THE RATIONAL DOCTRINE OF THE BIBLE
by Wayne S. Walker
Christians believe that the Bible is a special divine revelation. We believe that there is a need for such a revelation because, although the heavens declare the glory of God, the apostle Paul affirms that only His power and divinity are seen through the things that are made. Therefore, God’s nature, character, and will to man had to be revealed in a special way. This revelation has been made known through His Son Jesus Christ and preserved in the inspired written word which was revealed by the Holy Spirit to the apostles and prophets.
The proof of such a revelation is cumulative, each argument becoming a part of the whole. The proposition of this particular article is that the rational doctrine of the Bible regarding God, man, sin, and salvation, presented in the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments, helps to demonstrate the scriptures to be a special divine revelation. In Acts 18:14 we read when Paul was on trial in Corinth, "And when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, ‘If it were a matter of wrongdoing or wicked crimes, O Jews, there would be reason why I should bear with you.’" Some things can be shown to be reasonable or rational, while others cannot. And every major concept found in the Bible is rational.
The God of the Bible is not sexually passionate, like the Roman Jupiter, not a fanciful half-animal like the Egyptian Anubis, not a capricious lightning thrower like the Norse Thor, nor completely anthropomorphic like the Canaanite Baal who was definitely made in the image of man. Rather, His existence appeals to our sense of reason which He placed in us by creation. In fact, in Isaiah 1:18 He asks mankind, "Come now, and let us reason together…." The word "reason" here denotes the kind of contention or argumentation which occurs in a court of justice where the parties reciprocally state the grounds of their cause. Thus, our service to Him is a "reasonable service" (Romans 12:1). In other words, it is rational, logical, agreeable to our God-given reason.
Unlike the pagan deities who often made mistakes, mistreated people, and sometimes even engaged in immoral conduct, the one true God always does that which is right (Genesis 18:25). Thus, He Himself sets forth the standard by which He expects us to live, rather than telling us, "Do as I say and not as I do." And all mankind will have to answer to this perfect standard in judgment (Acts 17:30-31, Romans 2:5-11). Yet, again unlike heathen gods who could be mean, spiteful, and even nasty, Jehovah is a loving and merciful God who makes it possible for us to escape the punishment for our failures to live up to His standards when we meet His conditions (John 3:16, 2 Peter 3:9).
In the God of the Bible we see a perfect blend of qualities that can be found in no other. When men create stories about gods, they come up with myths like the ancient Egyptians, Canaanites, Greeks, and Romans, whose pagan deities mirror human weaknesses and foibles. How is it that the Bible pictures a completely different kind of God? It must be a different kind of book from a completely different source, not of mankind! The next article will continue this theme by looking at the Biblical doctrines of man, sin, and salvation. (—taken from With All Boldness; November, 1997; Vol. 7, No. 11; p. 8)