Wednesday, June 4, 2008

All Truth, God's Truth

"Therefore, in reading profane authors, the admirable light of truth displayed in them should remind us, that the human mind, however much fallen and perverted from its original integrity, is still adorned and invested with admirable gifts from its Creator. If we reflect that the Spirit of God is the only fountain of truth, we will be careful, as we would avoid offering insult to him, not to reject or condemn truth wherever it appears... Shall we deny the possession of intellect to those who drew up rules for discourse, and taught us to speak in accordance with reason? Shall we say that those who, by the cultivation of the medical art, expended their industry in our behalf were only raving?... But shall we deem anything to be noble and praiseworthy, without tracing it to the hand of God? Far from us be such ingratitude..." John Calvin, The Institutes of Christian Religion, Book II, Chapter II

I have heard it said that truth can only come from the Bible. There is a great misconception that sola scriptura means that the Bible is the only source of truth. This is a very dangerous misconception. Sola scriptura holds that the Bible is the ultimate source of truth, but God's image is not so marred in mankind that it cannot discover some truth through general revelation or common grace. (Certainly redemptive truths must come from special revelation, which in most Protestant traditions amounts to the Bible.) Indeed, we should not accept everything without discrimination that men "discover" through general revelation, but to deny that any truth can be discovered this way is to, as Calvin says, "insult the Giver" by "despising the gifts."

As Christians we should be the first to herald truth wherever we find it, but we should also "test everything" (I Thessalonians 5:21) as Paul says. When we find truth we should also be the first to turn praise back to God because it is from Him.

By His Grace,

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