MORE ON THE RATIONAL DOCTRINE OF THE BIBLE
by Wayne S. Walker
In our previous article we looked at how rational the Biblical doctrine of God is. The same is true of the Biblical doctrine of man. In the Bible, man is not descended from animals, arisen from rocks, or sprung from the sea, as in ancient pagan myths. Rather, he is presented as "the offspring of God" (Acts 17.28). This noble view of the origin of man is seldom found in heathen religions. Man’s physical body was formed from the dust of the ground, and each of us continues to be made of the same elements by the natural process of procreation (Genesis 2.7, Psalm 139.14).
At the same time, God gave us a spiritual nature or soul when He made us in His own image, so that He is also "the Father of spirits" (Genesis 1.27-28, Hebrews 12.9). Because man has been created with rationality, conscience, and free will, he is not just a pawn of fate, directed by forces beyond his control, but is accountable for his own actions. We must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ to be judged on the basis of the things done in the body (Romans 14.10-12, 2 Corinthians 5.10). Each one is responsible for his own choices in life as we might reasonably expect from such beings.
With regard to sin, the law of God is not the rule of a dictatorial tyrant who delights in nothing but inflicting punishment nor the license of a doting grandfatherly-type who encourages hedonism. Whatever God says and does is "for our good always" (Deuteronomy 6.24). Thus, the definition of sin is not something that is arbitrary or capricious, but it is the violation of a just law (1 John 3.4). And the problem is universal, because all responsible human beings have sinned (Romans 3.23). God did not choose some to be good and some to be bad, but each one chooses to sin (James 1.13-15). And no one will escape because he is a personal favorite, or has enough money, or can run far enough. There will always be just consquences for sin (Romans 6.23, Revelation 21.8). Yet, God does offer escape to those who would come to Jesus for forgiveness of their sins (Matthew 1.21, Mark 16.15-16). What could be more reasonable than that?
If the Biblical doctrine of sin is reasonable, then we would conclude that the doctrine of salvation from sin would likewise be reasonable. In the Bible, salvation is not purely sensual enjoyment, as in Valhalla of the Norse; nor mere intellectual oneness with the universe as thought among the ancient Greeks or modern Hindus; nor pie in the sky gained by blind faith and slavish obedience to irrational commands, such as Muslims expect. Bible salvation involves three ideas. The first is remission of or freedom from sins (Acts 2.38, Romans 16.16-18). Once a sin is forgiven, we no longer have to suffer its guilt. The second is a resulting special relationship with God as His spiritual children (2 Corinthians 6.17-18, Galatians 3.26-27). The concept of a close relationship with deity was not known among the ancient heathens. And the third is eternal life in heaven (1 Peter 1.3-5, 1 John 2.25). From the beginning to the end, the Bible unfolds a unified and definite plan of salvation for mankind that culminates in the hope of living with God eternally.
When we show that the Bible is historically, geographically, archaeologically, and scientfically correct, it has a tendency to confirm our view of its spiritual accuracy as a divine revelation by God of His will to mankind. Thus, the Bible’s profound and rational doctrine of God, man, sin, and salvation takes the book outside the realm of a purely human production. Its consistency in the presentation of these themes over such a long period of time is evidence that back of this production there is one over-ruling and guiding hand–that of God. (—taken from With All Boldness; December, 1997; Vol. 7, No. 12; p. 6)