Let’s say that revelation is the act of God’s disclosure to us. God’s revelation involves communicating true things about Himself – but it is not limited to only propositional data. God’s revelation is of a personal type – but to have true knowledge of anything, one must being in some kind of existential relation to it. On our own we cannot have such a relation with God – the establishing of such a relation is an act of divine grace alone. Since God desires to know us and for us to know Him, His revelation necessarily then involves establishing personal relations between Himself and ourselves. Since even propositional data cannot be gleaned in a relation-less way, God’s revelation to us is throughout relational and personal. However, since we as humans are under the power of sin and cannot of our own accord come into relations with Him, God not only establishes the relations but also the conditions for relations – namely, the eradication of the barrier between us and Him, which is sin. God’s revelation is thus of a two-fold nature: one, the barrier between man and God is eradicated – in Jesus Christ, God has said ‘yes’ to humanity and bridged the gap, so to speak. The second part is the giving of the Holy Spirit, who is both our comforter and teacher and by whom we know Christ.
Barth on Revelation
God, Speech, and Revelation.
In the great monotheistic traditions, Christianity, Judaism and Islam, scriptures have a special place of importance. This is because their scriptures are all believed to be, in one form or another, the written word of God, God’s communication and revelation to mankind in which His will is disclosed. I will be focusing on the notion of revelation, speech and communication in the Christian tradition.
Perhaps a broad question is the best way to begin: why is Scripture so important in the Christian tradition? From here, there’s a few other questions that can be asked: what does it mean to say that God has spoken? That God has disclosed His will in Scripture? How do we understand Scripture? How can we understand Scripture? On a more theological level: how do we interpret Scripture? What role does Scripture play in the Christian life? How does Jesus impact how we read Scripture? How do we come to terms with the idea of God communicating through words, given how tricky language can be?
There are all these questions and many, many more that need to be asked. In the coming few posts I’ll attempt to round out a few tentative answers to these questions and any more that pop up.