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Monday, July 15, 2013

The Voice of God Speaking

I think it may be accepted as axiomatic that God is constantly trying to speak to men. He desires to communicate Himself, to impart holy ideas to those of His creatures capable of receiving them.

This divine impulse toward self-expression may account for the creation, particularly for God's having made intelligent and moral beings who could hear and understand truth. Among these beings man stands at the top, having been created in the image of God and so possessing purer and finer organs for the apprehension of whatever can be known of God. The Second Person of the Godhead is called the Word of God, this is, the mind of God in expression.

Concerning God's speaking to men there are two views, opposed to each other, it is true,but alike in that both are erroneous. One is that God spoke the holy Scriptures into being and then elapsed into silence, a silence that will not be broken till God calls all men before Him to judgment. God will then speak again as in olden days, but in the meantime we have the Bible as a deposit of embalmed truth which scribe and
theologian must decipher as they can.

This view is held by the majority of evangelicals, allowing for some variation in detail, and is extremely injurious to the Christian's soul. It is injurious because it contains two false notions, one that God is no longer speaking and the other that we are shut up to our intellects for the understanding and apprehension of truth. According to this view, God is far away and wholly noncommunicative; and we, whether we like to admit it or not, are forced into a kind of evangelical rationalism, since according to this notion the human mind becomes the final arbiter of truth as well as the organ for its reception into the soul.

Now, the blessed fact is that God is NOT silent and has never been silent, but is speaking in His universe. The written Word is effective because, and only because, the Living Word is speaking in heaven and the Living Voice is sounding in the earth. "And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit: and these three are one" (1 John 5:6-7).

That the creative voice of God is constantly sounding throughout the creation is a truth forgotten by modern Christianity. Yet it was by His Word that He called the world into being and it is by His Word that all things are held together. It is the still voice of God in the heart of every human being that renders everyone culpable before the bar of God's judgment and convicts of sin even those who have never been exposed to the written Word.

The idea that the only mortal sin is the rejection of Christ and that men are not held accountable for sin in those parts of the world were the gospel has not been preached is a monstrous error. There is a light that lights every man that comes into the world. It is sin against light that destroys men, not the rejection of Christ, though that rejection leaves the sinner desolate in his sin and shuts him out forever from the forgiving love of God.

It is written that Christ upholds all things by the word of His power; and the word that upholds all things is the power-filled voice of God sounding vibrantly throughout the creation. The Bible is not, as some appear to think, God's last will and testament; it is, rather, the written expression of the mind of the living God, inactive until the same breath that first inspired it breathes on it again.

The other and opposite error for the God-has-once- spoken error is that held by various kinds of liberals. It is that since God is vocal in His universe, there s no such thing as an inspired canon of Scripture containing a full body of revealed truth that can serve as the one final source of doctrine and practice. According to these gentlemen, the two ideas contradict each other. If God is still speaking, then we must keep our minds open to further revelation given, it may be, through poets, philosophers, scientists and novelists, as well as religionists of various kinds. Whenever new truth is discovered or new and advanced ideas are brought forth, there God is speaking again as He once spoke by the prophet and seer in olden days.

Certainly we must grant these men the right to believe what they will, as well as the right to teach what they believe. But one thing is settled: Whoever, for whatever reason, denies the finality of the biblical revelation and insists upon a continuing revelation having the same authority as the sacred Scriptures has shut himself out from the name of Christian. He is simply not a Christian in the scriptural and historic meaning of the word.

Between the ideas of a fixed biblical canon and a constantly speaking God, there is no contradiction. In the Scriptures God has caused to be written a full and sufficient body of truth. Holy men were moved by the Holy Spirit to record the words of God knew would be best suited to teach doctrine, and to reprove, correct and instruct in righteousness. The point I make here is that if the living voice of God were not speaking in the world and in the hearts of men, the written Word could have no real meaning for us. Because God is speaking in His world we are able to hear Him speak in His Word.

~A. W. Tozer~

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