God’s Hammer: The Bible and Its Critics:  A Review


God’s Hammer: The Bible and Its Critics

Gordon H. Clark

Publisher 1982 The Trinity Foundation

A review by Jack Kettler


“Is not my word like fire,” declares the Lord, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?” – Jeremiah 23:29




Gordon Haddon Clark (1902–1985) was a distinguished American philosopher, theologian, and Christian apologist known for his significant contributions to epistemology, philosophy, and systematic theology. Born on August 31, 1902, in Dober, Idaho, Clark spent his early years raised in a Presbyterian home and later, as a young man, attended the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned his Ph.D. in philosophy in 1929.


Throughout his academic career, Clark showed keen interest in the relationship between faith and reason. Raised in the Reformed tradition, which embraced John Calvin's teachings, the Westminster Confession satisfied his quest for this. His commitment to a Reformed worldview profoundly influenced his approach to philosophy and theology.


Clark was a professor at several institutions, including the University of Pennsylvania, Wheaton College, Butler University, and Covenant College. He was a prolific writer, producing over forty books and numerous philosophy, theology, and apologetics articles. His works often tackled foundational questions about knowledge, ethics, and the Christian faith.


One of Clark's notable contributions was developing a presuppositional apologetic method, emphasizing the importance of starting with foundational beliefs or axioms when engaging in philosophical or theological discussions. Clark’s approach, rooted in the Reformed tradition, shaped Clark's defense of the Christian faith and influenced a generation of scholars and apologists.


In “God's Hammer: The Bible and Its Critics,” Clark defended the authority and inerrancy of the Bible, engaging with critics and presenting a compelling case for the divine inspiration of Scripture. This work exemplified his commitment to logical rigor and clear reasoning.


Throughout his career, Gordon H. Clark engaged with various intellectual challenges facing Christianity, consistently advocating for a robust and reasoned defense of the Christian worldview. His legacy endures through his written works and his impact on Christian philosophy and apologetics, leaving a lasting imprint on the Reformed theological tradition. Gordon H. Clark passed away on April 9, 1985, leaving behind a rich intellectual legacy that continues to shape discussions in philosophy and theology.


A Review:


“God's Hammer: The Bible and Its Critics” by Gordon H. Clark is a formidable defense of the Bible's authority and reliability, showcasing Clark's brilliance in weaving together philosophical rigor and theological depth. In this thought-provoking work, Clark takes on the challenges posed by critics of the Bible, employing a presuppositional apologetic approach that sets the stage for a forceful defense of the Christian faith.


Clark's commitment to logical reasoning and intellectual rigor is one of the book's strengths. He tackles objections to the Bible with a keen analytical mind, dissecting arguments and presenting a compelling case for the divine inspiration and inerrancy of the Scriptures. Clark's background in philosophy is evident throughout the book as he navigates complex issues with clarity and precision, making his arguments accessible to scholars and lay readers.


For example:


“Suppose the word mountain meant metaphor, and dog, and Bible, and the United States. Clearly, if a word meant everything, it would mean nothing. If, now, the law of contradiction is an arbitrary convention, and if our linguistic theorists choose some other convention, I challenge them to write a book in conformity with their principles. As a matter of fact it will not be hard for them to do so. Nothing more is necessary than to write the word metaphor sixty thousand times: Metaphor metaphor metaphor metaphor…. This means the dog ran up the mountain, for the word metaphor means dog, ran, and mountain. Unfortunately, the sentence “metaphor metaphor metaphor” also means, Next Christmas is Thanksgiving, for the word metaphor has these meanings as well.” ― Gordon H. Clark, God's Hammer: The Bible and Its Critics (pp. 49-50)


Clark's unwavering commitment to the Reformed tradition adds depth to his defense of the Bible. He articulates a coherent worldview that places God at the center and underscores the foundational importance of presuppositions in any intellectual endeavor. This approach strengthens his defense of the Bible and provides readers with a solid framework for understanding and articulating their own Christian convictions.


Furthermore, “God's Hammer” is marked by its respectful engagement with opposing views. Clark engages with critics intellectually rigorously and charitable, avoiding unnecessary polemics. This balanced approach enhances the book's credibility and makes it a valuable resource for those seeking a thoughtful exploration of the Bible's authenticity.


In addition to its intellectual merits, the book is eminently readable. Clark's writing is clear and engaging, making complex theological concepts accessible to a broad audience. Whether one is a seasoned theologian or a curious seeker, “God's Hammer” invites readers into a compelling intellectual journey that increases their understanding of the Bible's significance.


For example:


“The Bible says that all Scripture, that is, all the words that were written down in the Old Testament (at least), is breathed out by God. Holy men spoke - they spoke words - as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. The Old Testament has many instances of the phrase, “the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” Many other times we read, “The word of God came to.” Deuteronomy 18:18 says, “I... will put my words in his mouth,” and a similar phrase occurs in Jeremiah 1:9. Everywhere the Bible speaks of itself, it teaches verbal inspiration. The words are the words of God. It is nowhere said that the words contain geographical discrepancies and theological errors. No examination of the text itself can produce evidence that the words are not inspired. If we take our belief about the Bible from what the Bible says about itself, we must conclude that the words are the words of God who cannot lie.” - Gordon H. Clark, God's Hammer: The Bible and It's Critics (p. 124)


In closing his book, Clark summarizes:


 “First, our forefathers were convinced, the Westminster Confession asserts, and the Bible teaches that God has given us a written revelation. This revelation is the truth. As Christ himself said, “Your word is truth.” It is not a myth, it is not an allegory, it is no mere pointer to the truth, it is not an analogy of the truth; but it is literally and absolutely true.”


“Second, our forefathers were convinced and the Reformed Faith asserts that this truth can be known. God has created us in his image with the intellectual and logical powers of understanding. He has addressed to men an intelligible revelation; and he expects us to read it, to grasp its meaning, and to believe it. God is not Totally Other, nor is logic a human invention that distorts God’s statements. If this were so, as the Neo-orthodox say, then it would follow, as the neo-orthodox admit, that falsity would be as useful as truth in producing a passionate emotion. But the Bible expects us to appropriate a definite message.”


“Third, the Reformers believed that God’s revelation can be formulated accurately. They were not enamored of ambiguity; they did not identify piety with a confused mind. They wanted to proclaim the truth with the greatest possible clarity. And so ought we.”


“Dare we allow our Biblical heritage to be lost in a nebulous ecumenicity where belief has been reduced to the shortest possible doctrinal statement, in which peace is preserved by an all-embracing ambiguity? Or should we ponder the fact that when the Reformers preached the complete Biblical message in all its detail and with the greatest possible clarity, God granted the world its greatest spiritual awakening since the day s of the apostles? May we not similarly expect astonishing blessings if we return with enthusiasm to all the doctrines of the Westminster Confession?” - Gordon H. Clark, God's Hammer: The Bible and It's Critics (pp. 127-198)


In conclusion, Gordon H. Clark's “God's Hammer: The Bible and Its Critics” is a commendable work that combines philosophical acumen, theological depth, and a commitment to reasoned discourse. It is a powerful resource for those seeking a robust defense of the Bible while maintaining respect and intellectual humility. This book is a testament to Clark's enduring influence on Christian apologetics and philosophy. *


If the reader of this review is a thoughtful apologist, this book is a must-read. Print copies can be obtained from the Trinity Foundation. A PDF copy of this work can be found online.   


Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife, Marea, attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of 17 books defending the Reformed Faith. Books can be ordered online at Amazon.


*This review was assisted by ChatGPT and perfected with Grammarly


Westminster Confession of 1646: Of the Holy Scripture




I. Although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men unexcusable, (Rom 2:14-15; Rom 1:19-20; Psa 19:1-3; Rom 1:32; Rom 2:1); yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of His will, which is necessary unto salvation, (1Co 1:21; 1Co 2:13-14). Therefore it pleased the Lord, at sundry times, and in divers manners, to reveal Himself, and to declare that His will unto His Church, (Hbr 1:1); and afterwards, for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the Church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing, (Pro 22:19-21; Luk 1:3-4; Rom 15:4; Mat 4:4, 7, 10; Isa 8:19-20): which maketh the Holy Scripture to be most necessary, (2Ti 3:15; 2Pe 1:19); those former ways of God’s revealing His will unto His people being now ceased, (Hbr 1:1-2).


II. Under the name of Holy Scripture, or the Word of God written, are now contained all the books of the Old and New Testament, which are these:




Genesis            Chronicles II   Daniel

Exodus            Ezra     Hosea

Leviticus          Nehemiah        Joel

Numbers          Esther  Amos

Deuteronomy  Job       Obadiah

Joshua Psalms Jonah

Judges Proverbs          Micah

Ruth    Ecclesiastes     Nahum

Samuel I          The Song of Songs      Habakkuk

Samuel II         Isaiah   Zephaniah

Kings I Jeremiah          Haggai

Kings II           Lamentations   Zechariah

Chronicles I     Ezekiel            Malachi




Gospels according to: Galatians         Philemon

Matthew          Ephesians        Epistle to the Hebrews

Mark    Philippians       Epistle to the James

Luke    Colossians       Epistle of Peter I

John     Thessalonians I           Epistle of Peter II

Acts of the Apostles    Thessalonians II          Epistles of John I, II, & III

Epistles to Romans     Timothy I        Epistle of Jude

Corinthians I   Timothy II       The Revelation

Corinthians II  Titus   


All which are given by inspiration of God to be the rule of faith and life, (Luk 16:29, 31; Eph 2:20; Rev 22:18-19; 2Ti 3:16).


III. The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration, are no part of the canon of the Scripture, and therefore are of no authority in the Church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved, or made use of, than other human writings, (Luk 24:27; Luke 24:44; Rom 3:2; 2Pe 1:21).


IV. The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, and obeyed, dependeth not upon the testimony of any man, or Church; but wholly upon God (who is truth itself) the author thereof: and therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word of God, (2Pe 1:19; 2Pe 1:21; 2Ti 3:16; 1Jo 5:9; 1Th 2:13).


V. We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the Church to an high and reverent esteem of the Holy Scripture, (1Ti 3:15). And the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is, to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man’s salvation, the many other incomparable excellencies, and the entire perfection thereof, are arguments whereby it doth abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God: yet notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts, (1Jo 2:20; 1Jo 2:27; Jhn 16:13-14; 1Co 2:10-12; Isa 59:21).


VI. The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit or traditions of men, (2Ti 3:15-17; Gal 1:8-9; 2Th 2:2). Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word, (Jhn 6:45; 1Co 2:9-12): and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the Church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature, and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed, (1Co 14:26; 1Co 14:40).


VII. All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all, (2Pe 3:16): yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation, are so clearly propounded, and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them, (Psa 119:105; Psa 119:130).


VIII. The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old), and the New Testament in Greek (which, at the time of the writing of it, was most generally known to the nations), being immediately inspired by God, and, by His singular care and providence, kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical, (Mat 5:18); so as, in all controversies of religion, the Church is finally to appeal unto them, (Isa 8:20; Act 15:15; Jhn 5:39; Jhn 5:46). But, because these original tongues are not known to all the people of God, who have right unto, and interest in the Scriptures, and are commanded, in the fear of God, to read and search them, (Jhn 5:39); therefore they are to be translated into the vulgar language of every nation unto which they come, (1Co 14:6; 1Co 14:9; 1Co 14:11-12; 1Co 14:24; 1Co 14:27-28); that, the Word of God dwelling plentifully in all, they may worship Him in an acceptable manner, (Col 3:16); and, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, may have hope, (Rom 15:4).


IX. The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself: and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly, (2Pe 1:21-22; Act 15:15-16).


X. The supreme judge by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture, (Mat 22:29; Mat 22:31; Eph 2:20; Act 28:25).