From the desk of Mr. Pilliod
The Bible Contains the Word of God...
You say, “Mr. Pilliod, how could you disagree with that statement?!” Good question. Let me point you to a statement from the apostle Paul in his second letter to Timothy, in particular, chapter 3 and verses 15-17:
“And that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
I’d like to focus on the word “inspiration” now. In the Greek it is θεόπνευστος, or theopneustos, which comes from 2 root words: theos, meaning God, and pneuma, meaning spirit or breath or wind. So what we have here is that God breathed out His Word through men such that the Scriptures were written.
How could this happen? Did God move the pen that the man held? Of course not. Did God usurp the will of man in order that His Word could be revealed in written form to all of mankind? Of course not. It is a mystery, to be sure, but God does not force man’s will such that he should sin…neither does God force man’s will such that he would write what God wants him to write. God’s motivations to our will are perfect, complete, and intimate in such fashion as only available from Creator to creature. Therefore, when God motivates men’s minds to write the Words of God, they do so with precision, accuracy, and infallibility while at the same time using their own techniques, styles, grammatical idiosyncrasies. God is THAT good, you know! So, we can be assured that what the men wrote, they wrote in the Spirit of God and in the perfection of God. I guess that sums it up. I’m sure I’ve written some portion of this incorrectly and would really like to be corrected in this such that I can nuance it better so please feel free to let me know!
I’d like to also discuss, briefly, the phrase from our passage that reads, “All Scripture is given…” Did you hear that (or read that)? “All Scripture.” Therefore, the Bible does not merely ‘contain’ God’s Word, but it all ‘is’ God’s Word! If the Bible merely ‘contained’ the Word of God, then that would mean that some small portion of the Bible was ‘not’ the Word of God. Or it might mean that 50% of the Bible was ‘not’ the Word of God. Or it could mean that the vast majority of the Bible was ‘not’ the Word of God.
The problem then becomes one of figuring out which sections of Scripture are indeed God’s Word and which sections are not God’s Word. For example, clearly if the Bible merely ‘contained’ the Word of God then the section of our passage saying that “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God” would by necessity NOT be the Word of God! Hmm…
Another point…if the Bible merely contains God’s Word, then where might we place our ultimate authority? I know of many ‘places’ we might place such authority, but I’d like to focus on one since I’m a science guy. Secular science operates under a philosophy called naturalism as well as materialism. Basically, the beginning axiom is that all of existence can be boiled down to matter and/or energy because those are the only things in existence. In our current culture, science has taken a place of authority in our thinking. Unfortunately, the Christian can fall into this trap as well. The Christian, though, uses phrases like “God’s general revelation.” It is true that there are two revelations of God. One is indeed the general revelation. This is the revelation of God in the Creation. We can glean much about God from general revelation. For example, laws of logic, mathematics, the fact that there is a sense of good and evil, that the world is looking for God through various religions, etc. But understand this: nature is corrupted, cursed, and fallible according to God’s special revelation. And that is the second revelation of God. God has specially revealed Himself in two ways: One is through Holy Scripture and the other is through the Incarnation.
The Scriptures and Jesus on earth are perfect, infallible, and inerrant. So I ask you…which of God’s two revelations should take precedent over the other? That’s right, God’s special revelation in Holy Writ is the ultimate authority through which we should view God’s general revelation…and this includes the “discoveries” of science.
Cornelius Van Til, apologetics scholar, says this,
“God’s revelation in nature was from the outset of history meant to be taken conjointly with God’s supernatural Communications.”
Van Til was specifically referring to Genesis chapter 2 and the explicit account of the sixth day of Creation.
Steve Ham in his book “In God we Trust” says,
“In the Garden of Eden, Adam was given explicitly communicated instructions from God in relation to understanding the environment around him. In the midst of the beautiful garden surrounding him, God supernaturally instructed Adam to work it and keep it, to eat of any of the trees except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God’s special revelation allowed Adam to make sense of the environment around him, otherwise he had no way on his own but to imagine and guess. When we choose to reject God’s special revelation for understanding the world around us and the life we live, we also simply imagine and guess.”
So I implore you to take careful stock of where you are placing your source of authority. It’s not like both nature and the Bible are on equal footing because both are God’s revelation, nay, nature is clearly and totally subservient to the special revelation of Scripture. So what does this mean? It means that when the Bible touches on issues of science, then the Bible is correct in what it says in regards to the issues of science. Our measurements are fallible. Our observations are fallible. Nature is cursed and fallen; God’s special revelation is not.
So what does this have to do with the Pilliod family going to Panama? Think on it. If the Bible merely contains the Word of God, then it could be possible that what has become known as the Great Commission might just not be God’s Word! If the Bible merely contains God’s Word, then maybe Scripture is subservient to nature? I deny this outright! The Great Commission is God’s Word. We Christians are commanded to take the Gospel to all the earth…
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Soli Deo Gloria
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