It’s not “Human Reason vs. God’s Word”!

Perhaps you have heard the origins debate as being about “human reason” on the one hand, and “the Bible” on the other. Many evolutionists like to frame the debate this way. It creates a “heads I win: tails you lose” type of situation. By contrasting the Bible with “reason”, they are implying that the Bible is unreasonable. They may use some other terminology. Whether framed as “Rationality vs. faith” or “science vs. religion,” the implication of framing the debate this way is that the Bible is anti-reason, anti-science, anti-rational.

But nothing could be further from the truth! The Bible is very pro-reason, pro-science, pro-rational. In fact, the biblical God is the basis for these things (see The Ultimate Proof of Creation). God made our minds and He wants us to use them. We are supposed to think in a way that is consistent with the character of God – that’s what rationality is.

And so it is really a shame that many Christians also frame the debate this way. Yes, I have seen “reason” contrasted with “God’s Word” coming from Christian literature. Perhaps by “reason” they mean “secular philosophy.” (If so, then that is what they should say!) But secular philosophy is not biblical, whereas human reason is. The Bible tells us to reason (Isaiah 1:18) and gives us examples of it (Acts 17:2, 18:4). Perhaps by “human reason,” they mean “secular reasoning.” But this is very misleading. Not all humans are secularists! Are not Christians also human? Even Jesus is human (and God as well), so there is nothing wrong with that. By allowing the debate to be framed in such a way, such Christians have inadvertently accepted the standards of the secularist. And what happens when we allow the critics to determine the parameters of the debate in such a way? The answer is: we lose the debate.

A debate is supposed to show that one position is more rational than another. So if you allow your opponent to define his position as the “rational” position in contrast to yours, then you have pretty well lost at the outset. The Bible tells us that we are not supposed to engage in a debate using the critic’s foolish standard (Proverbs 26:4). Do not allow the secularist to define his position as “human reason” and yours as “faith” or some equivalent term. The fact of the matter is both creationists and evolutionists have a type of faith, and both use some degree of reasoning.

What then is the difference? The difference is our starting point – the standard upon which we build our reasoning. The Christian should take the Word of God has his or her ultimate standard. We are supposed to reason from the truths given to us in the Scriptures. God’s Word is like a solid rock; and reasoning that rests upon that rock will stand. What is the alternative structure on which non-Christians attempt to build their thinking? There is none. God’s Word is the only ultimate standard by which can truly know anything about anything. Yes, we can learn new truths about things outside the Bible, mathematical truths, facts about ducks, or quasars. But the only reason we can know these things is because our mind and our senses have been designed by God to interface with the universe in a way that is truthful. If our mind and senses were just the result of chance mutations that conveyed survival value, there would be no reason to think we could ever know the truth about anything!

So when people reason from an ultimate standard that is not God’s Word, they are really simply basing their thinking on an arbitrary opinion. But there is no reason to trust an arbitrary opinion. The Bible refers to such people as being like a “fool” who builds his house on the sand (Matthew 7:24-27). Since the house does not have a true and proper foundation, it is destroyed by the first storm that comes along. Likewise, those who reason from a secular opinion rather than God’s Word will find their philosophy is easily destroyed by rational analysis.

Originally posted on Dr. Lisle’s Blog at the following address:

About Dr. Lisle

Dr. Jason Lisle is a Christian astrophysicist who writes and speaks on various topics relating to science and the defense of the Christian faith. He graduated summa cum laude from Ohio Wesleyan University where he double-majored in physics and astronomy and minored in mathematics. He then earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in astrophysics at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Dr. Lisle specialized in solar astrophysics and has made a number of scientific discoveries regarding the solar photosphere, including the detection of giant cell boundaries using the SOHO spacecraft. He also does theoretical research and has contributed to the field of general relativity. Since completion of his research at the University of Colorado, Dr. Lisle began working in full-time apologetics ministry, specializing in the defense of Genesis. He has written a number of articles and books on the topic. His most well-known book, The Ultimate Proof of Creation, demonstrates that biblical creation is the only logical possibility for origins. Dr. Lisle wrote and directed the popular planetarium shows at the Creation Museum, including “The Created Cosmos.” He now works as director of research at the Institute for Creation Research.


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