Individuals and societies that elevate human reason above divine revelation could reap tragic results.
by Norbert Restrepo
The temptation to place human reason above divine revelation has assailed us from the very beginning. It was through this subtlety that Satan deceived Eve and enticed her to disobey God. Today humanism—a system of thought that rejects divine revelation and relies on human goodness, capacities, and values—has become one of the most disarming and sophisticated ways of destroying genuine Christianity.
Based on the premise that man is intrinsically good, humanism rejects God’s moral law and reduces morality to a subjective social consensus based on culture and what is accepted as human rights. But well-meant efforts to promote human rights and equality will degenerate into confusion, immorality, and anarchy when absolute values and moral principles given through divine revelation are set aside. A clear historical example is the French Revolution.
The French civil authorities celebrated what they called “the only true worship,—that of Liberty, that of Reason.” An orator who addressed their assembly said: “Mortals, cease to tremble before the powerless thunders of a God whom your fears have created. Henceforth acknowledge no divinity but Reason.” “After France had renounced the worship of the living God,…it was only a little time till she descended to degrading idolatry, by the worship of the Goddess of Reason….”1 It is interesting to note that out of this revolution came the “Declaration of the Rights of Man” approved by the National Assembly of France in 1789.2
Recent developments in Sweden demonstrate humanism’s outcome. “Sweden has gone further than almost any other country in the world to eradicate gender discrimination. It has reached a critical turning point, moving beyond mainstream feminist goals like equal pay and equal opportunity toward a society in which gender doesn’t matter.” Critics warn: “Sweden is a dangerous experiment in political correctness that would deny biological realities and impose artificial mandates of sameness.” “Government and other institutions have expanded their goals to include the erosion of gender itself: that is, the roles and assumptions associated with each sex.”3
Whenever human reason is exalted above God’s Word, the image of God in man is destroyed. “The only safeguard for individual integrity, for the purity of the home, the well-being of society, or the stability of the nation”—“is to do what God says.” 4
1 White, Ellen G., The Great Controversy, p. 275
3 Abend, Lisa, “In Sweden, Boys Won’t Be Boys,” Time, Dec. 16, 2013
4 White, Education, p. 229