Wednesday, May 25, 2016

P1 - The God of the Bible Revealed in General Revelation

Psalm 19:1 “The Heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows forth His handiwork.

Psalm 19:7 “The Law of the Lord is perfect converting the soul”

John 1:18 “….He has explained Him”.

Introduction:One of my favorite designations for the Bible is “God’s Book”. The Baptist Faith & Message 2000 begins its first article with these words: 

“The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God’s revelation of Himself to man.” As one goes down through the rest of article, the emphasis is plain: God is the central character and focal point of sacred scripture. The BFM 2000 describes God as the Bible’s “author”. 

Further reading yields that by the principles of the Bible, God “judges” men’s hearts. Finally, all scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of Divine revelation. In as much as the Bible is “God’s Book”, we need to also know the “God of the Book”. The above three verses tell us three main truths about this God: 

1). His existence is revealed in the external world and the moral realm

2). He expresses Himself in scripture 

3). He is explained through Jesus Christ. 

Today’s post wants to consider the first of these - namely, that the God of the Bible is the same God that is discerned from the testimony of the external world and the reality of objective moral values and duties.

Why begin with “The God of the Book” before getting to the “Book of God”
What kind of God is this God? Undoubtedly we have the special revelation of scripture and the fullness of revelation in Jesus Christ to tell us the specifics about God. However, we also understand that God has expressed Himself in a general, non-redemptive form of revelation that Bible teachers call "general revelation". 

With the increasing tides of secularism and spiritualism, the God of the Bible needs to be explained for what and Who He truly is: the One All-Good, All powerful God. The exercise of discerning God's nature and characteristics from His general revelation in the external world and the moral realm is called "natural theology". 

Prophets of the Old Testament like David in Psalm 8 and 19 and the New Testament Apostles like Paul in Acts 14 and 17 argued for the existence and nature of the true God from observations gleaned from general revelation. Their strategy was to engage their audiences, who had never heard the special revelation of God in the Bible, with information they already had about God. Romans 1:18-20 and 2:14 state that all men born into this world have an inherent knowledge of both the power and moral character of God. Thus the pattern of beginning with God's general revelation and the insights of natural theology is one that is advocated by the Bible. 

Before we can talk about “God’s Book”, we must first talk about “The God of the Book”. 
As mentioned, the task of drawing conclusions from God's general revelation in both the external world and the human heart what we call “natural theology”. There is an amazing amount of truth we can glean about God, from creation and the moral make-up of man independent from and yet which complements the authoritative Divine revelation of the scriptures. 

Such inferences do not lead one to knowing God, but rather knowing about God. Two of several “arguments” for God’s existence can be drawn from reasonable reflections upon the physical properties external world and the reality of objective moral values and duties. In the next post, we will consider those arguments, their implications and what they tell us about the God of the Book. 

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