Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Theology 101 - God's Revelation to Humanity

How do we know what we know about God?


1. General Revelation  

This knowledge of God is available to all of humanity.


A. Nature

Psalm 19:1 - The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Romans 1:20 - For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.


B. Conscience

Romans 2:14-15 - When Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.


C. Spiritual Hunger

Acts 17:22-23 - Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.”


D. Philosophy / Reason

  • Cosmological Argument – Everything must have a cause
  • Teleological Argument – The natural world shows design
  • Moral Argument – We believe morality will somehow be rewarded
  • Ontological Argument – We can imagine the existence of a perfect Being, which means such a Being must exist; otherwise, He would be imperfect; existence is more perfect than non-existence


2. Special Revelation

This knowledge of God is available only to those who receive it from a specific source of authority.

A. Scripture – God Himself gives us the information

2 Timothy 3:16-17 - All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

2 Peter 1:20-21 - Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.


Possible Modes of Inspiration:

  • Dictation – God spoke word-for-word what people wrote
  • Verbal – God inspired the exact words but did not dictate them; He moved in the writer’s spirit to produce the wording
  • Dynamic – God gave the message, but the words and personality of the text came from the writer
  • Illumination – The Holy Spirit gave certain people special insight, from which to write
  • Muse – people had a spiritual gift and felt inspired to write


Is Scripture inerrant or can it can it contain mistakes?

Matthew 5:18 - For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.


Is Scripture Understandable?

1 Corinthians 2:10, 13-14 - these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit…This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.

Philippians 3:15 - All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.


B. Tradition

We can learn about God through traditions passed down to us, even if they aren’t clearly written in Scripture.

1 Corinthians 11:2 - I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the traditions just as I passed them on to you.


C. Example

We can learn about God through the example of other people who seem to be following Him.

1 Corinthians 4:16-17 - I urge you to imitate me. For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.

Hebrews 13:7 - Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.


D. Experience

You’ll also learn about God through your own experience with Him.

Romans 8:16 - The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.

Luke 24:48 – “You are witnesses of these things.”



What is the potential problem with all types of revelation?

The noetic effect of sin – my fallible mind may not interpret or grasp the information correctly.

1 Corinthians 13:11-12 - When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.



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