Does Nature Reveal Truth As Clearly As Does The Bible?
by John D. Morris, Ph.D.
To the Bible-believing Christian, this might seem a frivolous question to ask—but not so. A growing number of Christian teachers are returning to the oft discredited "double-revelation theory," asserting that nature reveals truth just as clearly as does God's written word.
The argument goes like this. God has given us two sources of knowledge. Scripture is God's special revelation, and nature is God's general revelation. Since God cannot lie, these two must both be true and must agree with each other.
So far, no disagreement among reasonable persons. But problems arise when an over confidence is placed in general revelation. The conclusions of scientists must be true, they say. Advocates claim that special revelation deals primarily with the "who" and "why" questions, while natural revelation deals with "when" and "how." Thus the theologian is the ultimate interpreter of Scripture, while the scientist is the ultimate authority on nature.
But what of any apparent conflicts? In this view, if the conflict deals with matters of faith and practice, then the scientist must yield to the theologian, but if it deals with science or origins, the Scripture yields to the Scientist. Thus the Bible is made to bend to accommodate the conclusions of the scientist in science and history.
But, scientists are not omniscient. Scientists can and do make mistakes. Scientists are not always (if ever) objective in coming to their conclusions. Scientists are some of the most biased people in the world. Furthermore, they are incapable of gathering all the necessary information, as well as incapable of fully understanding what they do gather. No wonder they often disagree with each other. All scientists have inherited from Adam a cursed brain and a fallen mind. Most scientists are non-regenerate if not anti-God. How can we expect them to come to truth, expecially about origins?
Since science and the scientific method are limited to the present, how could fallible, limited scientists possibly reconstruct unobserved history? Origins events are one-time, non-repeatable, unique events, inaccessible to the scientific method. Empirical science, locked in the natural world as it is, can never succeed in reconstructing the supernatural acts of God without revelation, especially ultimate origins.
The "double-revelation theory" always results in placing the Bible in an inferior position to the musings of scientists. For instance, many Christians have attempted to equate the Big Bang with the "In the beginning" of Genesis 1:1, and twisted Scripture to make it fit. But every time today's astronomers turn on the Hubble telescope, they discover more problems with the Big Bang. Soon the Big Bang will fizzle. Will Christians who have already compromised Scripture to accommodate the Big Bang then be the only ones left who hold it? Nature can tell us much about the existence and nature of God, and even help us understand certain difficult Bible passages. But to claim that the majority opinion of scientists is on a par with Scripture is a recipe for disaster. Yes, special and general revelation must always agree, and both speak the truth, but not with equal clarity.
*Dr. John Morris is the President of ICR.