A birdseye’s view of revelation (general and special)
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been involved in a course considering precisely what the Bible is. In order to do this, we have had to examine what it means for God to reveal himself (if he is there, and if he does, that is). This was my overview of the different aspects of the claims for divine revelation.
There are a few key things that need a little unpacking:
- Incarnational revelation obviously takes supreme precedence over scriptural revelation – for all kinds of reasons. But I ran out of room on the slide! Otherwise, I would have found ways to show the difference.
- Scriptural revelation (with all its facets – eg reliability and sufficiency) entirely depends on inspiration for it to hold – hence its function on the diagram as a kind of bridge to the 5 facets
- Quite what status dreams and ‘words of knowledge‘ (etc) should have is clearly a controversial one – hence the question mark and the fence-sitting position that I’ve given them. I tend towards putting them in their own category of general revelation (hence the NT requirement to test and evaluate them – not something ever required of special revelation), following Jensen’s general line in The Revelation of God.
Another REALLY helpful place to turn on all this (though it is not the easiest of reads, unfortunately) is Tim Ward’s excellent 2009 book, Words of Life