Minister’s Message


Westminster Confession of Faith 1.1

Although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men inexcusable; yet they are not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of his will, which is necessary unto salvation. Therefore it pleased the Lord, at sundry times, and in divers manner, to reveal Himself, and to declare that His will unto His Church; and afterwards, for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the Church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing: which maketh the Holy Scripture to be most necessary; those former ways of God’s revealing His will unto His people being now ceased.

     “I can worship God just as well sitting under a tree as I can by reading a Bible” Perhaps you have heard just such a statement from someone. Perhaps you have said something like this yourself. Is this true? Can you worship God as well by looking at His creation as you can by reading His Word?

     The answer given by the Bible to this question is an emphatic “No!” No one can worship God adequately, nor please God by his worship, just based on what he can learn about God from nature. The Bible teaches that what can be learned about God from seeing His works in nature (which theologians call “Natural Revelation”) is not enough to meet the one important need of man for salvation. For that you need the revelation of God in the Bible (called “Special Revelation”).

     Why is this so? Because the sin of man corrupts all he can learn of God through Natural Revelation. Paul teaches in Romans 1:18-23:

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

     The point is this: Natural Revelation clearly portrays the God who created all things, but man distorts and misreads the testimony of nature because of his sin. The Bible says that men “suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” The testimony of nature to the Creator God pops out of everything that He has made, like a jack-in-the-box pops out every time you turn the handle. The problem is that men tend to sit down on the lid of the jack-in-the-box to prevent him from popping out. Men refuse to see, listen to, and heed the testimony of the creation to the Creator. This is the reason the theory of evolution has gained such a hold on men in our day—it offers a way to ignore the testimony of the creation to a God who made it.

     So mankind, because of sin, is willfully blind to the witness of creation, and even actively misreads it to provide excuses for not believing in God.

     But even if all men could read nature properly, that revelation still would not be enough for them. Nature does not declare mankind’s need for a Savior from sin. Only the Bible does that. Therefore, God gave us the Bible to meet our need of a correct interpretation of the testimony of nature, and, even more importantly, to show us our need for salvation through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.

     It is in the Bible alone that we read of mankind’s fall into sin through the sin of Adam and Eve. It is in the Bible alone that we read of God’s promise to provide a Redeemer from that state of sin and misery brought on by the Fall. And it is in the Bible alone that we read of the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, our Savior. We would be unable to know of our greatest need, and of how God has met that need, if it were not for the Bible.

     What of other so-called “holy books” such as the Koran, the Bhagavad-Gita, the Book of Mormon and so forth? They are not on the same level as the Bible. The Bible alone is the inspired Word of God, all other “holy books” are written by mere men, and are therefore false and misleading.

     The Bible claims that it is the inspired Word of God in 2 Timothy 3:16. The term for inspiration used there means “God-breathed.” It is as though the very words of the Holy Scriptures came from the mouth of Almighty God, though they were chosen and penned by men. These writers were kept from error by the superintending work of the Holy Spirit, as the Bible claims in 2 Peter 1:20-21. There it states that holy men of old who wrote the Scriptures were “moved by the Holy Spirit” to deliver the messages God gave them.

     It is for this reason that we believe the Scriptures are inerrant (without error) in the original documents. God’s Word is not a mixture of truth and error, which we must try to separate on our own. Instead, it is the pure truth of God Himself, and therefore entirely trustworthy.

     This is a round about way of answering the question with which we began, but it shows why you cannot worship God adequately apart from His Word. You need the trustworthy light of the Holy Scriptures to enable you to understand correctly the revelation of God in nature. Without that you will inevitably fall into error and sin and be totally unable to worship Him as He desires.

     So, read your Bible. In it you will find light from God that reveals what you are to believe concerning God and what duty God requires of you.

Copyright © 2005 by Jones Graphics for First Reformed Presbyterian Church
This page was last updated 19 June 2008.