The Mosaic of Christian Beliefs, Chapter 3, Divine Revelation: Universal and Particular
- Issues and Polarities of Christian Belief about Divine Revelation
- Revelation- God’s message know through various methods
- Divine revelation is a give-in for believers
- The Christian Consensus about Divine Revelation
- “God is specifically revealed in Jesus Christ and that this surpasses other revelations of God that might exist”
- “There is a minimal knowledge of God—perhaps only that God exists—possible through God’s revelation in nature.”
- “The Bible, then, came to be regarded by all Christians as a form of special divine revelation—above nature but below Jesus Christ himself.”
- “The threefold form of God’s Word—divine revelation—provides significant common ground, that is, a consensual tradition, for Christians down through the ages and today.”
- Alternatives to Christian Beliefs about Divine Revelation
- Revelation might overpower the Bible and Christ
- General, universal revelation holds more worth than special divine revelation
- The best revelation is interior and mystical
- Diverse Christian Beliefs about Divine Revelation
- Disagree about: natural knowledge of God, the nature of special revelation, continuing revelation
- A Unitive Christian Vision of Divine Revelation
- Divine revelation is both-and
- Universal revelation consists of “questions about existence and particular revelation as God’s special communication that answers those questions”
The Mosaic of Christian Beliefs, Chapter 4, Christian Scripture: Divine Words and Human Words
- Issues and Polarities of Christian Belief about Scripture
- The Christian Consensus about the Bible
- “Scripture has a divine origin and possess divine authority because of its unique inspiration”
- Alternatives to the Christian Consensus about Scripture
- Some believe the Scripture is a classic; not inspired by God
- “overemphasis on the divinity of Scripture can be just as wrong as overemphasis on the humanity of Scripture”
- Diverse Christian Beliefs about the Bible
- Scripture is divine, human, and authoritative
- Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Christians generally affirm an intrinsic interdependence of Scripture and tradition
- “Magisterial Protestants believe that the Great Tradition helps Christians hold on to faithfully accepted Christian beliefs insofar as they are consistent with Scripture, but all traditions are subject to Scripture’s authority”
- the author’s words were freely chosen but came from the Holy Spirit
- A Unitive Christian View of Scripture
- “The Holy Spirit of God is the sacramental authorising agent of the Bible and that the Bible’s special quality is as unique instrument of encounter with and knowledge of God”
- Scripture > tradition
God is abstractly invisible. Christians argue that they know and hear from God, while in the physical reality He is an unseen concept. This is bewildering and questionable for those who do not believe in the Christian God. What people know about God is often uncertain belief that they trust for themselves to be true. Individual opinions easily confuse itself with what is true in reality.
People never know anything for certain, but they often think they do. The constant bicker of beliefs in our world muddle the definition and reality of truth. People quickly adhere to the thoughts thrown around without critically analyzing their validity and reliability. All too often, people adamantly believe something and later become crushed to realize the contrary truth. A thought can be perceived by many as true, but that does not mean it truly is.
This is where faith comes in. The only way a finite, limited human being can reliably know anything about an infinite God is through their faith in Him. Some people argue that faith does not mean it is true, but I believe that faith makes it true for that individual. Does this mean it is valid or reliable? Maybe not. Most people would consider these beliefs undependable, but the person in faith depends upon it with assurance.
So is faith a strong enough to transform a belief into truth? The answer to that question depends on who you ask. Most unbelievers would argue “no”, while Christians would have varied answers. I believe that faith makes it true for those who believe it, even if it is not noticeably true in reality. Can people ever know for certain that our thoughts of God are accurate? Probably not, but what they can do is have faith to make it reliable true for them.
Scripture Response: Psalm 19 & Romans 1:18-32
God’s laws are desirable and beautiful; they are perfect and bring joy to the heart. They also cause anger from God, as well as sin and immorality among humans. How can something perceived as perfect cause so much violence? While Christians today are no longer subject to the law, they should be aware of its foundational presence in our connection to God.
David, the man after God’s own heart, loved the law. He revered it and called it, “more desirable than gold (Ps. 19:10)”. As a Christian who lives according to the new covenant, rather than the old covenant, this is confusing for me. What I do know, however, is that whatever God commands and prepares for His people is for their benefit. The intent of the law, to make people holy and right with God, is perfect, but the imperfection of man taints the beauty of the law that David illustrates.
Mans’ choice of sin over the law resulted in negative consequences. People chose hate, killing, fighting and lying (Rom. 1:29), which forced God to punish them. God is a just God, which means He had to enforce the penalties attached to the upright law. The law was not created as a punishment, but unfortunately had to be that at times. God used consequences to show them the worth and significance of Himself, found in the law, but all-to-often this was not enough.
The law was created to point people to God. God is needed to, “live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28)”, but the Israelites tried to proceed contrary to the directions from God. The law would have been a beautiful guide to life, if humans were flawless. As humans have flaws, rebellion, and selfish desires, God gave humans something more powerful than the law, he gave us grace. He provided people with a new, beautiful guide to life, but this time, it can be experienced without consequences for errors.