but it is not. The apostle Paul issues a warning to his student when he writes: “O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” (I Timothy 6:20 ESV).
Many of man’s ideas are mere imagination with no hint of truth. It is as if merely dreaming something up makes it true. Craig Loscalzo reminds us that, “A claim to truth does not determine truthfulness.” (Apologetic Preaching. InterVarsity Press, 2000, 90.) Humankind has had a long history of ignoring the truth of God as they attempt to create their own reality.
Much human philosophy leads away from God. Christians are warned to be ready for those who would mislead them with “empty words” (Ephesians 5:6) or “philosophy or empty deceit” (Colossians 2:8). "See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ." (Colossians 2:8 ESV)
However, if God’s Word is true, it cannot be modified by the whims of humankind. Therefore, man does not control truth, and the selfish heart of man does not like this. Fallen humanity resists the idea that he is not fully autonomous and in control of his sphere of influence.
There remain many things that are mystery to us. Many of our most precious experiences exist in this realm. Craig A. Loscalzo: “But when we look at life honestly, it becomes obvious that reason can carry one’s understanding of human experience only so far. Our human experience is wrapped in enough mystery that reason often leaves us lacking understanding of our times and circumstances. We do not reason why the sunset is beautiful; the beauty is mysteriously self-evident. We do not reason why a child smiles at the sight of her mother; love’s mystery requires no explanation.” (Apologetic Preaching. InterVarsity Press, 2000, 70.) Nevertheless, secular humanity attempts to explain even these things away as “chemical reactions” or “animal instincts”.
God has not granted humans to know everything. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9 ESV). Even Christians do not know everything. Even the most holy of saints do not know everything there is to know about God. Some aspects of His person and plan remain a mystery. This does not set well with people who think they must know every detail about everything with which they are involved.
The real issue is not that humanity does not know God exists; the Bible says that everyone knows He is real. The problem is that many refuse to honor Him as God. This truth is spelled out in the clearest of forms in Romans, Chapter 1: " For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools… because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen." (Romans 1:21-22, 25 ESV)
A skeptical, unbelieving humanity would rather trust their own judgment than that of the Creator of the universe. How it must grieve the heart of God as His creation rebels against Him and rejects His love.
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