Why We Believe the Bible - Lesson 4

Scope and Cohesiveness of the Bible

Through this lesson, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of the scope and cohesiveness of the Bible. You will explore the Bible's composition, structure, and key themes while recognizing the importance of understanding the Bible as a whole. You will also learn about the canonical formation, the covenant relationship between God and His people, and the role of Jesus Christ in the larger narrative. Furthermore, you will discover how the Bible impacts believers' personal spiritual growth and influences culture and ethics.


John Piper
Why We Believe the Bible
Lesson 4
Watching Now
Scope and Cohesiveness of the Bible

I. Introduction to the Scope and Cohesiveness of the Bible

A. Overview of Biblical Unity

B. Importance of Understanding the Bible as a Whole

II. The Bible's Composition and Structure

A. Divisions of the Old and New Testaments

B. Canonical Formation

III. Key Themes and Messages in the Bible

A. God's Sovereignty and Plan of Salvation

B. Covenant Relationship with God's People

C. The Role of Jesus Christ

IV. The Bible's Impact on Believers and Society

A. Personal Spiritual Growth

B. The Bible's Influence on Culture and Ethics

  • This lesson provides insights on the Bible's authority, offering evidence for its reliability and exploring its impact on society, while addressing common criticisms and questions.
  • This lesson provides an in-depth analysis of the Bible's content and structure, exploring the different categories of books and highlighting the unity and diversity of its message within the historical and cultural context.
  • Through this lesson, you gain insight into the Bible's self-claims, its unity and consistency, and its transformative impact on individuals and societies, reinforcing your understanding of its authority and importance.
  • In this lesson, you explore the Bible's unified message, structure, and themes, deepening your understanding of its role in believers' lives and its impact on society.
  • Through this lesson, you grasp the gospel's transformative power on individuals and society, while also learning to defend it against skepticism and critiques.

The Bible is the infallible word of God, the supreme rule for faith and practice. The sixty-six books of the Old and New Testament came from the very mouth of God and are without error in the originals. Scripture is therefore the unique and supreme guide for all it affirms, including both belief and behavior.

The Bible claims that it's God's Word, it makes sense, and the Holy Spirit provides inner confirmation to us. Canonicity depended on authorship, content and tone consistent with other canonical writings, and consistent usage in worship and practice.

For notes and outlines that accompany these lectures, please go to desiringgod.org by clicking here.

We are thankful for John Piper's willingness to share these lectures with us. Copyright 2014 by Desiring God Ministries. Used with Permission. For more information, please visit www.DesiringGod.org.

Dr. John Piper 
Why We Trust the Bible 
Scope and Cohesiveness of the Bible 
Lesson Transcript

I. Moses, the Prophets and Paul all confirm the Agreement to that which is in the Bible

So far we have looked at the Westminster Catechism with these six or so indications, sometimes called indicia, of traits of the Bible which are its own way of validating itself in the minds and hearts of people. Its majesty, its purity, and now we come by the consent of all of its parts, by the agreement. In other words, the Bible, as diverse and big as it is, with all of its different authors, is an amazingly coherent story. There‘s nothing like this book, written across all those thousands of years by all those different authors, that has a story line so amazingly coherent as this book. You won’t find any book like this anywhere in the world composed like this by so many writers across so many years, having one consistent redemptive historical story line that comes to consummation in Jesus – or in somebody -- and then works its way out into the world.

So let’s look at the specifics.  This is what they are trying to get at, that when you take the Bible as a whole, what’s the impact that it makes on you that would either lead you to believe or not to believe in it? And it’s saying it leads you to belief in and by the amazing consent or agreement of all its parts.  Acts 10:43: “To him, all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” That way of talking is a testimony to the coherence and the unity of all that the prophets bear witness to and how it is all centering on the Messiah and how he is going to bring about the forgiveness of sins.  Acts 26:22:  “To this day, I have had the help that comes from God and so I stand here testifying both to small and great saying that nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass.” The Prophets and Moses saying what Paul is saying. So you’ve got one part of Scripture Moses – that’s the Pentateuch -- then another part of Scripture the Prophets, and another part of Scripture Paul, and Paul is saying they all agree.  Acts 20:26: “Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all of you for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.” Now, the reason that phrase is important is because I think it implies that when Paul spent the two and half years in Ephesus, he delivered to them in that two and a half years, probably teaching five hours a day, six days a week, a package called the ‘whole counsel of God.’ In other words, there was coherence to it. There was a wholeness to it, and it related to the counsel of God. So his understanding is that as he unpacked the Scriptures, Moses, Prophets, Writings, and as he opened the way they were all fulfilled in Jesus and the way of salvation through Jesus, he was speaking in terms of a ‘whole counsel of God’. That’s what these Westminster divines believe you see when you read the Bible from cover to cover with a right heart. “Thanks be to God that you who were once slaves of sin,” he is writing to the Romans in Romans 6:17, “have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed.” That phrase, ‘standard of teaching’ gets it the same idea of the ‘whole counsel of God.’ There’s a wholeness, a coherence, a standard of teaching that they were passing along as they read their Old Testament and fleshed it out in the New Testament.

II. Giving Glory to God Brings Truth

Now this is the one that has been most significant to me, this piece of the Westminster Catechism argument for how the Bible brings us to confidence that it is true. I have a little note to myself there that I’ll use.  “…and the scope of the whole [Bible], which is to give all glory to God…” I thought a long time about that eleven years ago or so, when I was first preparing my seminar on this.  How does that work to help us be confident in the Bible? The scope of the whole, which is to give glory to God. Before I try to show you how it works for me, my heart and sort of be a testifier here and not just an explainer, let’s look at a few texts to see what they’re getting at. Romans 3:19:  “Now we know that what thing so ever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped and all the world may become guilty before God.” The whole world, now, is guilty before God because of all the God-dishonoring sins that have been listed there in chapter 3, verses 9 to 18, and so what’s at stake here is the global glory of God and the indictment of the world by God for their failure to glorify him.  Romans 3:27: “Where is boasting then?  It is excluded.  By what law? of works?  Nay:  but by the law of faith.” In other words, all human glory, all human exaltation is down in the Bible, and all God exaltation is up in the Bible because faith is the way you magnify God, and unbelief is the way you magnify yourself and your independence. [pointing at slide] “JP” means this text was not listed in the catechism; I added it, because I’m trying to think through this for myself; I am not trying to parrot what they said. I want to know how it works for me, so now you’re going to see what starts to work for me.  

John 7:16-18: “Jesus, therefore, answered them and said, ‘My teaching is not mine.’”  Now, I want to know, is that true? Is this of God? That’s his claim; ‘I’m claiming to be from God; I’m not just making this up out of my own human mind.’ Jesus answered and said, “My teaching is not mine but is his who sent me.” So he’s claiming that his teaching is divine; everything hangs on the truth of that claim. How does he warrant it? “If any man is willing to do his will, he shall know the teaching, whether it is of God.”  I remember seeing that in my junior year in college, when I was going through some really significant wrestling, and it just blew me away. Really?  If my will is to do God’s will, I’ll know if Jesus is true. That became for me a pivotal way of thinking, why is that? He goes on.  “If any man is willing to do his will [anyone wills his will, God’s will], he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I’m speaking from myself.” This is one of the closest places Jesus comes to simply answering the question, how can we know if you’re true? And he says, if you want to do the will of God, you’ll know. Why?  How does that work? Verse 18: “He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory, but he who is seeking the glory of the one who sent him is true, and there is no unrighteousness in him.”

That’s his argument.  So what is it, can we re-state it? If your desire, your heart, is to do God’s will, when I talk and teach, work, you’ll see in me that I am from God and my words are from God, because written all over my life is, ‘May God get glory from my sufferings.’ And evidently, that is self-authenticating. If you bump into a person that you can tell that his teaching is all about ego gratification and not about God’s honor, you don’t need to pay any attention to their words. But if you bump into a person and everywhere you look in that person’s life they are totally angled on God getting glory, and not themselves, you’ve got to listen. That’s what he is saying.  And he is the perfect embodiment of that way of life. Let’s read it again because this was absolutely huge for me and remains huge in how I think about why I believe Jesus and when I think about my own ministry and the kind of person I want to be, and why anybody should pay attention to me as a pastor.  

If your will is to do his will, you will know if the teaching is from God or he is speaking of his own self, cut off from God, just another crackpot teacher come along. “He who speaks from himself, seeks his own glory.” In other words, he doesn’t have any respect for God’s glory; he is just on an ego trip, wants to be somebody. Don’t stumble over this; Jesus was God and so he had to at times say huge things about himself, but he is speaking here as your model man now and why this God-man should be believed. “But he who is seeking the glory of the one who sent him, he is true.” So, he is simply saying, ‘Am I?  Watch me.  Look at my life; what do you see? Am I totally devoted to my Father’s glory? When I go into Gethsemane and sweat drops of blood, what sustains me there? Not my will, yours; get it done; you are God.’ When you see somebody like that, you’d better listen because they are speaking not from themselves. “He is true, and there is no unrighteous in him.” When I read that, the Westminster folks saying one of the ways that the Bible vindicates its message is by the scope of the whole, which is to give all glory to God, this is the way I understand it for myself, that when I see a book that, like Jesus, is saying, ‘ God gets the glory, and man is simple, and man should be humbled, and God alone should be exalted,’ there is something about that book, with that scope, that rings true to me.  It should ring true to everybody.  You’ve just got to decide if it rings true to you.  

I set a note for myself on natural revelation here, the scope of the whole of what I’ve got here [holding up pages].  I’m going to give you one other text before I unpack natural revelation, then we’re going to look at the internal testimony of the Holy Spirit.  

I’m continuing now the teaching of John 7:16-18, from John 5.  This was another huge one for me personally; this is my own life. “I [this is Jesus] do not receive glory from men, but I know you; you don’t have the love of God in yourselves.” He is talking to Pharisees who worship God every day. “You don’t have the love of God in you. I have come in my Father’s name…”  This is Jesus putting himself under to lift up the glory of the Father again. “…and you do not receive me.” So, when they analyzed a God-exalting man who puts humans down and indicts all of our sin and hypocrisies and lifts up the glory of God alone, they did not like what they saw. ‘You don’t receive me.’ “If another comes in his own name, you will receive him.” Why? What does he mean there? He looks at the Pharisees, and he says, ‘I’ve come in my Father’s name; I’m doing everything for the glory of the Father; I am testifying to my unique authenticity by humbling myself to the point of obliteration at the cross in order that my Father will be magnified. That’s who I am, and you don’t like that at all.  I’ll tell you what you would like: if I came in my name, then you would like me.’ Why? Because he would fit their values.  They want to live for their own name. They obviously want to be around people like that because they get convicted otherwise. They get indicted when they are around God-glorifying people who just love the glory of God and don’t want to take any credit for themselves and they live for the majesty of God, and here they are, wanting to stand on the street corners with long prayers so that people will say, ‘Oh, how holy you are,’ and they’re looking at how different Jesus is, and the only way to protect themselves is to kill him. He explains, how can you believe when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the one and only God?  

Now, that’s a rhetorical question, right? And all the TBI guys here have learned in arcing what to do with rhetorical questions, questions that don’t have any answers in the text. They assume an answer; you restate them in a way that states the answer. When it says, how can you? The answer is, you can’t.  So let’s state it that way. ‘You can’t believe, namely, in me, in the Bible, in the truth, when you are bent on self-glorification and not keying off of all the glory that God is and shares with those who live for him.’ Faith in the Bible is impossible for people like that, which shows you the kind of thing we are dealing with in apologetics.  We would like people, ourselves included, to believe what’s true and not to push it away and say crucify him, crucify him! We really would like to embrace whatever is true; and therefore, Jesus says you’d better, therefore, have your heart so changed that you love the glory of God above everything. If you see the glory of God as supremely valuable, you will be able to recognize my truth because that’s what I say about God. That’s the way he is arguing here.  

Obviously, in this way of arguing, there is a missing premise; something is missing, like, well, where does that come from?  How does a human heart start to do that? Where do you get any clue that the scope of the Bible being the glory of God means the Bible is true? There’s a premise that’s got to be supplied there, like God is really glorious, and all things are for his glory. Where do you get that?  And that’s why I wrote the little note to myself on natural revelation. I am not a scholar of the Westminster Confession or Catechism. I don’t know exactly whether they meant what I am taking them to mean. But I am finding what they said that I think they mean very helpful.

III. Natural Revelation

So, let me take you to the missing premise and how I think it works. This is a note on natural revelation. Natural revelation means the way God has communicated to us in nature, not in the Bible.  Nobody’s going to get saved by natural revelation, but oh, how important it is.  So a little section here on this.  The immediate knowledge of God that comes with human consciousness in the world. Here again, I’m operating not just at the exegetical level but at the testimonial level, because I have tried my best to feel whether I am just aping words from the Westminster Catechism or experiencing what they’re talking about. I don’t want to just be a second-hander that reads a four hundred-year-old document and say, ‘There’s why I should believe the Bible; go do it’ instead of wrestling; ‘am I experiencing what they’re talking about; do I see what they say should be seen, or am I just playing games here with words? This is part of my wrestling that you’re watching here.  

Romans 1:19-21, a little heading here: “That which is known about God is evident within them.”  Let’s read the whole section here. “That which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.” So, he is arguing that people everywhere in the world know him.  Known about God. He is evident; for God made it evident to them, for them; this is his argument.  “Since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes, like eternal power and divine nature, these have been clearly seen, being understood through the things that have been made” or what has been made.  So he is arguing his invisible attributes are clearly seen in the universe, molecules, galaxies, trees, oceans, insects, spiders, fish that spit insects out of tree branches, then when they fall in the water scoop them up; spiders that come up, get a little bubble of air, go down to the bottom, build a nest at the bottom of a lake and bring air from the top of the lake down and put it underneath so that he can live down there… That’s weird. That’s counter-evolutionary, big time.  Why would that happen?  Those kinds of things, I mean like millions of them.  Get into astronomy, get into biology, get into chemistry, get into physics, and worship!  

That is what this is talking about; “…so that they are without excuse.” This knowledge is so clear that every unbeliever in the world has no excuse at the judgment. They won’t be judged for not believing in Jesus, if they have never heard of Jesus. They will just be judged for not owning up to and for repressing the knowledge available to them. As it says, we all do that, we repress it. “…for even though they knew God…” -- they did; you will never work with anybody at your office who doesn’t know God, according to that right there; your job is just to figure out how to get it -- “…they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him.”

Now, here’s what I’m after; in reading the Westminster Catechism, one of the reasons that we are drawn to faith in the Bible, believing the Bible in a warranted and justified way, is that its scope as a whole is to glorify God. And I’m going to link that to this text and all of our experience in the world of God before you even read the Bible; that’s what I’m doing. I’m saying that there is something about the very world we live in and the hearts created in the image of God that if the cobwebs could just be taken out of the way, which is what the Holy Spirit does, what we see in the Bible would so click with what you see in the world. You’d say, ‘That’s God’s book.’  That’s where we’re going.

Let me give you another little story here before I give you my testimony, and give you Professor Goppelt’s testimony.  Professor Leonard Goppelt was my doctor father in Germany while I was there, six months before I finished in 1970.  He died in December of ‘73. He was a very godly man, I believe; he didn’t believe everything I believe. He didn’t believe in the inerrancy of the Bible; he believed in the truth of the Gospel, but he had, I think, a very defective view of the Bible.  I remember sitting in one class on Acts, in which he just came to a text in Chapter 8 where it said that Philip had only been baptized in the name of Jesus and hadn’t received the Spirit. He said, “Das ist nicht möglich (“That’s not possible”); we must apply Sachkritik here,” that is, criticize the Bible with the substance of the Bible and deny that what Luke wrote there was acceptable. That just blew me away -- I admired this man so much, but I’m sitting here in class, and he’s saying this part of Acts is just wrong. So there came points where I really wanted to understand this man’s faith, who could talk like that about parts of the Bible, and I asked him one day; I can remember standing in the hall of the Bibliothek, and I ventured a risky – here I am a 26-year-old American, he’s my doctor father, could just junk me any minute – and I said to him, “Professor Goppelt, Warum glaubst auf Christus überhaupt?” Why do you believe in Jesus at all? Why do you believe Christianity? Why are you a Christian? His answer was quick, immediate and, I thought, good.  He said, “Herr Piper, of all of reality as I experience it, see it, and know it, nothing fits reality like the message of the Bible.” That is the way he answered me, a big, sweeping, global kind of, what I see in the world, my experience of the world – I’m unpacking now -- my sinfulness, the world as I look at it, and then the Bible as I see it as a whole, when they come together, they just fit. I think he was articulating something of what we are onto here, that when they say one of the reasons that the Bible wins for itself a confidence is that its big scope, namely, the glory of God, fits with an illuminated -- that is, when we’re not blinded by our sin, that’s what we see in the world.

So let me walk with you through several steps of my own experience in this regard.  So just practically, Romans 1:19, invisible attributes translates to aorata, which means invisible things, things about God that are invisible. These are evident, it says, because God has made them evident, so that’s just reiterating what we’ve seen. Here are the steps that I follow through on. The existence of the invisible God is known, and things about him are known, verse 19.  

Step three. The things that are known about God are things that make us accountable to honor him as God and give thanks, verse 21. So this must include his existence, his beneficence -- why else would you give thanks? -- our indebtedness to him for life – we thank him -- and enough of his nature, or excellence, so that honor would be called for. So I pause at that moment; I think that’s implied in the text; and I say, ‘Is that the way I experience the world?’ It is.  I’ve tried to be a skeptic – this is risky; don’t do this very much – but in order to have some integrity and honesty, that you’re not just kidding yourself because you grew up in a Baptist home and you believe all the stuff because your parents believed it, and are you really real, and have you ever come to a crisis where you had to deal with whether it’s true or not? You look at the world and say, ‘Can I believe God doesn’t exist?’ I tried; I just can’t. I mean, I’m just hung on what I see.  It seems to me that the world is such a kind of world, and you could lecture a thousand lectures on the specifics of what I’m saying right now.  But we don’t experience reality that way; we just walk through the day, and we see things.  

Are you like me, sometimes, like brushing your teeth, and it just hits you, you’re a human being, and it just blows you away that you have a consciousness, that you know yourself, you think about yourself, you love, you feel, you’re different from a dog. Everything in you is testifying ‘you are amazing.’ I don’t mean qualities, I mean the existence of the human soul. It just hits you – this is big!  That happens to me not often, just periodically; and I think those are moments when the clouds are parting so you can see what you really ought to see all the time.  

And then the same thing happens with flowers...  Look at the complexity of this flower!  I bought my wife five red roses for Valentine’s – five -- and I bought my daughter one red rose for Valentine’s, and then I wrote a poem as to why Talitha got one and Noelle got five, but I won’t tell you, actually, I don’t mind; she’s twelve and Noelle is sixty, do the math.  But the point is, these were really good red roses; if you get them at ALDI’s, they stink to high heaven and nobody wants to be near them, I used to do that; they only cost $2.95 for a whole bunch, and I thought, that’s cool; that’s good stewardship, and she would put them way on the other side of the room.  Whatever they do to preserve them just stinks to high heaven.  So I get them now at Chicago Lake Florist, and the little old lady in there takes all of the prickly off the rose, and she puts little white things with them and bundles them up, and they last forever, and they’re real, and they smell like roses, and they’re about this long, and they feel romantic, not mechanical, and I watch them, incredible rose, just going and going, and after about four days you cut it again (she said do that; they’ll last another four days)…  So that’s two of several million possibilities to think about. I cannot not believe in the raw, sheer existence of a -- to use the contemporary jargon -- intelligent designer.  

There is a lot more to God than that, right?  Attributes; giving him thanks; you’ve got an option here.  If there is a God, he is either impersonal, or he’s personal. Impersonal would be like a gas, created everything, caused the order. Personal would mean a person who thinks, feels.  It’s fifty-fifty; there is nothing in eternity that would define ultimate reality; this discovery was really big for me.  Ultimate reality has always existed. It can’t come into being, it is just there. You can’t go to nothingness to something-ness. So there is ultimate reality forever in the past, and the question is, what nature did it have? And it’s a wonderfully liberating discovery to say before it, there was nothing to define it or determine it; it just was, which means what it was is totally open; it could have been anything. There’s no presupposition that could say it could not have been X because there was nothing out there to say it could not have been X. It could be a gas, it could be a person, it could be whatever. And as I feel my own existence and look at this world and look at you; for me to say this right here is all just a combination of energy, time and matter is impossible; I can’t do it. It doesn’t feel like I’m even taking a big risk to look at you and look at me and look at the world that exists, look at history and say, ‘That’s all gas, sophisticated – no, that’s the wrong word, has wise in it -- elaborate developments of gas; I can’t.  So I’m being set up by my own looking around and whatever God is doing to get cobwebs out of the way to set me up to read the Bible in a certain way.  

“These known things about God come through what has been made; our immediate consciousness of the world that is given to us by virtue of our existence constitutes a knowledge of God.”

Number five: The effect of sin is to make us resist honoring and thanking God.  This resistance is so damning that we cannot live with the consciousness of it.  The result is that we suppress the truth, verse 18, and become feudal in our thinking and darkened in our hearts; that is, there is either a denial of God or a distortion of God to make him tolerable. My own experience of God as an immediate effect of my conscience in the world as a human being is what I have been talking about – I just jumped the gun on that. My existence in the world confronts me as soon as I am conscious with -- and I’ll just summarize some of the things I’ve been saying -- a single originator of all that is.

IV. God is Infinite

That is what I am confronted with as soon as I am conscious; because I can’t conceive, it immediately won’t work to say there are two of these out there of equal power; the infinite can’t have an equal, and he’s infinite; we know he is; he created the universe that is.  

One who is totally self-sufficient with no dependence on anything outside himself to be all that he is. So, here I am, experiencing nature and humanity and my own soul, and as I just try to let reality speak to me, I see this God that made all of this and accounts for all of this, is self-sufficient; he is not dependent on anybody for anything, can’t be. He was out there from before any of it; therefore, he can’t be dependent on it; he brought it into being. It was just there, immediate.  

One without beginning or ending or progress from worse to better; I just regard process theology as experientially ludicrous, that God is coming into being, that God is reforming, that God is being shaped, that God is somehow progressive. He is just there, absolutely there. That is what our consciences testify as we behold this world and look at ourselves.  

He is one on whom I am dependent, moment by moment for all things, none of which I deserve, and who is therefore beneficent. I just think that follows.  I say, okay, he exists, he is self-sufficient, he is eternal, he accounts for all the order I see, and he accounts for the personhood I see.  Who am I? What am I? Nothing? In fact, I have lived so much of my life in utter obliviousness to this person, that if I am alive at all, then he must be good. That just follows; I feel that in my bones; I don’t feel like I am creating any big chain of arguments; it is just “bang!” there is a God, I am not God, I’m alive, and I’ve been bad. My conscience tells me that.  

One who is personal and accounts for the transcendent personhood of human beings; I’ve said that already.  One who accounts for the intelligent design manifested in the macro and the micro, our universe; I’ve said that already. One who knows all, cannot not know all; he created all, he guides all, he sustains all; is just given with the reality of God.  One who deserves to be reverenced and admired and looked to for guidance and help; and oh how little have I done it. I think all that’s written right in the universe, that God should be reverenced, that he should be admired, and that we should look to him for guidance, if per chance, for reasons we may not understand, he might be willing to give it to us who have not loved him as we ought, but mainly lead our lives in total obliviousness that he is there, holding us and being. But yet, we’re not smashed every day.  

One who sees me as guilty for failure in not rendering him what he deserves and who thus gives ultimate explanation to universal bad conscience. Why is there a bad conscience? Animals don’t suffer from what we suffer with. We’ve got a law written on our hearts, we’ve got a personhood, we have standards -- they may be totally wrong; we just set them for ourselves and then we don’t keep them, none of us. Choose your standard, you’ll fail. Choose God’s standards, you really fail. Whatever standards you set -- and you all set standards -- you all feel guilty; every person in this room feels guilty.  Why?  Because you know you’re accountable to a Being, and that Being explains the moral dynamics of the world.  

This is why, incidentally, the Holocaust or the Gulag, whether it is Solzhenitsyn or Christian survivors of the Holocaust have found God and believed in him because of evil, not in spite of evil. It doesn’t happen this way for everybody. It just has for Solzhenitsyn, it has for others, and here’s the way it works.  You see in front of you something absolutely, unspeakably horrible, like Elie Wiesel’s book, The Night, describing the hanging of a twelve-year-old boy who wasn’t heavy enough to die, and they made them watch him for half an hour. Now, I would understand up to a point a person who says, as Wiesel did, “God died.” ‘He died, I’m done.’  And others are so enraged at this wrong, they have to come to terms with, ‘Where did this rage come from? Where did this concept of justice come from? Where did this high-level indignancy about this immorality come from?” If we’re just gases here, it won’t work; that wrong is a problem for how God can be good. I admit that.  We’ll work on that.  This indictment of it along with moral rage is only explicable if you are more than a gas.  

What would you feel if somebody walked up to you as you were expressing your moral indignation, and they said to you, ‘Oh, that’s just your idea. Oh, that’s just chemicals in your brain.’ You would be furious with somebody like that, and that’s what’s being taught in our universities every day. The moral outrage you feel at injustice is only explicable in terms of a moral consciousness of which you participate in the world. Therefore, he is one who might save me, but we need to do it in a way that overcomes my evil impulse to resist him and would have to make a way for his honor to be sustained while not punishing me for treason, and there is no answer in nature as to how that can be done, which leads us to the Bible. My point here -- and I’m going to close with this, and we’ll take a break -- is when I see the Bible stretched out with its scope as the glory of God and a history of redemption that answers perfectly to where I’ve arrived in my natural revelation and see no answer in natural revelation; I think I’m onto why the Westminster divines said that, too, is how the Bible comes to be vindicated in your heart.

Let me pray.  Father, in this part of our thinking, glorify your Word.  Purify it on the ground seven times, and get the cobwebs and the clouds and the fog out of the way of our hearts so that we can see what you’re saying in the world and how it meshes so amazingly with what you say in your Word, that we might come to hallow your Word.  In Jesus’ Name, amen.