How Has God Revealed Himself to Us?

The following is a brief outline of Chapter 2 of Called to Believe: A Brief Introduction to Christian Doctrine, edited by Steven P. Mueller.

How Has God Revealed Himself To Us?

Preliminary Questions:

How does a person come to know God?

If there is a God, can humans know him or know what he is like?

What does God expect of me?

Does God have a plan for me?

Can a person ever be sure that his or her answer is the right one? 

The Biblical Idea of Revelation

God is not hiding and we uncover him or discover him. 

Instead, God searches for us. 

Luke 15 – What is lost?  Who is lost? Who is searching? 

How Does God Make Himself Known To Us? 

Scripture Shows That God Makes Himself Known To Us In Two Ways: Natural Knowledge and Revealed Knowledge. 

Natural Knowledge (General Knowledge)

Psalm 19:11 – “The heavens declare the glory of God,
    and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.”

Psalm 148 – The whole chapter speaks to Natural Knowledge.

Psalm 14:1 – “The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”

Romans 1:18-32 – “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.”

Romans 2:14-15 – “For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them.” 

Natural Evidence for the Existence of God

  1. Ontological Argument

  2. Cosmological Argument

  3. Teleological Argument

  4. Moral Argument

  5. Experiential Argument

  6. Historical Argument

Natural Knowledge reveals that God exists, but it does not tell us who God is.  It does not lead to a loving relationship with God. 

It leaves us with a guilty conscience (Romans 1:20, 2:15). 

Revealed Knowledge (Special Revelation)

Hebrews 1:1-3 – “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. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.”

John 14:1-11 – ““Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.”

John 17:3-21 – “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

“I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”

John 20:31 – “But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

Revealed Knowledge is necessary for us to know who God is and what he has done for us for our salvation.

Reconnect Episode 13: God Is Too Big To Fit Into One Religion!

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Reconnect Episode 13
Do you want to have this conversation with your friends, small group Bible study, or class?  Here is the discussion guide that was used in this episode, free for your use: “No Religion Can Contain God!”. Please consider giving a shout out to Reconnect,, and if you choose to use this discussion guide.  Thanks.

Stereomud – Show Me

Back in 2001, maybe 2001, the band Stereomud was on heavy radio rotation in Nashville with their song, “Pain.”  I saw them play at the now closed rock club, 328, in downtown Music City.  They played with Saliva, Lifer, and Systematic.  Most of these bands and others coming out of the nu-metal, rap-rock genre didn’t go further than the small rock club scene, but I got a couple CDs from each of these bands.  Yesterday on my full library shuffle, I was taken back to early 2000 when Stereomud’s “Show Me” entered the cycle.

Check out a sampling of the lyrics to this song:

Please don’t forget me I’m out here trying to find you…

Show me some kind of light I can barely see it
Don’t want to think that it’s hopeless
Show me some kind of light I can barely see it
Don’t want to think I’m lost

Everytime I left It was so far away
No I never thought that it would be like this
Wish I could thank you for the patience that you gave me
It’s all I, I can do so don’t give up on me
Hope you know it’s your faith that’s guiding me

Please don’t forget me I’m out here trying to find you…

Show me some kind of light I can barely see it
Don’t want to think that it’s hopeless
Show me some kind of light I can barely see it
Don’t want to think I’m lost

Please don’t forget me

Show me some kind of light I can barely see it
Don’t want to think that it’s hopeless
Show me some kind of light I can barely see it
Don’t want to think I’m lost

I’m curious who do you think he is singing about?  Does the style of the music, the tone of singer, or the content of the lyrics fit a crying out for an ex-lover, distant parent, lost friend, or other human guidance, or does this seem more like a calling out for a divine hand, a divine light, a “word from above?”

It made me think of the lyrics of one of my favorite bands, Godsmack.  Many of their songs cry out to someone or something “to make me believe,” “to forgive me,” “to shine down to give me a chance to feel you,” “to give me a reason to pray,” “that I still believe in immortal love and I know that there is someone who is up above,” and the need to “re-align,” “change,” “speak the truth,” with an entire song centered on the question, “What if?”

I firmly believe that God has revealed himself through what he has created, as Romans 1:20 states, that from “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.”  In Christian doctrine this type of revelation is called Natural Knowledge or General Revelation.  I think songs like the ones from bands like Stereomud and Godsmack ask the questions that they ask and have themes transcend the natural because God has put his fingerprints all over his creation, though all men don’t acknowledge, they know there is more, which is why we all seek and have a god in our life, rather it is a God made in the image of man or creation, humanism, fame, money, or the true God of the universe as he has revealed himself directly through the person of Jesus Christ.

This isn’t for everyone, because for some Christians listening to certain songs might lead them to sin, but I do think that the spiritual themes that arise from the artists and poets of our society are good starting points for “religious” talk, for discussing God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  If you can take in the words and products of non-Christians without being led away from Christ or into sin, then by all means, listen, observe, but always filter through discernment using God’s Word, and pray for opportunities to share the Gospel.

Check out Christianity Today’s movie review section on-line.  They have great discussion questions at the end of all their reviews which can give some helpful examples of how we can engage secular culture and redeem it and point it towards Christ.  This is exactly what Paul did as he mingled in the marketplace of Athens in Acts 17.

Let me know what you find?  And if this proves helpful?