Today it is commonly affirmed that the classical doctrine of the inspiration and authority of the Bible is no longer tenable. The genesis of this affirmation is to be sought in the rise of modern rationalism, which has its roots in the humanistic perspective of the Renaissance. The setting up of reason as the criterion of what is admissible in religion, and, for example, its equation by Locke with natural revelation, was not intended to oust God from the scene; but it inevitably led to a reduction of the role of God so that, by one means or another, the situation might be accommodated to the control of the human mind. This reduction was achieved either through pantheistic views, which virtually identified the Creator with his creation, the arena of rational investigation, or through deistic formulations, which virtually shut God out of his world and thus removed the necessity of taking him into account.
It is perfectly true, of course, that man is a rational creature, and that God, in addressing man, addresses him as such. But God also addresses him as a sinful creature whose being, including his reason, is in need of redemption. Failure to recognize the debilitating effect of sin on the rational faculty of man—chiefly displayed in the lust of man to usurp for himself the place that belongs to God as the source and center of all reality (see Romans 1:18 ff.), thus bringing about a radical misrepresentation of the true nature of things—produces pretensions and perspectives that are false and, indeed, basically irrational.
The preaching of the adequacy of reason naturally calls in question the necessity of revelation, and therefore the necessity of an inspired and authoritative Bible. The Bible can be allowed only ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 65+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more