Revelation above Reason or Reason above Revelation?
This is a question many haven’t considered, but one everyone, consciously or unconsciously, has answered. What takes precedence – what rules supreme: man’s reason or God’s revelation? To put it another way, what is the ultimate test for truth? That something agrees with man’s reason (it’s logical, it makes sense to me) or that it has been revealed by God (the Bible says)?
Underlying this question is the presupposition that God’s revelation far surpasses man’s reason and his ability to understand it. This is a presupposition the Bible itself states: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9). “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!” (Romans 11:33).
On the basis of these passages, we should expect to encounter things – many things – in God’s revelation which boggle our minds. Things which are far beyond us. Things we can’t understand. Things we can’t reconcile logically.
This is where the above question comes in. When we encounter such things, are we going to trust God’s revelation over against our reason or are we going to trust our reason instead of God’s revelation? This comes into play when witnessing to Mormons because most Mormons’ default position is trusting in their reason above God’s revelation.
We agree that it’s not logical for God to give eternal life freely and fully to dead and stinking sinners, but that is what he has revealed. Therefore, I believe it. It’s not logical that Jesus is both true man and true God in one person, but this is what God has revealed. Therefore, I believe it. It’s not logical that there is one God comprised of three distinct persons, but this is what God has revealed about himself. Therefore, I believe it. God’s revelation trumps my reason every time.
Not only do I believe this, I rejoice in it. This shows me how majestic and great my God is. I personally don’t want a God who I can understand. I want somebody who is so far above me – who is so vastly different from me – that all I can do is stand in awe. This is the God of the Bible. To him be all praise!