The study of God’s revelation of himself to humanity has been classified in two ways: general revelation and special revelation. The general revelation of God has been found in three areas: nature, history, and humanity. Theologians concerned with the comprehensiveness of general revelation have developed what is known as natural theology. This theology studies the way in which God’s existence is known outside the biblical source, specifically through the use of reason. There is general revelation without natural theology, but the effect of sin prevents the unbeliever from coming to the knowledge of God. The salvation of the individual through God’s general revelation can only be measured by faith.
In what areas do we find God’s general revelation?
Describe and evaluate the assumptions of natural theology
What makes natural theology ineffective in bringing the Christian message to the unbeliever?
How is humanity involved in the general revelation of God outside special revelation?
People need a more personal understanding of God than is available through nature and general history. God has provided particular revelation of himself. The modalities that God uses include historical events, divine speech, and the incarnation of God in Christ. Theologians have disagreed as to whether special revelation is propositional or personal. The bible provides both cognitive and affective knowledge of God.
What is the nature of special revelation?
Name and describe three characteristics of special revelation. What does each contribute to our understanding of special revelation?
Through what three means has God chosen to reveal himself? How does each contribute to our understanding of special revelation?
Why is the incarnation the most complete modality of special revelation?
How would you compare and contrast personal and propositional revelation? Which is more important and why?
The bible teaches that God is both immanent and transcendent. God is present and active within his creation, but superior to and independent of anything that he has created. These biblical ideas must be kept in balance. The tendency to emphasize one or the other will lead to a faulty conception of God. Several methods have been employed to classify the attributes or qualities of God. We have chosen to follow the classification that differentiates between his greatness and goodness.
What are some problems and distortions that evidence the need for a correct understanding of God?
What difficulties arise when we overemphasize either immanence or transcendence?
How do we confuse God’s attributes with God’s acts? Give some examples
What is the relationship between God’s essence and his attributes?
The goodness of God may be discovered in all of his relationships with his creatures. It is most effectively demonstrated in his moral attributes of purity and integrity, and in the entire complex of characteristics that are identified as his love. Sometimes these attributes are viewed as conflicting with each other, as in the case of justice and love. When correctly viewed, however, this is not the case.
What are the moral attributes of God, and why are they necessary to an adequate understanding of his true nature?
What is the importance of the holiness of God, and why is it so difficult for humans to understand this aspect of God’s nature?
How does our understanding of Jesus help us especially to understand the love of God?
Some have contended that there is tension between God’s justice and his love. How would you respond to such a charge?
God has a definite plan for history. There are at least nine conclusions that may be drawn from the biblical references to God’s plan. Calvinism and Arminianism pose different solutions to the problem of whether God’s plan or human action is logically prior. From our analysis, we conclude that a moderately Calvinist position is the most biblically based. Finally, there are a variety of views of history, but the biblical view posits that God is guiding history to his goal and that we can have assurance that if we align ourselves with his purpose, we will be moving to an assured outcome of history.
Explain the terms foreordain and predestinate
What can be learned from both the Old and New Testament teachings about the plan of God?
What are the general characteristics of God’s plan?
What does human freedom mean in the moderately Calvinistic model?