The Bible

Natural vs. Special Revelation

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Two Sources of Revelation:

Some Christians claim that God reveals Himself in two books: the book of scripture (the Bible - Special Revelation) and the book of nature (Natural or General Revelation). Natural revelation is revelation through nature, using the tools of science to discover what nature reveals. In most cases nature is given a higher authority than Scripture. This is most often seen in the belief in evolution instead of Biblical creation. This is strange because the tools of science reveal the impossibility of evolution, and it is only the desire of the world to deny God that keeps a belief in evolution alive.

General Revelation:

This is called "General Revelation" because it reveals God and His character in a very general way. Primarily it reveals that God exists; He is the creator; we are created creatures who owe worship and obedience to the creator. General Revelation also includes the fact the God has written His laws on our hearts (Romans 2:14-15). General Revelation only provides a very limited insight into truth. However, General Revelation is how God communicates with everyone (it's a universal message) revealing that He exists. Isaac Newton said this about General Revelation:

“This most beautiful system of sun, planets, and comets could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful being.” - Sir Isaac Newton

Five Key Reasons General Revelation is Less Authoratative Than Special Revelation

1. Nature (General Revelation) is damaged by the fall. God protects and preserves the Bible

2. Our ability to correctly perceive nature is imperfect. God gives us the Holy Spirit to help us correctly understand scripture.

3. The world uses nature as their final authority, including limiting "science" to only naturalistic explanations. By using sience as an authority, we are following the world AND using an "authority" that by definition excludes God. That doesn't make sense!

4. Science is constantly changing and modifying it's understanding of nature. What you believe today may change tomorrow. The truths of scripture never change.

5. Nature is universal, but very limited in what it can communicate. Scripture is not universal, but it communicates to a breadth and depth beyond what we can comprehend.

What we see is that God intended General Relevation to be basic and easy for everyone to understand.

While General Revelation is universal, Special Revelation is understood by believers only.

But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. - 1 Corinthians 2:14

Special Revelation:

Special Revelation refers to the Bible. In scripture God tells us about Himself, ourselves and the problem of sin, and what God has done about sin. Scripture teaches us about God's character, morality, and how we should live. Scripture also reveals history, giving us the background necessary for understanding scripture. Scripture describes God's word (Special Revelation) as being far above Natural Revelation (Romans 1 and Psalm 19). For example::

For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. - 1 Peter 1:23

Heaven and earth [the natural world - Natural Revelation] will pass away, but My words will not pass away. - Mark 13:31

In addition, even with Natural Revelation universally available to everyone, we cannot know anything about God unless God reveals Himself. He does this through scripture.

All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. - Matthew 11:27

Nature is not the 67th book of the Bible. It is like a directional sign, pointing people toward the existance and character of our creator God. But that's all it is. Scripture (Special Revelation) is the authority. In looking at and learning from the creation, God's word in the Bible stands above creation and is our guide for understanding His creation.


More Information

General and Special Revelation (CMI)

What is Natural Revelation? (GQ)

Natural Revelation (ICR)


THE GOOD NEWS

The Good News


What makes this good news is the bad news about you:

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. - Romans 3:23

Sin means breaking the law. In this case God's law. This is bad news because perfection is required by God. Lawbreakers must pay the just penalty for breaking the law. That penalty is the lake of fire (the second death).

All liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. - Revelation 21:8

Have you ever told a lie? Have you ever taken something that does not belong to you, no matter how small? Have you ever looked at another person with lust? In Matthew 5 Jesus said:

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.'

You have broken God's laws. You have sinned. There must be justice, and that means eternity in hell, the lake of fire, the second death. Unless...

Unless there was someone willing to pay that penalty on your behalf. Someone who will take on themselves the consequences you deserve. And there is. There is one person who can and will do that. That person is Jesus Christ. If you trust this is true, and repent (turn away from disobeying God), Jesus' death is applied to your account and you are freed from the penalty of sin to be with God forever.