When anyone attempts to know truth apart from God he renders himself to a position of futility. The reason for such is clear: “in Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col. 2:3).” Let’s flesh that statement out a bit.
The bible is clear that “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Gen. 1:1).” He is the Creator and Sustainer of all things (Jn. 1:1f; Col. 1:15f). Nothing exists apart from God and He upholds all things by the word of His power (Heb. 1:3). He is before all things, He is eternal, and He alone is wise (Col. 1:17; 1 Tim. 1:17). To put it simply, God is distinct from His creation; He is outside of time and space; He is independent of all things. He needs nothing outside of Himself. He simply is. Paul referred to this dynamic when he spoke to the Greek philosophers in Athens: “God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men's hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things (Acts 17:24-25).” When Moses asked God what to tell the children of Israel if they asked who sent him, God simply replied, “I Am (Ex. 3:14).” God is. He has always been and will always be. He is independent of His creation.
God is an independent being. He is the only independent being. By way of contrast, man is a dependent being. We would not be able to take the next breath apart from God. All that we are comes from God. We are completely dependent upon Him for our very existence. “Know that the LORD, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves (Ps. 100:3).” Of course, that means that our knowledge, or all that we know, comes from God. We are dependent on God for knowledge. We have no knowledge or wisdom apart from God. “The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken. Behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD; so what wisdom do they have (Jer. 8:9)?”
As noted, because God is independent and man is dependent upon God, man’s knowledge comes from God. In order for man to know anything, God must reveal it. If God did not reveal Himself or knowledge about the world, man would know absolutely nothing. As a dependent being and as a dependent thinker, his mind is incapable of knowing anything apart from the action of God.
Of course, God has revealed Himself and we can classify that revelation under two broad headings: general revelation and special revelation. General revelation is that revelation God has given to men in general through creation, conscience, and history among other things. That revelation cannot save anyone. Paul explains that everyone has been given a knowledge of the true and living God but each one has suppressed that knowledge by virtue of his own sinfulness (Rom. 1:18f). But, that revelation can still be apprehended by all men in some sense so that man may know something of how God’s world works. The scientific method is simply the investigation of God’s general revelation of Himself, man, and His world.
Special revelation is that revelation of God that speaks directly to who He is, His will, and His ways. That revelation comes by way of the Lord Jesus Christ and His word: the Scriptures. This revelation is a potentially saving revelation of God. The Holy Spirit uses the word of God in the lives of some to effect the new birth. That’s why Paul said, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation… (Rom. 1:16).”
Because man is dependent upon God for knowledge, he commits himself to a position of futility in the area of knowledge when he seeks to know something apart from God. When he commits himself to a position of independence from God he cannot know the truth. He may get certain facts right when he investigates God’s world by virtue of the general revelation of God available to all men. Despite the fact that the image of God in man has been marred by the fall, all men are created in the image of God. That fact enables even lost men to apprehend something of God’s general revelation. But, the lost man cannot know the meaning of that general revelation in an ultimate sense because he observes it through a lens that presupposes independence from God. He will misinterpret its ultimate meaning every time and he will misinterpret its obvious meaning part of the time.
By way of example, Charles Darwin observed differences in finches in different habitats in the Galapagos Islands. Because he was looking through a lens of independence from God, he developed a hypothesis of gradual change over time in animals. This change over time accompanied by mutations would be such that one animal could evolve into another animal on a macro or vertical scale. In other words, according to Darwin, a monkey could become a man.
Scientists who are Christians look at the same evidence through a lens of dependence upon God. They presuppose that God is. They observe that changes can occur in animals due to different factors. These changes can be illustrated in the breeding of different kinds of dogs for example. All the DNA necessary to produce every breed of dog was present in the fist dogs created by God. However, one species cannot evolve into another species regardless of how much time is given nor do mutations ever add DNA. All mutations involve a loss of DNA. When different breeds of dogs are developed, it is done so through a loss of DNA and not through an evolution of a lower form of dog into a higher form of dog.
Evolution in the simple sense of the word, change, on a micro scale, that is horizontal change or changes within a kind of animal that results in different breeds, is a given. Evolution on a macro scale, that is vertical change or change from a lower life form to a higher life form or even change from one kind of form to another, or Darwinian Evolution, is impossible. Because the evolutionist looks through a lens of independence from God, he misinterprets what he observes and does not know the truth.
[Part III on Wednesday]
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About Paul Dean
Dr. Paul Dean is a pastor, cultural commentator, and author. He serves as a Regional Mentor with the International Association of Biblical Counselors, speaks at several conferences throughout the year, and provides training for ministers and churches on a regular basis. Paul resides in the Upstate of South Carolina with his wife and three children.
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