Revelation in Nature & Conscience
*Theology Thursday* — Two different concepts of what revelation is – a broad concept and a narrow or more restricted concept. In the broad sense, “revelation” means a communication from God. It is some sort of a word that comes from God telling us something. In a narrower sense, “revelation” means the unveiling of something hidden, the exposure of something not known. It is important to keep these two senses distinct because while the Bible is revelation in the first sense not all of the Bible is a revelation in that narrow sense. Prophecy and the Book of Revelation would be an example of that.
But then there are two kinds of revelation: general and special. General revelation is general in two senses. First, it provides information about God that is generally available to all persons in human history, regardless of the time and place in which they have lived – it is generally available. Also it is general in a second sense, it is general information about God. It doesn’t tell us that God is a Trinity; it doesn’t tell us that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins. It is general in the sense that it tells us that there is a Creator God of the universe who has made the world and to whom we are morally responsible.
So general revelation primarily assumes the form of God’s exposure in nature and then also in conscience, as God’s moral laws are written on the hearts of all people so that everyone has an innate sense of our moral responsibility before God and of our failure to live up to the demands of the moral law.