Monday, November 26, 2007

Apology: The Revelation of God

As I elaborated in my last post: I believe that there is one personal, eternally existant, all-powerful creative being and that He is properly to be regarded as God.  From there I move to the next major head of apologetics: Has God revealed Himself to us.

By definition, if God actively hid Himself from us then we could never hope to discover anything of Him.  His transcendent existence, wisdom, and power would render that a futile enterprise.  So, anything that we know of God must be knowledge, at the least, allowed by God.  If God has not revealed Himself we cannot be held in anyway responsible to relate to Him.  It would be all the same as that He did not exist.

So we ask, “How does God reveal Himself to us?”  Many hold that God speaks to people spiritually in many places and many times.  The problem with the view appears to be that of all the religious writings extant that speak of the divine, hardly do two agree on any major point.  Many things have been written that claim to be the revelation of God to man but few can meet the test of veracity.

So, this leads me to believe that God has revealed Himself to man.  For any revelation to be considered true it would have to meet several tests.  First, it must be universal.  It must address how every man, from first to last, lives and relates to God.  Most religious texts fail in this test.  The Bible however gives consistent principles of sin and forgiveness throughout its pages.  While many have attacked the Bible for inconsistencies, all of these are easily beaten back by careful reading of the entire book.

Second, it must be verifiable.  I do not mean that everything it teaches must be testable and verifiable today.  But when it speaks of history and science it must be verifiable.  The Koran and the Book of Mormon fail on this test for both are blatantly inaccurate historically.  The Bible talks about some events that are have not been verified but it speaks of nothing that is historically impossible.  As to science many how have been indoctrinated with the tenets of evolution would scoff at my calling the Bible scientifically accurate.  I do not have the time, inclination, training or resources to go into a detailed argument here, however, many others have and the argumentation is available.  I will simply state here that a God that is worthy of that name would certainly have to have the power to be able to create the world.

In the third place revelation must be knowing and purposeful.  That is if God has a man write something that He is revealing, then the man must understand he is being used.  The Bible meets this test as it repeated asserts that it is speaking in direct quotation of God.  The New Testament takes this farther in making direct statements about all the writings being from God and inspired by Him.

Lastly, there must be consensus.  Now let me be clear: the consensus did not create the canon but it does confirm ex post facto the existence of the canon.  The consensus of the church has been clear for 2000 years that the book we call the Bible contains all that God has wished to reveal to all men, everywhere, for all time. 

Thus I believe that God has revealed Himself to us in the Bible.  That it contains not all that we need to know about everything but all that God has chosen to reveal to us and certainly “all things that pertain to life and godliness.”  I believe that the Bible is not at odds with history, math, medicine, astronomy or any other scientific discipline.  I contend that however the canon came to be (and again, this is too lengthy a subject to enter into here), 2000 years of consensus can render us certain that we have all that God intended us to have.  A god ao capricious as to hide or impotent as to be unable to accurately transmit and preserve his revelation is no god at all.  But God has revealed Himself to us in the Bible–the ultimate standard of truth.