divine revelation

Faith Toward God: 1 – Faith In god Is Not Enough


If someone asked me, “What do you love about your wife?”, and I answered, “She has eyes and a mouth and a nose”, my answer wouldn’t be based on anything unique to her. Such an answer could call into question whether I actually loved my wife, because my reasons for love were based on things common to all women.

Similarly, if someone were to ask a Christian why they have faith in the God of the Bible, the response ought to be based on more than a list of divine attributes any god could possess. Otherwise, one’s faith is not in The God, but a god. Paul, in his letter to the Romans, gives us a list of general qualities that not only the real God possesses, but which many false gods are said to possess:

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…(Romans 1: 20)

For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness…(Romans 2: 14 – 15)

What Paul is saying is that God through creation has revealed the following about Himself:

  1. He is the creator
  2. He is eternal
  3. He is powerful
  4. He has a moral code

Now even though these things are true of the God of the Bible, a Muslim and an Orthodox Jew also believe them. A theist who believes in these four truths is a far cry from a Christian who believes in Yahweh, the God of the Bible, and that Jesus of Nazareth is the incarnate Eternal Son, second person of the Trinity. The Bible is too particular to allow one’s faith to be based only on generally revealed divine attributes. Christians are to believe in a particular God who interacted in history in particular ways. God parted the Red Sea, carried Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, and rose from the dead on the third day.

A faith in god, which lacks the particulars of Scripture and is based only on attributes that can be derived from nature, is not enough.

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Resurrection of the Dead: 3 – Matter Matters


Suggested Prereading: Resurrection of the Dead 2


The resurrection of the dead proves that matter matters. For if the physical world that God created played no permanent part in His plan, what would be the point of a resurrection? If we are to be raised from the dead, meaning our souls are reunited with our physical bodies, then there must be a physical place for our bodies to reside. The Bible refers to this place as the new heavens and the new earth.

But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. (2 Peter 3: 13)

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. (Revelation 21: 1 – 4)

These New Testament teachings about new heavens and a new earth are consistent with the Old Testament prophets, who spoke about the Messianic Age to come. According to the prophets, the coming Messiah would establish His eternal kingdom on earth – a renewed earth.

And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little boy will lead them. Also the cow and the bear will graze, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den. They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. Then in that day the nations will resort to the root of Jesse, who will stand as a signal for the peoples; and His resting place will be glorious. (Isaiah 11: 6 – 10)

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. (Isaiah 9: 6 – 7)

My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd; and they will walk in My ordinances and keep My statutes and observe them. They will live on the land that I gave to Jacob My servant, in which your fathers lived; and they will live on it, they, and their sons and their sons’ sons, forever; and David My servant will be their prince forever. I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will place them and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in their midst forever. My dwelling place also will be with them; and I will be their God, and they will be My people. And the nations will know that I am the LORD who sanctifies Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forever. (Ezekiel 37: 24 – 28)

In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch of David to spring forth; and He shall execute justice and righteousness on the earth. (Jeremiah 33: 15)

And to Him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations and men of every language might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed. (Daniel 7: 14)

And in that day the mountains will drip with sweet wine, and the hills will flow with milk, and all the brooks of Judah will flow with water; and a spring will go out from the house of the LORD to water the valley of Shittim. Egypt will become a waste, and Edom will become a desolate wilderness, because of the violence done to the sons of Judah, in whose land they have shed innocent blood. But Judah will be inhabited forever and Jerusalem for all generations. And I will avenge their blood which I have not avenged, for the LORD dwells in Zion. (Joel 3: 18 – 21)

“In that day I will raise up the fallen booth of David, and wall up its breaches; I will also raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old; that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations who are called by My name,” declares the LORD who does this. “Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when the plowman will overtake the reaper and the treader of grapes him who sows seed; when the mountains will drip sweet wine and all the hills will be dissolved. Also I will restore the captivity of My people Israel, and they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them; they will also plant vineyards and drink their wine, and make gardens and eat their fruit. I will also plant them on their land, and they will not again be rooted out from their land which I have given them,” says the LORD your God. (Amos 9: 11 – 15)

And the LORD will be king over all the earth; in that day the LORD will be the only one, and His name the only one. All the land will be changed into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem; but Jerusalem will rise and remain on its site from Benjamin’s gate as far as the place of the First Gate to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the king’s wine presses. People will live in it, and there will no longer be a curse, for Jerusalem will dwell in security. (Zechariah 14: 9 – 11)

Both Biblical testaments teach that the final destination of God’s people is the starting point – earth. Because we die, and our souls leave earth temporarily, the resurrection of the dead is necessary to bring the righteous souls who have been dwelling with God in heaven back to their earthly bodies. It is on this basis – that God does not do away with His creation but renews it – that we conclude matter matters to God and is a significant part of His eternal plan.

God’s Oracles Center Around Christ: 2 – The Old Testament Implicitly Teaches the Centrality of Christ


Suggested Pre-Reading: God’s Oracles Center Around Christ: 1


It is clear that the New Testament was written to document the words and deeds of Jesus and to declare him to be the Christ. It is not as clear that the Old Testament was written to set the stage for Jesus of Nazareth. On the surface, the Old Testament is an account of the nation of Israel, beginning with God’s creation of Adam and ending with the return of the Jews from the exile. Beneath the surface, the story being told is about a great king who would come from the nation of Israel and rule the world in righteousness.

Although Christians should read the Old Testament and learn how it points to Christ, many do not do so, finding a cover to cover reading intimidating. For those intimidated by the Old Testament, there is a summary of the whole story found in the ninth chapter of Nehemiah. The summary, provided in full at the end of this article, was written after the return of the exiles from Babylon and covers from the beginning of creation to the return of the exiles. If the summary proves to be intimidating, one can focus on the following excerpt, which captures the essence of the Old Testament:

You are just in all that has come upon us;
For You have dealt faithfully, but we have acted wickedly.
For our kings, our leaders, our priests and our fathers have not kept Your law
Or paid attention to Your commandments and Your admonitions with which You have admonished them.
But they, in their own kingdom,
With Your great goodness which You gave them,
With the broad and rich land which You set before them,
Did not serve You or turn from their evil deeds.

Nehemiah 9: 33 – 35

God was very good to Israel, over and over and over. Their response to God’s goodness was sin and a refusal to obey the commandments God gave them. For nearly one thousand years, from Moses to the end of the exile, the Law proved incapable of changing the hearts of the people. The promised blessings of the Mosaic Covenant were not enough to inspire godliness, and the promised curses of the Mosaic Covenant were not enough to prevent sin. Something greater than the Law of Moses was needed, to cause the people to trust and obey God. If the Law of Moses was to remain the primary administration, why not think that Israel would remain in a perpetual state of sin and rebellion and exile?

It is viewing the Old Testament in this way – as a chronicle of Israel’s perpetual disobedience – that enables one to see how the story is dependent upon the Christ. Israel’s inability to obey the covenant of Moses is resolved by the prophetic promise of Jesus and His new covenant. Consider the words of Isaiah, who wrote of a great king from the line of David who would rule in righteousness.

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. (Isaiah 9: 6 – 7)

Consider the words of Jeremiah, prophesying that a new covenant would be made, in which the law of God would be written on the hearts of men, rather than on tablets of stone.

“Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” (Jeremiah 31: 31 – 33)

The promise of a savior-king, enacting a covenant in which He by divine power changes the hearts of His people and atones for their sin, is is the exact solution needed for a people who continually proved incapable of obeying the law by their own power. If the prophecies regarding Christ are removed from the Old Testament, the story started in the Old Testament has nowhere to go. For one thousand years the law failed to produce godly people, and unless that law were replaced with something better, there is no reason to think anything would change.

Our conclusion then, in light of all that has been said, must be that Jesus is central to all that is going on in the story of Israel. If by removing Christ from the Old Testament the story has nowhere to go, what other conclusion is there to draw?


Old Testament Summary In Nehemiah 9: 5 – 37

O may Your glorious name be blessed
And exalted above all blessing and praise!

You alone are the LORD.
You have made the heavens,
The heaven of heavens with all their host,
The earth and all that is on it,
The seas and all that is in them.
You give life to all of them
And the heavenly host bows down before You.

You are the LORD God,
Who chose Abram
And brought him out from Ur of the Chaldees,
And gave him the name Abraham.

You found his heart faithful before You,
And made a covenant with him
To give him the land of the Canaanite,
Of the Hittite and the Amorite,
Of the Perizzite, the Jebusite and the Girgashite—
To give it to his descendants.
And You have fulfilled Your promise,
For You are righteous.

You saw the affliction of our fathers in Egypt,
And heard their cry by the Red Sea.

Then You performed signs and wonders against Pharaoh,
Against all his servants and all the people of his land;
For You knew that they acted arrogantly toward them,
And made a name for Yourself as it is this day.

You divided the sea before them,
So they passed through the midst of the sea on dry ground;
And their pursuers You hurled into the depths,
Like a stone into raging waters.

And with a pillar of cloud You led them by day,
And with a pillar of fire by night
To light for them the way
In which they were to go.

Then You came down on Mount Sinai,
And spoke with them from heaven;
You gave them just ordinances and true laws,
Good statutes and commandments.

So You made known to them Your holy sabbath,
And laid down for them commandments, statutes and law,
Through Your servant Moses.

You provided bread from heaven for them for their hunger,
You brought forth water from a rock for them for their thirst,
And You told them to enter in order to possess
The land which You swore to give them.

But they, our fathers, acted arrogantly;
They became stubborn and would not listen to Your commandments.

They refused to listen,
And did not remember Your wondrous deeds which You had performed among them;
So they became stubborn and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt.
But You are a God of forgiveness,
Gracious and compassionate,
Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness;
And You did not forsake them.

Even when they made for themselves
A calf of molten metal
And said, ‘This is your God
Who brought you up from Egypt,’
And committed great blasphemies,

You, in Your great compassion,
Did not forsake them in the wilderness;
The pillar of cloud did not leave them by day,
To guide them on their way,
Nor the pillar of fire by night, to light for them the way in which they were to go.

You gave Your good Spirit to instruct them,
Your manna You did not withhold from their mouth,
And You gave them water for their thirst.

Indeed, forty years You provided for them in the wilderness and they were not in want;
Their clothes did not wear out, nor did their feet swell.

You also gave them kingdoms and peoples,
And allotted them to them as a boundary.
They took possession of the land of Sihon the king of Heshbon
And the land of Og the king of Bashan.

You made their sons numerous as the stars of heaven,
And You brought them into the land
Which You had told their fathers to enter and possess.

So their sons entered and possessed the land.
And You subdued before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites,
And You gave them into their hand, with their kings and the peoples of the land,
To do with them as they desired.

They captured fortified cities and a fertile land.
They took possession of houses full of every good thing,
Hewn cisterns, vineyards, olive groves,
Fruit trees in abundance.
So they ate, were filled and grew fat,
And reveled in Your great goodness.

But they became disobedient and rebelled against You,
And cast Your law behind their backs
And killed Your prophets who had admonished them
So that they might return to You,
And they committed great blasphemies.

Therefore You delivered them into the hand of their oppressors who oppressed them,
But when they cried to You in the time of their distress,
You heard from heaven, and according to Your great compassion
You gave them deliverers who delivered them from the hand of their oppressors.

But as soon as they had rest, they did evil again before You;
Therefore You abandoned them to the hand of their enemies, so that they ruled over them.
When they cried again to You, You heard from heaven,
And many times You rescued them according to Your compassion,

And admonished them in order to turn them back to Your law.
Yet they acted arrogantly and did not listen to Your commandments but sinned against Your ordinances,
By which if a man observes them he shall live.
And they turned a stubborn shoulder and stiffened their neck, and would not listen.

However, You bore with them for many years,
And admonished them by Your Spirit through Your prophets,
Yet they would not give ear.
Therefore You gave them into the hand of the peoples of the lands.

Nevertheless, in Your great compassion You did not make an end of them or forsake them,
For You are a gracious and compassionate God.

Now therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who keeps covenant and lovingkindness,
Do not let all the hardship seem insignificant before You,
Which has come upon us, our kings, our princes, our priests, our prophets, our fathers and on all Your people,
From the days of the kings of Assyria to this day.

However, You are just in all that has come upon us;
For You have dealt faithfully, but we have acted wickedly.

For our kings, our leaders, our priests and our fathers have not kept Your law
Or paid attention to Your commandments and Your admonitions with which You have admonished them.

But they, in their own kingdom,
With Your great goodness which You gave them,
With the broad and rich land which You set before them,
Did not serve You or turn from their evil deeds.

Behold, we are slaves today,
And as to the land which You gave to our fathers to eat of its fruit and its bounty,
Behold, we are slaves in it.

Its abundant produce is for the kings
Whom You have set over us because of our sins;
They also rule over our bodies
And over our cattle as they please,
So we are in great distress.

God Reveals His Oracles: 4 – How God Has Given Specific Revelation


Suggested Pre-Reading: God Reveals His Oracles: 3


Even though God gives to all of us a general understanding of His eternal power, divine nature, and moral character, by writing such things on our hearts, it was God’s good pleasure to choose long ago a specific group of people to receive His detailed oracles; truths about God, man, and the events of history. God even told these people about future events before they happened, such as the death of the Jewish Messiah and the subsequent destruction of Jerusalem.1 Thankfully, these chosen people wrote down the divine words, so that we could have them today. One must keep in mind that due to limited technology, the only two ways the ancients could give us God’s words were in writing or by means of an oral tradition. Without a doubt, a written tradition is far superior to an oral one, and so the ancients preserved for us God’s words using the best method available.

Now who were these people who God chose to write down His oracles? They were the Israelites – the Jews. God personally established the nation of Israel by delivering the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob from slavery in Egypt, and by using the man Moses to help lead them. One of the promises God gave to the nation through Moses was to provide a line of prophets who would dispense holy truth. Moses recorded this promise:

“The LORD said to me, ‘They have spoken well. I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him.” (Deuteronomy 18: 17 – 19)

God spoke to Israel over the centuries through various prophets. God did not speak with other nations in the same way; the relationship between God and Israel was unique. This uniqueness was attested to by the apostle Paul:

Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision? Great in every respect. First of all, that they were entrusted with the oracles of God. (Romans 3: 1 – 2)

So these Jews, who at the time were the only people entrusted with the oracles of God, wrote God’s words down for posterity. Over the course of time a portion of their many writings were collected and bound together as one book – this book today is called the Bible. The Bible is a library consisting of sixty-six books from some forty authors, whose writings occurred over the span of more than one thousand years. Despite the multiplicity of authors and span of time, the Bible is a cohesive narrative with discernible plots and themes. This should be expected, since God was the one giving the words to be written down. The Bible is the key source of information about God and man, and it says of itself:

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3: 16 – 17)

Now, what is the main point of the Bible? Since God has gone to the effort of inspiring words to be written, and binding them together in a singular book, what is the message of this book that God wants us to know? The answer to these questions is the focus of the next series, which will discuss the essential Christian principle “God’s Oracles Center Around Christ”.

As we move on to the next principle, regarding Christ, let us summarize in three key points what has been discussed over the course of this series on divine revelation, points which are an orthodox Christian perspective on divine revelation.

  1. God must speak to us, if we are to know anything specific about Him.
  2. God could choose to speak to all people or to some people.
  3. God chose the Jewish people to be the recipients of His specific divine instruction, and their words have come down to us today in the form of the Bible.

The Christian must be convinced of these three things, and they must cling to the notion that the edifice of all true Christian doctrine is built upon the foundation that the Bible is the divinely revealed word of God.


1 Book of Daniel, Chapter 9 Verse 26: “Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary…” These words were written approximately 500 years in advance of Jesus’ death and the destruction of Jerusalem by Rome.

God Reveals His Oracles: 3 – How God Has Spoken To All Men


Suggested Pre-Reading: God Reveals His Oracles 2


As we think about the two ways God reveals His truths – either to all men or to some men – it is perhaps difficult to conceive how God might speak, or might have spoken, a truth to all men. Certainly in our lifetime there has been no booming voice from heaven, loud enough for everyone on earth to hear. And we are all aware that there are atheists, who claim to disbelieve in God altogether. If God has spoken a message to all men, how could there be atheists? If God has spoken truth to all men, how has He done so?

The Christian answers these questions by turning to God’s revealed truths in the Bible. The Bible, which records the truths God has revealed to certain men, tells us through Paul’s letter to the Romans that God has spoken certain truths to everyone.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 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. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. (Romans 1: 18 – 21)

From this passage we learn that God made two of His attributes evident to all men:

  1. Eternal Power
  2. Divine Nature

These two attributes of God were revealed through His creation. Creation is so magnificent that it undeniably originates, not from nothing, but from an eternally powerful and divine Being. The evidence of a God-created universe is so overwhelming, that to deny it is to commit intellectual suicide. Paul wrote his words nearly two thousand years ago to a people with far less technology and scientific knowledge than us today. How much more so should we as modern people see the creation pointing to the Creator.

Now in addition to God’s eternal power and divine nature, we are instructed that God has revealed a moral law to all men through the conscience:

For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them…(Romans 2: 14 – 15)

Here Paul is discussing how Gentiles (unbelievers) will be judged by God, since they were not the recipients of God’s divinely revealed Law that was given to Moses. The answer Paul gives is that God has given every man a conscience, and this conscience intuitively knows when certain things are good and certain things are bad. There are certain things that people know are right and wrong, and it doesn’t matter whether the government allows it or not. People know that there is a moral law that transcends legislation.

So there are three things revealed by God to all men – God’s eternal power, God’s divinity, and God’s moral character. It is worth noting that the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America affirms each of these three revelations.

We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…

The men who wrote and signed that document acknowledged that there is a God who is Creator, and that there are certain rights God has given to men. If God has given man the right to life, then murder is wrong. If God has given man the right to the property he acquires, then stealing is wrong. So there are laws given by God which are unchangeable. Even if a government were to say that murder is okay, it would not be. Even if a government were to say stealing is okay, it would not be. All of our consciences know that the government is not the ultimate authority in determining what is right or wrong. Otherwise, there could be no condemnation of Nazi Germany and other such government-led atrocities.

To conclude, we have learned that God has divinely ensured every human being receives three general truths about God’s nature. Everyone knows intuitively of God’s power and moral character. But this basic knowledge of God is not sufficient for knowing God in any real and personal way. To truly know God, He must give us far more specific and detailed revelations about Himself. In the next post we will begin to look at the Christian claim of God’s specific revelations being contained within the pages of the Bible, and why the Bible should be viewed as authentic and other religious writings as false.

God Reveals His Oracles: 2 – Methods of Transmission


Suggested Pre-Reading: God Reveals His Oracles: 1


If we accept the premise that God gives oracles to men, we must take the next step and conclude that these oracles must be communicated in a way that man will understand. It can hardly be considered an oracle if it is communicated in a completely cryptic way. For example, if everyone on the planet spoke English, but God gave an oracle in Spanish, and there was no way to translate the message from Spanish to English, then this could not be considered divine revelation, for nothing in the Spanish message could be discerned by the English-speakers. It could definitely be considered divine speaking, for it was God speaking in Spanish, but since there was no receiver of the message, nothing was revealed and there was no actual communication between God and man.

If we accept this basic understanding of divine revelation, that God speaks oracles using language that the recipients understand, we can proceed to examine the flow of the message from God to man. There are two fundamental ways:

  1. God reveals a truth to all men, or
  2. God reveals a truth to a select audience.

If God reveals a truth to a select audience, then the following can be presumed:

  1. Those who receive His message will share it with those who did not receive it, or
  2. Those who receive His message will not share it and will keep it to themselves.

We have then two models of the transmission of divine revelation, both of which can be diagrammed to aid our understanding.


Diagram 1: God Speaks A Truth To All Men

revelation-diagram1


Diagram 2: God Speaks A Truth To Some Men

revelation-diagram2


So we see that in regards to divinely revealed truths, God either speaks to all or He speaks to some. No matter who He speaks to, if He wants His message understood, He will ensure that the recipients can understand it. If God chooses to only speak to some, but He wants His message to go beyond the receiving audience, the responsibility is on the recipients to share God’s message with others.

It is important to note that the model of communication God chooses to use could vary for each revealed truth. In some instances God might choose to give all men a message, and in other instances He might choose to give some men a message. The next installment of this series will examine how Christians believe God speaks to men, using each of these two models just discussed.

God Reveals His Oracles: 1 – Introduction to Divine Revelation


Suggested Pre-Reading: The Faith Foundations overview


Of the seven aforementioned principles that are essential to Christianity, we will start by discussing the principle “God reveals His oracles”. If God does not reveal His oracles then we cannot talk about the other six principles, for they all derive from the notion that God has spoken to man.

“Divine revelation” is a term commonly used when referring to the oracles (revelation) given to man by God (divine). It is essential that belief in God and beliefs about God are based upon the revelation of God. If God has not spoken, and we only have our own ideas, we will end up in a state of confusion. The world offers too many opposing pictures of reality to make meaningful sense of God and His character. For example, one might say God is a God of love, if they grow up in a nice and tender family. Another might say God is a God of hate, if they grow up in an abusive and dysfunctional household. One might say God wants nothing but the best for us, if they grow up wealthy and healthy. Another might say God is spiteful and wants the worst for us, if they grow up poor and have a chronic disease. Therefore the importance of divine revelation cannot be overstated.

Now, to briefly digress, there is a mode of inquiry into the nature of God that can occur outside of divine revelation. It is known as natural theology and it relies primarily upon human reason to conclude certain truths about God. For example – through natural theology one can come to the understanding that if “good and bad” are to be legitimately objective concepts, then “a god” is necessary to impose the standards of good and bad. If only humans determine the standard, then it is subjective and subject to change in accordance with the whims of society. Therefore, if justice is to be real, if right and wrong are to be real, then a god is necessary. Despite these types of general things that can be concluded via natural theology, it is hard to make specific conclusions. For example, even if we know only God can impose standards of good and bad, how would we know what He considers to be good and what he considers to be bad? We could suggest certain things are bad, like murder or stealing, but we would be unable to come up with a comprehensive list. In order to know what God considers to be good or bad, He would have to tell us.

It is worth mentioning that if you believe in divine revelation then you believe in God. If God has spoken, a corollary is “God exists”. But the inverse is not true. If God exists, it does not necessarily follow that God has given oracles to men. This distinction is important to make, I believe, because one can use natural theology and all sorts of logical argumentation to prove the existence of God, but they have done very little to discuss the claims of divine revelation that exist in the world today. The Bible, the Quran, the Bhagavad Gita – these are all writings that make distinct claims about the nature of God and His interaction in human history. You can’t really use natural theology to judge between these three holy books. You actually have to review the claims of the books and examine what is being said.

If there is one thing to take from this introduction, it is this – divine revelation is the foundation for anything specific we could ever know or say about God.