What Is General Revelation VS Special Revelation [2024]

Table of Contents

We’re diving into a topic that has piqued the interest of many devout individuals and scholars alike: the intriguing contrast between general revelation vs special revelation.

While both forms of revelation serve as pathways to understanding God’s character and intentions, they present unique facets that cater to different spiritual needs and questions.

So, let’s embark on this enlightening journey together!

What is Revelation?

The very essence of the Christian faith revolves around the concept of revelation.

To define it succinctly, revelation refers to the act or process by which God unveils truths that are otherwise hidden from human understanding.

At its core, revelation is the means by which the infinite communicates with the finite.

At the heart of Christianity lies the profound belief that God consistently seeks to reveal Himself to humanity.

Such revelations act as bridges, connecting the Divine with the human realm. But how does this unveiling occur, you might wonder?

Revelation is not just an abstract idea; it’s a dynamic process. Through revelations, God imparts insights about His nature, His will, His intentions, and His overarching plans for humanity and the cosmos.

These revelations can manifest in various ways, from the vast expanse of the universe showcasing His grandeur to personal encounters that deeply touch an individual’s soul.

To truly grasp the depth of the Christian faith, understanding the nature and significance of revelation is paramount.

It’s the lifeline, the conduit, the divine interface, that brings clarity, purpose, and a deeper relationship with God.

What is General Revelation?

General revelation is a concept that emphasizes the ways in which God introduces Himself to humanity through the intricacies and grandeur of the natural world.

Every sunrise, mountain peak, and gentle breeze subtly speaks of a Creator’s handiwork, bearing witness to His magnificent presence.

Beyond the mere aesthetic beauty, even the detailed mechanisms within nature, like the functionality of ecosystems or the precision of celestial movements, are testaments to a grand design.

The Bible reinforces this idea that the natural world is a continuous declaration of God’s existence.

Romans 1:20 articulates, “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” Romans 1:20 NIV.

Similarly, Psalm 19:1-4 exclaims, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge” Psalm 19:1-4 NIV.

For a more detailed exploration of the topic, you might find the article “General Revelation: What Is General Revelation?” insightful.

It offers a closer look at the concept, adding depth and clarity to this profound way God communicates with us through His creation.

If you want to explore the impact of general revelation on church growth, you will love our article titled, Natural Revelation: How To Ignite Passionate Church Growth.

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The History of General Revelation

The historical panorama of general revelation, particularly in Western thought, illustrates a rich tapestry woven from various philosophical, theological, and scientific threads.

Commencing with the Greek philosophers, a remarkable journey to understand the divine through observable reality unveils itself.

Greek Philosophers and the Logos

In the musings of ancient Greek philosophers like Heraclitus and Plato, an effort to grasp an underlying principle, or “Logos,” permeated their contemplations. For Heraclitus, the Logos represented an eternal principle governing change and order in the cosmos. Meanwhile, Plato viewed the Logos as a metaphysical principle, employing reason to explore transcendent truths about reality, goodness, and beauty.

The Stoics’ Contribution

The Stoics also made significant contributions to this ongoing dialogue regarding general revelation.

They perceived the Logos as a divine principle infusing and sustaining the cosmos, creating a moral and rational order that human beings could discern through reason.

This perception was not merely intellectual; it forged a bridge between the observable, physical world and the realm of divine, organizing principles.

Early Christian Thought

As we cascade through history to early Christian thought, the concept of the Logos was adopted and transformed.

Particularly in the writings of John the Apostle, the Logos becomes intrinsically linked with Christ, illustrating a divine logic and order made flesh.

John, speaking to both Jews and Greeks, intended to communicate that Jesus was the full embodiment of this divine principle, offering special revelation that complements and fulfills what was perceived in general revelation through nature and reason.

If you love this post on revelation, you will also love this shocking solution to the free-will dilemma.

The Medieval Era and Scholasticism

During the medieval period and the era of Scholasticism, philosophers and theologians such as Thomas Aquinas explored general revelation further.

Aquinas integrated Aristotelian philosophy and Christian doctrine, asserting that human reason could uncover truths about God through observing the natural world.

However, he stipulated that certain truths about God could only be known through special revelation and faith.

The Reformation and Beyond

The Reformation brought forth a slight shift, where figures like Martin Luther emphasized the necessity of special revelation in understanding God accurately.

Despite valuing reason and the knowledge derived from observing the world, the Reformers typically placed a greater weight on Scripture due to the impact of sin on human reasoning capabilities.

The Enlightenment and Scientific Exploration

Fast forward to the Enlightenment, where reason and empirical observation became the cornerstone of understanding the universe, pushing the boundaries of general revelation.

The study of the natural world, now often disassociated from theological implications, expanded vastly, diving into the intricacies of physics, biology, and cosmology.

While many Enlightenment thinkers distanced themselves from religious thought, the tension between understanding God through nature (general revelation) and through divine intervention and scripture (special revelation) became even more palpable.

The Contemporary Era

In our contemporary epoch, the discourse on general revelation spans a vast array of perspectives, from those who see science and faith as compatible to those who regard them as disparate entities.

The discussion often navigates the terrain of how to reconcile scientific understanding with theological belief, pondering how the intricate laws and phenomena observed in our universe reflect upon the nature and character of God.

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What Is Special Revelation?

Special revelation is God’s unique and direct means of unveiling Himself, His will, and His purposes to humanity.

While general revelation can be considered a broad brushstroke revealing God through nature, special revelation is a precise instrument, detailing His character, desires, and instructions for His people.

A prime example of this is the Bible itself. It’s not merely a historical document or a collection of poetic verses. Instead, it stands as God’s inspired word, a direct revelation to guide, teach, correct, and comfort believers.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 states, “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 work2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV.

Prophetic visions are yet another facet of special revelation.

Think of the prophet Isaiah’s awe-inducing vision of God’s throne in Isaiah 6:1-3, where he says, “I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim…And they were calling to one another: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory‘” Isaiah 6:1-3 NIV.

One can’t discuss special revelation without mentioning the profound, direct encounters with God, such as Moses’ transformative experience at the burning bush.

As Exodus 3:2 recounts, “There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up Exodus 3:2 NIV.

These moments of special revelation, whether recorded in scriptures or experienced personally, serve as undeniable testaments to a God who actively seeks to reveal Himself and guide His people in the journey of faith.

The History of Special Revelation

Embarking on a journey through the history of special revelation, particularly as it relates to the Bible and the Old Testament, unveils a poignant narrative of God’s specific, purposeful self-disclosure to humanity.

The Biblical account articulates a trajectory where God reveals His character, purposes, and will in distinct, often miraculous ways, fostering a covenant relationship with His people.

Beginnings: Patriarchs and Matriarchs

The Biblical history of special revelation commences with the patriarchs and matriarchs in the Old Testament.

God’s direct communications with figures like Abraham and Sarah signified His intention to establish a people through whom His redemptive plan would unfold.

These revelations were explicit and personal, involving covenant promises and specific guidance.

Moses and the Exodus

Special revelation is starkly evident in the life of Moses and the Exodus event.

From the burning bush (Exodus 3:2) to the revelation of the Law at Mount Sinai (Exodus 20), God disclosed His name, character, and law in a profoundly explicit manner.

These divine encounters and instructions were foundational for Israelite identity and their relationship with God.

The Prophetic Tradition

The Old Testament is interspersed with prophetic figures to whom God revealed His will and purposes in special ways.

Prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel received visions, dreams, and messages from God concerning Israel’s future, the consequences of their disobedience, and messianic prophecies.

These revelations were often recorded and shared with the wider community, serving as warnings, guidance, and hope for God’s redemptive plan.

Wisdom Literature

Within the wisdom literature of the Old Testament, there is a unique form of special revelation where insights into God’s character and the nature of wisdom itself are presented, often in poetic and proverbial forms.

Books like Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes explore divine wisdom and the human encounter with the transcendent through life experiences and reflections.

The Incarnation of Christ

Transitioning into the New Testament, the advent of Jesus Christ represents the pinnacle of special revelation.

In Christ, God is revealed in human form, offering an unparalleled self-disclosure.

The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus serve as the epitome of God’s redemptive plan, making the divine intimately known in the earthly and tangible.

The Apostolic Age

The apostolic age heralds a period where the followers of Jesus, imbued with the Holy Spirit, become vessels through which God’s will is revealed and enacted.

From Pentecost to the missionary journeys of figures like Paul, special revelations, including visions, miracles, and spiritual gifts, are prominent.

The apostles, through divine guidance, worked to establish the early Christian church and penned the New Testament scriptures.

The Canonization of Scripture

The development and canonization of Scripture itself is an aspect of special revelation.

The texts of both the Old and New Testaments were recognized by communities of believers as divinely inspired and authoritative, providing guidance, doctrinal foundations, and a record of God’s revelatory acts in history.

Through the lens of the Bible, special revelation manifests as a multifaceted tapestry, weaving through varied contexts, people, and periods, each strand contributing to the understanding of God’s character and His redemptive narrative.

It is this historical unfolding of divine disclosure that has been crucial for shaping the beliefs, doctrines, and practices of the Judeo-Christian tradition.

If you love this post on revelation, you will also love this shocking solution to the free-will dilemma.

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General Revelation VS Special Revelation

Exploring the depth and breadth of God’s revelation to humanity involves peering through the lens of both general and special revelations.

Each type of revelation provides its own shade and tone to the complete picture of God’s communication, creating a full, vibrant portrait of His persona and divine plan.

Understanding through Nature: General Revelation

General revelation is akin to observing the vast expanse of a lush landscape. It’s the marvel at towering mountains, the awe of a blossoming flower, and the wonder at the complexity of an ecosystem.

This form of revelation is available to all, believers and non-believers alike, transcending geographical, cultural, and social barriers.

Romans 1:20 affirms, “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” (Romans 1:20 NIV).

Here, everyone can glimpse aspects of God’s character and power through the natural world, acquiring a fundamental, yet incomplete, understanding of who He is.

General revelation lays the canvas, providing a baseline understanding of God’s existence, his power, and some aspects of His nature.

Intimate Insights: Special Revelation

Special revelation, on the other hand, offers detailed, intimate insights into God’s character, His redemptive plan, and His will for humanity.

It’s like a detailed portrait, where every stroke speaks of specifics – the exact shade of grace, the particular hue of love, and the defined lines of righteousness.

The Bible, as a written form of special revelation, brings clarity, offering narratives, laws, prophecies, and teachings that guide believers in their faith and practice.

Psalms 119:105 illustrates this, saying, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path” (Psalms 119:105 NIV).

Moreover, special revelation also comes through divine experiences, visions, dreams, and the incarnation of Jesus Christ.

In the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, believers find the utmost special revelation, encompassing God’s immense love, mercy, and salvation plan.

John 14:9 underscores this with Jesus’ words: “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9 NIV).

The Interplay of General Revelation vs Special Revelation

Envisage these two revelations, general and special, as two artists collaboratively painting a single masterpiece.

General revelation sets the background, filling the canvas with broad strokes that hint at the magnificence of the Creator.

It poses questions, arouses curiosity, and engenders a pursuit to know more.

Meanwhile, special revelation adds depth, detail, and specificity to the canvas, revealing the intricate details of God’s character, His intentions, and His means of reconciliation with humanity.

In essence, general revelation is accessible to all, while special revelation is God’s specific, targeted communication to His people, revealing the depth of His love, the particulars of His character, and the details of His salvific plan.

Together, they offer a comprehensive understanding, a vibrant portrayal of God’s constant dialogue with humanity, affirming not only His existence but His persistent, loving pursuit of His creation.

The Consequences of Neglecting General and Special Revelation

Christian life navigates through the oscillation between understanding God through His creation (general revelation) and comprehending Him through His direct communication and scriptural truth (special revelation).

Each form offers its own palette of insights, allowing believers to see, experience, and share God in multifaceted ways.

Thus, disregarding one in favor of the other can lead to consequences in spiritual growth, evangelism, and apologetics.

Diminished Biblical Grounding

A lack of engagement in special revelation, chiefly the Bible, leads to a weakened foundation in the truths and instructions that God has explicitly laid out for believers.

The Apostle Paul warns believers in Colossians 2:8 (NIV): “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.” (Colossians 2:8 NIV)

Neglecting special revelation can result in susceptibility to secular and non-biblical perspectives, causing confusion and misalignment with God’s intended path for believers.

This often stems from not being deeply rooted and established in faith and can affect our worldview, decision-making processes, and the manner in which we relate to others and the world.

Hindered Connections with Non-Believers

On the other hand, not engaging with general revelation poses a different set of challenges.

A lack of ability to see God in the natural world, and to converse about Him in these terms, creates a divide between believers and those who do not subscribe to the Christian faith.

Without understanding and appreciating God’s manifestations in the world around us, Christians may find it difficult to establish common ground with those who see God through nature but do not recognize Him in scriptural truths.

Paul exemplifies the powerful use of understanding and acknowledging general revelation in evangelism during his discourse at the Areopagus.

He leveraged his understanding of the Athenians’ belief system and culture, noting their altar “To an unknown god,” and used it as a launchpad to introduce them to the God of the Bible (Acts 17:22-23 NIV).

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Ineffective Evangelism

Further, when Christians do not immerse themselves in both forms of revelation, evangelistic efforts can be less effective.

Paul’s missionary journeys are often highlighted by his ability to adapt and relate to various cultures and people groups, underlined by his statement: “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22 NIV).

He embraced understanding both the cultural and religious contexts (a form of engaging with general revelation) and the profound truths of God (rooted in special revelation) to introduce people to Christ in a way that was relevant and comprehensible to them.

It’s imperative to recognize that both general and special revelations are God’s gracious gifts, intended to enable believers to know Him, experience Him, and make Him known to others.

While general revelation allows us to meet people where they are, finding God in elements they are already familiar with, special revelation anchors our understandings and experiences in the solid truth of God’s word and redemptive plan.

In navigating the Christian journey and fulfilling the Great Commission, intertwining both revelations becomes a powerful tool in understanding our Creator and making Him known amidst diverse audiences and contexts.

If you want to learn more about sharing the gospel, you will love our post titled, How To Share The Gospel: Unknown 4-Step Strategy.

Grounding General Revelation in Scripture

Navigating through the realms of understanding God through both His creation and His word presents an intricate dance between witnessing His majesty in the world (general revelation) and anchoring those observations in the truth of Scripture (special revelation).

Both facets, when harmoniously aligned, not only enrich our knowledge and experience of God but also fortify the foundation upon which believers stand and defend their faith.

General Revelation and Scripture

It’s pivotal to underscore that while general revelation can illuminate aspects of God’s nature and evidence of His handiwork, it must always be interpreted and understood in light of Scriptural truths.

For example, while archaeological and historical studies might align with biblical accounts and offer tangible evidence that substantiates Scriptural narratives, the authority and accuracy of the Bible remain paramount.

This is not to say that the validity of Scripture is dependent upon affirmations from general revelation, but rather that the latter provides additional, tangible lenses through which believers and skeptics alike can observe the coherence and consistency between God’s world and His Word.

Apologia: Defending Faith with Reason

The New Testament encourages believers to be equipped to defend their faith rationally and coherently.

In 1 Peter 3:15 (NIV), we find an imperative: “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15 NIV).

The term “apologia,” employed here, speaks to a reasoned defense that is presented respectfully and thoughtfully.

Utilizing general revelation, like findings from archaeology or historical studies that align with biblical accounts, can serve as powerful tools in this apologetic discourse.

It enables believers to showcase the credibility and reliability of biblical narratives, not as a means to prove Scripture through external means, but to demonstrate the resonant harmony that exists between the world, as we observe and study it, and the Word.

Testing and Affirming through The Lens of Scripture

While general revelation can be employed to substantiate biblical accounts and provide tangible and observable corroborations of Scripture, it is critical that all understanding derived from general revelation is tested against the unchanging and definitive truth of the Bible.

In other words, Scripture becomes the plumb line against which all understanding from general revelation is measured and evaluated for its truth value.

This safeguard ensures that the interpretations and understandings derived from observing God’s creation and workings in the world are always aligned with His revealed truth in Scripture.

Moreover, it protects believers from inadvertently elevating general revelation to a position where it might be seen as verifying Scripture, rather than being understood and interpreted in light of it.

A Unified Witness to God’s Truth and Majesty

In closing, the interplay between general and special revelation, when navigated with discernment and grounded in Scripture, provides a robust and multifaceted witness to God’s truth and majesty.

It allows believers to engage with the world and the Word in a way that is intellectually rigorous, spiritually enriching, and apologetically potent, thus, bearing witness to the coherence, consistency, and credibility of the Christian worldview.

Maintaining a balanced understanding that roots every insight from general revelation firmly in the unassailable truth of Scripture ensures that our comprehension of God, through all available means, remains true to His nature, will, and purposes as definitively revealed in His Word.

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The Significance of General Revelation VS Special Revelation For Believers

The concept of revelation, which encompasses both general and special revelation, is foundational to the Christian faith, providing a wellspring from which believers draw insights into the nature, will, and purposes of God.

Revelations not only authenticate God’s existence and attributes but also serve as the bedrock upon which believers construct their understanding, faith, and relationship with Him.

Here, we explore the multifaceted importance of revelations to believers in their spiritual walk and faith journey.

Affirming the Existence and Nature of God

Through general revelation, believers perceive the affirmation of God’s existence and attributes in the natural world, observing His power, creativity, and order in creation.

For instance, the heavens proclaiming the glory of God (Psalm 19:1) (Psalm 19:1 NIV) suggest an orderly and purposeful Creator who architected the cosmos with intricate design and grandeur.

Special revelation, on the other hand, provides a lens through which believers can perceive and understand the specifics of God’s character, moral attributes, and redemptive plan, providing a more intimate and detailed knowledge of God.

Establishing a Relationship with God

Revelations forge a path for believers to establish and nurture a personal relationship with God.

Through special revelation, particularly the incarnation of Jesus Christ and the Bible, believers are extended an invitation into a personal, redemptive relationship with God.

The redemptive narrative woven through scripture guides believers towards understanding God’s love, grace, and salvation, offered through Christ, enabling them to embrace and engage in a transformative relationship with God.

Navigating Moral and Ethical Paths

Special revelation, through the Scriptures, provides moral and ethical guidelines that navigate believers through the complexities of life’s moral and ethical dilemmas.

It offers directives and precepts that guide behavior, decisions, and interactions, anchoring believers in a moral framework that aligns with God’s righteous and holy character.

Defending and Articulating Faith

The convergence of general and special revelation also equips believers to defend and articulate their faith to others.

General revelation provides a common ground from which believers can engage with non-believers, using observable and mutually acknowledged aspects of creation as a starting point for discussions about God.

Special revelation, through the Bible, furnishes believers with the theological foundations and truths necessary to articulate the doctrines of their faith and defend it cogently and convincingly in diverse contexts.

Fostering Spiritual Growth and Maturation

Revelations also serve as catalysts for spiritual growth and maturation.

The insights and truths gained from both general and special revelations inform believers’ understanding of God, shape their character, and guide their actions, facilitating a process of sanctification and spiritual development.

As they engage with revelations, believers are continually transformed into greater Christlikeness, deepening their faith and reflecting God’s character in their lives.

Fueling Worship and Devotion

Lastly, revelations fuel the worship and devotion of believers by continuously unveiling the majesty, holiness, and grace of God.

Whether it’s through acknowledging His handiwork in creation or marveling at the depths of His love revealed in Scripture, revelations steer the hearts of believers towards adoration, gratitude, and awe, kindling a vibrant and heartfelt worship that encompasses all aspects of their lives.

Revelations matter significantly to believers as they not only confirm the existence and attributes of God but also guide them in establishing a relationship with Him, navigating life’s moral and ethical landscapes, defending and articulating their faith, fostering spiritual growth, and fueling worship and devotion.

Revelations, thereby, serve as the pillar, path, and passion in believers’ spiritual journeys, underpinning and propelling their faith and fellowship with God.

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Engaging General Revelation VS Special Revelation

The continuous engagement with both general and special revelation is of paramount importance for every Christ follower.

Each form of revelation offers unique and indispensable insights into the nature and will of God, and together, they weave a comprehensive understanding that empowers believers to navigate their faith journey effectively and impactfully.

The Church and General Revelation

Over the course of history, there have been pivotal moments where the church has distanced itself from engaging deeply with general revelation, particularly in the realms of science and philosophy.

One notable event was the trial and execution of Galileo Galilei in 1633, a prominent figure in the Scientific Revolution, who faced the ire of the Catholic Church for advocating heliocentrism – the astronomical model in which the Earth and planets revolve around the Sun at the center of the Solar System.

Galileo’s condemnation marked a significant point of departure where the church began to distance itself from exploring natural revelation through scientific study.

The Resulting Gap and the Rise of Secularism

When the church withdraws from arenas of natural revelation, such as scientific and philosophical exploration, it inadvertently creates a vacuum that doesn’t remain unfilled.

In the absence of a robust Christian presence, atheistic and secular worldviews gradually infiltrate and establish themselves within these realms.

Particularly in the West, where societies have been largely built upon a Judeo-Christian worldview, the erosion of this foundation through secular thought has resulted in a gradual shift away from moral and biblical truths.

Societal Ramifications of the Shift

The permeation of atheistic and secular perspectives in spheres traditionally influenced by Christian thought has unleashed a cascade of consequences across society and its institutions.

This shifting foundation has manifested in the decay and division witnessed in numerous facets of society, from ethics to interpersonal relationships, often leading to a dilution of moral clarity and unity within communities.

Re-engaging General Revelation Vs Special Revelation As Christ Followers

For Christ followers, re-engaging with both forms of revelation is not merely beneficial but essential for several reasons:

  • Restoring Moral and Ethical Foundations: By actively engaging in natural revelation, believers can contribute to re-establishing a moral and ethical foundation in societal dialogues and structures, countering the moral relativism that often accompanies secular thought.
  • Apologetic Engagement: The study and engagement with both general and special revelation equip believers with the knowledge and understanding to offer a reasoned defense of their faith (1 Peter 3:15) (1 Peter 3:15 NIV), particularly in contexts that challenge the veracity and relevance of Christian beliefs.
  • Cultural Relevance: Engaging with general revelation allows believers to interact meaningfully with prevailing cultural, scientific, and philosophical dialogues, ensuring that the Christian voice remains relevant and heard in societal conversations.
  • Holistic Understanding of God: The integration of general and special revelation provides a more holistic understanding of God, enabling believers to comprehend His character, creation, and will in a comprehensive manner.

Reintegrating the exploration of natural revelation does not mean conforming to worldly wisdom but rather bringing the light of God’s truth into every sphere of life, demonstrating that all truth is God’s truth, whether revealed through nature or scripture.

By doing so, believers re-affirm the consistency, coherency, and comprehensiveness of a Christian worldview that robustly engages with all facets of reality.

Thus, the Christ follower is not only nurtured in their own faith but also becomes a potent, relevant, and redemptive influence within a society that wrestles with questions of truth, morality, and meaning.

Navigating through the multifaceted revelations of God’s character and intentions, as uncovered through both general and special revelation, offers believers a uniquely comprehensive and affirming understanding of their faith. 

The juxtaposition of these two forms of revelation does not pose a paradox but rather a harmonious duality, intertwining the evident truths found in nature with the explicit divine messages encoded in scriptures and divine encounters. 

By engaging deeply and thoughtfully with both revelations, believers are not only edifying their own faith and understanding but also equipping themselves to be effective, empathetic, and relevant bearers of truth in a progressively secular world. 

The responsibility is profound: to be stewards of both God’s creation and His divine truth, navigating through contemporary society with a foundation that is unshakeably rooted in timeless, biblical truths while simultaneously being adept at discerning God’s voice in the vast expanse of His creation. 

Ultimately, our engagement with revelations is not merely an intellectual exercise but a spiritual discipline, nurturing our relationship with God and empowering us to be his ambassadors in every sphere of society and in every conversation.

May our exploration of God’s revelation draw us closer to Him and propel us into our worlds with the unwavering light of His truth.

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General Revelation VS Special Revelation FAQ

What is general revelation?

General revelation refers to God revealing Himself and His attributes through the natural world around us. This form of revelation is accessible to all people, regardless of their religious affiliation. It encompasses the knowledge of God’s existence, character, and moral law, which can be discerned through nature, human reason, and conscience. Romans 1:20 highlights how God’s invisible qualities are made visible through what He has created, ensuring that people are without excuse for not acknowledging Him.

What is natural revelation?

Natural revelation is often used interchangeably with general revelation, though it strictly refers to understanding aspects of God through observing the natural world. It involves perceiving God’s existence, power, and divine nature through the observable universe. By observing the intricacies, order, and beauty in nature – from the macrocosm of galaxies to the microcosm of cells – people may infer the existence of a Creator. However, natural revelation does not provide specific details about God’s will, character, or redemptive plan, which is where special revelation comes into play.

How do general and special revelations differ in their nature?

General revelation refers to the knowledge about God, which can be discerned from nature and providence, accessible to all of humanity. Special revelation, on the other hand, involves God revealing Himself in specific, overt ways, usually to specific people, such as through scriptures, Jesus Christ, and prophetic visions.

Can we experience special revelations in today’s age?

Yes, many believers attest to experiencing special revelations even in today’s age, through visions, dreams, and personal encounters with God. However, these are often subject to careful theological scrutiny and personal discernment to ensure alignment with Biblical truth.

How can one discern between genuine revelations and potential misinterpretations?

Genuine revelations will always align with biblical truths and God’s character. It’s imperative to test every revelation against the scriptures and seek counsel from seasoned believers or church leaders to avoid misinterpretation.

How do revelations influence church teachings and practices?

Revelations, particularly special revelations found in scriptures, form the foundation for church teachings and practices. They guide doctrines, moral teachings, and liturgical practices, ensuring they align with God’s will and purpose.

What resources can help one delve deeper into understanding revelations?

Resources can range from theological books, Bible commentaries, scholarly articles, and teachings from renowned theologians to help understand revelations more deeply. Engaging in church groups, Bible studies, and theological classes can also provide practical insights.

Is general revelation sufficient for understanding salvation?

General revelation makes us aware of God’s existence and attributes, but it does not provide specific knowledge about salvation. Special revelation, through scriptures and Jesus Christ, gives explicit knowledge about salvation and God’s redemptive plan.

Why is special revelation crucial for a deeper understanding of God?

Special revelation provides clear, specific knowledge about God’s nature, will, and redemptive plan that is not evident in general revelation, helping believers to have a personal and accurate understanding of Him.

How does general revelation affirm the truths found in special revelation?

General revelation displays God’s attributes (such as power and creativity) which coincide with the character of God revealed in scriptures, providing a larger context and confirmation of His character and majesty.

Can general and special revelations contradict each other?

Theologically speaking, genuine general and special revelations from God will not contradict each other but will be harmonious, as truth is consistent. Discrepancies usually arise due to human misinterpretation or misrepresentation.

How can believers ensure that their understanding of revelations is accurate and wholesome?

Believers should immerse themselves in scriptures, engage in communal Bible studies, seek mentorship from seasoned Christians, and continuously pray for wisdom and discernment to ensure their understanding of revelations is accurate and wholesome. Additionally, remaining open to correction and learning ensures continuous growth and accurate understanding.

QUESTION: How do you think we should engage with general and special revelation? Let us know in the comments below!

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