I want to begin today by stating a fact: Christianity is a revealed faith.
Because of the fall in Genesis 3 we cannot see God with our eyes, we cannot feel God with our hearts, and we cannot formulate a correct view of God with our minds. We are fallen creatures, and by stating that Christianity is a revealed faith implies that if any person on this planet is to know God at all, God must reveal Himself to us, or make Himself known to us by means of revelation.
St. Augustine taught this principle by using an illustration. He spoke of a man with perfect vision standing in a pitch black room full of beautiful artwork. Can the man see the beauty of what’s around him? Of course not, it’s pitch black. Although the man has the proper equipment to see the art in the room, he can’t see any of it in the dark. St. Augustine then said ‘The light of divine revelation is necessary for us to know anything about God whatsoever.’
This makes us recognize a simple truth. We cannot know God without Him revealing Himself to us. But this simple truth leads to a mammoth question: how then does God reveal Himself to us?
There are many people, even pastors, today who would answer this question with comments saying God reveals Himself to them in dreams, visions, feelings, clouds in the sky, messages in my soup, or through the kindness of stranger. These answers may sound nice and comfy, but they lack the very thing that would make them credible. They’re not Biblical answers. Throughout the history of the Church theologians have answered this question in a different manner, and they did it much better than many today. They made a distinction between two kinds of revelation: general revelation and special revelation.
Tomorrow we’ll begin this discussion, beginning with general revelation.