Natural Revelation and Biblical Revelation
The Bible didn’t need to tell us about natural revelation because those things are a part of the human experience. The Biblical writers simply codified or wrote them down. Natural revelation is self-evident truth. A self-evident truth is a truth that God has made known to all men who are in their right mind and whose intellect has not been hardened by rebellion or perverted by worldly philosophy and religion.
In contrast, to natural revelation, Biblical revelation are truths that are made known through the revelatory acts of God; the most obvious revelation is the sending of God’s son in the person of Jesus Christ. In His life and work we see and learn things about God that go beyond natural revelation. In this study we are mainly interested in natural revelation. However, in the life of Christ we often see a confirmation of natural revelation.
The first natural revelation that I was aware of in my life was that there is a God. That’s a self-evident truth that is programmed into everyone i.e. hardwired to believe when they come into the world. However, that self-evident knowledge can be destroyed by human pride and the demonic beliefs of the human heart. Numerous atheists have told me that they became an atheist when they were in their early teens or younger. This may be the case because the Scriptures say, “that foolishness resides in the heart of a child”. Moreover, I believe they told me this to impress me with their intellect. They did not, for they were speaking from their imagination and bias, not their intellect. A child’s mind is not capable of making an intellectual choice about the existence of the God, because the child’s mind cannot understand the concept of the true God. Most likely the god they believed in and rejected was like Santa Claus. However, even this rejection is even dubious. The god they rejected was too small and sadly there are many adults who still have a similar small God. They don’t believe in God, because their God is too small.
The lesson that there is a God is codified and taught in Genesis 1, “In the beginning God created.” However, Genesis does not argue for the existence of God, it assumes his existence and also reveals something about his nature. The first chapter reveals that He is a God that likes order and structure. In that chapter, He separates order from the chaos. He does it through his Word (information); in this act he reveals that He is a God of order, which is reflected in the physical and the moral order of things and in the very nature of man who was created in His likeness.
We see in the creation story a perfect balance between chaos and order. In the universe He left just the right amount of room for free will and randomness. God’s cosmos is perfectly balanced in all things, in light and darkness, in order and chaos. Humans, that were later created in his image and likeness, were commanded to keep things in order on planet earth, which is His nursery for growing and training of the sons of God. When we let our lives get filled with chaos and darkness we miss the mark of fulfilling our purpose and being truly human; then we find ourselves alienated from God, others and even our own selves. In this regard, Genesis 1 is a call for humans to put and keep their lives in order and balance in a world of chaos. In doing this, they reflect the image and likeness of God.
Yes, there is a God and from natural revelation I learned that I am not him. How do I know that? I know it because I have limits and He does not. In chapter 2 of Genesis, man is created in the image and likeness of God. However, Adam and many of his descendents fail to recognize that just being in the image and likeness of God, does not make you God. They failed to see their limits. My shadow has somewhat of my likeness, but it’s not me. In fact, it’s a very poor likeness of me. Man in his present form is a blurred and distorted image of God. The true image of God is seen in Jesus Christ. In Christ, the image of God is, and will be, restored to man. When you are studying the Old Testament story of man, you are basically studying the shadow of God in which God is veiled. Have you studied your shadow lately? Remember that you only see your shadow when the sun is shining. Your shadow is most visible when you are comparing yourself with Jesus, who is the light of the world.
The Apostle Paul says of the Resurrected Christ, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.”(Col 1:15-19) In saying this the Apostle Paul is pointing out that Christ is the true Adam. He is the true likeness and image of the eternal God in bodily form. In the resurrection when time is fulfilled God will restore to men who are in Christ, the image and likeness of God. That is why the Apostle John could say that, “when he comes we shall be like him.”
Let me share with you some reasons why I know that I have limits and that I am not God.
I cannot do anything I want because when my wants conflict with some other persons wants, they are my limits (people). Especially, if it’s a 250-pound man. I once heard a man say that you cannot stop the man with the plan. What if someone has a plan to stop that man with a plan?
I cannot have everything I want because my “want-to” appetite is too big and when my want to-appetite is too large, I have found the trouble and my limits. That is why so many people are overweight, and in debt up to their eye balls. Their appetite, or will is too large. They have not completely learned the lesson of life; there is a God and they are not Him. God gives children parents to demonstrate to the children what their limits are. Good parents will place limits on their children. If children are not taught limits when they’re young by their parents, other people (300-pound pound gorilla boss) with more power than them, will place limits on their will or want-to’s. So place limits on your children early, and save them the pain of learning the hard way.
I cannot be anything I want to be. I can identify as being rich but that doesn’t make me rich. Many Americans live as though they’re rich. Let me share with you some good advice; stop living as though you’re rich; most of you are not. Also, please stop identifying as the opposite sex. Identifying as the opposite sex is not going to make you into that gender. You can dress up and pretend to be, but that does not change your biology or your DNA. Just like you can dress up to be a millionaire, but that doesn’t make you a millionaire.
I am limited by my IQ, which translates as; I am limited by nature. Natural law teaches us that we have limits. Learn this simple lesson from nature. God gave us only two hands. If you get your hands too full, you’re miserable. This means that your if your hands are full you must put something down before you can pick something else up. By all means test your limits but learn to accept the real ones.
I also learned through natural revelation that there is something in the world called the Trouble. It’s like the air that we breathe. It is in us, and all around us. That is what Genesis, chapters 2 and 3, teach us as well. Paul refers to the Trouble as sin and death. He is not talking about personal sin or morality, he is talking about the powers of sin and death who are the source of the Trouble. We see the beginning of the Trouble in the conflict of Adams will, with God’s will. Then in chapter 3 of the book of Genesis, we see the Trouble entering human relationships in the story of Cain and Able. When there are conflicting wills between man and God, or man and other humans, there is the Trouble.
Both the Bible, and natural revelation teach us that we are limited by our conflicting desires or will, and that this conflict is this source of the Trouble. In the book of James, we find this plainly stated, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” ( James 4:1-3).
It is a self-evident truth that conflicting wills and appetites are the source of the Trouble. As stated before, this is not a biblical revelation, it is a natural revelation that is obvious to all men who are in their right minds. The Bible simply codifies it and in so doing, amplifies it to help humans become more aware of the Trouble in their lives, and substantiation that we are not God.
In conclusion, we can say that if you reflect on nature and how we react to the human condition you can plainly see that biblical revelation and natural revelation teach the equivalent wisdom. So, the book of nature and the book of God teach basically the same things about God, man’s behavior and the human condition. There is a God, we are not him and there is the Trouble that depicts the whole of the human condition.