Why do so many so-called educated people argue against biblical truths?

Questions about God, the Bible and the Christian culture 

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Question: Why do so many so-called educated people argue against biblical truths?

Answer: Greetings friend. Thank you for asking such an honest question. I’ll do my best to supply an honest answer.

Both so-called and actually educated people argue against the truths of the Bible because God designed the universe so we would do just that. You see, he made all this stuff, he gave human beings free will, he created good and evil — and he gave us his word — but these exist so that we may find God… and the very fact that “finding” God is in the equation means that God has designed argument into the processes used for people to find him.

It’s true that God gave us the Bible and that we are ultimately responsible to deal with that revelation. But God set up the universe as another kind of revelation so that people who know nothing of Scripture will still have enough evidence to postulate that a powerful deity made the world they observe. That’s what he says in the Bible anyway.

“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” (Romans 1:18–20, NIV)

This implies that God designed the universe so people will argue about it. If he wanted everyone to have perfect biblical knowledge instantly, then everyone would have that knowledge at birth. Instead, God wants us to collect the data, analyze it — and talk about it! But this process is built upon the assumption that discussion, arguments and adjustments will be necessary before we collectively agree on anything.

Furthermore, God made people in a special way so we can handle that process. We are — and we are uniquely so in creation — physical beings who are both self-aware and free moral agents. But the “free” part has its limits. God gave us consciences to limit what we will freely choose to do. This way, even people who are isolated from the Bible, and people who haven’t figured out God through the universe yet, still have a sense of right and wrong.

“for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them)” (Romans 2:14–15, NKJV)

Now, just because God’s law is written on our hearts, that does not mean that we automatically find God and fall into line. There are still processes involved to find God and to get to a point in life where we may serve him. That’s why God equipped us with these big brains… so we may figure these things out. But finding God is time-consuming, energy-consuming… and it sometimes involves contending with people as if they were beasts! (1 Corinthians 15:32; 2 Corinthians 1:8-11).

When it comes to God’s written revelation, the Bible, the rules are basically the same, but here, we are called to be diligent. Now diligence — by definition — requires effort… and effort implies that our current knowledge is lacking. Therefore, there is an expectation that we will study.

But this is the kind of studying where we “rightly divide” the word of truth… and “rightly dividing” is not merely reading, memorizing or regurgitating old understandings of our favorite passages. It is coming to grips with often difficult material — and sometimes by arguing with difficult people!

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15, NKJV)

Friend, God created us as reasonable beings — and reasoning always involves some level of disagreement. But if reasoning is done for the right reasons and in the right way, not only does God want us to argue… he wants us to argue with him!

“Come now, and let us argue,” says Yahweh. “Even though your sins are like scarlet, they will be white like snow; even though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” (Isaiah 1:18, LEB)

As you can see, arguing per se is not the problem. In fact, it is a necessary process in interpreting God’s revelation. But — like all other processes here on earth — it is still skewed by sin. When Jesus comes back, however, sin will be gone… and I suspect that there will be nothing left to argue about.

We usually understand the word “argue” to mean that people are fighting with words — and this is often true… but that’s not the full picture. Sometimes it just means to explain — to provide an explanation (or an “apologetic” … which is the Greek word translated as “answer” in the verse below). But since we are stuck using argument to make progress in knowing God better and contending for his truth until Christ comes back, we should be careful how we do this.

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,” (1 Peter 3:15, NIV)

Take a minute to think of what God did not do when he made the world. He did not create it so that every person would automatically love him, read the Bible, agree about it and all go to heaven. What would a world like that be worth anyway? Nothing. Because there would be no voluntary worship of God… or a study of the Bible… or missions work. All of that would be meaningless because it would be unnecessary in that kind of world.

Instead, God set the world up so that we may reason our way to truth, and without the processes of reasoning — that is, scholarly work, scholarly peer review and debates among believers and nonbelievers alike — nothing in the world of knowledge would be accomplished.

You see, in order to have faith, there must be something to have faith in… and for us, it’s God. But we can only know this because of the way revealed himself to us through his word, through his creation and through the heart of humankind. But because of this, we must have faith in these revelatory entities too…  and that involves contending for the faith (Jude 3).

There’s a chance that I missed what you were looking for with this question. If this is true, please contact us again. If you do, please send us a more detailed question. That will help us answer your query more precisely. Just remember to reference this question when you do.

God bless you.

(Mainsail Ministries articles often have a preamble where I discuss the thinking that went into them. These are called Monday Musings — and if you haven’t read the one associated with this article — consider doing so at the following link: 20191021 Why do people argue with biblical truth?).

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