Thursday, July 27, 2017

God The Creator Revealed By General, Special And The Fullness Of Revelation

Image result for large magellanic cloud
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”.

Colossians 1:16-17 "For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together."


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.” 

The remainder of the article emphasizes how 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. 

All three of these points are expounded below as we consider how God as Creator is revealed by the general revelation of creation and the conscience; special revelation in the Bible and the fullness of revelation in Jesus Christ.

God as Creator is revealed in what we call general revelation

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". Why is this term "general revelation" used? The specific knowledge about God (His power, nature and goodness) is accessible to anyone, everywhere who has a heart open to truth. Such revelation about God is discerned through the external physical world and the internal moral intuitions of the human conscience.  

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 with information they already had about God. None of the Apostle's listeners had formally heard the special revelation of God in the Bible - specifically the Old Testament revelation of Yahweh, Israel's Redeemer. Romans 1:18-20 and 2:14 state that all men born into this world have an inherent knowledge of God's  power and moral character. Thus, the pattern of beginning with God's general revelation and the insights of natural theology is one that is advocated by the Bible. 

The God of creation is revealed by the special revelation of the Bible

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. With that said, God's specific identity as the Creator and Redeemer is revealed specifically in the Bible. 

Unlike general revelation, which gets me to "knowledge about God" and is "generally" found everywhere, God's special revelation can get me to "knowing God", since it specifically delivers to me the truth about salvation.
2 Timothy 3:15-17 reminds us: 

"and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work."

The 66 books of the Bible bear the marks of inscripturated divine revelation. We find for instance hundreds of examples of historically fulfilled prophecy, unprecedented in any other major holy-book of any other religion. The unity of the Bible as a literary work spanning 1500 years, written in three languages by 40 authors on three continents bears witness to the Bible as the only international, cross-cultural book that reveals God, His purposes and and Person. The greatest proof of the special revelation of scripture is the historical resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus' constant endorsement of the Bible in his earthly ministry, His fulfillment of 109 of its prophecies in His first coming and His resurrection from the dead confirm all He taught and claimed. In short, the God of creation, revealed generally and specifically is revealed fully in the Person of Jesus Christ.

The God of creation is revealed fully in Jesus Christ

Whatever properties we ascribe to deity (omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence, all-goodness, the power to create, etc) is equally and eternally expressed and shared by what the Bible tells us about the Persons of the Godhead - the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19; 1 Corinthians 8:6-7; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Revelation 4-5). The Son in particular, being truly God (John 1:1-3) came to take unto His person a second way of expressing His personhood (i.e a second nature), a human nature, and thus became the man Jesus Christ. While ever remaining truly God, Jesus Christ permanently came to be also truly man. 

Several texts describe how Jesus Christ is the fullness of the divine revelation of God as Creator. First, John 1:1 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God and the Word was with God". Secondly, we find the Lord Jesus Christ being the heir of and agent through which the creation was made in Colossians 1:16-17 - "For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together." Thirdly, we find the Son's equality with the Father being fully expressed in Hebrews 1:1-2 - "God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world." The remainder of Hebrews 1 explicitly ascribes the unique creative powers associated with Jehovah God in the Old Testament to those of the Son, leading to the inescapable conclusion that this Jesus is no less than God in the flesh (see John 1:14). 

Closing thoughts

Today we sketched out three types of revelation that unfold to us the truth of God being the creator. First, by way of general revelation, we arrive at knowledge about this God. Then, in the special revelation, we arrive at a redemptive plan of salvation by which we can know this God as Creator and redeemer in saving faith. Then lastly, the Bible's central character, Jesus Christ, is the fullness of revelation who amazingly is God coming down and making Himself known to us. 

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