General Revelation — God has revealed himself in creation.
Divine Revelation — God has revealed himself in His Word.
God has graciously revealed himself in both creation and his Word, which changes everything.
- God reveals himself through creation (General Revelation) (v. 1-6).
“Is rain a great and unsearchable wonder wrought by God? Picture yourself as a farmer in the Near East, far from any lake or stream. A few wells keep the family and animals supplied with water. But if the crops are to grow and the family is to be fed from month to month, water has to come on the fields from another source. From where?
Well, the sky. The sky? Water will come out of the clear blue sky? Well, not exactly. Water will have to be carried in the sky from the Mediterranean Sea, over several hundred miles and then be poured out from the sky onto the fields. Carried? How much does it weigh? Well, if one inch of rain falls on one square mile of farmland during the night, that would be 27,878,400 cubic feet of water, which is 206,300,160 gallons, which is 1,650,501,280 pounds of water.
That’s heavy. So how does it get up in the sky and stay up there if it’s so heavy? Well, it gets up there by evaporation. Really? That’s a nice word. What’s it mean? It means that the water sort of stops being water for a while so it can go up and not down. I see. Then how does it get down? Well, condensation happens. What’s that? The water starts becoming water again by gathering around little dust particles between .00001 and .0001 centimeters wide. That’s small.
What about the salt? Salt? Yes, the Mediterranean Sea is salt water. That would kill the crops. What about the salt? Well, the salt has to be taken out. Oh. So the sky picks up a billion pounds of water from the sea and takes out the salt and then carries it for three hundred miles and then dumps it on the farm?
Well it doesn’t dump it. If it dumped a billion pounds of water on the farm, the wheat would be crushed. So the sky dribbles the billion pounds water down in little drops. And they have to be big enough to fall for one mile or so without evaporating, and small enough to keep from crushing the wheat stalks.”—John Piper, excerpt from “A Thanksgiving Meditation”
“Created reality brings God’s perfections home to us in ways that are visible, concrete, and particular. They keep God’s attributes and characteristics from being mere abstractions, because it’s impossible for us to love a list of qualities. God is a person, not an alpha-numeric list of attributes, and thus he reveals himself in and through his mighty works… [Creation] aids us as we seek to know and understand the one who has called us into being.”— Joe Rigney, The Things of Earth
“We don’t use the ladder of creation to climb up to God, and then kick the ladder away. Creation retains its value, even as it points us to the God of infinite value.”—Doug Wilson
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.”— Romans 1:18-23
Question 1: If God has shown himself in creation, can this general revelation of God save someone?
Question 2: What about unborn babies and young children who are not capable of perceiving that God exists in creation? Can you be held accountable by general revelation if you can’t perceive even a basic understanding of creation?
“There is the consistent testimony of Scripture that people are judged on the basis of sins committed voluntary and consciously in the body. In other words, eternal judgment is always based on conscious rejection of revelation (whether in creation, conscience, or Christ) and willful disobedience. Are infants capable of either? There is no explicit account in Scripture of any other judgment based on any other grounds. Thus, those dying in infancy are saved because they do not (indeed cannot) satisfy the conditions for divine judgment.”—Sam Storms
- God reveals himself through his Word (Divine Revelation) (v. 7-11).
“The pages of Scripture overflow with creational analogies and metaphors to help us understand the glorious and ineffable mystery of the triune God. God is a Father, and so he gives us earthly fathers so that we’d know what he’s like. God is a shield and a fortress. He is a roaring lion who devours his enemies. He hides his people under the shadow of his wings. To understand his anger, we must look to a consuming fire. To grasp his steadfastness, we plant our feet on a rock. To comprehend the surety of his protection, we witness the shepherd with his sheep in the valley of shadows. Such descriptions may indeed be symbolic, but they are divinely designed symbols, and their great variety and diversity aid us as we seek to know and understand the one who has called us into being.”— Joe Rigney, The Things of Earth
Paraphrase of verses 7-9:
- The Word revives the soul.
- The Word makes wise the simple.
- The Word rejoices the heart.
- The Word enlightens the eyes.
- The Word endures forever.
- The Word is righteous altogether.
- God’s revelation of himself changes the way we live (v. 12-14).