A Religious Liberal Blog

This site hopefully can provide some vehicle by which I can comment, complain, and once in a while praise the state of religion in this country and around the world from a liberal protestant perspective.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Natural revelation

"We must seek and consider God in his works, which for this reason the scripture calls representations of the invisible thingsā€¦this should teach us all of such a God as it is necessary to know." John Calvin

I was thinking of the post by pastor Bob when he juxtapositioned natural revelation which starts with human experience versus special revelation which is God revealing God's self in Christ and in scripture.

I don't see how this division can be sustained. The Christ event as well as the stories of the early church were experienced by humans who lived in nature, in time, and in history. They are recordings of a kind of human experience.

So there's no way to get around the limitedness of our vision by appeals to special revelation. The apostle Paul can get knocked off his donkey and still he says we see only in part. But it doesn't limit divine iniative. Afterall, Paul was knocked off his donkey by the divine.

What we're doing is relativizing what we humans say about religion, etc. This is what the Barmen Declaration was doing, what the neo-orthodox did as well. Because we serve a transcendent God all human claims to unquestioned power, authority, are reduced to rags.


At 7:15 AM , Anonymous Tim said...

I think I agree: we leave natural revelation at our peril.

For me, any idea of God worthy of this universe has to include a concept of scale. (Think powers-of-ten here.) That means the things physicists, chemists, astronomers and cosmologists think about must be involved in our understanding of God; the alternative is a small-world idol only applicable to macro-sized objects (read a group self-help book for humans). Maybe I begin to see why these fields of study are called `natural sciences'.

"Because we serve a transcendent God all human claims to unquestioned power, authority, are reduced to rags."

Maybe, but are you also about to post an article that ends with a thought about the immanence of God and the sense of value with which that imbues every quark and quasar and all between? :)


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