Since God is infinite and man is finite, for man to have any knowledge of God, God must reveal Himself to man. God must reveal Himself in such a way than man can learn of God and have a relationship with Him. We have already examined the two (2) types of revelation that God has utilized in making Himself known to man.
- God's general revelation of Himself. This is a revelation to all human beings at all times and in all places. General revelation consists of the work of creation and our conscience. Creation and conscience teaches us that there is God.
- God's special revelation of Himself. This is a revelation of God that is particular in nature and only to particular persons at particular times. We see this type of revelation through the prophets, through Scripture, and through Jesus Christ. Certain attributes or characteristics of God's nature, will, plans, and/or his being were revealed with limitations.
The Location of Revelation
If God has revealed Himself through general and special revelation, we must ask ourselves, where did this revelation take place? Traditionally, most theologians have agreed that revelation has taken place in three (3) distinct locations.
- Creation - The bible tells us that the existence and reality of God is made known to us through what is commonly called "the physical created order." "The heavens declare (they tell, they speak, they scribe) the glory of God and the sky above proclaims His handiwork. (Psalms 19:1, ESV) For His attributes, namely his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world in the things hat have been made." (Romans 1:20, ESV) The common reasoning then is that God has provided evidence of His existence in the world that He created. General revelation is usually more related to the awesome nature of creation. Creation can only point to a very powerful being filled with the wisdom that is necessary to create such a complex, intricate, and beauty. As you sit and wonder in amazement at a gorgeous, blood red sunset you are seeing evidence for the existence of God.
- History - If God is at work in this world moving events toward pre-determined goals, his efforts ought to be discernible. Of course the evidence for God is not as strong as in creation. History is more difficult to view altogether. History must be pieced together, researched, and then interpreted. Historians are not always as accurate or as reliable as they need to be and they are tainted with subjectivity. An example of God's revelation in history is his preservation of the Jewish people. This tiny nation has survived the most horrible atrocities and invasions by the most vicious enemies. Whether the Babylonian, Assyrian, Roman, or Nazi attempts at its destruction, Israel has survived. God has promised both spiritual and physical blessings to the world through His chosen people and he has revealed Himself through the unfolding history of this amazing nation.
- Human Being - God has revealed himself through the moral qualities. Human beings make moral judgments. In other words, Human Beings know right from wrong. Men like C. S. Lewis, Jonathan Edwards, and Francis Schaffer have alluded to this ability as the "evidential value of moral impulse which characterizes human beings." None of these men would say that every human being lives by this moral code. Many have been known to choose to ignore it and live their life in opposition to a moral code. These men would, I think, simply stress the existence of a moral consciousness.
The Implications of Revelation
- There is a common ground between all human beings. What is that common ground? All human beings have a knowledge of God. There are times that humans have vigorously denied and even suppressed the knowledge of God, nonetheless, all human beings are aware that is a God of some sort. There is a starting point, there is a common ground: all have the capability of being cognizant of a supreme being.
- We have the opportunity then of discovering and knowing some of these truths about God. We can examine the general revelation of God and be propelled into searching for more truth about this "God" that we detect in general revelation. God Himself can use this general revelation to point us towards some aspect of His special revelation.
- Even more important we can see that God is just in condemning those who have actually never heard the gospel in its fullest and foremost sense. No one is excused nor does any have a valid reason to be exempt from the judgment and condemnation of God. All men have the knowledge of God. God is revealed in general revelation which is designed to point to the locations of special revelation. The truth of the matter is this; if a man has not perceived God it is because man has chosen to suppress the truth the God has revealed about Himself. Men are responsible for their attitudes and actions. God is just and He always acts justly. It is just to condemn a man who ignores you or suppresses truth about you.
- General revelation accounts for the worldwide phenomenon of religion. Every human being is "religious" because all men have a knowledge of the existence of God. Whether a man worships a stone, naked, in a drug-induced trance or worships ancestors reincarnated in animals or insects, he does so because God has revealed the fact that he exists.
Well, God can condemn a man and judge that man. There is no excuse for that man. All men have the knowledge of God. God has sufficiently revealed Himself in creation, conscience, and even history to direct a man to admit God exists.
30 Days of Thanksgiving
I am thankful today for the revelation of God to my soul by His Holy Spirit which made me to become alive, thereby enabling me to repent of my treason and sin, and to repent, turning from idols to serve the true and living God! I boast in Christ and praise God for my salvation was entirely due to His unconditional election, the providing of a propitiatory sacrifice, the irresistible pursuit of the Holy Spirit and His application of the benefits of the cross to my heart and soul. I boast in Christ and praise God that by His eternal power He preserves me until the day I am made perfect in His glorious presence. Thank you God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit for my redemption.