Reason's Paramount Function

Irvin Himmel
Temple Terrace, Florida

More than a century ago, Robert Milligan, gospel preacher, author, and educator, wrote a book entitled Reason and Revelation. One short section of the book that years ago made a lasting impression on my mind pertains to the paramount performance of the intellectual powers and processes.

Milligan wrote, "The last and, perhaps I might say, the highest function of Reason in matters pertaining to Divine Revelation, is to cordially and fully acquiesce in the fitness, the wisdom, and the correctness of whatever God has clearly revealed. His authority is supreme. From it, there is no appeal. And hence to refuse to submit to it in any case, and under any circumstances, is most irrational and absurd."

Some men use their mental faculties to think up arguments in opposition to what the Bible teaches on some point. Others reject all that God has revealed which they cannot comprehend. And some exalt their own intelligence to such a degree that human reason becomes their god. And not a few people are blown about with every wind of doctrine, tossed to and fro, due to their attempts to solve in their own minds all the problems posed by pseudo-science, philosophy, modern theology, and infidelity, instead of placing implicit faith in Jesus Christ and God's revelation.

God did not give us reasoning powers that we might invent ways to challenge the Divine Will. He gave us these powers to see the wisdom in His revelation. He did not endow us with intelligence that the human mind should be elevated above the Bible. The rich gift of intellect is to ascertain what God has made known in the Scriptures, to receive it, and to obey it.

Through the prophet Isaiah, Jehovah once said, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways ... For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts" (Isa. 55:8,9).

Frail, fallible, faltering humans are in no position to question, dispute, or disagree with divine directives. Just as the Creator transcends the creature, the mind of the Almighty stands above the human mind, the thoughts of God are loftier than the thoughts of man, and the ways of the Lord tower above the ways of mankind.

It is absurd for a puny creature called man to shake his finger in the face of the Omnipotent by disagreeing with clearly revealed Bible truths. It is self-conceit gone to seed for man to suppose that he can rationalize in things too wonderful and grand for his limited powers of discernment. It is a gross misunderstanding of human reason to even entertain the view that we are to sit in judgment on the validity of what God has revealed.

"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord" (Isa. 1: 18). But let us reason according to, not against, the counsel of God. And let us (to use Milligan's words) "cordially and fully acquiesce in the truthfulness and paramount authority of every oracle that bears the seat and stamp of God's own inspiration." Trust the Lord unreservedly. Read, believe, and act upon His will. And remember that the highest function of human reason is to accept as indisputable God's revelation.

TRUTH MAGAZINE, XVI: 18, pp. 11-12
March 9, 1972