From the series, Ten Turning Points That Make All the Difference
What’s so special about God’s special revelation? There’s much to be said, but I want to close this week’s study with just two words: knowledge and relationship.
We can know. It’s impossible to overstate the importance of that. Through God’s special revelation, the Bible, we know where we came from, what we’re here for, what life is all about, what’s behind our basic problems, what it takes to solve them, where we’re headed, and how to live a good life.
This is huge. Philosophers, poets, and thinkers of all descriptions have wondered and debated over these things since virtually forever. Since the early 17th Century in particular, one of the big questions among philosophers has been, can we know anything at all? The question is not just concerning spiritual knowledge, but matters as basic aswhether the person sitting next to you really exists.
René Descartes probably got it right when he said we can know we ourselves exist: “I think, therefore I am” was his famous proof. I can doubt everything, and I could be fooled about everything, except that I am the one thinking I can doubt or I could be fooled. But he was anxious, doubtful concerning all other knowledge.
Philosophers have had this problem because they don’t know where to start from. They don’t have a solid foundation on which to build knowledge (I’m over-simplifying, I know). By God’s special revelation, though, we have a starting point. We have something to hang our hat on. We know, for example, that God created us with the ability to know. He intended our “know-ing” to work.
From that starting point we have all the rest of the Bible to learn from: its promises, its instructions, its commands, its examples and illustrations, its biographies and histories, its prophecies. But it would be a distortion to leave it at that. What we gain from Scripture besides is room for confidence in our “know-ing” so that we’re not left lost and clueless in the rest of reality.
God’s special revelation is not just information he has piled upon us, like some college syllabus. It’s a love letter. It’s a personal appeal from God to you and me, “be reconciled to God.” It’s a daily reminder of his love. It’s a record of how he calls on us to live in close connection with him. It’s a guide to our personal encounters with him through prayer; in fact, much of it is prayers. It is a source of strength and hope straight from God himself. It even binds Christian to Christian, across time and all around the world, in our shared heritage as people of God’s book.
And I haven’t even yet mentioned God’s most direct and clear special revelation: Jesus Christ, and the relationship with God made possible through his salvation. I’ll spend a lot of time on him, starting next week.