The Bible states, “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). Deism is the belief that God did indeed create the heaven and the earth, but that He then stepped aside, exerting no control or influence over it and gave no supernatural revelation. This belief can be likened to a clockmaker, who built a beautiful and accurate clock, but then set it upon the mantle and walked away, never to pay any attention to it again. It is just left there to run its course until it finally runs down. Those of us who are categorized as “theist” believe that not only did God create the heaven and the earth, but that He has continued to have an active influence in it, including providing revelation of His will to man. God has indeed exerted control and influence and He has given supernatural revelation. God has spoken and still speaks to man. The real question is not “if” God speaks to man, but “how” God speaks to man, and specifically, how God speaks to man today. There are varying doctrines and teachings concerning the answer to this question. Several years ago a young man boldly and adamantly stated that God spoke to him just as He did to the prophet Samuel. In response to this statement, he was presented with the scripture that says, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds” (Heb. 1:1-2). The young man’s response was to slam his Bible shut and walk away, muttering something to the effect of, “ain’t no one going to tell me that God don’t speak to me”. There is no disagreement on whether God speaks to the young man, just on “how” God speaks to him.
It is true that God did speak directly to man as He did to Samuel and many others. However, as the scripture already cited shows, God did that in time past and now speaks to man in a different way. He did “speak to the fathers by the prophets”, but in these last days He speaks “unto us by his Son”. The last days began on the day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts chapter two. Peter clearly stated that what was taking place that day was the fulfillment of what the prophet Joel said would take place in the last days (Acts 2:16-17). Thus, beginning on that day, the way God speaks to man is “by His Son”. Yet, since His Son is not personally on earth, teaching as He did for some three years, how does God speak to us by His Son today?
First, it is important that one understand that the statement that “God hath spoken unto us by His Son” refers to the source of the commands and promises. A good illustration of this is seen in the words of God on the mount of transfiguration. Peter, James and John saw Moses and Elias talking with Jesus. Moses was representative of the Old Law, for he was the one to whom it was given and who revealed it to the people. Elias was one of the renowned prophets, representative of the prophets and the word of God passed down through them. But, when God spoke to the three apostles, He said not, “this is Moses” or “this is Elias”, but “this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him” (Matt. 17:5). This is the fulfillment of the words of Moses, quoted by Peter, “For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me: him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you” (Acts 3:22). Thus, God speaks to man today by the gospel of Christ, not by the Law of Moses or the prophets.
Secondly, God speaks to us by His Son, even though His Son is not physically present. How can this be? Earthen vessels were prepared and utilized to carry the treasure of God’s word after the demise of His Son. Jesus told His apostles that after His death He would send the Holy Spirit upon them who would teach them all things and bring to remembrance all things that He had taught them while He was with them. They would then be witnesses, spreading His word to a lost world (John 14:26; 15:26-27; 16:13). Thus, the words of these Holy Spirit inspired men are in fact the words of God. Paul told the Thessalonians, “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe” (I Thess. 2:13). To the Corinthians Paul pointed out that the only way that one could know that which was of God was if the Spirit of God were to reveal them to man. He said that “God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit” giving them the very words to be used (I Cor 2:9-13).
So, how does God speak to man today? The answer is that He speaks to us by way of the gospel of Christ, first given to men by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, confirmed by the miracles that they did and then penned by those Holy Spirit guided men, that we might have it available to us today. Whenever the Bible is read, this is God speaking to man today.
(Editor’s note: Send any questions or comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org).