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?
One of the topics that is hotly debated today is the degree to which scripture is inspired by God. Inspiration is necessary because it confirms the nature of God’s special revelation through scripture. An important part of biblical theology is the formulation of a theory regarding the extent to which the bible is inspired. A variety of theories are scrutinized and evaluated. While in the proper sense inspiration is of the writers, in the derivative sense we may also say that the writings themselves are inspired.
Why is inspiration so important to the authority of scripture?
In what ways does the bible witness to its divine origins?
Compare and contrast the five theories of inspiration
How would you summarize the characteristics that should be included in an appropriate model of inspiration?