A Christian believes, not because everything in life reveals the love of God, but rather despite everything that raises doubt.
In Scripture too there is much that raises doubt. All believers know from experience that this is true.
Those who engage in biblical criticism frequently talk as if simple church people know nothing about the objections that are advanced against Scripture and are insensitive to the difficulty of continuing to believe in Scripture. But that is a false picture. Certainly, simple Christians do not know all the obstacles that science raises to belief in Scripture. But they do to a greater or lesser degree know the hard struggle fought both in head and heart against Scripture. There is not a single Christian who has not in his or her own way learned to know the antithesis between the “wisdom of the world” and “the foolishness of God.” It is one and the same battle, an ever-continuing battle, which has to be waged by all Christians, learned or unlearned, to “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5)
Here on earth no one ever rises above that battle. Throughout the whole domain of faith, there remain “crosses” (cruces) that have to be overcome. There is no faith without struggle. To believe is to struggle, to struggle against the appearance of things.As long as people still believe in anything, their belief is challenged from all directions.
There are intellectual problems (cruces) in Scripture that cannot be ignored and that will probably never be resolved. But these difficulties, which Scripture itself presents against its own inspiration, are in large part not recent discoveries of our century. They have been known at all times. Nevertheless, Jesus and the apostles, Athanasius and Augustine, Thomas and Bonaventure, Luther and Calvin, and Christians of all churches have down the centuries confessed and recognized Scripture as the word of God. Those who want to delay belief in Scripture till all the objections have been cleared up and all the contradictions have been resolved will never arrive at faith. “For who hopes for what he sees?” [Rom. 8:24]. Jesus calls blessed those who have not seen and yet believe [John 20:29].
In any case, there are objections and conundrums in every science. Those who do not want to start in faith will never arrive at knowledge. Epistemology, the theory of knowledge, is the first principle of philosophy, but it is riddled with mystery from start to finish. Those who do not want to embark on scientific investigation until they see the road by which we arrive at knowledge fully cleared will never start. Those who do not want to eat before they understand the entire process by which food arrives at their table will starve to death. And those who do not want to believe the Word of God before they see all problems resolved will die of spiritual starvation.
Scripture is sufficient and the nature of the NT dispensation logically brings with it and demands this sufficiency of Holy Scripture. Christ has fully–personally and orally, or by his Spirit–revealed everything to the apostles. Upon this word we believe in Christ and have fellowship with God (John 17:20; 1 John 1:3). The Holy Spirit no longer reveals any new doctrines but takes everything from Christ (John 16:14). In Christ God’s revelation has been completed. In the same way the message of salvation is completely contained in Scripture. It constitutes a single whole; it itself conveys the impression of an organism that has reached its full growth. It ends where it begins. It is a circle that returns into itself. It begins with the creation of heaven and earth and ends with the recreation
of heaven and earth.
[The word of God] stands on a level high above all human authority in state and society, science and art. Before it, all else must yield. For people must obey God rather than other people. All other [human] authority is restricted to its own circle and applies only to its own area. But the authority of Scripture extends to the whole person and over all humankind. It is above the intellect and the will, the heart and the conscience, and cannot be compared with any other authority. Its authority, being divine, is absolute. It is entitled to be believed and obeyed by everyone at all times. In majesty it far transcends all other powers. But, in order to gain recognition and dominion, it asks for no one’s assistance. It does not need the strong arm of the government. It does not need the support of the church and does not conscript anyone’s sword and inquisition. It does not desire to rule by coercion and violence but seeks free and willing recognition. For that reason it brings about its own recognition by the working of the Holy Spirit. Scripture guards its own authority.
It remains the duty of every person, therefore, first of all to put aside his or her hostilitiy against the word of God and “to take every thought captive to obey Christ” [2 Cor. 10:5]. Scripture itself everywhere presses this demand. Only the pure of heart will see God. Rebirth will see the kingdom of God. Self-denial is the condition for being a disciple of Jesus. The wisdom of the world is folly to God. Over against all human beings, Scripture occupies a position so high that, instead of subjecting itself to their criticism, it judges them in all their thoughts and desires.