Science in Christian Perspective



An Evidential Approach to Christianity
117 Christopher Circle
Ithaca, New York 14850

From: JASA 36 (June 1984): 81-87.

What people think determines what they are and do. Harmful belief and authority systems thrive on uncertainty about the existence of the God of the Bible. How to rely on the Lord's self-disclosure is caricatured in the media. Everyone should have a reasonable opportunity to know how to know the truth and avoid traps set around important words such as evidence, probability, certitude and faith. The Thomistic arguments have failed because they are not scriptural, and the belief there is nothing but slippery subjectivism plagues the world. Justifiable certitude is possible for the finite, imperfect, humble thinking person.

The Theory of Induction is the despair of philosophy-and yet all our activities are based upon it.
Alfred North Whitehead

Five blind men investigated an elephant. One felt the trunk and said an elephant is like a large hose. Another felt the tail and said an elephant is like a rope. Still another felt an ear and said an elephant is like canvas. The one who felt a leg said elephants are like trees. Finally, the one who felt the side of the animal said dogmatically, elephants are actually houses! Each thought clearly of the elephant in terms of his own too limited data.

Conflicts between some in scientific work and Christianity are similarly based. How this badly affects both is important to understand if we are to find the truth about God, man, the world today and to come. One person may say, "Science is a developing body of truth; it contradicts the Bible, therefore the Bible cannot be accepted." Another may say, "Science does not actually contradict the Bible; this allegation is only the claim of certain non-Christians who want to seem to have near infallible support for their preferences. Actually, the data of science do not contradict the data taught in the Scriptures." Can the correct viewpoint be discovered? For that matter, is it all that important? Not much is at stake in the case of religions which say all will be well finally, no matter what one does. Those religions which say man will have another chance in the next life or that there is no next life also need not worry anyone greatly. A religion which teaches that the stakes involved in our present choices are almost infinitely high in the next life, if it has even the slightest chance of being true, ought to be investigated early and carefully. We, therefore, propose to examine the data and truth claims at the interface between science and the Bible.

The Function of a Scientist

The function of a scientist is that of observing, theorizing and then testing his theories (or hypotheses). Recently, the spinning of theories has been called model making. Good illustrations of this function can be found in Joss and Salpeter's "Models for Carbon-Rich Stars with Helium Envelopes," John Warwick Montgomery's "The Theologian's Craft," and J.D. Watson's The Double Helix. Certain "facts" seem to be causally related (cause and effect). A mental model is constructed in an attempt to fit the facts together in a systematic way. The purpose is to adequately relate past data and enable the model builder and others to predict more successfully what will happen in the future, given similar circumstances. The data or evidence used in the model construction process may come from all of experience, not just from a laboratory. The data may be the kind that can be modelled mathematically and thus processed to some degree in a computer.

The Nature of Model Making

Model making is necessarily a process of successive approximations, since a model usually cannot reliably go any farther than the limited data and accuracy available at the moment. And, because we do not have infinite, total or exhaustive knowledge we cannot be absolutely certain we have all the pertinent data necessary to make a "final" model. Models are always subject to revision, fine tuning or even abandonment when new input necessitates change to provide for total integration of an enlarged body of data. Therefore a finite human being cannot claim total, infinite, absolute or final knowledge about anything. Can we then have a working certitude about anything? Do we ever come to the place where we are morally obligated to go with the best data at hand? If not, how could anyone ever be justly regarded as blameworthy and judged for any actions or crimes?

"One thing is sure, presupposing something doesn't make it certain." Dr. Allan A. MacRae

The Nature of Data

Data has commonly been defined as facts taken for use as a basis for reasoning. More recently, it is being recognized that so-called facts are actually the conclusions we reach in our minds after "interpreting" one or more sense experiences or feelings within ourselves. The conclusions actually are minimodels which we have made Uriconsciously. Thus, what we frequently call facts are actually models with the propensities for fallibility already mentioned. Data are what we have before conclusions are drawn. Data are the sense and/or psychological experiences that come to the mind for arranging into possible models, one of which is chosen for the needs of the situation.

Possibilities in the Handling of Data and Models

We have noted that the information content of the data predestines the conclusion for a logical person, just as a computer's output is predetermined by its input ("garbage in, garbage out"). Skewing the incoming data or excluding some of it from our thinking produces models which differ from what they ought to be. Ignorance of available pertinent data tends inevitably to result in unnecessarily imprecise, untruthful, and even dangerous models. What we are saying when we claim to understand something is that we have a mental model that connects the data points in a way satisfying to us. The points may be connected with anything from straight lines to all kinds of curves and loops, producing a simple possible, or an infinite variety of more or less arbitary models. We should restrict our model's form to the minimin required by the available data. Anything else is blind faith

The systematic exclusion of certain data from the model making process by preselecting only part of what is avail is an immoral exercise of the mind. It may be done unconsciously or subconsciously to maintain the appearance respectable rationality for what may actually be a matter prejudice. Thus a person may become willfully blind, deliberately limiting his input data, thus apparently justifying making of a defective model. Such self-will, when practiced on a large collective scale, can lead to tragic errors judgment on the part of individuals and even nations. We morally obligated to go on the basis of the best data available as decisions are necessitated.

We see, therefore, our input data fitted together less smoothly into small models. These small models are the parts that go into the giant model or philosophy of reality (Weltanschauung) which each person constructs. Supposedly, this determines his outlook or philosophy of life. Actually his outlook or philosophy also largely determines the initial small models, as well, and they in turn the larger one. The circular feedback naturally occurring can pose an almost insuperable obstacle to the correction of one part of the total mass that does not fit new data. The strain on intellectual honesty can be severe.

Becoming a Christian

The Mistaken Way of Blind Faith

The Bible never said there were three wise men. Neither did it say Eve gave Adam an apple or that God made the universe out of nothing. These are traditions, and like most traditions, they are unreliable. Christians are people of The Book, which means real Christianity is not some mystery religion practiced out of a cave, but rather that its actual content is fully set down. It can be studied, checked and rechecked objectively. "Sola Scriptura," a motto of The Great Reformation, is a statement of the fact that The Book is the Christian's only standard of reality and living. No one has the right to call his pizza-inspired dreams an authoritative addition to that base line.

On the other hand, to get a lock on people's minds, cults (and other power-trippers) frequently demand a blind faith in some basic doctrine or teaching. Once evidence and reason are thus shrewdly by-passed, they are no longer apt to be used consistently in further studies. The absolutely blind faith starting position is held to be totally authoritative and determines all that follows. This is not the teaching of The Book. Therefore, it is not the teaching of genuine (Biblical) Christianity. The exercise of blind faith is essential to cultic religions because, for all intents and purposes, it is the end of all argument, and future reexamination is headed off before getting started.

A typical unfortunate scenario might begin with someone who calls himself (or herself) a prophet. In essence he says as decisions are necessitated.

God gave him a message mankind needs today. Perhaps he claims to have been given some gold tablets with the initial message already engraved on them in an unknown language, which only the prophet is able to translate. Then the tablets conveniently disappear. Or, the prophet is simply "inspired" to directly speak and/or write what is to be followed. We are told this is the way the Christian scriptures were given, and this new prophet is in the same line or tradition. He, therefore, should be similarly honored and obeyed. Others may want to join him as additional prophets, sharing authority over people. Competition is not usually welcomed, so new prophets tend to come one by one as the old ones die off. Sometimes later revelations are difficult to harmonize with what was previously given. So then an important new doctrine would naturally state that the most recent revelations supersede all previous inspired material, especially when contradictions are perceived. Thus mistakes can be made to become virtues. Allegedly, followers are being continuously, advantageously supplied with changing truth for changing times.

Things can get a bit sticky when several "prophets" claim simultaneously they are being led or given special revelations, and they do not harmonize well with each other. An accomodation may be reached, where, having supposedly been given new truth by God, they feel it necessary or wise to call a meeting to take a human vote on it all before propagation for all to honor and obey as God's word. They may call themselves Elders, Ayatollahs, even Apostles or Cardinals. In any case, their primary purpose is to obtain power over people (Acts 20:28-30, 2 Peter 2:3), preferrably large numbers of people. Then everything depends on persuading these people to commit themselves at almost the very beginning to a blind faith in some basic proposition that later will make them follow as unquestioningly as possible. The Koran, for example, doesn't even attempt to give any reason for belief in its system, that is, any solid evidence strong enough to rationally support its command/reward structure. Rather, it claims, essentially, one will know it is true if one's heart is in the right place. Evidently there are people who can be successfully programmed, by just such a simple statement, to "experience" the required feeling. Everything depends upon accepting the imposition of an essentially blind faith decision. Pride later hinders re-examination of the rightness of this starting point. The belief that this erroneous starting point is the Christian position allows many to take the leap in the dark, to make the basic commitment that predestines all future compliance.

Soon after the commitment is made, the burden of building and using beautiful cathedrals is usually imposed, for they psychologically imprint authentication of the original blind

Finite man cannot and does not possess exhaustive knowledge; therefore he has to learn on the basis of probabilities inherent in data gathering and the model assembling process.

faith decision even more firmly. Thus the road downhill gets steeper and more difficult to retrace. The way is paved for the revelations to be claimed to be self -authenticating, or to be believed solely on the authority of "the Church." In time, antiquity is invoked, and the cult is thus further psychologically clothed with believability and consequent authority over people. It may then gain the further respectability of being called a denomination.

Finite Man and His Finite Knowledge

Finite man cannot and does not possess exhaustive knowledge; therefore he has to learn on the basis of probabilities inherent in data gathering and the model assembling process. If he bad exhaustive or infinite knowledge he would not need to learn anything. Some have said finite knowledge of an infinite Being would be an infinitesimal percentage of the totality, and, therefore, man cannot say anything significant about God. However, in simple math we know the general equation for a straight line in a two coordinate system is y = mx + b . Even though the line is infinitely long in both directions, and we are finite, we can and do say certain very significant truths about it in the equation. So also, the God who lives is infinite in certain definable attributes. (Cf. J.O. Buswell, Systematic Theology, Vol. I, pp. 36 ff.)

Herman J. Eckelmann is an Electrical Engineer. He holds a patent in solid-state circuitry, worked 20 years as a Research Associate and Research Support Specialist at the Center for Radiophysics and Space Research at Cornell University, and has done EE consulting for Borg-Warner Electronics in Ithaca, NY. He has co-authored a book, Genesis One and the Origin of the Earth, and is the founding pastor of The Faith Bible Church of Ithaca. He has an MDiv. from Faith Theological Seminary, Elkins Park, PA, and is currently serving as a member of the Board of Trustees of Biblical Theological Seminary, Hatfield, PA 19440.

To Apply This Now

New material, a revelation about God, comes to a person. A body of sense data termed Christian Evidences is also presented. This type of evidence is discussed in such books as: Urquhart's Wonders of Prophecy, Stoner's Science Speaks, McMillen's None of these Diseases, and josh McDowell I s Evidence that Demands a Verdict. An explanation is required for the unfailing accuracy of the Scriptures in recording history and scientific knowledge far in advance of their occurrence and discovery. The closed system or giant model previously held is not adequate to integrate it. An agonizing reappraisal is indicated and a choice required to deal fairly no matter what the ego cost. Fearing the taunts and reprisals of colleagues and friends, some do not make this choice. Others, grasping the overall significance and moral

The faith that miracles cannot have happened is the result of unfounded arbitrary assumptions plus partial data exclusion.

imperative of receiving this new data at any cost, find they embrace not only data, but also as a logical consequence, a Person, Jesus Christ. Much is involved. A reassessment of one's life in the light of moral standards revealed in the Bible to be inherent in the nature of the Lord, and a new attitude toward things contrary to His nature occur. Sin begins to be called sin, and though it may once have been a thing desired, progressive dislike for it now becomes natural. Answers to prayer occur which are not easily explained away statistically. Reasons for living a particular kind of life with distinct goals are discovered, and a peace experienced which far transcends previous transient and deceptive pleasures. A startling result of the emerging new nature is a growing satisfaction in fulfilling Scripture-taught responsibilities to the Lord. The habit of erecting false models of convenience lessens as appreciation for revealed truth deepens. The certitude required for life's decisions is adequately transmitted, in His providence, by the supplied data.

Looking Back

Christians, looking back over their past, feel certain things characterized them and the world out of which they came. Most important is that world's warping of its model by carefully preselecting certain data, i.e., excluding that which would lead to submission to the living God as He has presented Himself in the Scriptures.

The faith that miracles cannot have happened is the result of unfounded arbitrary assumptions Plus partial data exclusion. Heaven, Hell and a final judgment are said to be unbelievable. Actually, the unbelievability is the result of thinking only within the confines of an arbitary model that permits only horizontal conceptualization. Such a person has become accustomed to scarcely looking at data that expand his ability to integrate the sensory experience significant body of mankind. Having become Christians, we recognize that we once ignored large areas of evidence threatened our model with the necessity for a basic change.

"Facts" were used to support and rationalize to submit to revealed responsibilities. Our model was inhositable; it was skewed by self will for temporary "freedom autonomy. This intellectualization of nonsubmission to Lord is a misuse of the mind, for which a person will be permanently responsible if not forsaken in this life. To data provided for our enlightenment is a permitted fr but the abandonment of this available light is an invite Him to justly abandon us. It is wise to recall that He needs less than we need Him. Thus, refusal to accept instruction repent of sin, and the consequent rationalization refusal, via model warping and data exclusion, is inherently contrary to a person's own best interests. Hell is and deserved, we are informed.

The individual's reaction is either to actually become Christian, or to turn away, twisting and neglecting the ever more assiduously and systematically in an effort create and maintain feelings of security. Failure to pe this seductive dream model permits recurring feelings insecurity, even paranoia. There is a need for more and assurances that "all is well." Hence many flock to hear more clever and dogmatic agnostic, atheistic or cultic speakers to bolster their failing rationalizations.

Preliminary Conclusions

The issues supposedly lie within the field of Epistemolgy. Actually, for many, epistemological errors are only the symptoms of a deeper corruption, the tendency to choose o model for ego reasons, and then justify it by tampering the data.

The worst thing that can happen is for God to let a per have his own way; to remain within his fantasy that corresponds only with the data chosen to steer him away from greatest reality, from his responsibility to the Creator as created being, from becoming and eternally enjoying that which he was created.

Model Making, Selection, Revision

Let us imagine how a new baby might begin to think. We will collapse time so that her experiences begin at birth with a smoothly working pair of eyes. A picture comes to her mind by means of her eyes. An unfamiliar cold-wet feeling comes as well. In her mind she thinks in some way (even this is unfamiliar), and observes an arm move and a certain feedback feeling from the arm and the body on which it was resting. Our baby does this several times and concludes that she exists, that the external world observed by her eyes and which interacts with her really exists, and incidentally, that her senses are essentially reliable. The same sort of experiences with the rest of her body in interacting with the medical world and then her mother convinces her that the world external to her mind has a structure, can be interacted with and is predictable, at least in part. She has thus acquired her basic beliefs which serve her in all subsequent rational thought. (John 1:9 shows this is providentially guided.) it is important to notice that these basic "presuppositions" are testable rather than being entirely beyond verification or falsification. They are not a priori. Fred Hoyle, speaking on the necessity of using models that can be tested, said:

Herbert Dingle has quite correctly warned us recently against promoting a theory simply because we happen to like it.... The grounds for a serious discussion of a theory lie in the possibility of subjecting it to observational test... Gold has expressed this most aptly by saying that 'for a theory to be of any value it must be vulnerable.' Vulnerability supplies the conditions for success or failure in accordance with observational tests, and it is on this that science, and indeed all rational argument, is based.1

Now let us imagine a baby grown into adulthood. Data comes to this person's mind. Mental images, or perhaps analogs, are invented to string together the data. Then a working model is adopted by a process of selection, governed

The worst thing that can happen is for God to let a person have his own way.

ideally by consideration of probabilities pro and con, i.e. which model is the simplest, and fits the data with the least forcing or blind faith. The varying degrees of accuracy and reliability of the data also enter into the decision-making process. Ralph Bates, a good friend of mine, told the following story which illustrates the process. The four-engine bomber he was piloting had two inoperative engines on the same wing during a bombing run in World War Il. Reduced air speed prevented him from keeping up with the return flight so he limped along as best he could, taking cover at an altitude that, fortunately, had solid cloud cover both below and above his plane. Thus, he was not apt to be seen from the ground while over enemy territory, nor from any other altitude than his own. Meanwhile, his fellow pilots, keeping radio silence, landed at their home base, and three other friends took off in fighter planes to meet him as quickly as possible and protect him from enemy fighter attack the rest of the way back. These were good friends and so they decided to tease him. Just before their estimated time of interception they turned their planes over and flew upside down in formation into Ralph's view, hoping to make him think he had vertigo, that his senses were playing tricks on him and that he actually was the one flying a weakened plane in a dangerous inverted position. The trick worked. Captain Bates was convinced. But before doing anything he checked his instruments. They said he was right side up. Nevertheless he was still convinced and accounted for their "error" on the basis of flak damage. 

However, he had learned in flight training to make one further observation. The co-pilot had a duplicate set of sensors. He looked at them and again was told his plane was right side up. Vertigo convinces a man so well that the feel of  the seat belt means nothing. Ralph believed he was upside down and thus was about to "right" his badly damaged plane, but he then decided the testimony of both attitude sensors was more reliable than his inner convictions. Only with the exercise of great self-control was he able to keep from turning the plane over. No doubt he reflected on his friends' humor as well. In any case, he chose the right model because he weighed the reliability of his friends' data suggesting another model and considered the probabilities well before making his final decision.

Bringing other relevant data into the model making process before reaching firmer conclusions is both illustrated and commanded in the Scriptures.

2 Peter 1:19-21, "And we have a more sure (than Peter's sole testimony) prophetic word to which you do well taking heed as to a lamp shining in a dark place ... knowing this first, that no prophecy of scripture is to be unraveled by itself (in isolation from the rest of the scriptures) because prophecy was not brought at any time by the will of man, but holy men spoke, being borne along by the Holy Spirit."

The Lord tells us here that arriving at the correct model or interpretation of any passage is more apt to be done by thoughtful exegesis that takes into account all the other scriptures. This is the prescribed method for discovering or closely approximating the thought intended to be conveyed. It is an intellectual responsibility commanded by the Lord for our own good. Since God does not give gifts to be thrown away or Wasted, it follows we are responsible to develop and exercise all the care of which we are capable in the model making, selection, and revision process required in the study of the Scriptures.

Having spoken of what should happen ideally, let me now discuss what frequently happens in reality. Paul, borne along by the Holy Spirit says of a certain people that they had a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.2 That is, self will, thinking of themselves more highly than they ought, and perhaps a desire to lead away disciples after them, led them to choose the wrong model of uprightness. But they are held responsible for this wrong choice. How could they be held responsible but that their decision was made in a culpable or blameworthy willingness to substitute a less probable for a more probable model indicated by a sufficiently clear body of teaching in the word of God? Therefore, the weighing of probabilities is required of all gifted with thinking ability.

Again, in Matthew 16:1-4a we see:

And the Pharisees and Sadducees coming tempting him, asked for a sign (miracle) out of heaven to be shown to them. But He said to them, Evening having come, you say good weather because the sky is red. And in the morning, Today a storm, because the sky is red and lowering. You know how to discern the appearance of the sky rightly, but the signs of the times already given you cannot! It is a wicked and adulterous people that always wants miracles.

Thus the Lord points out to us that an attachment for sin is what lies behind the fact that some people never have enough evidence to conclude they ought to repent and trust Him with all they have.

The model making process and the weighing of probabilities is corrupted in real life in proportion as sin is permitted.

Sinful man tends to give preference to models that excuse his autistic anomial (self-willed, lawless) spirit, his self-centered desire for absolute self -sovereignty, rather than decide only on the basis of intrinsic probabilities. The signal to noise ratio is considerably lower because conflict is higher in a sinful mind. This the Lord characterizes as hypocrisy, guaranteeing, apart from repentance and conversion in this life, a genuine Divine-human encounter in the day of judgment.

If the fact of a universal probabilism actually means we don't know anything with absolute certainty and therefore can't say we know adequately what is right, then "How will God judge the world?" (Romans 3:6), which we know He will

The systematic exclusion Of certain data from the model making process by preselecting only part of what is available is an immoral exercise of the mind.

do. Wrongly weighting one model over another to accommodate or excuse a self -willed sinful life is an irresponsible use of the gift of mind, and leads finally to severe judgment. We should instead lower our unjustified resistance by exercising self-examination and repentance as frequently and regularly as necessary to prepare our minds for uncluttered study to do right, i.e. to obey His inscripturated word. Jeremiah said the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked.3 He also said it is our responsibility to break up the fallow ground of our minds in order not to sow God's word among thorns.4 Surely an unencumbered mind is necessary to evaluate, for example, whether a particular passage is figurative, and if so, how to unravel the figure in the light of the rest of the Scriptures. Also, the noetic effects of sin should not be ignored in translating, or for that matter in the developing of a best possible resultant Greek and Hebrew text from accumulated archaeological input.

There are other interesting passages on model generation and selection. "In the multitude of counselors there is safety" (Proverbs 11:14), suggests the use of many people to insure the generation of a large enough number of models to allow for one or several being close enough to provide for right decisions if selected. Also, the Lord said in John 5:44, "How can you believe, who accept honor one from another, and seek not the honor that comes from God only?" Wanting to have disciples, uppermost seats, and to avoid the stigma of being known as a believer in Christ will clog the ability of an otherwise willing person to identify certain kinds of essential truth, and of course, a person will not succeed in hiding behind jiggered weighting of models on judgment day.5

For Christians who are well informed and possessing academic degrees, there is also the warning, "Knowledge puff s up, but love edifies. " (1 Corinthians 8: 1).

In the time when the Hebrew people return to their and rebuild their temple, we are told to expect a rejection the teaching of the return of the Lord Jesus Christ on grounds of an alleged known absolute uniformity and continuity of the laws of nature. More specifically, we informed that the mockers mentioned in 2 Peter 3:3-18 usually be characterized by lives conducted in accord with their lusts or cravings. We should therefore not be overly impressed by their airs of certitude.

Revelation of a Further Epistemological System

There is evident in the Scriptures a prescience in matters of science and history, especially history. Three times in Isaiah 40-49 the claim is made that Jehovah is the only God knows the end from the beginning. False religionists challenged to show where their Gods have predicted previously and the predictions have reliably come to pass. They are called to do so, and from the fact that they cannot do so reliably, the conclusion is given that they are just wind and confusion.

The subject is in need of further development but is introduced in Urquhart's Wonders of Prophecy, McMillen's None of These Diseases, Green's Runaway World, Stoner's Science Speaks. The scriptural claims in the light of this type of evidence are well discussed in Machen's What is Faith, Christianity and Liberalism, and The Christian Faith in the Modern World. Also see B.B. Warfield's Inspiration and Authority of the Bible, and his brief article, "Inspiration," in the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. More recent works include James 1. Packer's "Biblical Authority, Hermeneutics, and Inerrancy" in the IFES journal.

Beyond the epistemological system noted above, which should lead us to the Scriptures, there are passages like Romans 2:14-15:

For when the Gentiles, who have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves; who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another.

John 1:9 says that the Lord Jesus is the light that illuminates every man that comes into the world. We are being told that by some means not specified, a certain illumination concerning the Lord's existence and moral rectitude (Romans 1:1931) and their deservedness of His judgment (Romans 1:32, Revelation 9:20) is implanted in all people. Thus we see an enormous advantage in recognizing the teaching authority and reliability of the Scriptures which give us these insight otherwise obscured by the lawless spirit (anomia) characterizing so much of our lives and clouding our minds.

Mysticism: A Data Source?

The ground for assessing the nature and validity (or lack of it) of mysticism is obtained by first recognizing the evidences for the origin, authority and reliability of the Scriptures.

The Scriptures indicate that two-way conversation between the Lord and human beings is, with very rare exceptions, confined to prophets. "The Lord told me this and that yesterday" is not an experience to be expected, but rather suspected. Even the experienced prophet, Jeremiah, did not give credence to a particular vision until the rather detailed prophecy in it came to pass (Jeremiah 32:8). Nor is there any basis for believing any inner feeling or conviction or sense of peace is the voice of God. Paul never wrote in any of his corrective epistles, "if you people had only gotten on your knees and followed the inner leading of the Holy Spirit you would not have gone wrong." Nor did any Biblical author ever suggest we should sit down and empty our minds of all thoughts and invite a spirit, even the Holy Spirit, to come in and take control of our lives, minds, or mouths. Instead, Paul said, in effect, "The Scriptures say this and you have been doing that. Why?" Leading by feelings is a doctrine for some. Such an important source of guidance, if right, would be taught in several extended passages of scripture, but it is not. Instead we are told there is frequently an epistemological link between humans and demons (I Timothy 4:1-6, 1 Corinthians 10:20-21, Revelation 12:9). This is the morass of the occult. We are to carefully avoid it.

It is the popular thing in some circles to claim that it is the leading of the Holy Spirit for Christians to join or remain in ecumenical fellowship with those who long to be a part of what Revelation 17 and 18 describes as abominable and from which the Lord calls His people out (Revelation 18:4). Those claiming such special spirituality and leading of the Holy Spirit should acknowledge that the Spirit has already spoken in 2 Corinthians 6:14, 1 Corinthians 10:21 and Revelation 18:4, commanding us to stay out of that which is religious but apostate. Any inner voice which speaks to the contrary cannot be that of the Holy Spirit. The claim to have the gift of tongues that frequently accompanies such disobedience only suggests more strongly a different source for the tonguesspeaking.

Misleading Miracles

God teaches us in His word that miracles are not all of divine origin. Some are just human tricks, others are of demonic origin, permitted by the Lord to exercise us6 God warns us to not be gullible but to try or test every spirit first. It is easy to see that the person who understands and maintains the proper place of study of the Scriptures in his daily life is going to be forewarned and forearmed against being used or made merchandise of by the great Enemy.8 However, there are some fitting the Lord's description through Peter who, encountering in the Scriptures things difficult to understand, and being unlearned and/or unstable, will twist them to their own destruction.9


We have seen that repentance from sin and reliance on the words of the Lord lead to a certain clarity of mind and an improved ability to discern these important matters. What a blessing that He should invite a simple sincere repentance, having paid the awful price of our redemption on the cross, and then promise needed daily help.10


1Fred Hoyle, Frontiers of Astronomy, Mentor Books 1960, p. 312. 

2 Romans 10:2-3; Acts 20:30 

3Jeremiah 17:9 

4Jeremiah 4:3 

5John 3:19 

6Deuteronomy 13: 1-11; 2 Thessalonians 2:8-9; Revelation 13:13~ 16:14; 19:20 

7I John 4:1-3; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15; 1 Timothy 4:1-6 82 

82 Corinthians 11:13-15; 2 Peter 2:3 

92 Peter 3:16 

10Romans 6:2; Hebrews 4:15-16