Subjective Versus Objective
Gen 3:4-6 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree [was] good for food, and that it [was] pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make [one] wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
The scriptures make it plain that Eve was the one who was deceived by Satan in the Garden. (I Tim. 2:13-14) It is also plain that the first temptation came through extra biblical revelation. Satan appeared to Adam and Eve as one who had their best interest in mind. He spoke a revelation why God forbade them from eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Satan assured them that God did not have their best interest in mind and was keeping them from reaching their full potential of becoming gods.
How could Eve have protected herself from such a revelation? Instead of responding to a subjective revelation and subjective feelings, she should have stood on the solid rock of the objective word of God. Eve’s lack of doing this, as well as Adams, led to sin entering the human race. God had given Adam and Eve dominion over ever creature on the earth. They had only to speak a word of rebuke to the serpent based on God’s word to them and he would have had to flee from their presence. Instead, the subjective revelation of Satan, and the subjectivity of Eve’s flesh overrode the objective word of God.
There are two extremes today that I see as harmful. The first disallows any subjectivity, and states dogmatically that the bible alone is our only guide. It allows no room for the leading of the Holy Spirit, visions, dreams, prophecies or such the like. This extreme produces a dead evangelicalism that is mechanical in nature and depends on the dead letter of the word to build the saints and the kingdom. It lacks life and vitality. The second puts miracles, visions, dreams and prophecies above the word of God. Many strong charismatic leaders have used these things for control, and have lead people astray from the plain teaching of the bible. This extreme produces an experience-based faith that is built on feelings and high charged emotions. God has to be seen and felt for viability. Man’s word becomes equal to or surpasses God’s plain word.
Even with the balance of the two, which puts God’s word as authoritative, and allows for miracles, dreams, visions and prophesies, which I see as biblical, resides danger. The human heart is prone to deception and experience-based feelings; therefore we must be very careful in what we attribute to God as we speak to others in His name. How many times have we heard the preacher and others say, “God told me to preach this”, “the Lord told me to tell you”, or “God gave me this vision”. The subjective revelations may not be out of the bounds of scripture but are often times used in ways to cause the people of God to be manipulated, judged, and hurt.
We must all be very careful when we use the phrase “God told me to….” outside the realm of the objective written word of God. It seems most of the people who are prone to say these things are people who are not the closest to our hearts. Often, they really don’t know us or really love us but are misled people with ulterior motives, or they are well meaning people who confuse the Spirit with their own feelings or thoughts.
Does God speak to us today apart from the written words of the bible? Absolutely. (“Today if you hear His voice harden not your hearts".) Most of His speaking will be to you directly and not about others to you. If one does us come as God’s personal prophet using his name to point out negatives in our lives do not receive it unless there is a bearing of witness. Don’t be afraid of their words or take them seriously until God himself speaks to you. (Jer. 29:8-9 “For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Let not your prophets and your diviners, that [be] in the midst of you, deceive you, neither hearken to your dreams which ye cause to be dreamed. For they prophesy falsely unto you in my name : I have not sent them, saith the LORD”.)