By Mitch Marczewski
God’s existence is not hidden from us nor is it difficult to see. The Bible assumes from cover to cover that God exists. It’s an obvious truth. The problem is our response to that truth when we suppress it or as Robert Culver says we exercise our “ability to put unwelcome knowledge out of our conscious thought.” As an eternal, invisible Being, the only way that we can know God is if He reveals Himself to us. We are unable to know Him unless He makes Himself known. Hebrews 1:1 tells us that God spoke to the prophets in “many times and many ways.” These ways fall into two categories and apply now today: natural revelation and special revelation. These two avenues have many facets to them but we will discuss only a few of those facets here.
1. Natural Revelation
First, we see God in his natural revelation. Natural revelation includes God’s glory seen in creation, in our own personal, moral and rational nature, and an inner awareness of God. God reveals himself to us in what He has made. Examples of this can be seen in the Psalms and throughout the pages of scripture. Psalm 19:1-7 speaks of the heavens declaring His glory. Nature proclaims his existence in the intricacies of a leaf and the unique patterns in snowflakes. In Acts 14:17, Paul speaks of how God’s goodness is seen in the rain and fruitful seasons poured out upon mankind. Romans 1:19-20 tells us that His invisible attributes, eternal power and divine nature are made known to us through what He has made. Another
facet of natural revelation is our morality and our inner awareness of God- these go hand in hand. We have been created with an inner sense that God exists- an existence of right and wrong in our hearts. People throughout the ages have created deities to worship and appease by fulfilling their internal moral inclinations. Our moral inclinations and need for justice point to a creator God who placed such a compass inside of us.
Due to our sin, we suppress the truth of the reality of God and, as Gerald Bray says our “belief in God is about as life-affecting as [our] belief that the world is round.” (Bray; Doctrine of God) In our sinfulness, natural revelation isn’t enough to know God fully, we need something more. God’s special revelation comes primarily through two avenues: Scripture, which reveals Christ, and the Spirit, who makes our belief a reality in our hearts.
2. Special Revelation in Scripture
Scripture gives us a more robust picture of the saving nature of this just, magnificent God. It is in God’s word where we meet God personally. The natural revelation becomes identified and learned about in the Bible. Psalm 19:7 states that the instruction of the Lord is perfect, renewing one’s life; the testimony of the Lord is trustworthy, making the inexperienced wise. Paul encourages Timothy in 2 Tim 4:2 that the word of God is good for rebuke, correction, and encouragement. God’s word is where we come to truly know who God is as He has revealed Himself. Being diligent in studying and knowing His words to us helps us know Him better.
Scripture itself is not enough to truly know God personally, however. This is where we need the Spirit.