In last week’s blog, I introduced the subject and new blog series of “What We Believe.” Perhaps the best place to start is by discussing “God’s revelation,” which is how God shows Himself to us. It’s been said, “by God alone can God be known.” Think about it: the only way we know anything about God is that He has chosen to reveal Himself to us.
There are two kinds of revelation:
1. General revelation (also referred to as natural revelation): the self-disclosure of God to all rational beings.
In other words, general revelation is how God reveals Himself to everyone, whether they believe in Him or not. This general revelation is given in two ways:
Psalm 19:1 declares, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.”
Romans 1:18-20 states, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”
So, God reveals Himself (His existence, nature, and attributes) through creation for all to see. Because of that, all are without excuse.
The second way God shows Himself to everyone is by giving us a conscience, which is an understanding of what is right and what is wrong. Romans 2:14-15 states, “For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them…”
So, God has revealed Himself to every person throughout all time through His creation and by giving mankind a conscience. Therefore, we know certain general truths about God, such as the fact that He exists, and that He has certain attributes, such as eternal power, divine nature, creativity, and morality that everyone can know by looking at creation and conscience.
2. Special revelation (God reveals Himself more specifically through supernatural ways). The ways that God has revealed Himself specially have included dreams, visions, and miracles, but the two most important ways God has specially revealed Himself are through:
(1) The Living Word (Jesus)
Jesus, the Word of God (John 1:1-2, 14) is God’s primary communication to us. Think about it: the greatest way we know about God is by looking at Jesus…everything that Jesus did and taught was God revealing Himself to us. John 1:18 says, “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.” So, by looking at Jesus, we see and understand God.
(2) The Written Word (the Bible)
The reason we call the Bible “the Word” is because it is God’s communication to us. We know about God, such as who He is and what He desires of us, by reading the Word.
Let’s be grateful for a couple of truths:
1. That God has chosen to reveal Himself to us. God could have left us in “the dark” when it comes to knowing Him, but He chose to let us see Him and come “into the light.”
2. That God has chosen to reveal Himself in a special way to all who desire to know Him. We are blessed to have the living Word and the written Word speaking to us, showing us who God is.