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Two Sources of Revelation:
Some Christians claim that God reveals Himself in two books: the book of scripture (the Bible - Special Revelation) and the book of nature (Natural or General Revelation). Natural revelation is revelation through nature, using the tools of science to discover what nature reveals. In most cases nature is given a higher authority than Scripture. This is most often seen in the belief in evolution instead of Biblical creation. This is strange because the tools of science reveal the impossibility of evolution, and it is only the desire of the world to deny God that keeps a belief in evolution alive.
This is called "General Revelation" because it reveals God and His character in a very general way. Primarily it reveals that God exists; He is the creator; we are created creatures who owe worship and obedience to the creator. General Revelation also includes the fact the God has written His laws on our hearts (Romans 2:14-15). General Revelation only provides a very limited insight into truth. However, General Revelation is how God communicates with everyone (it's a universal message) revealing that He exists. Isaac Newton said this about General Revelation:
“This most beautiful system of sun, planets, and comets could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful being.” - Sir Isaac Newton
Five Key Reasons General Revelation is Less Authoritative Than Special Revelation
1. Nature (General Revelation) is damaged by the fall. God protects and preserves the Bible
2. Our ability to correctly perceive nature is imperfect. God gives us the Holy Spirit to help us correctly understand scripture.
3. The world uses nature as their final authority, including limiting "science" to only naturalistic explanations. By using science as an authority, we are following the world AND using an "authority" that by definition excludes God. That doesn't make sense!
4. Science is constantly changing and modifying it's understanding of nature. What you believe today may change tomorrow. The truths of scripture never change.
5. Nature is universal, but very limited in what it can communicate. Scripture is not universal, but it communicates to a breadth and depth beyond what we can comprehend.
What we see is that God intended General Revelation to be basic and easy for everyone to understand.
While General Revelation is universal, Special Revelation is understood by believers only.
But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. - 1 Corinthians 2:14
Special Revelation refers to the Bible. In scripture God tells us about Himself, ourselves and the problem of sin, and what God has done about sin. Scripture teaches us about God's character, morality, and how we should live. Scripture also reveals history, giving us the background necessary for understanding scripture. Scripture describes God's word (Special Revelation) as being far above Natural Revelation (Romans 1 and Psalm 19). For example::
For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. - 1 Peter 1:23
Heaven and earth [the natural world - Natural Revelation] will pass away, but My words will not pass away. - Mark 13:31
In addition, even with Natural Revelation universally available to everyone, we cannot know anything about God unless God reveals Himself. He does this through scripture.
All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. - Matthew 11:27
Nature is not the 67th book of the Bible. It is like a directional sign, pointing people toward the existence and character of our creator God. But that's all it is. Scripture (Special Revelation) is the authority. In looking at and learning from the creation, God's word in the Bible stands above creation and is our guide for understanding His creation.
General and Special Revelation (CMI)
What is Natural Revelation? (GQ)
Natural Revelation (ICR)
YOU DON'T HAVE A CHANCE
What you believe does not determine reality nor truth. That would make you god. But you ARE NOT god. You don't control the universe. You cannot change reality. Let's try an experiment. At about midnight stand in the middle of the road just around a corner where it is hard to be seen... at night, wearing all black. When headlights start lighting up the curve, just believe that whatever is coming does not exist. Stand firm, if you don't believe a vehicle is coming, then nothing is coming. You are perfectly safe... until reality hits.
You are now standing before Jesus. You are dead. It's judgment day. You don't want to believe it's Jesus and you will be judged. But it is. That's reality.
Judgment only takes a moment, the verdict is obvious, and you know it is correct. You are guilty. You've lied, stolen and sexually lusted after others (Matthew 5:28)... you have disobeyed God. Trusting Jesus is the only answer, but it's too late. You had your last chance just before you died.
You know it's no use to protest, but still you scream out, 'I didn't know!'
But you did know. All of creation declared God's glory, His invisible attributes, and His power. You have no excuse. You willingly rejected Jesus Christ (God).
Is this you? Are you saying, 'Hell isn't so bad, I'll be with my friends.' You know that's not true. There are no friends in hell. No beer... not even water to cool your lips. There is NOTHING good in hell.
So I beg you, consider these words. Trust Jesus as having paid your penalty for every way you've have rejected God. Trust Jeus to save you from hell and bring you into the presense of God.
Trust Jesus. Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved. - Acts 16:31