Do you make these two errors that Timothy Keller makes? In his anti-Biblical science, Keller imagines that all humans can hold two fundamental beliefs because of mankind’s naturalistic evolution.
Keller supposes that traits necessary for evolutionary survival and reproduction can also enable a person to believe in the existence of God and to believe the gospel. (1) However, do Keller’s theories withstand Biblical scrutiny?
Knowledge of God
The Bible explains the exact source of mankind’s universal knowledge of God. Humanity lives in a revelatory creation and obtains all knowledge by revelation. (2) For mankind to know Him, God must disclose Himself to humans in a form of revelation suitable to them. (3)
When God created Adam, the progenitor of mankind, God revealed Himself to him. (Genesis 1.26-30) In the Garden In Eden, Adam and Eve knew God and fellowshipped with Him as He further disclosed Himself to them and described His commands and purposes for them. (Genesis 2.15-18) Since creation, mankind has known the reality of God because of his self-disclosure to them. (Romans 1.19)
Revelation of God
The Bible describes three modes of God's self-disclosure to mankind:
natural revelation which reveals the attributes of God as revealed in creation (Psalm 19.1-6; 104; Romans 1.20);
the incarnation of Jesus Christ in human flesh (Hebrews 1.1-3); and
the Bible in written languages knowable by humans. (Hebrews 1.1) (4)
Each of these modes of revelation suits the revelatory nature of mankind and the creation in which mankind lives. Therefore, humans grasp the knowledge of God. (5)
Condition of Mankind
In the Garden In Eden, Adam and Eve disobeyed God's commands to them and ate the forbidden fruit. Their sin brought the punishment that God warned: “…dying you will die.” (Genesis 2.17)
Although they did not die physically immediately, they did experience instantaneous spiritual death. Even though they knew Him, they lost their desire to fellowship with God, feared Him, and hid from Him when He sought them. (Genesis 3.6-13) They alienated themselves from God and came under His condemnation.
Although all humans know God Who has revealed Himself to them, they suffer the consequences of Adam’s sin: alienation from God and the condemnation of God. They suppress their knowledge of God by unrighteousness, refusing to honor and worship Him. (Romans 1.18-21)
Necessity of Supernatural Faith
Because of their sin, humans possess a limited understanding of God. They attempt to comprehend Him through their intellect, natural abilities, logic, and reason. (6) Sadly, their sinfulness blinds them from more complete knowledge of God.
In fact, the natural man or woman calls the knowledge of God foolishness. (1 Corinthians 2.14) They have no desire to know God more clearly and will not seek Him. (Romans 3.10-18) The Bible describes them as spiritually dead. (Ephesians 2.1-3)
To become spiritually alive requires the supernatural work of God in the life of an individual. It begins when God's Holy Spirit gives to a person the new birth from above. (John 3.3) God's Holy Spirit convinces people of their sinfulness and persuades them of their need of a Savior, Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit enables them to trust Christ, who promised life to all who come to Him in faith. (John 3.16)
This supernatural work of God reconciles the believer to God. No longer condemned, the believer desires to know God more clearly and to understand Him more plainly. (John 3.16-18)
In his article, “Creation, Evolution, and Christian Laypeople” (7), Keller stated that the ability to know God could result from an evolutionary process. (8) He further said that no logical reason precludes God from using evolution to predispose humans to believe in God and to consider the gospel. (9)
However, the Bible clearly describes the natural man as spiritually dead, who looks upon spiritual truths as foolishness. Further, no human can understand the gospel nor come to faith in Jesus Christ without the supernatural intervention from God by His Holy Spirit. (John 3.3-8)
Keller’s conclusions contradict the Bible, making them false. As the previous scripture references detail, such knowledge comes to mankind from outside of him as revelation from God to humans.
Keller made serious errors in his conclusions in his article. They cut to the heart of Biblical authority and the gospel. Naturalism does not trump supernaturalism.
The Bible clearly states, as shown in previous sections of this article, mankind knows of the reality of God solely because God has self-disclosed Himself in creation, Jesus Christ, and the Bible. Further, humans can come to saving faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ only because of the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of spiritually dead people.
Therefore, reject Keller’s false conclusions. Trust the inerrant, infallible word of God, which He can use to bring you to faith in Jesus Christ and to further understand the God who created you in His image. I pray that the Holy Spirit will bring these to pass in your life today.
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