Two weeks ago I said the Bible is The Book. It is not just a book about God, but a book written by God Himself. Last week we discussed The Canon, why we can trust that the 66 books of the Bible are God’s Word.
Today we’re going to talk briefly about the two ways that God reveals Himself to mankind: General and Special Revelation. Then we’ll focus on Special Revelation as it relates to the Bible.
General Revelation is just that … it’s general. It’s God’s revelation of Himself to all men at all times. He does so through creation: the wonder and beauty of nature, the magnificence of the universe, and the human body, including the conscience.
General Revelation is spoken of in Psalm 19.1-4:
1 The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
The skies display his craftsmanship.
2 Day after day they continue to speak;
night after night they make him known.
3 They speak without a sound or word;
their voice is never heard.
4 Yet their message has gone throughout the earth,
and their words to all the world.(NLT)
And in Romans 1.20:
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
We are “without excuse.” Creation itself reveals enough to make us accountable before God to believe in Him.
In fact, Romans 1 goes on:
21 Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. 22 Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools.
Special Revelation is more limited. It includes things such as: angels, prophets, dreams and visions, miracles, the lot, His appearances to various people, and through His written Word, the Bible. But the ultimate revelation of God to mankind was through His Son, Jesus Christ.
God has been involved with and has been speaking to people since Creation. He walked with Adam and Eve in the cool of the garden (Gen. 3.8), He gave them instructions for living even before the fall (Gen. 2.15-17).
He spoke to Cain and warned him of the lurking danger of sin in his life (Gen. 4.6-7). He spoke to Abraham, Noah, Moses, Paul and many others in both the Old Testament and the New.
He revealed Himself through a pillar of cloud and a pillar of fire and through a burning bush. He manifested His presence in a cloud of glory and various other ways.
He spoke repeatedly through prophets, judges, and through the intermediary of the Priesthood. He performed miracles: making bitter water sweet, parting the Red Sea, raising the dead, bringing plagues and famines, and protecting from the same. He defeated armies against all odds, healed lepers, caused the lame to walk, and opened barren wombs.
He revealed present and future events through dreams and visions. He brought messages through angels.
He spoke His Words through the writers of the Bible and preserved His written Word even amidst the rubble of defeat: Continue reading