Thy Words were found and I did eat them; and Thy Word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart. Jeremiah 15:16
Divine revelation refers to the unveiling of God; actually to God’s self-manifestation. That God has revealed Himself to man is a glorious fact, a fact that involves two prerequisites, God’s ability of self-manifestation and His desire for self-manifestation.
An understanding of the personal attributes of Deity satisfies the mind that God is capable of manifesting Himself; omnipotence shows that God may do anything that He desires. He may manifest Himself, but that ability does not indicate whether or not He desires to reveal Himself particularly to man; nor does it indicate why He should desire so to do. God is sovereign and does not necessarily have to intimate His will; there are mysteries in the purposes of God. It is much more important to know that God desires to reveal Himself to man than to know exactly why He so desires. Repeatedly we are impelled to say with the Apostle Paul, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! (Romans 11:33).
The Reasonableness of Divine Revelation
There are certain facts well known to us which indicate that it is reasonable that God reveal Himself to man: God created man in His own image, after His own likeness (Genesis 1:26); He, therefore, created him a rational being.
Take the matter of articulate speech; this remarkable faculty is limited to three types of beings, two of which are created beings. It is limited to God; celestial beings, seraph, cherub, and angel; and to man.
Long before the creation of man, we know that God created celestial beings and gave them the power of speech, and that they used this power to praise and glorify their Creator (Job 38:7, Isaiah 6:3). Articulate speech was the means of communion between God and His angelic creation.
God has created man in His own image, a rational being. It is only reasonable that He likewise give to man the faculty of speech, and that He has done in order to reveal Himself to man and hold fellowship with man. The highest purpose then of articulate speech is that of communion between God and His creation. Through it God reveals Himself to man and man ascribes praise and glory to God. See appendix 1.
The Restraint of Divine Revelation
“By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned (sinned in their federal head)— Romans 5:12. Consequently, God drove man out of His presence, and guarded the way to the tree of life with a flaming sword (Genesis 3:24). Thus ended the direct communion between God and innocent man; thus ended one phase of specific revelation. From Eden through to the Eternal State, divine revelation is seen under certain restraint.
When man sinned he placed the trees of Eden between God and himself (Genesis 3:8). Those trees formed the first obstacle to veil the presence of the Lord. God since then has maintained the position that man gave Him. When He dwelt among His ancient people in the Tabernacle in the wilderness, He veiled Himself behind boards, curtains, and veils. Under those circumstances He could only partially reveal Himself to His people. When the Temple replaced the Tabernacle, God still did not fully reveal Himself, but remained veiled behind the walls of that magnificent structure.
Of the capital city of the Eternal State, the New Jerusalem, John writes, “I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it” (Revelation 21:22). In that glorious new world, God will no longer cover Himself behind walls, curtains, and veils, then He will fully reveal Himself to redeemed humanity.
While we do not know why God should reveal Himself to man, we do know from Scripture how He has revealed Himself. He has used four different means to accomplish this: creation, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Bible, and providence.
The modern teaching of evolution, whether material, biological, or social, is not only nonbiblical, it is unbiblical. Both material and biological evolution are beyond experimentation; therefore, their acceptance as facts is unscientific. Social evolution is disproved by the state of society in the world today.
The creation: God is the source of all. According to Ephesians 4:6, there is “one God and Father of all,” from Him all things proceed; “who is above all,” He transcends all; He indwells all, for He pervades all. In the Ephesian context, He indwells all believers. This passage asserts that God is the paternal source of humanity, saying, “We are the offspring of God” (Acts 17:29).
The Creator’s self-revelation: Among others there are two special passages of Scripture which record the testimony of nature to her Creator, and thus demonstrate how God has revealed Himself in creation.
Let us look at the first one; it is in the Old Testament: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth His handywork” (Psalm 19:1).
From Psalm 19 it is obvious that God’s self-manifestation is: first, constant and continuous. The witness of creation is constant in its content and continuous in its duration. The words “declare” and “sheweth” are Hebrew participles and therefore imply that the testimony of nature is perpetual. We might paraphrase the opening verse of the Psalm: The heavens go on declaring the glory of God; and the firmament goes on shewing forth His handywork.
In second place, God’s self-manifestation is in regard to divine transcendency: “The heavens declare the glory of God.”
There is a religious philosophy, pantheism, that identifies God with nature and nature with God, but the Psalmist here witnesses to God’s transcendency over nature, “Inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house. For every house is builded by some man; but He that built all things is God” (Hebrews 3:3-4).
Westminster Abbey is a very remarkable edifice, but it could not conceive its own plan, nor build its own walls. Throughout several centuries there lived men who devised and executed plans which gave it form. Between 1722 and 1740 Sir Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawesmoor constructed the two west towers, and parts that had deteriorated were restored in 1890 to give it its present appearance. As the greatness of the architect surpasses the greatness of the Abbey so God transcends creation and all its wonders.
Finally, in third place, God’s self-manifestation in creation is related to His infinite wisdom and skill. The perfections of creation, His handiwork, witness to the capabilities of the Creator; they witness to the glory, majesty, supremacy and transcendence of God.
The second passage at which we must look is found in the New Testament: “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:19-20).
This passage like the one from the Old Testament may be considered under three salient points. First, the revelation of God through creation is limited. What may be known of Him in this way is manifest in man; yet, with Elihu we have to say, “Touching the Almighty, we cannot find Him out: He is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice: He will not afflict” (Job 37:23). Creation, so to speak, is only a partial revelation of God. We are grateful for it, but we are exceedingly grateful that in His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, He has more fully revealed Himself.
In second place: This passage states that creation manifests God’s eternal power; that is, power in the sense of ability. Divine ability is not only the power that creates but the power that sustains. Centuries ago Job said, “He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing” (Job 26:7). His words mean that God keeps the earth hanging upon nothing. The Spirit of God informs us that He does this through His Son: “For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible,… by Him all things consist” (Colossians 1:16-17).
In third place: This passage testifies that nature witnesses to God’s eternal power and Godhead. God is One yet it has pleased Him to manifest Himself in the threefold distinction: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. While the appellation Trinity does not appear in the Bible, the doctrine of the Trinity is found in many parts of the Bible.
There may be several ways in which creation witnesses to her Triune Creator. For example, space is in three dimensions: length, breadth and height. Mass in three forms: solids, liquids and gases. Heaven according to the Bible, is another trinity in nature. The third heaven contains paradise (2 Corinthians 12:2-4); the second, probably is the outward spaces; and the first, the atmosphere around the earth. Celestial beings are in three forms: seraph, cherub and angel. Time is measured, and the Bible takes this into consideration, in the three tenses: past, present and future. It seems as if God has left the very insignia of the Holy Trinity upon Creation. In her very constitution she witnesses to His Godhead. See appendix II.
My early years of Christian service were enriched by the acquaintance of Fransico Ramos, a Venezuelan Christian. One moonlit night as together we walked about on the cement pavement he used for drying coffee beans, he asked if my family at home in North America could see the same moon we were watching, or, he asked, was there another moon farther north.
After listening to a brief and simple explanation of the planetary system, he waved his arm and hand across the sky and exclaimed, ‘What a wonderful God we have!” Yes, we do have a wonderful God and He has manifested Himself in Creation.