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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: God Has Spoken to Us

Don Stewart :: Does It Make Sense That God Would Reveal Himself to Humanity?

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Does It Make Sense That God Would Reveal Himself to Humanity?

God Has Spoken to Us – Question 3

If God exists, should we expect to hear from Him? The answer is, “Yes.” The idea of a revelation from God is not only sensible, it is an absolute necessity.

There are several points that need to be made about the concept of God giving a revelation of Himself to the human race.

1. A Message from the Living God Is Certainly Possible

First, a revelation from God is possible. When the angel Gabriel announced the conception of Jesus to his mother Mary, he declared this truth:

For with God nothing shall be impossible. (Luke 1:37 KJV)

Jesus also made the same point; nothing is too difficult for God. We read about this in the Gospel of Mark:

Jesus looked at them and said, “With human beings this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” (Mark 10:27 TNIV)

Certainly, the all-powerful Creator God is able to reveal Himself to His creation if He so desires. A denial of this possibility is the denial of a Creator.

2. Divine Revelation Is Something That Is Reasonable

If God has created humanity with the ability to receive communication, then it is probable that He would communicate with His creation. If God exists, then a revelation is reasonable.

Since God is a wise and good God, these attributes would seemingly lead Him to communicate with those whom He created. Consequently, given the nature of God, a divine revelation would be reasonable. It would be strange if He did not contact us.

3. A Revelation from God Should Be Expected

A divine revelation is also something that humanity expects. One need only look at the so-called sacred books of the world’s religions as well as a number of alleged supernatural revelations from various cultic groups. Humanity has a hunger and expectation to receive divine revelation. The spiritual longings of humankind cry out for God to speak. Job said,

“If only I had someone to hear me! Here is my signatur—let the Almighty answer me! If only I had an indictment that my accuser had written.” (Job 31:35 NET).

The Egyptians worshipped animals, the Babylonians worshipped nature, while the Greeks and Romans deified human passions. There is that universal human need to worship something. The Bible tells us who it is that alone deserves our worship’the God of Scripture.

4. Nature, or Creation, By Itself Is Not Enough to Know God Personally

There is another reason it makes sense to expect a divine revelation; nature. The existence of God is testified to by nature. We find order and design everywhere in the universe. Yet nature is imperfect. It testifies to a God who exists, but tells us nothing about that God or how a person can have a relationship with Him. More is needed. This adds to the need of a divine revelation. The Bible itself testifies that nature does not supply all the revelation that a sinner needs. Paul said to a group of people in Athens,

“For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you.” (Acts 17:23 ESV)

To the church at Ephesus, Paul wrote about the special job God had given him; he was to explain the plan of the Creator to humanity. He said,

Just think! Though I did nothing to deserve it, and though I am the least deserving Christian there is, I was chosen for this special joy of telling the Gentiles about the endless treasures available to them in Christ. I was chosen to explain to everyone this plan that God, the Creator of all things, had kept secret from the beginning. God’s purpose was to show his wisdom in all its rich variety to all the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms. They will see this when Jews and Gentiles are joined together in his church. (Ephesians 3:8-10 NLT)

We need God Himself to explain to us what He is like. Nature does not tell us anything about the Trinity, why humanity is in its present sinful situation, who humans are, how we should worship God, what will happen after death, etc. Only divine revelation can do this.

5. Revelation Is Necessary Because God Cannot Be Directly Experienced by Humans

A revelation from God not only is possible, reasonable, and expected, it is also absolutely necessary because of the nature of God. God, by nature, is inaccessible to humanity. Humans can neither see God nor understand Him on our own. He is invisible and inaccessible to us. Therefore, we can only know as much about Him as He chooses to reveal. Without revelation we are only guessing when we speak about Him. The Bible says the following about God:

He alone possesses immortality and lives in unapproachable light, whom no human has ever seen or is able to see. To him be honor and eternal power! Amen. (1 Timothy 6:16 NET)

The Message translates this verse as follows:

He’s the only one death can’t touch, his light so bright no one can get close. He’s never been seen by human eyes—human eyes can’t take him in! Honor to him, and eternal rule! Oh, yes. (1 Timothy 6:16 MsgB)

Revelation is necessary because it alone can tell us who God is, and what He is like.

6. We Are Incapable of Discovering These Divine Truths on Our Own

Not only is God inaccessible to humanity, we are incapable of discovering vital truths about God on our own. Though sinful humanity may understand that God does exist, we could not know who God is or what God requires from us without God specifically revealing Himself. The truths revealed in Scripture can only come through divine revelation. Human opinions and human reasoning are incapable of knowing these things. The Bible asks the question,

“Can you discover the essence of God? Can you find out the perfection of the Almighty?” (Job 11:7 NET)

Truths of God’s nature, or character, and His plan for humanity can only be known through divine revelation.

We cannot find God by seeking Him. We read the following in the Book of Job:

“If only I knew where to find God, I would go to his throne and talk with him there. I would lay out my case and present my arguments. Then I would listen to his reply and understand what he says to me. Would he merely argue with me in his greatness? No, he would give me a fair hearing. Fair and honest people can reason with him, so I would be acquitted by my Judge. I go east, but he is not there. I go west, but I cannot find him. I do not see him in the north, for he is hidden. I turn to the south, but I cannot find him.” (Job 23:3-9 NLT)

Clearly, we cannot find God by looking for Him.

7. We Cannot Know God through Human Reasoning

The Bible says that unaided human wisdom cannot discover God. Paul wrote,

For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. (1 Corinthians 1:21 TNIV)

The world, with all its wisdom, cannot know God apart from His revelation. Paul also emphasized this fact. He wrote to the Corinthian church,

For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. (1 Corinthians 2:11b NIV).

Today’s New International Version translates the verse in this manner:

For who knows a person’s thoughts except the person’s own spirit within? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. (1 Corinthians 2:11 TNIV)

The most logical reasoning in the world cannot lead someone to the true God.

8. There Is a Knowledge Gap between the Creator and His Creation

One major reason that divine revelation is absolutely necessary is the “knowledge gap” between the Creator and humanity, His creation. The very first verse that we read in the Bible reveals the difference between the Creator and His creation. It says,

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (Genesis 1:1 KJV)

He created everything but nobody created God. God, the Creator, depends upon nothing. He has all-power and all-knowledge. We as creatures are dependent upon Him. Human beings have been created from the dust. The second chapter of Genesis records the creation of the first human being, Adam:

...then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. (Genesis 2:7 RSV)

Thus, God and humanity are different types of beings. He is the infinite; we are the finite. However, this does not mean that we have nothing in common. To the contrary, the Bible says God created human beings in His image. We read in Genesis,

God said, “Now we will make humans, and they will be like us. We will let them rule the fish, the birds, and all other living creatures.” So God created humans to be like himself; he made men and women. (Genesis 1:26-27 CEV)

God, therefore, can and has communicated with us. We need this communication because there is a knowledge gap between the Creator and the creature. He is the only one who knows His own thoughts. Paul wrote,

That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9 NLT)

This is not true of ourselves. We do not know God’s thoughts but God knows our thoughts. The psalmist wrote,

You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away. (Psalm 139:2 NRSV)

Thus, God knows both His thoughts and our thoughts but we only know things about Him that He has revealed to us. Therefore, if we are to have any genuine knowledge of God it must come from Him alone. Hence, we have the need for divine revelation.

9. Our Sinful Condition Requires a Revelation from God

Revelation is further needed because of humanity’s blind and sinful condition. Paul wrote about the inability of humans to follow the Lord.

So I say this, and insist in the Lord, that you no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding, being alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardness of their hearts. Because they are callous, they have given themselves over to indecency for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. (Ephesians 4:17-19 NET)

We are left in a spiritually blind state because of our sin. Our hearts are hardened to the truth of God.

10. The Devil Tries to Keep People Ignorant of God

This blindness is made even stronger by the activity of the devil. The Bible says that this personage is constantly trying to blind the eyes of humans to the truth of God. Paul wrote,

So if the Good News that we tell others is covered with a veil, it is hidden from those who are dying. The god of this world has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. As a result, they don’t see the light of the Good News about Christ’s glory. It is Christ who is God’s image. Our message is not about ourselves. It is about Jesus Christ as the Lord. We are your servants for his sake. We are his servants because the same God who said that light should shine out of darkness has given us light. For that reason we bring to light the knowledge about God’s glory which shines from Christ’s face. (2 Corinthians 4:3-6 God’s Word)

The Devil does not want us to know anything about God.

11. The Lord Must Seek Us If We Are to Know Anything about Him

Because of these things, God must take the initiative and reveal Himself to us if we are to know anything about Him. The Bible says,

“For the Son of man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:10 RSV)

By nature, we are lost, separated from God. Fortunately, Jesus came to earth to seek the lost.

12. Humanity Needs an Ultimate Standard of Truth

There is more. The human race needs a final standard of authority to base their beliefs. This can only be something that is divinely revealed. Left to its own, humankind has come to no consensus regarding the existence of God or gods, and what is required, if anything, from humans. For a standard by which human beings must conduct their lives, a divine revelation is a necessity.

13. A Revelation from God Does Exist – the Bible

Fortunately, we have a revelation from God. This is the Bible. The fact that we have a completed Scripture demonstrates that God has left humanity a revelation of Himself. The Scripture claims that God has revealed Himself to humanity. The Bible says,

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. (Hebrews 1:1, 2 ESV)

The overwhelming evidence from Scripture shows us that God has spoken. He has given humankind an ultimate standard of authority—the final Word on all matters of faith and practice.

God Reveals Himself and Truths about Himself

Revelation consists of God revealing Himself as well as certain truths about Himself. These truths that God has revealed about Himself are called “propositions.” Thus, God has revealed Himself both personally and propositionally. Revelation is both knowledge of God and knowledge about God. It is knowledge about God that leads people into the knowledge of God—salvation through Jesus Christ.

God’s Revelation Is Received in Faith

Faith is the means by which God’s revelation is received by human beings. Faith recognizes and accepts certain truths that have come from God. The writer to the Hebrews said,

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Hebrews 11:6 ESV)

The Apostle Paul wrote about where faith comes from. He wrote the following to the believers in Rome:

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:17 ESV)

Before faith can come about, one must first hear the Word of Christ.

God Reveals Truth to the Degree That We Can Understand It

God only reveals selective things about Himself. In fact, the Scripture says that no one person could fully experience the revelation of God’s character. If God fully revealed Himself to anyone, that person would die. We read in the Old Testament,

“But,” he [God] said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” (Exodus 33:20 ESV)

God reveals Himself to the degree that we can understand it.

From these above truths, we see that divine revelation is something that is sensible.

Summary – Question 3
Does It Make Sense That God Would Reveal Himself to Humanity?

Should we expect God to reveal Himself to us? As we look at all the evidence, we do find that divine revelation is something that is consistent with the expectations of humanity. This is true for a number of reasons.

First, since God exists, it is certainly possible for Him to reveal Himself to humankind. Indeed, with God all things are possible.

Also, because of God’s nature it is something reasonable. Since God is a God of love it is certainly possible that He would communicate to His creation.

In addition, throughout history human beings have also expected to receive some type of divine revelation. Nature also testifies to God’s existence, but it tells us no specifics. The fact that we cannot see God also adds to the need of a Word from Him.

Add to this the fact that humankind is incapable on its own of knowing God. Because God is unapproachable by His nature, and because we are fallen human beings, a revelation from God is absolutely necessary.

In addition, human beings need an ultimate standard to know who we are, and how to conduct our lives. Only a divine revelation can give us this.

Finally, we have that revelation—the Bible. A divine revelation is our only basis of speaking meaningfully about God. Without divine revelation all God-talk is meaningless. Fortunately we have that revelation.

How Is the Term Revelation Used in Scripture? ← Prior Section
What is General Revelation? Next Section →
CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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