Quotes on Divine Revelation

This is a quote from Real Faith & Reason, but you’ll see that it’s a series of quotes by others on the subject of divine revelation.

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“The idea that God might authoritatively reveal the truth of Himself to us from above is rejected in favor of a pragmatic theology from below, which does not see religion as a matter of truth at all.” (The Intersection of Science & Christian Theology)

“What is needed instead is an epistemology of the cross, which accepts the creaturely limitations of all our mental constructs and humbly receives illumination from above through faith in Christ and His Word.” (The Intersection of Science & Christian Theology)

“No longer are we just acknowledging a being who exists outside of our ability to define, but we are going to double down by acting on the guidance and authority of a divine being whose primary method of communication is through my own subjective experience. As a matter of fact, the more I relinquish authority and control to this divine being through obedience to His written word and supernatural personal communication, the more I come into contact with His presence at work in my life and the lives of those around me.” (Dirk Bartkoski)

God does reveal Himself to us. Christ lives within and reveals reality through science and other means. Of course, we need to define “science” carefully. We’ll explore the ways God reveals Himself and all reality to us as we continue our journey.

“How do I walk between believing in what I cannot prove and the pursuit of proof for all that I believe? How do I navigate the paradoxes of science and Pentecostalism? It starts with a heavy dose of humility. From the very beginning of Genesis, the story of humankind is the story of humanity’s pursuit to be equal to God. Even if we were to understand all the physical laws that govern this universe, many of the fundamental physical processes we do understand exist as continuums of probability which inherently limits our pursuit of omniscience.” (Dirk Bartkoski)

“I believe this universe is designed to reveal God to those who are willing to remove themselves from His position.” (Dirk Bartkoski)
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Scientific Knowledge is Changeable So You Can’t Know It.

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God reveals reality, and He reveals it to scientists, non-scientists, unbelievers, and believers. In the same way, He’s been revealing reality since the day of Creation, and now He just keeps unfolding revelation as quickly as we embrace it. Consider the following quotes from “In Christ All Things Hold Together, The Intersection of Science & Christian Theology”:

“To be sure, the fact that Scripture is supreme in its authority, and the only source and norm for orthodox Christian doctrine, does not mean we are always correct in interpreting Scripture. So it can seem (and may sometimes be) reasonable to consider whether some alternative ways of reading Scripture might make it easier to accept some apparently well-confirmed claim of science. And yet there are dangers here all the same. One of these is the unstated assumption that the best science is on the same level as the Word of God. The problem is that God’s Word has an eternal and ultimate validity, while even the best scientific theories are the products of finite, fallen minds and have at most a temporal and penultimate status. A marriage between the eternal Word of God and temporal science is apt to produce a widow as the science changes.”

“It is unwise to rely on fallible conjectures that may tomorrow be consigned to the dustbin of science, in order to give the final seal of veracity on Scripture’s claims.”

“Simply joining Christianity with the latest and greatest scientific theory is a bad idea because it creates the false sense that the authority of the Word rests on that theory.”

“It is precisely because Christians have a place to stand, on Christ, who is ‘the same yesterday and today and forever’ (Heb. 13:8), that they do not have to lean on their own understanding (Prov. 3:5–6), including science, as a place for final answers. As Veith argues, this actually frees Christians to be both more skeptical and more open-minded toward the world’s ideas than the secularist.”

“The controlling idea for the New Atheist or opponents of biblical Christianity is that what we should believe about God is defined by what science has revealed . . .”

God can teach us a lesson through history. Historically, what was called “solid science” has died. If we, as Christians, become dogmatic about any scientific notion of the day, we may project that dogmatism to those around us. Since people know we’re followers of Christ, they have trouble seeing the dividing line between Christ and our dogmatic notion. When the notion is proved false, Satan uses that scientific failure to say that Christ has been proved false or that the Bible has been proved false.

</end quote>

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God Reveals Reality

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By revelation, we know that God reveals reality through the Bible and every method He mentions in the Bible. And, as we just read in Romans 1, God reveals “through what has been made . . . being understood by the things made.” The revelation in this Scripture is one way we know that God reveals reality through scientific observation of the things God has created. In contrast to what some believe, we don’t have to figure out this revelation from observation. Otherwise, this Scripture would read, “for they should be able to figure it out,” but God didn’t say that. Instead, it says, “for God has revealed it to them.”

In the original Greek, this Scripture uses the word “phaneroo.” It says, “for God has phaneroo them.” This word “phaneroo” is translated as “showed,” “manifested,” “shewed,” “made it clear,” “showed,” “revealed,” or “made it evident.” The lexicon gives this definition: “to make manifest or visible or known what has been hidden or unknown, to manifest, whether by words, deeds, or in any other way.”

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Compartmentalized Thinking

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Some theologians have chosen to deal with the conflict between ungodly scientific speculation and Scripture by putting science and religion into separate compartments. They compartmentalize thinking. When they think about theology, they use one set of assumptions and one authority. When they think about science, they use a different set of assumptions and a different authority.

By keeping each of these compartments separate, they don’t have to deal with the conflicting claims in their worldviews. When they’re with their ungodly friends, they reason from the ungodly side of their worldview. When they’re with people of their denomination (or non-denomination or pre-denomination), they reason from the religious side of their worldview. Ne’er the twain shall meet. This thinking isn’t healthy or necessary since no observation of science conflicts with Scripture. Human assumptions can make Scripture appear to conflict with scientific observation, but no such conflict exists.

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Naturalism: Irrationality

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We’ve already looked into the brute-beast mind and its inability to extrapolate beyond sensory experience. When the brute-beast mind tries to make statements about the unobservable past, it resorts to making up stuff. Science isn’t made-up stuff. Science is observation, intuition, experimentation, and testing. Intuition isn’t always made-up stuff, but sometimes it is. God can move through intuition.

Rocky Rockbuilder: Unless God reveals it, we can’t know it. We can tell stories about the past using our brute-beast minds, the ones corrupted by the fall. But we can’t self-generate information. God didn’t equip us with an innate ability to self-generate truth.

Sandy Sandbuilder: So you’re actively arguing that we shouldn’t scientifically investigate anything whatsoever. Because what you said is a blanket condemnation, so please return your computer to the scientists, and we will smash it for you, and you can be Amish.

Rocky: That’s another straw man argument, but I’m not surprised that you would resort to fallacies. Every conclusion using ungodly thinking springs from fallacy. We need either divine revelation or assumption for science. There’s no dichotomy between science and assumption. There’s no dichotomy between science and divine revelation. With assumptions, you just have to accept divine revelation about natural laws, the order of nature, the existence of reality, etc. and call these revelations “assumptions.” Your other real assumptions that aren’t divine revelations with the “assumption” label, those assumptions launch you into the land of make-believe and pseudoscience.

Here, we need to respond to Sandy’s slur against the Amish. Sandy doesn’t realize how well-educated the Amish are. They can actually do math and think rationally. Most college graduates can’t make that claim.

In direct conflict with what Rocky said about divine revelation, an ungodly thinker may claim that naturalism is the only rational position or the default position and that all science must assume naturalism. Naturalism removes God. However, naturalism forces irrationality in science since naturalism gives no cause for the regularity of nature on which all scientific method depends. And naturalism also results in stories like big bang or evolutionism that violate laws of physics and rely on mystical language and imagined entities like dark matter and dark energy.

Not only that but where could natural laws come from without a natural lawgiver and a natural law enforcer? If we have a cause for natural laws and that cause is reliable, we can do science rationally. However, without Christ, we would need to assume the continued regularity of natural laws. Jesus Christ enforces every law of nature everywhere at every moment. God reveals this truth through the following three Scriptures:

“And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:17 Berean Literal Bible)

“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His nature, upholding all things by His powerful word.” (Hebrews 1:3a Berean Study Bible)

“For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen.” (Romans 11:36 Berean Study Bible)

Jesus Christ is holding everything together and enforcing all the laws of nature through His rhema, His utterance. God created all things through His utterance. Now, He enforces all natural laws through His utterance. Rhema means “that which is or has been uttered by the living voice, thing spoken, word.” God is necessary for science, and God reveals reality through science:

“because the known of God is manifest among them, for God has revealed it to them. For from the Creation of the world His invisible qualities, both His eternal power and divinity, are clearly seen, being understood by the things made, for them to be without excuse.” (Romans 1:19-20 Berean Literal Bible)

And yet, ungodly scientific speculation conflicts with Scripture. Persuaders commonly label these speculations as “science,” but no scientist can observe speculations. No scientist can observe a story. Nonetheless, when schools, news programs, and movies call the speculations “science,” some theologians believe the speculations are science.
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Reason and Science

Reason and Science

Contrary to the accusations of some, we followers of Christ don’t renounce reason. We renounce unsound reason and unsound logic since unsound thinking is insanity, and sound thinking is sanity. But sound reason requires a true premise and valid form. Also, if we add anything to that true premise or diminish any part of that true premise, we reason insanely. We can’t know anything by insane reasoning.

Though some accuse Christ-followers of being anti-science, we don’t renounce reasonable and helpful science either. Rather, we only renounce unreasonable and unhelpful pseudoscience and deceptive phantom science. Since God is the Author of all the principles of reasonable and helpful science, we must come to know the Author of the universe before we can truly understand science.

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The Power of God’s Utterance

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Though we can’t fully grasp the power and authority of God’s voice, we can have some small inkling of it. This same voice said, “Let there be,” and there was. By this voice, the universe and everything in it came into existence. This same power of His voice creates a new heart in us. This voice imparts deity into us when we’re born again, putting Jesus Christ into our hearts. It imparts gifts of the Spirit and ministries to lowly humans. It’s the voice that transfigures us into the same image of Christ, cleanses us, and builds up Christ in us as we yield ourselves wholly to it.

“I [God] will instruct you and teach you concerning the path you should walk; I will direct you with my eye.” (Psalm 32:8 International Standard Version)

“Therefore Jesus was saying to the Jews having believed in Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are truly My disciples. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set free you.’” (John 8:31-32 Berean Literal Bible)

We can’t help but notice God’s method, a method that will cause us to know the truth. Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, you are truly My disciples (ones taught by Me), and you will know the truth.” Still, this Scripture is even more exciting when we look into the original language from which this Scripture was translated. If we translate this Scripture literally, His “word” is His “utterance.” We know the truth by dwelling or journeying in His utterance. So He’s talking about living our daily lives in His presence, listening to His voice, and being set free from slavery.

“If we live our lives in the utterance of Jesus, we’ll know the truth, and the truth will set us free.” (Application of John 8:31-32 in modern English)

If we live our lives in the utterance of Jesus, we’re led by Him, and we respond in obedience. And the Holy Spirit is telling us that His leading and power results in works but not self-righteousness, so human effort isn’t helpful. Rather, we submit ourselves to His love and allow His love to do His works through us. This training leads to maturity, and maturity leads to discernment as the following verse points out:

“But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” (Hebrews 5:14 English Standard Version)

Here, the word that’s translated as “trained” is a word that means “vigorous exercise,” so this training isn’t passive. Also, the word “by” points to “constant practice,” and this phrase “constant practice” is translated from a word that means habit of body or mind, so it means our behavior.

“. . . who have their powers of discernment vigorously exercised by constant practice to distinguish between good and evil.” (literal)

As we look to God for understanding, we see how this truth ties into what James said about faith being dead without works, so our journey will thoroughly explore how we can discern truth from falsehood. In other words, we’re laying out a broad outline now, but we’ll get down to the detail.

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The Basis of Thought and Discernment

We, as followers of Christ, may never ask enough questions to expose the fact that ungodly thinkers base every claim on made-up stuff. This made-up stuff causes ungodly thinkers to say things that seem crazy to us. Rather than listening, we may argue about details, or we may just shut down the conversation in the face of what we perceive to be such obvious irrationality. But, if we ask enough of the right questions, we get down to the basis of thought. Then we see that ungodly thinkers base their most dogmatically-held beliefs on their own assumptions or the assumptions of certain intellectuals.

On the other hand, when we faithfully listen to God’s voice and yield to Him in submission, we base our thinking on what He says and on the living faith that flows when we acknowledge His voice. But we’ll continue to meet those who base every thought on made-up stuff as they dogmatically claim to know, by the mechanism of made-up stuff, that God isn’t leading, teaching, or correcting anyone anywhere. However, we know that Christ always does what He says He’ll do, to instruct, teach, and direct us. We know this truth by revelation that’s confirmed by experience and by God’s faith that comes as we listen to His voice.
</end quote>
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The Big Difference

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The God Complex

Ungodly thinking can go anywhere since it’s based on made-up stuff. Godly thinking must stick to reality, so it’s constrained. It’s like a narrow and restricted way.

Rocky Rockbuilder: God will judge the ungodly. Every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.

Sandy Sandbuilder: Do you feel that those you keep calling ungodly are of God since everything is from God?

Rocky: God created everything. But much of creation rebelled and separated themselves from God.

Sandy: Since God is the ultimate power there is no separation. Separation is an illusion.

Rocky: Without divine revelation, you’re trying to reason beyond your immediate sensory experience. When you do that, you become irrational.

Sandy: I do reason beyond my senses because God created me to do that.

Rocky: That’s a bare assertion. You’re trying to reason beyond your immediate sensory experience without divine revelation. When you do that, you become irrational.

Sandy: According to Scripture wasn’t man made in God’s image?

Rocky: Do you submit yourself to Jesus Christ? Is He Lord of your life? Do you praise Him and worship Him? Have you dedicated yourself to obeying Him in every part of your life?

Sandy: My submission is to God. We are the ones to become the Christ just as Jesus did.

Rocky: That doesn’t answer the questions I asked.

Sandy: That’s the answer I have. I submit to God. And because of that, I become a Christ just as my brother Jesus the Christ did.

Sandy reasons beyond his senses without divine revelation. By the power of his own imagination, he thinks that he’s going to become another Christ separate from Jesus. All he needed was assumption, and he was able to make himself believe this lie. He just needed a little made-up stuff.
</end quote>

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Why the Conflict?

2 Peter 2:12a and Jude 1:10 & 19 speak of those who are like brute beasts, unable to process rational thought and only able to respond to their five senses because they don’t listen to the Holy Spirit.

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Why the Conflict?

Ungodly thinkers and godly thinkers conflict because they each have a different starting point for thinking. An ungodly thinker bases every thought on made-up stuff while a godly thinker bases thought on God and what God is saying in the moment. Before we finish our journey, we’ll understand in detail how we can know reality and avoid being deceived by lies.

Meanwhile, to an ungodly thinker, revelation seems to be a strange basis for thinking. To a follower of Christ, made-up stuff seems to be a strange basis for thinking. But made-up stuff can lead to weird conclusions. In this conflict, ungodly thinkers tend to project their own problems onto godly thinkers by accusing godly thinkers of being irrational. And ungodly Christian thinkers sometimes accuse godly thinkers of creating atheists just as Sandy accused Rocky. However, Brennan Manning gives a different cause of atheism:

The greatest cause of atheism is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, then walk out the door and deny Him with their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.

Brennan Manning is largely correct. Although we must remember, self-righteousness and virtue signalling also turn people away from Christ. Here’s a strange fact. Ungodly Christians usually have many works, but their works aren’t God’s works since they didn’t originate in God. They deny Christ with their lifestyles.
</end quote>
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